West Virginia State Farm Museum
This is a replica of the old Zion Lutheran Church, which was originally located about two miles south of New Haven, WV in the community of Broad Run. It was the first Lutheran Church west of the Allegheny Mountains, and it was one of the older churches in the area. A group of Lutherans from the Shenandoah Valley moved into the community around 1800. They were German Lutherans whose forefathers had come directly from Germany and had settled in the Shenandoah Valley. They included the Roushes, the Weavers, and several other Lutheran families. The Zion Lutheran Congregation was organized in 1806, and for a while, they met in private homes. Later they began meeting in Daniel Roush’s barn. In 1815 Mr. Daniel Roush donated a tract of land, and the congregation began to build the old log church.
When it was built in 1815 there was still danger of Indian raids in the area. Native Americans had villages in Ohio in the vicinity of Logan and Chillicothe, and occasionally, a raiding party would come down and cross the Ohio River, coming into Mason County and causing considerable damage. In those days the Ohio River, in the summertime, was low enough that people could wade across. So the pioneers, realizing that a raid might come while they were in church, added a balcony to the church. The women and children sat in the safety of the balcony, while the men and older boys sat down on the first-floor level on benches. They also brought their muskets to church and put them in the musket rack. The original church had only one door and no windows, but in order to accommodate large tour groups, extra doors and windows were added.
Though the old church was too deteriorated to allow use of the original logs in the building of the replica, a 1932 architect’s drawing of the original church, along with some pictures of the church when it was a barn, were used to restore it to its original form. Services were held in the church from the time it was built in 1815 until around 1862 or 63. Then, until 1895, it was used as a preaching mission for the people in the vicinity. In 1895 the present Lutheran church was built, and the old log building was abandoned and later turned into a barn. It finally disintegrated.
The old church is used for services quite often. During the summer months, a number of congregations in the area come to the church for services. Sometimes they picnic in the nearby shelter. The church organ is around one hundred years old. It has been restored and is used for services. It was donated to the museum by Mrs. Mary Pullins.
Pictures and information were provided by West Virginia State Farm Museum
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