This church, built between 1873 and 1878, can be said to have saved Harrisburg from losing its status as the Capital of Pennsylvania. Since 1809, efforts were made to return the Capital from its temporary location at Lancaster to Philadelphia where it was prior to 1799. Philadelphia loyalists tried unsuccessfully to effectuate this move when Harrisburg was chosen as the Capital in 1810. They tried again in 1816 when the appropriation to build the first Capitol Building was approved, as well as at times during the Civil War and again in 1897 after the original Capitol Building was totally destroyed by fire. It was argued that Harrisburg had no facilities large enough to accommodate the Legislature and Administration. Had it not been for the civic responsibility of the congregation and clergy of the then known Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, Philadelphia may have again become the Capital of Pennsylvania. The Church opened it doors to the State Legislature, which occupied the sanctuary and Sunday School rooms until the interim Capitol was readied in 1899. During that time, the church's congregation worshiped at the Grand Opera House at Third and Walnut Streets. Grace Methodist was erected of limestone in the Gothic Revival style with one of the tallest and most distinctive spires in the City. The Church, prominently located on State Street, also became established as the site of concerts and musical productions and is the birthplace of the Harrisburg Coral Society.
Sanctuary of the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church when used by the State Legislature after the Old Capitol Building burned in 1897.
1880's view of the then-known Grace Methodist Episcopal Church.