The Historic Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Preservation Corporation (HGDPC) was established to fund, support, and supervise the restoration, renovation, and ongoing maintenance of the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church buildings, grounds, and graveyard so that future generations may share in this historic and architectural treasure.

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Recent Blog Posts

July 5, 2016 |

Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site: Honoring Swedish roots in Philadelphia

Founded by the Swedes in the mid-1600s, this church boasts one of the oldest continuous congregations in the U.S. By Karen Langley / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette PHILADELPHIA Before there was Pennsylvania, there was New Sweden. In the 1600s, Sweden was one of the powers of Europe, and when dissatisfied members of the Dutch West India Company suggested that Sweden launch its own venture in the New World, the nation’s leaders were receptive. In 1637, the New Sweden Company sent two ships to North America, where they arrived at the Delaware River and established an outpost where Wilmington, Del., now stands. Their colony lasted fewer than two decades, from 1638 until 1655, when it was overtaken...

March 3, 2016 |

Renewal and Restoration at Old Swedes’ Historic Graveyard

After over three hundred years of continuous use, the churchyard at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church was in desperate need of repair and restoration. Trees and shrubs had overrun the burial ground and needed pruning and thinning. Gravestones were badly broken, headpieces were missing or had sunken into the ground. Family tombs had been sealed for decades and were in danger of collapsing. When The Rev. Joy Segal became the rector at Gloria Dei in 2006, she encouraged regular clean up events to help beautify and restore the churchyard. Parishioners worked many hours trimming healthy plants, removing tree stumps and overgrown bushes, and planting grass seed. Sadly, the beautiful Biddle family commemorative boxwoods —...

March 3, 2016 |

The Bankson Scandal of 1767

Andrew Bankson (1705-1786) was a Swedish shopkeeper who owned approximately 35 acres of marsh “lying adjacent to Weccacoe and Moyamensing lands” from 1751 to 1770.  This plot of land was a portion of a larger plantation that had been granted to Bankson’s grandfather, Anders Bengtsson, by William Penn in 1682.  While conducting research on the Bankson family, I discovered this interesting series of newspaper articles published in the “Pennsylvania Gazette” which tell the story of a public scandal involving Andrew Bankson and the Swedish Church in Philadelphia in 1767.  All of these articles are available to read at GenealogyBank, a resource that I have found to be extremely valuable while learning about Philadelphia’s history. Andrew Bankson, like his...

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