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An Introduction to Black Rock Church Spring

a locally well-known spring located at a church in Glenville, Manheim Township, PA


 
 

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A Brief Note from the Page Author/Website Owner

This page is offered as a public service only, as an informational and educational webpage.  This is not a marketing site, nor is it a "preachy" site -- I have nothing to sell to you, and there is nothing I am trying to get you to believe, and rather, this page (or set of pages) is simply offered freely out of love and appreciation for the many gifts of God/Being/Source with which we are blessed on this planet.  All information offered is simply reported to the best of my ability, and my reportage, opinions and preferences as stated in this page remain my own.  If you choose to drink or use water from this spring or from other wild springs, you do so only at your own risk and you take sole responsibility for your choices and your actions. I take no responsibility for any outcomes you or others may encounter from drinking or using water from this spring or other wild springs, nor from streams or creeks, etc.  If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of, or use of, water from any wild source (spring, stream, creek, lake, etc.) please consult with your licensed healthcare professional.

I hope you enjoy this page!  Have fun!

To learn more about the author, please click here to go to the Vinny Pinto Central Directory website.


An Introduction to Black Rock Church Spring

Brief Introduction

For many years there has been a spring located along Glenville Road in the tiny village of Glenville, Manheim Township (York County), Pennsylvania, just south of Hanover, PA and just above the Mason-Dixon line (which serves as the East-West line of demarcation between Pennsylvania and Maryland in this region.)  According to folks who live in the area, the spring located near the church has been known and used by locals for likely over 200 years. The area in which the spring is located is rural, but has been long settled -- in fact, for about 300 years. Apparently Glenville Road is a very old road with a long history, and before it was a road for motorized vehicles, it was apparently a carriage trail for hundreds of years.  A church known as Black Rock Church of the Brethren currently occupies the site; the brick building appears to be about 40 years old. The actual spring is located a bit north of and uphill from the church, but for several reasons (including the wishes of church administrators) the spring itself is not available to visitors. However, when an addition was built onto the church building in the 1960s, a pipe was routed from the spring to a historic horse trough which was relocated from another part of the church grounds to a basement wall in the addition, and thus spring water is available to visitors via the pipe at the horse trough. It is here that visitors seeking water from the spring are able to collect water.


Some Basic Information About Black Rock Church Spring
Some basic facts about Black Rock Church were already covered above in the Introduction section above. The spring is apparently located north of and uphill from the church and the spring spout exits a basement wall of the church a few feet above the ground.  The church is located on a steep hillside on Glenville Rd. in Glenville; the street address of the church is alternately given as 3864 Glenville Road and 13864 Glenvile Road (some locals call the road Black Rock Road, which makes things a bit confusing...), where the former number (i.e., 3864) seems to be more commonly used.  While the name of  town is usually  given as Glenville, some maps and directories show the church as located in Black Rock, PA; the town center of Black Rock, also known to locals as "Upper Codorus" and "Little Conewago", is a bit to the east on Glenville Rd. The church is near the edge of Manheim township, and is located about 6 miles from the local north-south artery known as Route 97, aka Littlestown Pike, which runs from Westminster, MD to Gettysburg, PA.  While locals agree that the current brick church addition, where the spring spout is located, ia only about 45 years old, records show that the Black Rock Church of the Brethren may have existed on or near the current site in a series of much older and simpler buildings since about 1738, over 250 years ago.

The church administrators and the church historian are aware of the listing of the spring on this website, and have provided me with much useful information about the church and the spring, for which I am very appreciative. While they advise me that they do not believe that the spring water has healing properties, I have been contacted over the years by a number of persons -- mostly elderly people who have lived in the region for their entire lifetimes -- who live within a 20 mile radius who firmly believe that the spring water has healing propeties. It is worth repeating here that if you wish to collect some spring water for your use, the only place to collect the water is at the pipe or spout which exits the basement wall of the church addition above the historic hourse trough. The spring itself, located a bit uphill, is not available to visitors to the property.

