Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

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Single Sisters’ House


single sisters house

Experience the daily life as a Single Sister in 1700s Bethlehem. This house, originally built for the Single Brethren's Choir, was given to the Single Sisters' Choir in 1748.

About the Single Sisters' House

The first section of the Single Sisters’ House was constructed in 1744 parallel to the Gemeinhaus along the limestone bluff and facing south. This German Colonial style building has herringbone-patterned doors with a two story attic and brick arches over windows.

It is constructed of roughly coursed limestone that is pointed with a flush joint. On the south façade, you can still see the sundial dated 1744 when this portion of the complex was constructed.

After being given to the Single Sisters' Choir, buttresses were added in 1756 to support walls that had weakened under the original tile roof. Here the sisters had dormitories, a chapel, a dining room, a kitchen, and work areas for handicrafts.

single sisters house

The Interior of the Single Sisters' House

single sisters house

On the interior, the building, which was heated with tile stoves, has a center hall plan with a 10-foot-wide hallway flanked with chimneys at the midpoint. The floor of the center hall is made of brick pavers approximately 9 square inches—much of the original structure of the building remains.

The Sisters’ House was constructed originally as the Single Brethren’s House, but the population of single men in the community increased so rapidly that they outgrew the space. In 1748, the building became home to the single sisters, providing workspace and dormitory for women.

The northern extension of the Single Sisters’ House, measuring 69 feet by 28 feet, was constructed of limestone in 1752 in the same architectural style as the 1744 section with shallow segmental brick-arched windows, herringbone-patterned door, gambrel roof on the east façade with shed dormers in the lower and upper attic.

The northwest corner is attached to the east wall of the 1749 addition to the Bell House. In 1756, the building added two three-story stone buttresses on the west façade. On the interior, the floor levels between the 1744 and 1752 sections are the same.

Interior stone walls remain intact except where connected to the Bell House and 1744 section of the Single Sisters’ House. This addition housed the dining room, Saal (chapel), workspaces for the Single Sisters and Schlafsaal (sleeping hall) on the third floor.

Single women lived in the building until December 2007, at which time Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites begin preservation work to make the Single Sisters' House part of the  Moravian Museum of Bethlehem.

single sisters house

Single Sisters' Series

Bethlehem is one of the first places where women received an education in the country.

Today, as we open this space to the public, we invite you to continue this tradition with this series of programs and workshops that celebrate womens’ accomplishments while considering the obstacles faced by Lehigh Valley Women in the past, present, and future.

 

2018 Single Sisters Series programs are proudly sponsored by Fig Bethlehem. 

Single Sisters House

What's Happening?

Women In Politics

Presented by Nichola D. Gutgold, PhD. Join this open forum session and talk about women in politics. Discover the story of America's history and the woman who have run for President. Explore the broader landscape of political woman figureheads across the globe. Learn about the challenges women face today and what you can do to become a more informed voter and politically active.

Thursday, October 18 from 6PM - 8PM

Trees of Historic Bethlehem

Explore a winter wonderland of beautifully decorated Christmas Trees across 4 historic sites! This year our trees pull inspiration from our fall exhibit Sketched Out, pairing each tree with a historic painting. Discover trees inspired by art and vote for your favorite. Make this a new holiday tradition and experience the holidays in Christmas City, USA like never before.

November 16, 2018 - January 14, 2019

Plan Your Visit

GO ON A TOUR

The Single Sisters' House is open to the public upon request as part of the
Moravian Museum of Bethlehem tour.

  • Moravian Museum of Bethlehem Tour-
    View our current open hours.
  • Or by appointment-
    From Monday through Friday. Schedule your appointment by calling:
    1-800-360-TOUR  48 hours in advance.

Take a step back in time and discover Historic Bethlehem with a Pass Into History.

Admission to the Single Sisters House is available through Pass Into History, an admission pass which lets you explore between two and five historic sites.

BECOME A MEMBER

Thousands of people have walked these streets, farmed these lands, built these buildings and industries. Thousands of stories, thousands of lives to cherish.

Join a community of people who share our mission to preserve:

  • 20 historic structures
  • 60,000+ collections and artifacts
  • 3 centuries of rich history

Need Directions?

Start your visit by stopping by our Visitor Center.

Order your tour tickets, gather information, and shop in the museum store!

Get your Insiders Guide!

Original Cover Historic Moravian Bethlehem Book

Everything you need you know about the Single Sisters' House and more!

Want to see more of what Historic Bethlehem has to offer?

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74 West Broad Street, Suite 310, Bethlehem, PA 18018 | Phone: 610-882-0450 | FAX: 610-882-0460 | info@historicbethlehem.org

Historic Bethlehem Partnership, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Registration and financial information about Historic Bethlehem Partnership, Inc. may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999, or on the web at www.dos.state.pa.us. Registration does not imply endorsement.