Preserving History Since 1923

Ludolph Church

About Ludolph Church

Ludolph (also known as “stone” or “German” church) stands in the area of Perry County still known as “Little Germany.” As early as 1780 German immigrants had begun settling in this area and almost immediately began seeking education for the children. The first school was located about 50 yards southwest of the present church at the home of Henry Ludolph Spark, a German schoolteacher and Lutheran lay minister. Upon Spark’s death in 1803 he gave his home and 17 acres of land for the use of the education of “his neighbor’s children.”

Isaac Carl assumed the role of schoolmaster and the Lutherans began holding services in “Carl’s Schoolhouse.” By the 1830s, both Lutheran and Reformed congregations were using a newly built school building and jointly decided to construct a new church. They named it for their original benefactor Henry Ludolph Spark.

Ludolph Church, 1975.

The church was begun in 1841 and completed in November of 1842, with each congregation meeting in the building on alternate Sundays. Services were held in German until 1850. By the mid-1860s the Lutherans built a new church (also called Ludolph’s) at Elliottsburg.  The Reformed church also moved to Elliottsburg in 1872, but old families with their roots in “Little Germany” continued to use the graveyard at Ludolph Church for burials. Both congregations continued to maintain the old building into the 20th century.

In 1954 after some time of disrepair, the Historical Society acquired the building from the Lutheran congregation at Elliottsburg. In 2014 a leaking chimney flue was removed and the slate roof was reset in 2016. Work is now ongoing to restore the interior floor, ceiling, pulpit, and pews, to their 1840s appearance.

For more information or tours of Ludolph Church, or any of our properties, please contact the Historical Society of Perry County at 717-567-9011.

Ludolph Church, 2016.