By the way, the church and spring are located in Pennsylvania, very near the Mason-Dixon line, which runs east-west and is the dividing line between Pennsylvania and Maryland.  The Mason-Dixon line, which has been in its current position for hundreds of years now, was not always agreed to be in its current positon. At one point, starting in about 1729, an alternate Mason-Dixon line, about 15 miles to the north, was proposed and claimed by some political factions in Maryland.  This new line, which came to be known as the Mason-Dixon Line of 1735, would have placed the church, spring and surrounding villages and towns, including  Hanover and Gettysburg, in Maryland instead of in Pennsylvania.  In fact, history records that the state line dispute led to a war between the states which officially lasted from about 1729 to 1737. The war became known as Cresap's War, named for Thomas Creasap a local Maryland Justice of the Peace. The war apprently did not lead to any human fatialities, but is said to have led to the deaths of some horses in skirmishes as well as arrests and incarcerations by settlers on both sides. Indeed, the current Mason-Dixon line was not formally accepted nor formally given its present official name until 1765.

Who Visits the Spring?
Locals tell me that the primary visitors to the spring are "locals" who live within about 10 to 20 miles of the spring, including folks from Hanover, Gettysburg and Littlestown (all in Pennsylvania) and Westminster in Maryland, and of course, some of the members of the church congregation.

What Do We Know the Water Source and Safety?
According to local old-timers, the spring flows year-round, although the spring flow apprarently varies quite a bit from season to season, being strongest in the wet seasons and lowest in the dry seasons.  I have not heard any reports of the spring ever going totally dry, even during some recent extensive drought,s although I have heard several stories of very low flow during such dry conditions. 

We can guess from the above information about spring flow, with reasonable accuracy, that the water must come from a relatively deep and stable, high-capacity aquifer; such an aquifer contains rainfall water which has percolated through multiple layers of soil, rock, gravel and sand to reach the aquifer or "water table", and the spring must be located at least somewhat above the low water table level of the aquifer, although the seasonal variations in flow would strongly indicate that the spring is located near enough to the high water table level that its flow does drop drastically during dry seasons.

So, is the Water Safe for Humans to Drink?
Simply put, I do not know if the local county (York County, PA) health department has ever tested the water at the spring, and none of the locals whom I know are aware of any such tests or results either. So, for now, until and unless we can find out more, I recommend: listen to your own gut sense, and drink water from this spring at the grotto at your own risk  On the other hand, people have apparently been consuming this water for hundreds of years with no ill effects.... 

The evidence is that the majority of the water exiting the spring comes fom a point well below high water level in a deep and stable aquifer. Thus, most of the water from the spring is not simply shallow surface runoff water (which would not yet have had a chance to be adequately filtered and cleansed by layers of soil, clay, sand, rock and beneficial microbes), and thus should be safer and of a higher quality than the water from seasonal springs. Of course, this assumes that the plumbing employed in the basement of the church to collect the spring water from uphill and carry it down to the spout are relatively sanitary!

Care of the Parking Lot and the Area Around the Spring
If you are someone who uses the spring, please realize that both the parking area and the spring are located on private church property. The church parking lot and spring are made available to the public only by the goodwill and courtesy of the church, which could easily choose, if they it wished, to seal off access to the spring spout.  So, please be extra careful to treat the properties with care, and not to litter or to leave behind old containers or other debris.

Also, and it should not be necessary to have to say this, but I have witnessed acts by local spring visitors which prove otherwise: do not attempt to wash or rinse your buckets or other containers at the spring site using soaps, chemical disinfectants or bleaches. These substances would end up contaminating the local environment, killing plants, fish, water animals and insects, and destroying the ecosystem. Further, all the water from the creeks and streams in the area eventually end up in the Chesapeake Bay, which has already been heavily damaged by pollution.  Because of the Chesapeake Bay drainage, anyone caught using soaps, detergents, chemicals, disinfectants or bleaches at, near or below the spring are subject not only to arrest and fines for illegal dumping and pollution, but also face the higher fines and jail terms imposed for polluting the Chesapeake Bay.

History of the Black Rock Church of the Brethren

I have been in contact with Carol Jean Hoover, who is the Historian for the Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, and she has helped me tremendously in fact-checking and fine-tuning the information on this page. She also advises me that an official history of the church is available. If you are interested in contacting Carol Jean or in purchasing a copy of the history document, please contact me via private email and ask me for her email address, and I will send it to you in short order. I do not wish to list her email address on the website, as we all know that spam robots harvest such addresses for use by spammers.

