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Repairs Continue on Historic Penns Valley Church

by and on August 05, 2020 5:15 AM
Spring Mills, PA

SPRING MILLS — The historic Egg Hill church in Potter Township is undergoing some necessary repairs to its foundation.

The work, which began earlier this month, is being done by the Eli Fisher Construction Company. The north wall of the church foundation has been deteriorating over many years, and has allowed the building to sag about four inches in its center. Fisher’s crew raised the center with hydraulic jacks to level it, then dismantled the stone foundation, placing heavy timbers under the floor on concrete footers to support the north wall. The same foundation stones are being used to construct a new wall, thereby preserving the look of the original foundation.

Egg Hill Conservancy President Vonnie Henninger said raising the building caused some plaster in the interior walls to crack, but noted it will be repaired. She said the target date for completion of the repairs is in early September.

“We want it to be in good shape for the homecoming service in late September,” she said.

The work will also include construction of an entrance ramp on the south side of the entrance.

“This ramp will help the elderly visitors a lot,” said Henninger in a previous interview.

All work is being done according to standards set by the National Historic Register.

When the foundation wall was removed, some painted graffiti on a wooden beam was exposed in the basement interior. It said “J.D. 1870,” and Henninger believes this was done by John Dauberman, whose family was active in the church for many years.

The original church was built in 1838, and dedicated in September of that year. It was one of the first Evangelical Churches in Penns Valley. The church and adjoining cemetery were named Egg Hill because they were located on the bluff of a hill which local citizens claimed to be egg-shaped.

The present building was constructed by members in 1860 on the foundation of the earlier church building which had been razed. Regular services ended there in 1927, due to decreasing attendance, but an annual homecoming service is still held there every September, and it is also used as a venue for weddings and other special events.

Henninger said that sufficient funding from donations has been secured for most of the repair work, but some more is still needed to repair the cracked wall plaster, and a hole in the ceiling.

A GoFundMe account has been created to accept donations of money to help raise the funds needed to finish the repairs. Donations can be mailed to Vonnie Henninger at 100 Hawksnest Way, Bellefonte, PA 16823.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

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