Issachar’s Loft is a joint project of the college ministries and student life offices in partnership with the Coalition for Christian Outreach and is designed to be a resource that encourages and enhances students' spiritual and leadership development.
The Loft hosts weekly conversations about popular culture issues, giving students the opportunity to process and talk about how their Christian faith can inform their opinions about contemporary issues. The Loft also provides experiential learning opportunities, including a popular rock-climbing wall.
The facility is named for Issachar, one of the tribes of Israel, who in 1 Chronicles 12:32 is noted for understanding the times and, therefore, knowing what Israel should do.
The Railroad Tracks
The availability of rail service was one of the main reasons that S. R. Smith relocated his noodle factory to Grantham. In 1909, the railroad built a train station in Grantham for the Reading Railroad and, in the early years, Messiah students were able to take the train to events in Harrisburg.
Through the years, the tracks’ close proximity to campus has brought some unwanted excitement. In 1916, a train hit a car full of passengers headed to the school for a Bible conference and killed three people and injured many others. In 1969, a military train derailed, spilling out hand grenades, machine guns, and phosphorous shells. Both the Grantham community and the College had to evacuate for the week. Thankfully, the soft ground enveloped the explosives. Otherwise, the blast would have destroyed Old Main.
Trains continue to travel the tracks parallel to College Avenue several times a day.
The Schoolhouse was originally constructed as a site for education young orphans from the nearby orphanage that S. R. Smith relocated to Grantham. Through the years, the building has served several additional purposes, including as a gym, a chemistry lab, classroom space, and now as storage for the theatre department.
Yellow Breeches Creek
Though not a building on campus, the Yellow Breeches Creek is certainly an iconic campus landmark. Known as the Minnemingo by some locals, the creek serves as the boundary between Cumberland and York Counties and separates the athletic fields from the main academic and residential area of campus.
The Yellow Breeches has always been a central part of campus life as students have enjoyed swimming, ice skating, boating, and fishing on the creek.
Student relaxes along Yellow Breeches Creek.
In 1972, a covered bridge was relocated from nearby Bowmansdale to campus. The bridge, built in 1867, was reconstructed over the Yellow Breeches and renamed the Stoner Bridge in honor of Jacob S. Stoner. It is now the only remaining covered bridge in Cumberland County.
Just past the covered bridge is a suspension bridge known as the “swinging bridge.” The first on-campus bridge built across the Yellow Breeches was constructed in 1914 to link an orphanage with Messiah’s campus. In 1932, that bridge was destroyed by high water and replaced with a suspension bridge. The swinging bridge has been rebuilt two more times—in 1973 and 2003.