Marking Time highlights one of the more than 2,500 markers that have been installed throughout the state since 1914 as part of the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program, operated by PHMC's State Historic Preservation Office.

The patriarch of American Lutheranism, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (1711–1787) was a German Lutheran pastor summoned to North American to minister to Pennsylvania colonists. Born at Einbeck in Hanover, he studied theology at the Georg-August University of Gottingen and at Halle University, an important Pietist institution. He completed his studies in 1738 and four years later immigrated to Philadelphia and took charge of a congregation at Providence in what is today Trappe in Montgomery County. The congregation’s Old Trappe Church is now known as Augustus Lutheran Church. In 1748, he convened the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, the first permanent Lutheran synod in the United States, assisted in the preparation of a uniform liturgy, and wrote basic tenets for an ecclesiastical constitution, adopted by Lutheran churches by 1761.

This year, during which the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC),is observing “William Penn’s Legacy: Religious and Spiritual Diversity” as its annual theme, marks the 300th anniversary of Muhlenberg’s birth.

Muhlenberg regularly traveled far beyond Pennsylvania — from New York to Georgia — during his nearly half-century as a minister. He ministered not only to the German-speaking congregations to which he was assigned, but also to colonists from the Netherlands and Great Britain, in their native languages. In 1776, he moved from Philadelphia to a residence in Trappe, built between 1750 and 1755 by John Jacob Schrack Jr., son of the community’s first settler. During the American Revolution, Muhlenberg’s residence became a refuge for the families of his sons General Peter Muhlenberg (1746–1807) and the first Speaker of the House of Representatives Frederick A. C. Muhlenberg (1750–1801), both of whom were Lutheran ministers. The senior Muhlenberg lived in the house until his death.

Acquired in 1989 by the Historical Society of Trappe, Collegeville, Perkiomen Valley, established in 1964, the house has been returned to the period of the Reverend Muhlenberg’s residency. Restoration of the exterior was completed in 1995 and the society is continuing to furnish the historic property with furniture and objects that would have been used by the family during that time. In 1960, PHMC installed a state historical marker recognizing the significance of the Muhlenberg House in Pennsylvania and American history. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, a process facilitated by PHMC’s Bureau for Historic Preservation. The historical society has recruited community participation and public support in the preservation of this property, an investment of more than one million dollars to date.

The Muhlenberg House is located at 201 W. Main St. in Trappe. To plan a visit, write: Historical Society of Trappe, Collegeville, Perkiomen Valley, P.O. Box 26708, Collegeville, PA 19426- 0708; telephone (610) 489-7560.