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German Evangelical Zion Lutheran Church

  • 1106 Capital St. Harrisburg, PA 17102
  • 717-236-1774

The only public gathering place in the small town of Lykens for more than 70 years, the GAR Building was constructed between 1850 and 1852. The two story limestone structure was originally a Methodist church also used by Presbyterian and Lutheran congregations who did not possess their own buildings. From 1867 until 1887, it was the home of first A.F. Englebert and then Emanuel Deibler. Unable to sell the property, Deibler loaned the building for use an armory and a fire house. In 1898, local chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a fraternal organization for Union Civil War veterans, and its women’s auxiliary purchased the building. Members of the chapter (Heilner Post #232) came not only from Lykens but also from the surrounding communities of Elizabethville, Williamstown, and Tower City. The GAR and auxiliary shared the building with the community, using it to host meetings, dances, and parties. During a flu epidemic in 1918, the building was used as a hospital. As membership in first the GAR and later the auxiliary dwindled, the building was loaned to various community organizations for use until it was formally turned over to the borough of Lykens in 1973, with the stipulation that it be maintained as a memorial to the GAR post.