Grace United Methodist Church

Property Name:Grace United Methodist Church
Address:    218-224 State Street, Harrisburg
Owners: Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church
Priority Since: 2019
Status:  Congregation active; church doing well!

Grace United Methodist Church, built between 1873 and 1878, can be said to have saved Harrisburg from losing its status as the Capital of Pennsylvania. 1897 after the original Capitol Building was destroyed by fire in 1897, 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 its 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 Choral Society.  Further, it was the church of J. Horace McFarland, a principal founder of Harrisburg’s City Beautiful Movement.  A garden at the rear of the church features several roses originally grown by McFarland.  McFarland was known as a celebrated horticulturalist and an early president of the American Rose Society.  The church’s location adjacent to the Pennsylvania State Capitol, its history and residence locations of traditional attendees have long made it a metropolitan Harrisburg Church. Further, the church is located within a National Register Historic District.

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