Brief History of Calvary Evangelical Lutheran

The initial effort for a Lutheran Church in Dover was made in 1893 and the first meeting by a group of citizens toward its organization was held on December 6, 1897. Mrs. D. Sell donated the necessary land in memory of her husband, Reverend D. Sell, during January 1899. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held June 24, 1899 and the cornerstone was laid September 10, 1899.

Construction was begun and completed under the authority and guidance of the Missionary Committee of Messrs. Stewart D. Herman and Joseph H. Keller (both seminary students at the time) and a Board of Incorporators and Trustees appointed by the Court of York County, consisting of the following: Michael Link, P. W. Naylor, John J. Dattisman, Alonzo Picking, and Charles A. May.

The original structure was completed at an approximate cost of $8,000.00 (not including the bell and town clock) and was dedicated December 16, 1900. The bell was donated by Mr. Samuel B. Wallace and was hoisted into the tower by the cable that is used to lift the weights that operated the clock. The clock was financed by the citizens of Dover, and was placed by a man from the Howard Clock Company, Philadelphia, PA.

Wood construction for Calvary was done by C. Henry Quickel. C. Henry bought the house at 15 N. Main Street and built a cabinet shop at 13 N. Main St. 

The four corner posts that go from the foundation to each of the four small swales above the town clock were 10” x 10” x 40”. Two of these logs were spliced end to end for each of the four corners of the tower A 4” x 4” jinn pole was set up to erect each corner post about 80’ tall.

Mr. Oliver M. Stouch was one of the leading laymen who was active from the initial concept of establishing a Lutheran Church in Dover until the 1930’s. He was leader of various projects and programs and with the assistance of the Ladies Aid Society led to the elimination of the original debt, as well as later additional facilities and improvements

The original lighting system consisted of gas lights and this was replaced by electric in the summer of 1912. A new heating system was installed in 1936.

Additional facilities and improvements were discussed from time to time with the result that a Building Improvement Campaign was launched in the fall of 1944 to provide funds for any proposals which may be presented to the congregation and accepted. The first contribution to the church from this campaign was the installation of the Baldwin electric organ and chimes in October 1949. Lighting rods were also installed on the church tower.

Further additions and renovations were discussed and planned by the church council and a building committee in the spring of 1953, with the result that a project not to exceed an expenditure of $25.000 was unanimously approved by the congregation. This work primarily consisted of: A new fully enclosed exit tower in the rear, a new main entrance and lavatory facilities, redecorating of the church room and new carpet, new floor, ceiling and lighting in the church school and closing the outside basement entrance to the church school.

This project was designed by George S. Flickinger, architect. A contract for this work was executed with J. Earl Garrett, contractor, in September 1953 and was completed in May 1954 and dedicated June 17, 1954. Members of the Building Committee for the above were: Stewart A. Little, treasurer; Preston S. Stouch, Earl C. Elicker, Ralph L. Slothower, W.N. Gentzler, Harry C. Lehr and Clayton Johnson.

The first parsonage was purchased in January 1958 and consisted of a semi-detached residence on South Main Street. This was maintained until 1967.

Church Council appointed a Building Committee in 1958 to proceed with plans for an extension to the church school, including additional lavatories, nursery rooms and a kitchen with facilities for serving church functions, also, to make provisions for a possible future extension to the main church room. The committee was as follows: Kenneth Hoffman, Chairman: Harry Lehr, W. N. Gentzler, Edward Fickes, Boyd Mundis, Lewis E. Slothower, J. William Strayer, Stewart A. Little, Stanley Carlson, Ervin Sheffer, Mrs. Dale Stouch and Mrs. Clayton Johnson.

Alfred Hamme and Associates were named by the committee to prepare plans. Congregational approval was given to proceed with the construction to cost approximately $105,000. E. M. Gross and Sons were the general contractor. The project was completed in December 1959 and was dedicated in January 1960.

In June 1960, the church purchased the Joseph Seifert property. The property was adjacent to the north side of the church and later was torn down and the area seeded. A gift of $5,000 was received from Mr. Lewis Graff toward the purchase.

Congregational approval was given October 9, 1966 to purchase or build a new parsonage. A site was purchased from Mr. W. C. Drawbaugh – beyond the Borough limits at the south end of town. Work started in April 1967 and was completed in August 1967 at an approximate cost of $28,000. This project delayed the advancement of the main church extension program – plans for which were completed by the architects in October, 1966.

Congregational approval was given in September 1970 to have the plans for the main church room extension updated and presented for further consideration and to give an approximate cost. Invitations to bid were issued in the spring of 1971. The low bid of $153,415 was received from Edwin C. Myers, Inc., contractor. The committee advised that the total cost, including furnishings and equipment, would be approximately $190,000. Approval was given to proceed and work was started in August 1971, with a completion date in 300 days. Church services since then have been held in the adult church school assembly room.

A plaque, dated October 14, 1981. was hung in the church dedicating the cross on the top of the church to J. William Strayer, Kay Stitley’s father.

In 1983 the church purchased the property at 15 North Main Street.  In 1985,  the property at 5 North Main Street was acquired. Dedication of 5 North Main Street, was held on November 14, 1993 as the Parish House. The Parish House was entered on the National Historical Registry in 1999.

In the summer of 2000, the house at 15 North Main Street was demolished.