St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
Congregation founded in 1849
The German Evangelical Protestant church in North Fourth Street celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of that church in this city last Sunday. It was organized here in 1850, and the congregation first held services at the Buena Vista house. It is the oldest German congregation in the city.
The church was erected in 1866, the year following the close of the Civil War.
St. Luke's dates back to a congregation that was organized before 1849. The first secretarial records speak of councilmen whose terms had expired and new men were elected. This secretarial record is dated Jan. 7, 1849.
In the year, 1849 the congregation was incorporated under the name of "The Evangelical German Church, Watertown, Wis."
In 1909, with the Rev. Herman Sterz as pastor, the congregation was reorganized and incorporated under the name "(German) Evangelical Lutheran Church," a confessional church body in unity of faith with the Lutheran Church of the Wisconsin Synod. The church known as St. Luke's Lutheran Church had been associated with that synod since that time.
August 1883 commemorative item of some sort given to Rev. Knaack of what is now St. Luke's Lutheran Church for his jubilee. Signed by prominent early German Watertown citizens at assumed anniversary of being a pastor. This would have been awarded to him at what was then known as a "benefit supper," or "donation party."
08 24 50th ANNIVERSARY
The German Evangelical Protestant church in North Fourth Street celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of that church in this city last Sunday. It was organized here in 1850, and the congregation first held services at the Buena Vista house, Rev. Mr. Rentch being the officiating clergyman. It is the oldest German congregation in the city. Rev. Herman Sterz is the present pastor, and the board of trustees is composed of Christian Schmutzler, president; Ulrich Habhegger, secretary; Robert. H. Radtke. Treasurer; Frederick Brandt, A. Dittes, H. Scholz and S. E. Kuenzie. The floral decorations in the interior of the church on this occasion were the most elaborate of the kind ever undertaken here, and the musical program carried out was beautiful and inspiring. Rev. Mr. Seidel, of Reedsburg, presided at both the morning and evening services, and the history of the church was gone over by the pastor. WG
ST. LUKE’S INTERIOR VIEW
04 11 CONFIRMATION CLASS
Last Sunday a class of 11 children was confirmed at the Evangelical Protestant Lutheran church. The church was profusely decorated with palms and a variety of flowers which added many charms to the interior appearance. An unusually large attendance was present who gave their undivided attention to the able address made by their pastor. Rev. H. Sterz. Miss Radtke, organist of the church, furnished most excellent music. The class included: Ernest Peters, Clara Priens, Berto Saum, Clara Gehrke, Mabel Kuehn, Laura Neumann, Elsa Heck, Adela Tobian, Gertrude Wilkowski, Lydia Wendt and Minnie Gehrke.
12 13 1940
Rededication services were held at St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church to mark the completion of a remodeling and redecorating program.
The old vestry was removed and a new one built in its place. There was also a second new vestry on the opposite side of the altar. This work was done by men of the parish. It greatly improved the appearance of the church's interior. The pulpit, which for many years dominated the altar, was moved to a new position at one side of the altar.
The redecorating was done by Schmutzler's Paint Store and the color scheme and designs throughout were beautifully blended. A new carpet was laid, a gift from Henry Hafemeister of the Hafemeister Furniture Store.
To mark the dedication there were two services; one in German and the second in English.
01 30 1947
The high winds and heavy snows toppled over the large chimney at the old St. Luke's Lutheran Church on North Fourth St. WHS_005_543
GERMAN IMMIGRANT ARCHITECTURE AND NEIGHBORHOOD CHURCHES
11 03 1949
Celebration of 40th anniversary of establishment as in Evangelical Lutheran Church communicant member of the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Wisconsin and Other States. Some 540 souls.
FOURTH STREET GERMAN HOUSES
08 18 1955
St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran congregation, through its board of trustees, last night authorized the sale of its present church property in North Fourth Street as well as the parsonage at 312 South Fourth Street and delegated Verne Halle of the Verne Halle Co., realtor, to negotiate the sales.
