Columbus Blvd. and Christian St., 215/389-1513
HOURS: Tours Wed.–Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., call for times of services
Swedes settled along the banks of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers as early as 1638—long before William Penn arrived. Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’ Episcopal Church) was built for a group of early settlers 1698–1700.
A massive Swedish-style marble baptismal font was crafted in Philadelphia and added to the church in 1731. Miniature wooden replicas of ships that carried Swedish settlers here in the early 17th century hang from the ceilings inside.
Operated by Independence National Historical Park, a one-room museum displays a historical map and other artifacts from that time. Sea captains and Revolutionary War soldiers are among those buried in the cemetery outside.
Swedish and Norwegian congregations use the church regularly, but the doors are open to the public.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition