Bible Depot: Out with the Old, In with the Blue

Photo By: John Bucci

The Big Blue Building

While Sunbury might be considered a small town in central Pennsylvania, this community has many “hidden” gems throughout its land. Although, some of these finds may not be so discreet as others. Located at 122 N Front Street in Sunbury, PA, Bible Depot is a large, three story building sporting all blue with accents of white and gold. This unique aesthetic and structure is what makes Bible Depot stand out from its competitors. Although they are one of few bookstores in Sunbury, Bible Depot wanted to make sure they could easily be recognized and remembered for their style. While driving down 147, these large white letters will sure get your attention and have you wondering the history and purpose behind this remarkable discovery.

Photo By: John Bucci

Bible Depot, established in 1932, “strives to provide personal service you expect and value” as stated on www.bibledepotsunbury.com. Having a wide selection of products and services, Bible Depot has everything from bibles to music boxes, wedding invitations to karaoke machines and so much more. Though it is considered a “book store”, I guess you could call it a “one stop shop” for religious supplies and cultural activities.

As shown in the photograph on the left, Bible Depot sits across the street from the infamous flood wall built in 1951. Though this wall may take away the view of the river from the store, the city of Sunbury agreed with the War Department to complete the wall for the safety of the community and real estate value. After construction, the flood wall has protected this town from multiple hurricanes and floods in the area.

Street View of Bible Depot

Photo By: John Bucci

From House to Home

With a population of roughly 9,500 residents, this community seemed hard to become closer than they already were. Or so I thought. When visiting Bible Depot and exploring the three story building, I noticed two smaller sheds behind the business. Seeing how this is an official company, it’s interesting to know that this building was once a house. With the help of some documents and merchandise, this house went from a house to a home. A home for religious residents to come and purchase anything they need for spiritual practice. As seen in the street view above, Bible Depot recently went through a remodel to make it more appealing to eye to not only boost interaction but to increase the amount of customers in and out. In Cresswell’s, Place: a short introduction, he explains how “we see attachments and connections between people and place. We see worlds of meaning and experience” (11). Taking the comfortable atmosphere you would get in a home and sharing it with other people is what makes Bible Depot so unique. Being a small community in a rural area, it’s encouraging to see this business give people a place to connect with and like Cresswell, allow customers to build this deeper connection with a location. By having this supportive relationship, it not only benefits the customers but the business as well.

Map of Churches Surrounding Bible Depot

Diverse Community

Diving deeper into the spiritual and personal connections that come together and make Sunbury the diverse melting pot it is, religion and race play a major part in how this town operates. As seen in the map above, there is roughly 20+ churches and religious organizations in Sunbury alone. While driving through this small town, you will be able to see a church or religious center on every or every other block. Being such a religious community, I can see why Bible Depot is located here. However, roughly half of the population of Sunbury is not religious. This leaves the other 50% to be broken up into a wide variety of religions. The chart below displays the top largest religions spread throughout the township of Sunbury. It’s understandable why Bible Depot carries mainly Mainline Protestant and Catholic supplies because they are two of the highest religious demographics in the area. Though the majority of this community is Mainline Protestant, the township still carries the sense of home and unity within the interfaith connections. Placed in the middle of town, there is an Islamic Center and Jewish Congregation. Not only does this show respect to those cultures, but shows how mature this community is. This comfortable feeling is built with trust and gratitude and as Cresswell says in his passage, Place: a short introduction, “when humans invest meaning in a portion of space and then become attached to it in some way, it becomes a place” (10). Bible Depot is a place where people do not only buy supplies, but support one another with every interaction.

Religious Population in Sunbury, PA

Sources

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Websites:

Book:

  • Cresswell, Tim. Place: A Short Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub, 2004.