Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion
Southwest Corner Broad and Arch Streets, Philadelphia
Built 1870-75; Demolished Early 20th Century
Fraser, Furness, and Hewitt (firm 1867-1871)



Photo:  From Moses King's Philadelphia and Notable Philadelphians, 1901. 







No longer extant, the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion was established as an offshoot of St. John's Lutheran Church at 6th and Race Streets. The new church's cornerstone was laid at the southwest corner of North Broad and Arch Streets by Mayor Daniel Fox on November 28, 1871, and the church was dedicated on January 15, 1875 by Reverend Joseph D. Seiss. An announcement of the dedication ceremony in The Philadelphia Inquirer described the church:  
The new church, which is now nearly completed and ready for dedication, has a front on Arch Street of 75 feet and on Broad Street of 189 Feet. The material of the exterior is green serpentine marble, with dressings, arches, and string courses of light colored Ohio stone, and coping of brown stone. The architecture is mainly ornate German Gothic, and cruciform in shape.

The tower, which is to be a marked feature in Philadelphia church architecture, will be at corner of Broad and Arch Streets, and will be 26 feet square at the base, rising to a height of 92 feet. There are two principal entrances on Arch Street and a third entrance at the southern end of the building. The interior contains on first floor [sic] a lecture, infant school, library, Bible class, trustees rooms, and pastor's study. The main audience-room is on the second floor, and is 112 feet long by 70 feet width of transepts. The entire building cost, including the lot, about $200,000.

The church was one of several religious buildings, including the noted German synagogue Rodeph Shalom on North Broad Street (1869), designed through Furness's first partnership, Fraser, Furness and Hewitt (1867-71).  As suggested by the Inquirer, the Church was among the firm's most polychromatic works, and design of the church was praised at the American Institute of Architects conference at the 1876 Centennial. The church was demolished early in the 20th century, although the altar and much of the liturgical furniture were moved to the successor church, at 2100 Chestnut Street, in Philadelphia.

Sources Cited:

  • King, Moses, Philadelphia and Notable Philadelphians. New York: Blanchard Press, Isaac H. Blanchard Co., 1901. 
  • Thomas, George E. and Michael J. Lewis and Jeffrey A. Cohen, Frank Furness: The Complete Works. New York:  Princeton Architectural Press, 1991.
  • “A New Edifice,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 13, 1875. 
  • Philadelphia Architects and Buildings web site: http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/app/pj_display.cfm/5418





For additional information and references, see the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings web site:  http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/app/pj_display_citations_holdings.cfm/5418