Chicago Lutheran History: Immanuel Lutheran Church (South Chicago) 1873

In 1896, the Lutheran churches of Chicago published Geschichte der Gründung und Ausbreitung der zur Synode von Missouri, Ohio und Andern Staaten gehörenden Evangelisch-Lutherischen Gemeinden U. A. C. zu Chicago, Illinois, a history of their growth in the city beginning with First St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, now located on LaSalle and Goethe streets in Chicago. As far as I know, there is no English translation, so I offer this to share the history with you. Follow me to get updates about the rest of this work.

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Immanuel Lutheran Church is one of the many Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod congregations that has closed since this book was published. German and Danish Lutherans founded the congregation after the City of Chicago and the Chicago Canal and Dock Co. developed the Calumet River into a working harbor. In addition to establishing their business, The Canal and Dock Co. helped to built a vibrant community by building roads and offering land community institutions like Immanuel.

Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Congregation (South Chicago)

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Pastor Ferdinand Döderlein

The government had made the Calumet River navigable at the end of the 60’s, and it had set up a harber at the mouth of Lake Michigan. A publicly traded company established a large office and factory, and it drew some German and Danish workers to it. One day, Pastor Döderlein got the news that the president of the Canal and Dock Co., Colonel Borrens [Translator’s note: likely James Harvey Bowen], wanted to speak to him about a gift of church plots in South Chicago. Consequently, Pastor Döderlein had to introduce himself and got the invitation to go to the head office in Chicago to choose three lots for a church. He did this with joy, and gradually gathered together a small congregation. At the beginning of the same, several fishermen joined, who had once belonged to the Robertsdale Mission, in addition to the German workers. Then, they built a school house, which also had to house the divine service, on the gifted lots. In 1873, they came together as the Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Congregation, and they called Pastor H. P. Duborg, who was also able to speak Danish. The same was installed into his office by Pastor Döderlein on Exaudi Sunday. Soon, the congregation built a church building, in which the lower room would serve as a parsonage. Pastor Duborg had a lot to do, because in addition to the school, which he oversaw, he served with word and sacrament both of the congregations in Whiting, Indiana, and the congregation in Colehour.

The site of Immanuel Lutheran Church. The congregation built a still-standing church after this was published.

Church and school grew with the growth of South Chicago. In 1879, Pastor Duborg took a call to Blue Island, IL, and Pastor C. Eißfeldt from Belvedere, IL was called to his place. On Cantate Sunday, 1879, the same was installed by Pastor Duborg with the assistance of Pastor L. Lochners. There, Pastor Eißfeld could not do the work in the congregation and the school alone, so, in the year 1881, the congregation called Teacher Welb to their school. Teacher W. A. Herter followed him several years later. In the year 1881, a schism developed in the congregation because of the predestination controversy. One part split off, and they formed a congregation, which belongs to the Ohio Synod. 1886, Teacher F. C. Gose stepped into Teacher Herter’s place, who followed a call to Proviso, IL. Soon, Teacher Gose was in the 2nd class. After that, Teacher O. Dammköhler took the position. In 1889, the church was enlarged by a considerable addition. In 1894, the old school was remodeled into a beautiful, modern single-story schoolhouse.

Unfortunately, in 1896, Pastor Eißfeldt, because he experienced constant poor health, felt it necessary to lay down his office after 16 years serving in the ministry. His successor in the office was Pastor Ferdinand Sievers from Monitor, MI. The same was installed on the Second Sunday after Trinity, 1896 (the 4th of June) by the visitor, L. Lochner, with the assistance of the pastors J. Feiertag. A. Bünger, and G. Sievers.

The situation of the congregation is: 76 voting members and 635 communicant members. Teacher F. C. Gose and a female teacher teach 115 children in the congregation’s school.

A pastor, writer, and geek who lives in Chicago.

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