Henry Melchior Muhlenberg’s legacy
Henry Melchior Muhlenberg arrived in the Delaware Valley from Germany in 1742 to relate to three congregations that had been founded by early settlers in the region. Muhlenberg used his remarkable organizational skills to firmly establish the Lutheran church on American soil. He had a dream to establish a Lutheran seminary to train pastors in the City of Philadelphia. A relative did establish a school for a few years, and it was successful. But the school had to close with the start of the American revolution in 1776. From then, the dream for an established seminary was delayed for nearly 100 years.
In 1777, the land which was to become the Mt. Airy campus for the seminary nearly 100 years later was the location for the fierce Battle of Germantown. The Continental Army, on the foggy morning of October 4, surprised British forces as they advanced around the corner of the summer home of Chief Justice William Allen, along what is now Germantown Avenue, at 5 am, and forced the British into retreat. It was a last ditch attempt to take control of Philadelphia after the loss of previous battles in Brandywine and Paoli. After initial success, this third battle, too, was lost. However, the determination of the Continental forces attracted support from Europe admirers. Hear and watch Dr. Karl Krueger, director of the seminary’s Krauth Memorial Library, describe Muhlenberg’s gifts and the historic Battle of Germantown.