Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Churches of Nanticoke, Part 4

For Part 1 of this tour, go here. For Part 2 of this tour, go here. For Part 3 of this tour, go here. For all parts of this tour, go here.

We now come to the final part of our tour of the Churches of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. While the other groups of churches have been clustered close to each other in certain parts of town, this last group is one that stretches all along Main Street, from close to the Nanticoke city limits on the East side to a point actually beyond the limits to the West.

Visitors entering or leaving Nanticoke along Main Street in the East will be familiar with a large tree that puts on a spectacular show of color each Autumn. While this tree is quite close to Janison's, the flower and garden shop, it is actually situated in front of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Located at 663 East Main Street, just off of Lawrence Street, this modest hall is one of the first buildings to greet visitors entering Nanticoke from the direction of Wilkes-Barre.

Farther West along Main Street, past the traffic light at Kosciuszko and Main, past the Mill Memorial Library and the Nanticoke Armory, lurks St. George's Episcopal Church at 408 East Main Street. This small building with a heavy wooden door set in* an archway topped by a stone engraved with the church's name has the appearance of a medieval chapel - appropriate, perhaps, for a church whose patron saint is a knight who, according to legend,slew a dragon!

Keeping with the Medieval theme is the First United Methodist Church, which resembles a large, yellow castle looming over the downtown at 267 East Main Street. Its yellow brick body and purple stone foundation closely resemble the materials used in the old Nanticoke High School, which used to be located at the bottom of Kosciuszko Street until it was torn down and replaced with a CVS.

Next door to the First United Methodist Church is the First Presbyterian Church of Nanticoke, at 229 East Main. Its rich red bricks and long flight of stone steps give it a simultaneous air of simplicity and majesty - though many a child's eye has doubtless recast this building as some sort of spooky haunted house!

Note the steeple of St. John's Lutheran Church visible in the background of this photo.

To reach the final church in Nanticoke proper we must continue West along Main Street past Nanticoke's other traffic light at the corner of Main and Market Streets, past the Old Post Office / current Senior Center (soon to be torn down to make way for a Culinary Arts annex for the local Community College) and Burger King, to 40 West Main Street and the Zion United Church of Christ. This small, simple structure is set back a bit in a residential area just off of the downtown, and is easily overlooked by passing drivers.

The final church in this series is actually located in Sheatown, which is a small satellite community technically a part of Nanticoke, though in practice thought of as its own entity. To get there we continue West along Main Street until we reach a fork in the road. Taking the right fork puts us on Old Newport Street. If we follow this to 135 Old Newport Street, across the street from Marty's Blue Room and just next to Guardian Elder Care, we come upon the tiny Holy Child Church, dwarfed by the nearby now-empty St. Stanislaus Orphanage.

I include this church not for the sake of completeness - there are actually still a few other churches on the outskirts of Nanticoke that I have not included here - but because this parish is currently facing consolidation with other Catholic parishes in Nanticoke. So while others may lament the loss of their neighborhood churches, parishioners used to walking to Holy Child will now have to drive several miles to attend weekly services.

This concludes our tour of the Churches of Nanticoke. At some point in the future I may go on another photo expedition to document all of the churches located on the outskirts of Nanticoke, including one on Middle Road, several in the Hanover Section, and one in a part of Nanticoke inexplicably located on the West Nanticoke side of the river. But for now, I close the book on this part of the story of my hometown.

Map showing the locations of the churches discussed
in this entry and previous entries in this series.

*Well, I thought there was a wooden door there. Turns out it's glass. I wonder how long that's been there?

No comments: