Lost and Found features brief profiles of historic landmarks and structures, one lost and one saved.


American religious leader Joseph Smith Jr. (1805–1844), best known as the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and his wife Emma Hale Smith, lived in Harmony, now Oakland Township, on the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania from late 1827 to 1830. While in Susquehanna County most of the Book of Mormon was translated between April 7 and early June 1829. According to church history, John the Baptist gave Smith the Aaronic Priesthood, and fifteen revelations in the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants were received in Harmony. Fire destroyed the house in which the Smiths lived in 1919. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints earlier this year purchased ten acres for $2.1 million in Oakland Township “near a site of historical significance to the founding of the faith.” The church most recently announced plans to preserve the historic site that played an important role in the beginning of a worldwide faith with fourteen million members. A church historian said that in “making the area more accessible, visitors of all faiths will be able to enjoy the beauty of the site and learn more about the history of the Book of Mormon.”



Johannes Kelpius (1667-1708), a German Pietist, mystic, musician, and writer whose interests included astronomy, botany, and the occult, led the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness, also called the Hermits of the Wissahickon, whose celibate members believed the world would come to an end in 1694. Kelpius immigrated to Pennsylvania because of its reputation for religious tolerance and he and his followers lived near the Wissahickon Creek in what is now Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. Historians contend they lived communally, but that they also meditated in caves. The so-called Cave of Kelpius – alleged to have been nothing more than a springhouse by some – is held sacred by enthusiastic members of the Kelpius Society of Philadelphia. In 1961, adherents of Rosicrucianism, a philosophical society claiming to possess secret wisdom dating to ancient Egypt, erected a monolithic monument at the cave’s opening honoring Kelpius as the first Rosicrucian master in America. The cave is located several hundred feet from the aptly named Hermit Lane. In 2004, PHMC installed a state historical marker commemorating the mystic community on Hermit Lane, near Henry Avenue.