The Journey Through Hallowed Ground

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Lutheran Theological Seminary

Founded in 1826, the oldest continuing Lutheran seminary in America is located “up on Seminary Ridge” across from Gettysburg College. Samuel Simon Schmucker, a leading churchman in American Lutheran circles in the mid-19th century, founded the seminary and neighboring Gettysburg College. An articulate anti-slavery activist, he supported the Underground Railroad by harboring fugitive slaves in his barn and home. He encouraged Daniel Alexander Payne, who was the first African-American to receive his theological education in a Lutheran seminary (1837). On July 1, 1863, the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the campus became a battleground and then the center of the Confederate line for two days. Just like on the Gettysburg campus, the cupola of the Seminary’s Old Dorm served as an observation tower first for the Union and then for the Confederate officers. The seminary also served as a field hospital, treating casualties until late September of 1863 when it was the last field hospital closed. Today the Old Dorm houses the Adams County Historical Society. The Seminary continues to educate Lutheran theological students and created the first faculty position in Christian Education (M. Hadwin Fischer, 1926), in Sociology and Psychology (Bertha Paulssen, 1940's), and Stewardship (William O. Avery, 1989). Paulssen was also the first tenured woman professor in a Lutheran seminary. And the first woman to be ordained by an American Lutheran church body, Elizabeth Platz, was educated at Gettysburg.

61 Seminary Ridge
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 17325
Directions to:

Local Tourism Resources:

  • Destination Gettysburg
    Inside the Historic Gettysburg Train Station 35 Carlisle Street.
    Gettysburg, PA 17325
    717-334-6274 or 800-337-5015
    Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm / Sunday 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
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