Ephrata Cloister Stairs   Leave a comment

A photo a little closer to home today.

About 20 miles northeast of Lancaster City is a small museum and restoration called the Ephrata Cloister.  The Cloister was an experimental community formed in the early 1700’s by Johann Conrad Beissel and his group of Brethren followers.  This community was based on Beissel’s teachings of Sabbath worship and celibacy.  (Funny how sects based on celibacy, like these Brethren and the Shakers, are only found in history books today.)  Anyway, this particular sect made it into the early 1800’s before the last of the 80 or so original celibate members died.  For a brief time some remaining non-celibate members reorganized into the Seventh Day German Baptist Church.  They finally dwindled into the history books in the 1930’s, leaving a somewhat puzzling but fascinating history and some wonderful German colonial era architecture behind.

Today the Cloister is a National Historic Landmark and a very interesting glimpse into an early American religious community.  You can learn more about the Cloister here.  If you are thinking of visiting Lancaster my suggestion is that you skip the shopping outlets and the faux-Amish attractions.  Visit the Ephrata Cloister instead.

The above photo was taken at the bottom of a very dimly lit outdoor stairwell on the grounds.  It required a tripod mounted 20 second exposure at 100 ISO.   There are dozens of good photo opportunities for anyone interested in architecture and detail photography.

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Posted June 21, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Architecture, Travel Photography

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