Located two miles west of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Christian’s Spring was a Moravian community of master craftsmen and apprentices that operated from 1749-1796. The exhibition explores this lost community, the people who lived and worked there, and the tremendous activity that took place in a relatively short period of time. Through the Moravian Historical Society’s extensive collection of early documents and objects related to Christian’s Spring, we invite you to discover the ingenuity, creativity, and universality of the 18th century Moravians.
On December 17, 1749 the quiet wilderness road between Bethlehem and Nazareth was disturbed by the sound of horns and trumpets. A procession of 22 single brethren, along with a Moravian congregation of well-wishers, walked from Bethlehem, past the Whitefield House in Nazareth, to their destination of Christiansbrunn (Christian’s Spring).
It was here, two miles southwest of Nazareth, that a new Moravian settlement was established, and for the next fifty years, Christian’s Spring was a thriving community of single brethren.
Christian’s Spring was named after Christian Renatus Zinzendorf, the spiritual advisor for all Moravian single brethren. Along with Nazareth, Gnadenthal, Friedensthal, and the Rose, it was one of the “Upper Places'' that supplied agriculture for Bethlehem during the General Economy (1742-1762). Under the General Economy, everyone worked for the common good without pay and in return, the everyone received food, lodging, and clothing.
Beginning in 1757, the village of Christian's Spring also served as a trade school for apprentices to learn from master craftsmen. In addition to agriculture and trades, Christian’s Spring had its own saw mill, distinguished brewery, and brandy distillery. Today only one building and a few ruins of the barns remain of this once thriving 18th century community.
Moravian leaders kept detailed records of each community for administration purposes and many of these records have survived. Portions of the diary of Christian’s Spring, between 1757 through 1769 were translated into English in the early part of the 20th century. Surviving inventories and daybooks allow us to know what was being sown, harvested, manufactured, slaughtered, and traded between Christian’s Spring, Bethlehem, and the surrounding communities. We also know who lived in the village during various years, their occupations, and anecdotes from daily life. Using these records, and objects from our collection, we invite you to experience this once thriving, now lost, community of Christian’s Spring.