Stop # 5
The Strasburg Depot sat one block north on Fort Street (for many years known as Depot St.). Notice where the road veers left then right again and up the hill. A modest passenger station was located there. Longtime residents may remember the 7:35 a.m. train making the daily mail delivery.
The large building at 189 Fort Street, to your left, was the Chalybeate Springs Hotel. It began catering to summer guests in the 1890's. Guests came by rail to the depot. Some were "drummers" (traveling salesmen) and others came to partake of the spring behind the hotel, believing the iron water to be healthful.
One block to your left is Capon Street, which leads to Route 55 West (once known as Capon Grade). From the town's platforms and rail stations many elite vacationers transferred to horse-drawn coaches for the trip to the Capon Spring Hotel in West Virginia. Before air conditioning, people flocked to the cooler mountains during hot summer months.
Strasburg's first church, the Lutheran Church, was a log structure built across the street in the late 1760's. For many years it was the town's only chapel, so other congregations held services here. In the early years, local laymen, such as Simon Harr, often ministered to the Lutheran congregation. County records show he performed 368 marriages between 1781 and 1796. He was also the schoolmaster for the school in Strasburg. For about 25 years, beginning in the early 1800's, the church employed two ministers at a time: one gave the sermon in German and the other in English.
The log church was replaced by a brick structure in 1844 and dedicated at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. During the Civil War the church was ruined. The pulpit, pews, pipe organ, doors and windows were destroyed. By 1864 all that remained was the shell. After the war, the church filed a claim with the Federal government for compensation. The Lutheran Synod donated $200 and reconstruction of the sanctuary began in 1867. The church was extensively rebuilt in 1892 and the bell tower was completed in 1893. Additions were made in the 1920's and the west wing was added in 1954. The latest renovations were made in 1986 when the narthex was enlarged and the altar was moved from the north side of the building of the south side.
The church cemetery contains graves of many of Strasburg's prominent families. Adam Keister Sr., merchant, potter and elder of the church, is buried here, as is Solomon bell, another noted pottery-maker. And, sadly, there are many graves of young children who died before the age of modern medicine.