The Ephrata Cloister (632 W. Main St., Ephrata, 717/733-6600, www.ephratacloister.org, Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m., closed Mon. in Jan.–Feb., $7 adult, $6.50 senior, $5 child 6–17, free under 6) was founded in 1732 as the home of a German religious community, one of the first of its kind.
Today it is a National Historic Landmark managed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to highlight the unique history of the people that lived and worshipped here. At its peak, in the 1740s and ’50s, about 300 people lived and worked here. The group believed in spiritual rewards and shunned earthly pleasures, including sexual intercourse.
The community is known for accomplishments in creating self-composed a cappella music; developing a form of Germanic calligraphy, Frakturschriften; and building a publishing center that included a paper mill, printing office, and book bindery.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition