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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: E. Wallace, 07/2003
St. John's Church at Creagerstown Historic District
Inventory No.: F-6-134
Other Name(s): St. John's Lutheran & Reformed; St. Johns Evangelical & Reformed; Creagerstown No. 2
Date Listed: 8/28/2007
Location: 8619 Blacks Mill Road, Thurmont, Frederick County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1834, c. 1880, 1908, 1916
Description: The St. John's Church at Creagerstown Historic District consists of a complex of community buildings located on Black's Mill Road, west of the center of the crossroads town of Creagerstown. On the north side of the road stands the brick Creagerstown School No. 2, built ca. 1880, which has served as the Lutheran Church Parish Hall since 1926, along with its ca. 1930 concrete block privy/shed. On the south side of Blacks Mill Road is St. John's Lutheran Church (1908), St. John's Reformed Church (1834), and the Creagerstown Cemetery originally jointly owned by the Lutheran and Reformed congregations. The St. John's Reformed Church building is set back from the road approximately 10 feet. Fronting north, it is a brick, one-story gable-front building constructed in 4-course common bond. The north gable front is three bays wide with a projecting square, one-bay entry bell tower constructed of 7-course common bond brick, with a wood framed and fishscale-shingled superstructure. The lower brick level has a central Tudor Gothic-arched entrance with leaded, stained glass within the arch bearing the words "St. John's Reformed Church." The church building stands on a red sandstone foundation, with a cornerstone reading "September 27, 1834". The floors are original 1830s random-width pine tongue-and-groove boards. The walls and ceiling are painted with stenciled decoration from the 1916 remodeling. Ghosts in the plaster walls show evidence of the original balconies along the east, west, and north walls. St. John's Lutheran Church, completed in 1908, is also sited on the south side of Blacks Mill Road, approximately 30 feet east of the old Reformed Church. The church is constructed of brick laid in 7-course common bond. The building sits on a red sandstone foundation and has an asymmetrical cross-gable configuration with a bell tower entrance structure. The north elevation is dominated by a projecting front gable with a large tripartite Gothic-arched stained glass window flanked by two smaller Gothic lancet windows. The window and door openings are topped with two rows of brick headers. Above the windows the gable surface is covered with decorative wood shingles painted red. On the west side of the center gable is an asymmetrical side gable with a single door Gothic-arched entrance and lancet window, both with colored glass. On the east side of the center gable is the entrance/bell tower. The double entrance door is Gothic-arched with colored glass above the doors. The tower surface above the entrance is covered with painted decorative wood shingles punctuated by a round window with colored glass panes. The tower peak has a pointed-arched vent opening on each side, corner buttresses, and a four-sided peak, all sheathed with metal sheets painted red. Located opposite the two church buildings on the north side of the road is the St. John's Lutheran Church Parish House, built c. 1880 as the Creagerstown Public School No. 2. It is a one-story building constructed of brick laid in 7-course common bond, on a parged sandstone foundation. Constructed as a two-room schoolhouse, it is five bays across the south elevation, with a projecting front gable entrance added c. 1900. The window openings of the main section of the building are topped with splayed brick jack arches. The central entrance has one sidelight and a transom with a cast stone lintel and a single row of brick headers above. Two small windows on either side also have a single header row decorative treatment above the lintels. The door and windows are replacements. Above the door is a wooden plaque painted black embedded in the brickwork, which has applied letters painted gold reading, Significance: "Creagerstown No. 2 E Dist No. 4" [School No. 2, Election District No. 4]. In the gable peak of the projecting entrance is a pointed-arched window with a row of brick headers above each side of the arch. A cupola platform remains on the entrance gable roof peak where a belfry was added in 1907. Two gable-end chimneys were removed and capped with metal sheet caps. A single tall brick chimney rises from the frame kitchen addition. The St. John's Church at Creagerstown Historic District includes St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church (1908), the Parish House (c. 1880, built at Creagerstown School No. 2), the now-vacant St. John's Reformed Church building (1834, 1916), and the surrounding cemetery as historic setting. The district is significant for its architecture; its two church buildings are examples of popular 18th and early 20th century ecclesiastical architectural styles as applied in a rural setting in the mid-Atlantic region. Still located within its historic cemetery setting, the now-vacant Reformed Church building was constructed in 1834 in a simplified transitional Federal/Greek Revival-influenced style typical of rural churches in west-central Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania. Officially established in 1787 as a Union Lutheran and German Reformed Church, the two congregations divided in 1905. While the Lutheran congregation constructed a new church on the adjoining lot in 1908, in the late Gothic Revival ecclesiastical style, the Reformed congregation, which remained in the old church, remodeled the old building in 1916. Replacing the Federal-styled bell cupola and plain, symmetrical windows and entrances were several late Gothic Revival elements including a projecting central entrance/bell tower and elongated Tudor Gothic-arched windows. The interior balconies were removed and the walls painted with decorative stenciling. In 1939, the church's Reformed congregation dissolved and the building was abandoned. The building and interior furniture were purchased in 1945 by the nearby Lutheran congregation and the furniture was installed in the St. John's Lutheran Church building. The Parish House, formerly Public School No. 2, is a fine example of rural Maryland two-room schoolhouse of the late 19th century. It was purchased by the St. John's Lutheran congregation in 1926 from the Frederick County School Board for use as a parish house. Despite its changed use, the building remains remarkably unchanged from its schoolhouse appearance. The three buildings that comprise the St. John's Church at Creagerstown Historic District are all owned by St. John's Lutheran Church. The district is also significant as a religious property deriving primary significance from architectural distinction; the cemetery is included as historical setting.


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