Chicago Lutheran History: The Lutheran Home-1892

James Huenink
3 min readJul 13, 2021

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.

We are nearing the end of the book, and it has turned from the history of the congregations to the institutions that the German Lutherans created. Last time, we translated the section on a Lutheran orphanage, and this chapter is about the Lutheran home for the elderly.

The Lutheran Home is still in Arlington Heights, though it is no longer a home for just the elderly in Lutheran congregations. If you want to read about its history after 1896, you can go to this page.

Evangelical Lutheran Home for the Aged in Arlington Heights, Ill.

Long ago, some people from the Lutheran congregations in Chicago recognized the need to have a home for old, abandoned people. Several years passed before the desires of many people and congregation members were realized in this respect. Pastor A. Reinke in particular drew attention to the need for an old people’s home and proposed it. In the year 1892, all of the Lutheran congregations in the city finally declared that the erection of the old people’s home would be undertaken in earnest. In a general meeting of the delegates of all the congregations, a committee was chosen to look for a suitable plot of land. They decided on Arlington Heights, since a 4 acre plot had been offered with very favorable terms. The site was 22 miles northwest from the center of the city, and it had 1,700 denizens. The area is very wholesome and beautiful. The associations for the old people’s home incorporated under the name, “Evangelical Lutheran Old People’s Home Association of Chicago and the surrounding area.”

In October 1892, the cornerstone for the building was laid. The dedication of the very well-equipped building happened in August of 1893 with the participation of all the Lutheran congregations of Chicago and the surrounding area. The image above shows the front of the east and the south view of the building. It has all the modern features. It is heated with steam and lit with gas. There is room for 60 occupants. Mr. F. Bornhöft and his wife have administered the institution with diligence and faithfulness for the almost three years of its existence.

Since some have left the institution and six of the occupants have entered their eternal rest, it currently houses 38.

Here, the aged, abandoned people from our congregations find a home that can meet all their needs; Yes, likely most who come here find everything much more beautiful and much better than they had expected.

Without the interior furnishings, the institution cost about $25,000, which had been donated by the societies from the congregations. The following persons belong to the board of directors: T. C. Diener, Pres.; A, Heuer, Vice-Pres.; Pr. A. Reinke, Sec; H. C. Zuttermeister, Tres.; Pr. E. Röder, Chaplain; C. Jörn, I. Thurn, H. Biermann, and Pr. A. J. Bünger.

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James Huenink

A pastor, writer, historian, and photographer who lives in San Diego County, CA. https://www.dauc.org https://www.jeh-photo.com