Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
— Newport Heritage Park —
This Newport Heritage Park location was made possible in 2015 by the generous community spirit of the congregation of St. Paul's Lutheran Church.
First recorded Lutheran services were held in Newport homes and school houses by the Rev. John W. Heim as early as 1830. Preaching was done in German until 1842 when the pastor was requested to speak English also.
Formally organized in 1844 under the leadership of the Rev. Levi T. Williams, services were held at the brick school on 2nd St. From 1847 to 1874, members shared space in the town's first formal religious edifice, the Union Church, with the Presbyterian and Reformed congregations. The Union Church was located where the 1959 Newport Post Office new stands. St. Paul's sold their one-third interest to the Presbyterians in 1877. The Reformed Church constructed its own facility in 1868.
The St. Paul's Romanesque style edifice was constructed in 1874 by builder Joshua Sweger for $15.000 which included land and furnishings. The auditorium could seat approximately 500 persons, which at that time was probably the largest indoor space in Perry County. St. Paul's was the first church in the Synod of Central Pennsylvania to have a pipe organ, installed ca 1885. The current organ dates from 1912, and Maas chimes were installed in 1947.
During World War II, the decaying timbered steeple was removed, and by the late 1940s the present belfry was capped. The sanctuary contains a nativity fresco by J.H. Froehlich completed during the 1907 remodeling.
(Inscription under the photo in the upper left) Pictured is St. Paul's with its original steeple; the former Methodist Church is in background on 4th and Market Streets. This picture taken prior to 1905 when the Pennsylvania Railroad mainline ran down 3rd Street in Newport.
(Inscription under the photo in the lower left) The Rev. Levi T. Williams, pastor 1843-45 when the congregation formed.
(Inscription under the photo in the upper right) In 1884 a windstorm damaged the steeple. Pictured at the top of the steeple, 125 feet off the ground doing repairs, are Daniel W. Gantt, left, and builder Joshua Sweger.
(Inscription under the photo in the lower right) Abraham Aughe, pastor 1871-1876, when the church was constructed.
St. Paul stands as a symbol of the values of a people whose faith lives on "from age to age the same'.