Our History

CEM46611006_112831928266Our History

…you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,  with Christ Jesus himself as  the cornerstone.  In him the whole building, being joined togethergrows into a holy temple in the Lord… Ephesians 2:20-22

Catoctin Episcopal Parish – Harriet Chapel is located in the village of Catoctin Furnace, three miles south of Thurmont.  The village was built around an iron furnace,  known as The Johnson Furnace that began  production in 1776. As the furnace operations grew so did the population around it and weddings, funerals and church services were held outdoors or in a temporary building. In 1827, Harriet Brien persuaded her husband, John, who was the owner of the furnace at that time, to construct a church for the workers.  Construction was completed in 1828, and services were led by a Moravian pastor from Graceham. The pastor conducted services in the chapel every other week but soon the five mile trek on the back of a donkey and his responsibilities in Graceham made it too difficult for him to continue. John Brien, approached his church, All Saints Episcopal Parish in Frederick for assistance.

On October 25, 1833, Harriet Chapel was consecrated by the Episcopal Bishop of Maryland and became a mission church of All Saints’ Episcopal Parish.  Harriet Chapel remained a mission church until 1921, when it became Catoctin Episcopal Parish.

In 2017 The Frederick Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Episcopal Parish with a bronze historic marker. This marker assists the many visitors who drop by see the quaint parish or to rest and pray in the chapel or the gardens.

Dedication of the DAR Plaque 2

Quick Facts:

  • Harriet Chapel is named after Harriet McPherson Brien, who was the wife of the owner of the iron furnace when the church was constructed.  Harriet died in April 1827, prior to the construction being completed.
  • Harriet Chapel is part of the Historic Catoctin Furnace Area. For more information on tours,  events and the museums go to http://catoctinfurnace.org

    Catoctin Furnace
  • Several presidents have worshiped a Harriet Chapel including Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
President Carter Worshipped here
President Lyndon Johnson and Prime Minister Harold Holt of Australia greeting children of the church