The Historic Gloria Dei 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.
Search Churchyard Records
As part of our churchyard research project, we are creating an interactive map to help visitors find their ancestors’ graves. This project is in its early stages, but you can see our progress by viewing our map.
We seek to restore the churchyard to an earlier point in history, increasing the historical accuracy of the environment, repair and preserve gravestones that have decayed due to extreme age, the ravages of an urban environment, and some very old damage caused by vandalism.
Our historians are writing biographical sketches on our “permanent residents.” Here you will learn about the people buried in our churchyard.
The inscription on Capt. Charles Sandgran’s headstone is now obliterated. But, a century ago, it was possible to read this terrible pronouncement: “the earth and the sea shall give up their dead.”
A large obelisk commemorating the life Capt. Robert Rae stands in the Gloria Dei churchyard. Rae was “lost at sea” somewhere along the River Nuñez in 1839.
Capt. Henry Sharp was “lost at sea” while on a voyage to Africa in 1836. What caused his demise? We may never know but many seamen of the time died from exposure to tropical diseases like malaria.
The words “lost at sea” are the most melancholy, and often the most mysterious, inscriptions on gravestones at Gloria Dei. In those cases, the stones are merely markers for a person who never came home and never saw their loved ones again.
Bill Isaacs, a South Philadelphia taproom owner and lifelong Mummer, founded the Downtowners Fancy Brigade. Within a decade, he changed Mummers history.
Jack and Margaret Dunn were a wonderful couple from Southwark who had long family histories in the community. The Dunn’s lived on the unit block of Fitzwater where they raised their twin sons before their home was demolished for I-95.
Joseph and Mary were lifelong residents of Southwark/Queen Village. Married for over 52 years, they raised their four children in their Front Street home. They were both dedicated to helping family and friends throughout their lives.
Frank and Margaret Moock both grew up near Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church in Philadelphia. Although they were not parishioners of this church, Gloria Dei held a special place in both of their hearts. Here Margie Moock Schernecke shares stories about her parents and their love for Old Swedes’.
Lucia: A Life, A Legend, A Legacy
The Historic Gloria Dei Preservation Corporation is pleased to present “Lucia: A Life, A Legend, A Legacy,” an exhibit exploring the Christian martyr whose selfless acts inspired an longstanding annual festival at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church.
This free exhibit is hosted inside the Gloria Dei Church’s Sanctuary, Columbus Blvd. and Christian St. It is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, 9 am to 4 pm. The exhibit closes on July 31, 2019.
Attractions also include photographs from Gloria Dei’s very own Lucia Festival, a musical pageant featuring Swedish songs, traditions and folklore.
FOUNDERS Magazine is a brand new publication issued twice a year by the Historic Gloria Dei Preservation Corporation.
Our inaugural issue is devoted to several early sea captains and their families who are buried in our churchyard. We hope you will enjoy the stories of the individuals and families resting here, how they lived and died, and how they contributed to the fabric of American life.
Jazz & Joe
The Alan Segal Quartet brings the finest samplings of Philadelphia Style Jazz to Riverside Hall the fourth Thursday of each month from 7:30 to 9:30pm.
This Quartet showcases some of the most accomplished jazz musicians in the Philadelphia area. The group is comprised of Eddie Etkins on Saxophone, clarinet and flute, George Sinkler on piano, Leon Jordan Sr. on drums and Alan Segal on bass.