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Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse facts for kids

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Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse and School
Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse, PA - front view.jpg
Front view in 2017
Location 1245 Birmingham Road, Birmingham Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania
Area 2.4 acres (0.97 ha)
Built 1763
NRHP reference No. 71000688
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP July 27, 1971

Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse is a historic Quaker meeting house at 1245 Birmingham Road in Birmingham Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. The current meetinghouse was built in 1763. The building and the adjacent cemetery were near the center of fighting on the afternoon of September 11, 1777 at the Battle of Brandywine. Worship services are held weekly at 10am. The meetinghouse and adjacent octagonal schoolhouse were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse and School on July 27, 1971.

History

The first Quaker meeting in Birmingham Township was held about 1690. In 1718 a meetinghouse was built from red cedar logs. A burial ground, surrounded by a stone wall, was established in the 1750s. The building was made out of stone in 1763 and measured 38 by 41 feet. During the Battle of Brandywine, the British forces attempted to flank the Continental forces under General George Washington. The Continental forces rushed north to meet the British in the area of the meetinghouse. It was used as a hospital first for the Americans, and after the battle for British officers. The stone wall around the cemetery was used as a defensive position by the Americans. After the battle, dead British and American soldiers shared a common grave in the cemetery.

The meetinghouse was enlarged in 1819 and an octagonal school was completed in August, 1819 at a cost of $712.57. The school was used off and on through 1905 and is included in the NRHP site. In 1968 Quaker architect Mather Lippincott designed a new education building to the north of the meeting house.

The school is now used as The Peace Center at Birmingham.

From 1845 to 1923 a group of Quakers worshipped a few hundred yards south at the Orthodox Meetinghouse as a result of the Hicksite-Orthodox split. That meetinghouse is listed separately on the NRHP.

Gallery

  • Brief Historical Sketches concerning Friends' Meetings of the Past and Present with special reference to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, compiled by T. Chalkey Matlack, Moorestown, N.J. 1938, pp. 285–288. Available at the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College.
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