Corner of Ninth and Jones streets
Originally known as German Evangelical Immanuel's Church
The church began on Jan. 24, 1875, when nine people formed what was then known as the German Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Congregation of the Watertown Community. Before the end of that year, Immanuel’s membership records included 28 names. The congregation rented the Welsh Church to hold services and bought a parsonage, which doubled as a school house.
10 29 FIRST CHURCH BUILDING
On Oct. 29,1876, the first church building was dedicated on the present church site and served Immanuel for almost 76 years.
05 29 TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF FOUNDING
Immanuel Lutheran church of this city observed the twenty-fifth anniversary of its founding last Sunday. Three services were held, at 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., all in charge of the pastor Rev. Otto Pett. A number of visiting clergymen, including Rev. H. Hoerdig, the former pastor, now of Menomonie; Rev. Mr. Wilke, of Madison, president of the state synod to which the church belongs, Rev. Mr. Haberman, of Johnson Creek, and Rev. Mr. Lanzer, of Farmington, were present and participated m the ceremonies. The attendance was large and much interest was evidenced. WDT
08 03 The beautiful spire on the Immanuel Lutheran Church on North Ninth Street was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies. Addresses were made by Rev. N. Hahuemann of Farmington, Zimmerman of Johnson Creek and H. Hoerig of Menomonee. It is a very symmetrical and adds much to the beauty of the church. Church spires are always better than police stations for they direct the attention of men upward. WDT
06 11 Convention of WI district of Lutheran Synod of Iowa held at Immanuel WLeader
DISTANT VIEW, from Riverside Park
Immanuel Lutheran Church, 211-213 N. Ninth St.
Demolished in early 1950’s; new house of worship at 213 N. Ninth.
OLD CHURCH DISMANTLED
In 1952, plans began to build a new church. The dismantling of the old church building was taken on by the parishioners themselves. Working together, they pulled nails, cleaned bricks and sold lumber to bring in cash for the building fund. Interestingly, the saved bricks were used in the actual construction oi the new building (sanctuary columns).
The present church building was dedicated on June 13, 1954.
OLD CHURCH DISMANTLED
It wasn’t until 1963 that the beautiful stained-glass windows from the Conrad Pickel Studio of Waukesha were installed. These stunning windows depict the life of Christ and number more than 25 in total.
07 06 Watertown's Immanuel Lutheran Church has named a new pastor. He is the Rev. A. S. Christensen, present pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Reedsburg, Wis. The Rev. Mr. Christensen and his family will come to Watertown on Aug. 1, according to present plans and installation ceremonies are to be announced at a later date WDT
02 25 Special course on the Hebrew Bible; Rev. A. S. Christensen to take part in WDT
06 01 Holy Land, six-week tour; Rev. A. S. Christensen preparing for WDT
06 24 New parsonage plan rejected WDT
02 19 In an impressive ceremony on Sunday evening officers of the newly organized American Lutheran Church Women of the Immanuel Church were installed by the Rev. A.S. Christensen. The newly installed officers are: Mrs. John Gaston, president; Mrs. Harold Schultz, secretary of education; Mrs. Charles Wendt, vice president; Mrs. Stanley Chandler, secretary of stewardship; Mrs. Herman Rohr, secretary, and Mrs. John Ney, treasurer. WDT
10 18 The Watertown Immanuel Lutheran Church, of which the Rev. A. S. Christensen is pastor, completed arrangements for Sunday’s service at which the congregation’s newly announced first assistant pastor is to be installed. The day will mark a milestone in the history of the church, with the welcoming of the assistant pastor. Now in its 86th year, Immanuel Lutheran Church has grown from seven members to over 1,800 baptized members. WDT
06 26 The Rev. A. S. Christensen, using a special litany, led a large audience in services at 9:45 a.m. Sunday in the formal dedication of the beautiful stained glass windows installed throughout the entire church nave at the Watertown Immanuel Lutheran Church. The spiritual significance expressed in the elaborate symbolism of the total art glass project, expertly produced by the Conrad Pickel Studio of Waukesha, was reflected in the sermon theme, “Christ Our Light, in These Windows.” WDT
11 28 Rev. A.S. Christensen, pastor of the Watertown Immanuel Lutheran Church, is one of 734 religious leaders who was commissioned to write an article for the new edition of The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, a three volume work which has just been published by Augsburg. Pastor Christensen was invited to contribute an article on “The Dead Sea Scrolls.” He complied and his article is included in the 3,000 entries which have gone into the three-volume work. WDT
10 30 Construction of a school discussed by Watertown Planning Commission WDT
PIPE ORGAN INSTALLED
In 1983, the Charles Hendrickson Pipe Organ Company of Minnesota was contracted to install the present-day pipe organ.
OLD SCHOOL DEMOLISHIED
In 1985, the old school house was tom down and the current educational wing was erected. This wing includes administration offices, classrooms, meeting areas and a large multipurpose room/gymnasium.
