- Happy Anniver5ary, St. Boniface!
- Downtown diversity
- Travelogue will explore Colorado River this Saturday
- Cool lineup!
- Everyone wins at the Souper Bowl
- Grammy-winning Brits to rock The Main in Ephrata
- Taste of the Town: Happy Holidays from Miner’s Club and Iron Valley Tubing
- Sweigart foundation awards $405,000 in grants for 2015
- Not a silent night…East Cocalico supervisors field questions in lively last meeting before holiday
- ‘Star Wars’ fans out in Force for opening night
History in the painting
For nearly everyone, the familiar site of the Ephrata Cloister Academy building located along West Main Street is a symbol of the by-gone era of unique community.
Few remember that as recently as the 1930s, that building was an active center of learning, rounding out its final years used by the former Ephrata Union School District.
Throughout the life of any school building, pass both teachers and students who will leave an indelible mark on the school. Recently, contractors preparing the Academy for a fresh coat of paint discovered what amounts to ancient graffiti.
Painters scraping layers of paint from the two front doors of the building found the initials of one influential member of the Cloister community.
Those initials: S. G. Z.
The Rev. Samuel Grant Zerfass was born on the Cloister’s Fairview Farm in about 1871 and later became a student at the Academy. While it cannot be determined when he did the carving, according to the Ephrata Cloister Associates staff, Zerfass became somewhat infamous for carving his initials at various places throughout the Cloister site.
Whether the initials were carved maliciously is not known, however would be highly unlikely. There is some speculation that at least in the case of the Academy building, carving ones initials may have been a school-aged rite of passage as several other initials and carvings could also be seen carved on the door &tstr; though none nearly as deeply and as prominently as those carved by Zerfass.
The mark left on the community and even the state by Zerfass was far deeper than a few letters carved throughout the Cloister. Later in life, Zerfass would become a prominent church leader, member of Ephrata Borough Council, historian and statesman. He was also a Justice of the Peace, census enumerator and GOP. party delegate. A well-known speaker, writer, journalist with several local papers, he was the chaplain at the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives in 1917.
But Zerfass’s initials were hardly the only surprise painters found. They also found remnants of what may well be the original color of the doors, dating from when it was built in 1837. Contractors are now going to attempt to match what has been described as a dusty dark shade of green and use it in the current painting project.
The Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, DE has conducted past studies of colors used at the Cloister on such items as furniture. The discovery of this additional color from the front doors of the Academy building has been added to conservation data kept up to date by the Cloister’s Curator of Collections, Kerry Mohn.
Get a peek inside the Cloister’s collections storage area to see original 18th century benches and tables from the Saal, windows, looms, drawings, prints, pottery, and more. Mohn will be giving special tours of collection storage on selected weekdays during the summer. General admission rates apply but the tours are free for Ephrata Cloister Associate Members. Tours will be held on July 18, 24 and 30 as well as Aug.7, 14, 21 and 28. All tours will run from 1-3 p.m.
For more information, visit the Cloister website: ephratacloister.org or by dialing the Museum Store at 733-6600.
Gary P. Klinger is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and feedback via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @gpklinger.
About Gary P. Klinger
Ephrata Youth Soccer Spring Registration
Children of all ages, sizes and skill levels are invited...
- Posted February 8, 2016
Eagles down PM, fall to Rams in District quarters
Cocalico had less than an hour Tuesday night at Central...
Lady Mounts dump Mares, clinch Section Two title
For the third time in the last eight years, the...
Jones Captures L-L Gold
Cocalico places eight, Ephrata four Ephrata junior Austin Jones was...
Carrie Willetts takes over at WellSpan
Carrie E. Willetts hit the ground running when she took...
Cocalico regional leaders receive library update
The Jan. 27 Cocalico Regional Leaders meeting was a learning...
Cost-savings steps taken by Cocalico School Board
The Cocalico School Board last week approved several cost-saving measures...
- Posted February 3, 2016