The Village represents one of three different town "plans" used in Bethabara between 1753 and the 1790s.
The Reconstructed 1754 Village
The village is a reconstruction of buildings erected in 1754 and 1755 by the first eleven Moravians who arrived on the Wachovia tract. Completed in 1996, the reconstruction includes a cow house, a sleeping hall, a combined storage house, shed and lodging for strangers, a washhouse, an oven and various fences. A replica of the 1752 Hans Wagner cabin, the only structure on the property when the Moravians arrived in 1753, was completed in 1991. Documentation on the 1754 Village comes from entries in the diaries and reports contained in the Records of the Moravians and from two historic drawings from 1754 and 1756.
Dwelling House/Cow House
“In the afternoon a place for a small dwelling house was staked off near the spring.”
In early January 1754, the Brothers began construction on a “dwelling house” to house the frequent visitors and patients of the doctor. The dwelling house was converted into a cow house by July 1754.
“We began to build a new sleeping room.”
On February 5, 1754, the Brothers began work on what would be a 50’ by 13’ sleeping hall. The sleeping hall was used until a two-story Single Brothers House was ready for occupation in June 1755.
Store House, Shed and Lodging for Strangers:
“By evening our lodging place for strangers was finished. It is built of wide rails laid up like logs, and has a small fireplace, so that in case of need we can lodge two sick guests.”
On February 8, 1754, the Brothers began construction on a small “cabin for strangers” with a fireplace and enough room for two sick guests. In July 1754, another section, connected by a dirt-floored “dog trot” roofed hall, was added and used as a storehouse.
“This afternoon we had a time of fellowship together, and because it was more pleasant outside the house, we went out into our wash house for a while – it is open and has shade.”
A 9’ by 9’ structure was built in the spring months of 1754 for washing clothes. It had no windows or doors, but did have a 6-foot opening that faced west.
“We began to build a bake-oven, so that we might again have bread, of which we have had little lately.”
After arriving in Bethabara on Saturday, November 17, 1753, and resting on Sunday, the Brothers began on Monday the construction of a bake oven measuring approximately 10’ in diameter. Because they had no bricks, the Moravians built it out of the materials at hand: mud, dried grass, rocks and wood.
The Wagner Cabin
Hans Wagner, a miller, trapper and hunter, who was on the land at the time it was purchased by the Moravians, built the 15 x 20 foot cabin in 1752. It was a rough, hand-hewn-log structure with but one room, a dirt floor, an interior campfire and a roof with a smoke hole rather than a chimney. It served as the only shelter for the Moravians for their first weeks in Bethabara.