Chicago Lutheran History- St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church- 1887

In 1896, the German 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 of this document, so I offer this translation to share this history with you. Follow me to get updates about the rest of this work.

As we continue through the book (this chapter spans pages 118–119 of 169 total), the chapters grow shorter and shorter, and St. Mark’s history is just over 500 words. It began as a mission school in 1884, and grew slowly compared to the other churches in this book. The church building still stands on 23rd and California, thought the current congregation painted the red brick building white.

Zoom to street view to see the current building, now owned by The Universal Church

Evangelical Lutheran St. Mark Congregation

In the year 1884, the St. Matthew congregation bought two plots on South California Avenue and built a school there. After school had been held for three years, first by students and then by the assistant pastor of the St. Matthew congregation (Pastor Brauns). In March, 1887, they received a teacher for this school in the person of Mr. J. C. F. W. Bock. The number of students rose in a year from 40 to 100. Then, on the 16th of November 1887, the Evangelical Lutheran St. Mark Congregation organized itself. 31 voting members from St. Matthew congregation had been released for the formation of this congregation.

The first thing the young congregation did after the organization was choose a pastor. Pastor G. Rosenwinkel was called and he was installed into his office on Oculi Sunday, the 4th of March, 1888, by Pastor Engelbrecht.

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An illustration of the church building. This building still stands at the corner of 23rd St. and California, thought St. Mark congregation has closed.

Still in the same year, the congregation bought 10 building sites on South California Avenue and West 23rd Street. Because the old school house had become too small, they built a new two-story building 30 feet by 92 feet, of which the upper floor had to serve as the church. This building was consecrated on the 24th Sunday after Trinity, the 11th of November 1888, at which Pastor Osterhus from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Pastor L. Hölter preached.

Enough room in church and school had now been created, and so attendance increased in both in encouraging ways. In the year, 1890, a second teacher could be placed there in the person of Mr. W. Pipkorn.

Since Pastor Rosenwinkel was sickly and he lived very close, the congregation decided, in 1891, to build a roomy parsonage on the land bought for the church. Already on the 1st of May, the pastor could move into the same. Pastor Rosenwinkel served the congregation for 4 years with all faithfulness, but he had to retire from his office in 1892 due to poor health. He moved to Florida. The congregation then called Pastor Theodor Kohn from Belvidere, Ill. He was installed into his office on the 9th of October 1892 by Pastor M. Fülling.

In the year 1894, the school was enlarged once again, and Teacher Fr. Kingel was called to the upper class.

For several years, immigration in this part of the city had been particularly strong, and so the hall above the school became too small for the divine service. Also the students were so crammed that the lower floor of the parsonage had to be used for a classroom. So, in February 1895, the congregation decided to build a new church. On the 15th of December 1895, the third Sunday in Advent, the new St. mark church was consecrated. A beautiful church with a tower, bells, and an organ. The pastors W. Kohn, C. Eißfeldt, and L. Lochner were festival preachers at the consecration.

The situation of the congregation is: 178 voting members, 975 communicant members, two schools with 318 school children. At the school near the church are the following three teachers: J. C. F. W. Bock, W. Pipkorn, and F. Kringel. A student teaches in the branch school in Crawford.

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

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