8. ST. MATTHEW'S LUTHERAN CHURCH, 849 W. Market St., of modified Georgian design was built in 1933 of local stone and terra cotta. It has a 160-foot tower with a belfry and steeple. A portico with four pairs of Doric columns and pilasters is surmounted with an entablature and pediment. Within, two rows of Corinthian columns set on octagonal bases separate from the side aisles from the nave. From the entablatures spring graceful arches supporting vaulted ceilings Corinthian columns support a canopy above the high altar made of Italian Alta marble. In the reredos is a carved panel f the Ascension, also by Lang. --- Pennsylvania: A Guide to the Keystone State, 1940; page 351.
I had an opportunity to visit with friends for the Passover weekend. Since his wife is Lutheran, I decided I visit this church, if not for the spiritual experience, then for the waymarking opportunities. The first thing I noticed on the outside was the 160 foot steeple, ornate, ostentatious but beautiful nonetheless. The next thing to notice would be the 8 column, separated into 4 sets of two which hold up the entablature upon which the pediment and its ornate dentils rest. Really, this is a magnificent building. This building unfortunately falls out side the York Historic District but is harmonious with the older buildings up the street and represents the majority of buildings which do contribute.
The inside of the church I found to be beautiful. At the far end on the pulpit is a gorgeous wooden relief. Stained windows line both sides and the architecture is full of ornate columns, trim, dentals and other corinthian style trimmings. They also have a humongous pipe organ recently rescues and restored form a smell old barn. I found the following on a York blog about the pipe organ and the church:
St. Matthew Lutheran Church on York, Pa.’s, West Market Street was in the news recently because of its new pipe organ: Pipes for organ, moved from filthy barn to historic York, Pa., church, will soon sing . But plenty of more renovations are taking place at the church. The church opened its doors in 1906 and has enlarged and expanded several times. Each time, it has added a cornerstone. SOURCE
The building continues to be enlarged over the years and has five cornerstones. I was only able to find the one from the 1933 renovation, our front, on the right corner (this is cornerstone No. 2, at the southeast corner of the sanctuary). it is a huge gray stone, two sides and reads:
The following comes from the church's website:
St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church began meeting as a Sunday School organized by members of nearby Union Lutheran Church in the Carlisle Street School house on August 15th, 1886. Dr. Monroe Alleman, Doctor of Divinity, was the first Pastor. St. Matthew was incorporated and became a member congregation of the West Pennsylvania Synod in October 1889. Ten years later the congregation had grown so large that the building had to be enlarged.
St. Matthew continued to grow. The cornerstone for the first Market Street building was laid on July 8, 1906. That afternoon 450 members marched from the old schoolhouse location to the new West Market Street location for this great event.
On January 6, 1907, the first Sunday service was held in the new building and in March of that year the parsonage was completed.
Once in the new church building, one of the congregation's longest continued ministries began. On June 26, 1907, Luther League began and still meets several times a month for Christian fellowship, service and learning for the youth of St. Matthew and the community. Also, the Sunday Church School became a vital ministry of service and learning. Even today, Sunday Church School remains an integral part of the congregation's life.
On February 19, 1933, the church again needed to enlarge. Groundbreaking for the nave began on that day with the cornerstone being laid on May 7th of that year. When the church was dedicated April 15, 1934, the congregation had grown so large that two services needed to be held each Sunday. SOURCE