Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ephrata Cloister

Ephrata Cloister, located in Ephrata, Lancaster County, is part of the PA Museum and Historical Commission. This property was one of America's earliest religious communities, founded in 1732 by German Settlers. It is the creation of German mystic Conrad Beissel.
It features very unique architecture for 1732 and the original buildings; the meeting house and the sister's hall, are still standing and available for touring. In 1750 this community was 300 members strong.

The community became known for its charity, helping new settlers to build houses, caring for the poor and elderly, operating a school for area children and offering guests free lodging.

The many different buildings include a Weaver's Workshop where they spun linen from flax, an Academy opened in 1837 as a private school for the neighborhood children, a Bakery which produced bread, the mainstay of a colonial diet, the Physician's House which held homemade herbal remedies, a Small Bake House for preparing candles and soaps.

The herb garden features many dye plants to be used for fabric or to color candles.  This is laid out in a very typical German Four-Square style.

The members lived a very simple life, ate very little meat, were celibate and slept on a wood plank with a block for a pillow to help them dedicate their life to God. 

An interesting part of our local history, Ephrata Cloister  is worthy of a visit.

This was the first stop of our recent Traveling Herb Seminar that journeyed to destinations in Lancaster County.

1 comment:

Marilyn Miller said...

I would love visiting here. How fascinating!