Chicago Lutheran History: Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church: 1892

James Huenink
5 min readJun 4, 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.

While this history focuses mostly on the German Lutheran churches, there are a few congregations focused on different groups. The first one was Christ English Lutheran Church, one of the many English district congregations in Chicago that still have “English” in their names.

This congregation served Slovak immigrants, who were from the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time the church was founded. According to Gregory Ference, immigrant groups from there came to the United States for various reasons. Most Czechs left to escape economic problems, including the crop failures of the 1870’s and the agricultural depression in the 1880’s, and the Bohemians and Moravians left for political reasons. Slovaks were a fast-growing population, which led to land shortages and farming plots that were too small for even subsistence farming. In summary, the Slovak regions were overpopulated, so many immigrants left to escape the bad economy that came as a result.

In 1896, Trinity was a congregation that spanned the whole west side of Chicago, so they didn’t have a church building. The pastor also served the whole Slovak population in the region. In 1901, there were to Slovak congregations, Sts, Peter and Paul on the south side (now in Riverside, IL) and Trinity on the north side. Eventually, the congregation built a church at 5105 N. Lacrosse Ave, and they still have a Slovak service every Sunday.

Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Congregation of the Slovaks: Pastor L. Boor, 1133 Bickerdike Street

In the year 1892, three Lutheran Slovaks came to Pastor H. Succop and shared with him that there were a large number of Lutheran Slovaks in Chicago, who gladly wanted to be provided with God’s word. After these three men also had explained their request, their religious situation, and their confession before the Chicago pastoral Conference, the conference decided, by way of Pastor Karl Hauser, a Slovak pastor from Minneapolis, Minn., to contact these Slovaks. Soon after, it could be reported to the conference that Pastor Hauser would preach to these Lutheran Slovaks four to six weeks.

Pastor Boors came from a town northeast of Vienna and Pressburg (Bratislava)

On the 8th of October, 1893, the Lutheran Slovaks of Chicago organized themselves as Evangelical Lutheran St. Trinity Congregation. Not long after, this new congregation recognized that it far better for them if they had their own pastor. Then Candidate Ladislauv Boor from Padbranc, Neuträer Comitat, Upper Hungary. He came to Chicago in September 1894. Before he entered his office, however, he travelled to St. Louis, Mo., and he halted at Concordia Seminary of our Synod for a while to better learn our doctrine and practice.

The red marker is at the town of Padbronc, now part of Slovakia.

On the 25th Sunday after Trinity, on the 11th of November 1894, he was festively ordained as the called pastor of the first Slovakian Evangelical Lutheran St. Trinity Congregation of Chicago, Ill. by Pastor A. Reinke with the assistance of pastors H. Succop, H. Sauer, and E. Reinke.

God the Lord placed great blessings on Pastor Boor’s work. The congregation, which at Pastor Boors accession was about 70 or 75 members strong, now numbers more than 250 members.

Pastor Succop of First St. John Lutheran Church

Most of the members of this congregation live spread out on the West Side of Chicago. The two main areas are in the neighborhood of the Evangelical Lutheran Zion Congregation (Pastor A. Wagner) and in the neighborhood of St. John congregation (Pastor H. Succop). So, Pastor Boor preaches twice every Sunday.

Still, the Slovakian St. Trinity Congregation does not have their own church, and because of the scattered homes of the members, it is very difficult to decide on an appropriate location for the church building. So, the divine services are held on Sunday mornings in the large assembly hall of St. John Congregation’s new school and in the midday, between 12 o’clock and half past 3 o’clock, in the Evangelical Lutheran Zion Congregation (Pastor Wagner).

On every 4th Sunday of the month, Pastor Boor preaches elsewhere, in Joliet, Ill., Whiting, Ind., Diamond, Ind., and because the Lutheran Slovakian Congregation in Streator, Il. is vacant, so this congregation will also be served by Pastor Boor.

In the year 1895, Pastor Boor has baptized 48 children, has served 305 communicants of the Holy Supper, has married 25 couples, and performed 14 funerals.

Considering the lowly beginning of this mission, and how it has grown by God’s grace under the faithful work of Pastor Boors, the German Lutheran sister congregations look at this mission with joyful thanksgiving to God and they desire, from their hearts, God’s blessing on their development.



James Huenink

A pastor, writer, historian, and photographer who lives in San Diego County, CA.