Mt. Gretna Campmeeting

The Campmeeting may be the most distinctive section of Mt. Gretna. The original lots were sized for tents. So, two-thirds of the cottages today--those nearest the Tabernacle--are very small and separated by no more than a foot or two. At some street corners it's possible to imagine four households carrying on a single quiet conversation, each from their own porch, unless the day is windy and voices are drowned out by a cacophony of wind chimes.

Many houses are raised on stone or cement pilings, the greater height marking more prestige among the otherwise modest early owners, but also making space for later owners to wedge a furnace, water heater, and who knows what else underneath. No two house are alike, but each has the obligatory and sociable porch and most have beaded wooden siding that serves in some cases as the entire thickness of the wall.

The streets present a jumble of corbels, finials, gables, turrets, railings, and the ubiquitous wooden lattice hiding the pilings and dark underbellies of the houses. A few examples remain of "spider web" lattice, made from tree branches stripped of bark and smothered by a century of rain.

The Campmeeting has the most summer cottages, perhaps as many as half of the residents go elsewhere as summer wanes. The public buildings--a modern United Methodist church and the adjacent Tabernacle--are set right into the community of homes. At least a dozen residents can attend Tabernacle events from their porches.

Homes here are less expensive and generally smaller. Not all are winterized. Some are accessible only on foot along narrow winding pathways. Even the smallest vehicle can be discouraged by a tree growing right in the middle of an otherwise passable thoroughfare. Buyers can usually choose from among several cottages that have been untouched by renovators and those that have been tastefully winterized for year-round living. Few residents own a lawn mover.

Mt. Gretna Heights
Mt. Gretna Chautauqua
Timber Hills & Conewago Hills
Mt. Gretna
Mt. Gretna History