Historical Markers
Lititz Historical Marker
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Hershey/Gettysburg/Dutch Country Region


Marker Location:
PA 501 at Lititz Spring Park, Lititz

Behind the Marker

Countryside scene of roads and houses with out buildings.
Lititz, PA, by Rufus Grider, 1862.
The clear deep music broke the morning silence and roused the townspeople of Lititz. As the sun's rays sparkled on the dew-covered grass and warmed the small houses, tune after tune poured forth from the Moravian trombone choir as it rode through the village. Soon families began to emerge from their houses. Gathering at the local graveyard for a special service, they celebrated Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, which they fervently believed had purchased the forgiveness of their sins and an eternal home in heaven.
Color image of the organ.
Moravian Chapel organ, Nazareth Historical Society, Nazareth, PA.

Less than a year after coming to Pennsylvania in 1741, the Moravian Church fathers at Bethlehem had sent ministers to the frontier German settlements of Lancaster County to "bring them to a greater awareness of Christ and his sacrifice so that they might be saved." After a farmer came under the influence of Count Zinzendorf's preaching and donated his six-hundred-acre farm to the church, Zinzendorf sent missionaries from Bethlehem to establish a town there.

In 1756, he named the new settlement Lititz in honor of the place in Bohemia where the followers of John Hus-the founder of the Moravian faith- had formed the Moravian Church some three hundred years earlier. In 1759 a group of German converts living in Lititz celebrated their first Easter in traditional Moravian style.

The Moravians of Lititz adopted the separate housing units and communal economy of the main Moravian settlements in Bethlehem and markerNazareth. Wanting to keep their community pure and unified, the residents kept their settlement closed to non-Moravians for the next one hundred years. One local entrepreneur began a business that is still operating. Moravian William Rauch started making pretzels about 1810.
Oil on canvas painting of Zinzendorf als Lehrer der Völker, preaching to congregation.   Here Zinzendorf is receiving the light of God.
Zinzendorf als Lehrer der, by Johann Valentin Haidt, circa 1747.
In 1865 Julius Sturgis took over the business, and the company that bears his name continues to manufacture pretzels to this day.

Continuing their long tradition of excellence in music, Moravians earned a reputation across the colonies for the quality of their instruments, skillful playing, and delightful compositions. In 1756 David Tannenburg started to manufacture organs and pianos that became famous for their beautiful workmanship and "sweet" tone. In 1765, a branch of the Collegia musica began in Lititz. An old German tradition, Collegium musicum brought together amateur musicians to play both sacred and secular music.
Left to right, The Anstalt, Sisters' Barn, Sisters' House, Parsonage, Church, and the Brothers' House partly shown.
Linden Hall, with tower, flanked by other Moravian buildings, Lititz, PA, circa...

While the Moravians in Lititz carefully guarded their membership, they did not shut out all contact with the outside world. As hostilities with the British increased in the early 1770s, and the War of Independence loomed, the pacifist brethren passed a resolution that banned the use of British tea.

markerBenjamin Franklin enabled the village to honor its pacifist convictions by presenting a declaration to Congress that allowed them to continue their ban against bearing arms. Lititz did not completely avoid the effects of the war, however. In 1777, the Single Brethren's House was converted into a military hospital that cared for almost one thousand Continental soldiers.

Lititz also carried on the Moravian educational tradition, opening boarding schools for both boys and girls. After John Beck began teaching the boys of the village in 1812, word of his success spread far and wide. Soon families from Baltimore and other cities were sending their sons to study with him. The markerLinden Hall Seminary for girls, established before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, is today the oldest school for girls in continuous existence in the United States.
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