Better late than never.

The historic Bucher Meeting House in South Lebanon Township, near Cornwall, will mark its 150th anniversary with a commemorative event from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 10.

The celebration, which was postponed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will feature building and cemetery tours. An old-fashioned hymn sing is scheduled for 3 p.m., led by a granddaughter of one of the former ministers.

Constructed in 1871, the Bucher Meeting House, previously known as the “Cornwall House,” was born from the desires of Tulpehocken Church of the Brethren members living near Cornwall. These members, who previously worshipped at private homes, raised $2,957.29 to build the 60-foot by 40-foot wooden frame structure.

The site also originally included a large horse shed along what is now Route 419. Historians believe the name “Bucher Meeting House” was derived from the Bucher family, who frequently hosted church services in their barns.

Prominent Cornwall residents, including members of the Coleman family, were among the many donors for the construction project.

Today, the white structure remains reminiscent of its 1871 appearance, featuring straight benches and hanging kerosene lamps. While the original horse shed is no more, the building still has separate entrance doors for men and women. Adjacent to the meeting house, a cemetery houses graves dating back to 1842.

Ownership of the meeting house has transitioned over the years. Originally owned by the Tulpehocken congregation, it was under the Midway Church of the Brethren’s care from 1902 until 2018. In recent years, the Atlantic Northeast District Church of the Brethren assumed ownership after Midway COB left the denomination.

Historical records show the land on which the meeting house and cemetery sit was once part of a farm owned by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dohner. The oldest grave belongs to Jacob Schmidt (1774-1842), a Dohner family in-law, suggesting the cemetery might have originally been a family burial ground. Currently, only reserved cemetery plots are available for use.

For those wishing to support the preservation of the Bucher Meeting House, charitable donations can be made to the Bucher Perpetual Care Fund via the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren.

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