04 08 Rev. Orlo Espeland, pastor, accepted appointment with the American Lutheran Church National Office WDT
06 23 Rev. Richard P. Heins retirement WDT
2000 “Honoring Our Heritage, Forward In Faith” / 125th anniversary theme
01 18 The year-long celebration will begin on Sunday with a special anniversary fair from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Immanuel Church was established in Watertown on Jan. 24, 1875. Originally known as German Evangelical Immanuel's Church of Watertown, the congregation has occupied its current location near Ninth and Jones streets since 1876. At that time, the lot was purchased for $225. Between 1952 and 1954, the original building was razed and the current building constructed. An education and administrative office building was added in 1984. This year, building will continue with an accessibility project designed to create more usable space and a general remodeling of the worship area. WDT
Watertown Daily Times
Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, corner of Ninth and Jones streets, will formally rededicate its worship area this weekend following a 4 1/2 month interior and exterior construction project. The project included a handicap accessible entrance, new heating and air conditioning systems, and an enlarged balcony.
The pews, altar, pulpit and lectern have been refinished. The chancel area has been thrust out into the sanctuary, enabling congregational members to kneel at the communion rail without having to climb steps.
Immanuel Church has been a leader in service to the community for 125 years.
On Jan. 24, 1875, nine people, eight men and one woman, formed what was then known as the German Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel's Congregation of Watertown and Community. Today the church is known as Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Before the end of 1875, Immanuel's membership had risen to 28 individuals. The group met in homes and then bought a parsonage. They rented the Welsh Church to hold worship services, and the parsonage did double duty as a school house.
The congregation, associated with the Iowa Synod, grew and on Oct. 29, 1876, the first church building was dedicated. This building was much loved by its members. It was a brick church of moderate dimensions. There was a plain altar table and above, like a swallow's nest on the wall, hung the pulpit. To the right and left of the entrance stood the indispensable stoves that stretched their black piles like arms along the ceiling through the entire church.
The first organ was purchased in 1889 and an 18-foot addition with altar niche, sacristy and two side balconies were built. New pews replaced the old.
In 1902, the stoves were replaced by a furnace and kerosene lamps made way for modern gas lights in 1904. In 1905, a tower was built and colored windows took the place of the old plain windows.
The congregation continued to grow and have dreams. Many members still remember scraping and piling old bricks for use in the new church.
The present church building was dedicated on June 13, 1954. It is Gothic in style, and built of Lannon stone. In 1963 the stained glass windows were installed and a Charles Hendrickson pipe organ was installed in 1993.
In 1985, the school house was tom down and an education wing was added.
12 15 After 55 years in the active ministry, the Rev. A. Stanley Christensen, N6294 Sunset Road, Watertown, will retire on Dec. 31. The pastor served at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Watertown for more than 20 years. Christensen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1944 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education. In 1946 he received a master's degree in theology from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He continued his studies in Hebrew at the University and Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. An article he wrote on the Dead Sea Scrolls was published in the Lutheran Encyclopedia. WDT
08 28 Bill Bravener, director of music at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Watertown, has accepted a call as director of music and associate in ministry at Calvary Lutheran Church in Brookfield. Bravener has been the director of music at Immanuel Church since 1991. He was commissioned in 2000 as an associate in ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He has served on the ELCA South Central Synod Candidacy Committee and as a faculty member of the Leadership Program for Church Musicians. Bravener is a past president of the Watertown Clergy Roundtable and has been an accompanist at Watertown High School. He was a volunteer at Bethesda Lutheran Home and with the Dodge County Lifespan Respite Network, as well as a private piano instructor. WDT
04 17 Immanuel Lutheran Church of Watertown will mark the 50th anniversary of its church building with a day of celebration on Sunday. Immanuel was founded in Watertown in 1875 and dedicated its first church building one year later. By 1952, the congregation had outgrown the small structure on North Ninth Street and made plans to build a new and larger church building. The original church along with two houses and a large garage located on Jones Street were torn down to make room for the new structure. The cornerstone for the current building was laid in 1953 and construction of the new building began. From the demolition of the original structure through the completion of construction the congregation held worship services in the old Savoy Theater.
10 10 “God’s Work, Our Hands” initiative; greater involvement on part of membership and greater capacity for ministry WDT
FIRST BRIGADE BAND PLAYED SERVICE
08 02 Link to band’s portfolio
SCHOOL WAS NEXT TO CHURCH
No 1: Immanuel Lutheran Church History, 1875-2000 (pdf file)
Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church continues to be the site for many community outreach programs including the Watertown Food Pantry, PEP (Personal Essentials Pantry), Hometown Missions and the Thursday Night Bread & Roses meal and its reputable music ministry continues to gain recognition with its new Music at Immanuel Concert Series. Immanuel prides itself on celebrating God’s grace in Jesus Christ, accepting all unconditionally and growing in God’s call to serve the world.
Christmastime at Immanuel is a magical time of the year. In addition to its weekly worship services, annual Christmas Candlelight Concert, Christmas Pageant, and more, its traditional decorations transform the space to marvelous beauty. Highlights include 20-foot handmade angel banners, an ornamental stone nativity, pew candelabras and multiple brightly lit Christmas trees.
History of Watertown, Wisconsin