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A Solicitation and Note

At this time, this page is one of the first spring-specific pages on my Fun Springs website, devoted to interesting wild springs and healing springs from across North America.  If you know of other interesting wild springs such as:

  • healing springs or mystical springs 
  • wild springs which produce high-quality water
  • springs which are reputedly fed from extremely deep water sources which are claimed to supply primordial water or primal water 
in North America in which you think other folks might be interested, please feel free to drop me a line at  -- I will be happy to incorporate such information.

Some Photos of Flora and Fauna in the 
Surrounding Catoctin Mountains

If you are interested in seeing professional photos of the landscape, animals and plants in the Catoctin mountains immediately surrounding the spring, you may wish to check out some photos taken by Bob Cammarata, a wildlife photographer based in Baltimore who spends much of his time shooting photographs in these mountains -- he is also a frequent visitor to the spring!  To see some of his photos of the local area in his online photo gallery, please click here.



Donations and Support for this Website

This freely-offered educational website has been totally self-supported by the author, Vinny Pinto, since its inception (and many of my websites were started between August 2000 and June 2003). While I offer the content on this website freely, as a gift to all from my heart, it is quite obvious that not only did my research in these realms (and also my training, including formal education, that allowed me to offer this material in the first place) incur costs, but there are also monthly and yearly costs associated with web hosting, domain registration, etc. As you have likely noticed, I have chosen not to accept any advertising on any of my websites. As a result of all of these factors, any funds that you might choose to donate toward supporting my research work and this site will be very much appreciated.

Thus, I am seeking donations to help me to support this site -- even two dollars helps! If you wish to donate, you may do so by using your credit card, ATM card, debit card, or transfer from your bank account, via fully secure means. To make a donation, please go to the Donations and Support page ! All transactions are secure; in all cases, you get to choose the donation amount!

     Thank you very much!
     Vinny

A Brief Note from the Page Author/Website Owner

This page is offered as a public service only, as an informational and educational webpage.  I have nothing to sell to you, and there is nothing I am trying to get you to believe, and rather, this page (or set of pages) is simply offered out of love and appreciation for the many gifts of God/Being/Source with which we are blessed on this planet.  All information offered is simply reported to the best of my ability, and my reportage, opinions and preferences as stated in this page remain my own.  If you choose to drink or use water from this spring or from other wild springs, you do so only at your own risk and you take sole responsibility for your choices and your actions. I take no responsibility for any outcomes you or others may encounter from drinking or using water from this spring or other wild springs, nor from streams or creeks, etc.  If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of, or use of, water from any wild source (spring, stream, creek, lake, etc.) please consult with your licensed healthcare professional. 

I hope you enjoy this page!  Have fun!

To learn more about the author, please click here to go to the Vinny Pinto Central Directory website.



Disclaimer and Cautionary Note
Please be sure to fully and adequately test water from any natural (aka wild) spring before you make the decision to ingest it; the quality of water found at wild springs will vary greatly, and many may contain levels of coliform bacteria that would be considered to be in excess of guidelines in your region for drinking water, and some may even contain harmful organisms such as giardia or harmful varieties of e. coli, etc. You bear the sole responsibility for deciding whether or not to drink water from any spring or other wild natural source. This website is offered simply as resource to provide some additional information on some natural wild springs that have come to my attention, and/or that I have visited personally, and the listing or mention of a spring or other natural water source on this website does not imply that the water is safe to drink, and rather, you alone bear the responsibility for deciding whether or not to ingest water from any of these springs, or whether to allow family members, pets or livestock drink such water. Further, while I do choose to drink the water from some of the springs that I have listed on this site, and while I may mention that fact at times, that does not imply that it is necessarily safe for you to ingest the same water, as individuals vary greatly in terms of their hardiness, level of health, level of immune function, and resistance to disease.

The creator of this website and any and all other persons involved in the setup and maintenance of the website take no responsibility for any outcomes associated with anyone's use of the water from any of the springs listed on this website.


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