The sale of the properties is in line with the overall plans of St. Luke's congregation to build a new church and parsonage in the Seventh Ward. Plans for the new church were first announced in the Times on March 4 when it was reported that the congregation had purchased a three and one-half acre tract of land in the Henry Schaller subdivision for $10,000 as a site for its new church edifice. Officials of the church, together with the pastor, the Rev. I. G. Uetzmann, have been at work on overall plans for some time.
It now appears likely that the work on the new church will be undertaken in the near future.
08 19 1955
Congregation authorized sale of N Fourth St church property (church, 207 N Fourth and caretaker’s house (Frank Schwefel resident), 203 N Fourth) as well as the parsonage at 312 S Fourth St. Church services, while once only in German, were concentrated in English in 1955, although some German services will still held at the time.
11 14 1955
St. Luke's Lutheran Congregation, which is soon expected to begin work on the construction of a new church edifice in the Seventh Ward where it has acquired property in the Henry Schaller development, is going to offer its old property, fronting on North Fourth Street, as a site for an off-street parking lot. The offer is expected to reach the City Council at its next meeting. A t one time the city did show interest in the site, when off-street parking lots were first being discussed. It was also learned today that at least one, and possibly more offers from others who own downtown sites, will be made to the council for the development of off-street parking areas.
1955 CHURCH PROPERTY FOR SALE
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, as well as the adjoining house to the south of the church, are being offered for sale. The congregation earlier this year purchased a three and one-half acre site in the Seventh Ward for a new church and parsonage. Also shown here is the caretaker’s home at 203 North Fourth Street at the right. The caretaker’s home at present is being occupied by Frank F. Schwefel. Also to be sold is the present parsonage which is located on the other side of Main Street, at 312 South Fourth Street. Verne Halle, Watertown realtor, was designated last night by the church trustees to dispose of the properties.
12 08 There appears little likelihood at this time that the City Council will purchase either of the two latest properties being offered for off-street parking lots. The two offers which were made at the Nov. 15 meeting of the council were those of St. Luke's Lutheran Church council and the Watertown Implement Co. The church property fronts on North Fourth Street, where the present church is located. The property includes the caretaker's house to the south of the church building and part of the property runs through to North Fifth Street by means of a small alleyway. The Watertown Implement Co. property is at 309-311 South First Street.
05 10 The City Council by a 3 to 1 vote last night decided to offer St. Luke's Lutheran congregation $25,000 for its property in North Fourth Street for off-street parking lot purposes. The offer includes both the church and the caretaker's residence adjoining it. Councilman Raymond F. Franz told the council that while he is a member of the congregation that fact has nothing to do with his request that the offer be made. The congregation plans to build a new church in the seventh ward where it acquired a three and one-half acre site in the Schaller Addition last year. The church offered the site to the city on several earlier occasions the first asking price having been reported as $40,000. In the event the city buys the property it will also have to bear the cost of demolishing the buildings and leveling the area and make it ready for parking.
06 08 Pending plans to have the City Council purchase the old St. Luke's Church property in North Fourth Street and convert it into an off-street parking lot received severe setback last night in the form of a vigorous protest petition filed with the Council by 56 taxpayers who own property in the vicinity. The Council at a recent meeting voted to make an offer of $25,000 for the property and this offer is now pending before the congregation. The city, however, has as yet made no commitment to carry through the deal if the church membership approves. The petitioners state that converting it into a parking lot will deteriorate the value of property in the region and will provide a nuisance and that their privacy will be disturbed. They also cite the fact that the general area is already served by other parking lots not too far removed.
08 18 The City Council has sounded the death knell for the plan to purchase the St. Luke's Church property in North Fourth Street for the sum of $25,000. The congregation plans to abandon the site when it builds a new church in the Schaller Addition in the Seventh Ward. The old church property had been proposed for a new city parking lot. The vote was 3 to 2, with Councilman Raymond F. Franz, sponsor of the resolution, and Councilman Frederick Harder casting the only votes to purchase the property. Councilmen E. A. Biefeld, B. V. Krueger and George Shephard voted “No” on the measure.
11 14 Proposed off-street parking lot, St. Luke's Church property WDT
04 13 St. Luke's Lutheran Church, North Fourth Street, of which the Rev. I.G. Uetzmann is pastor, will break ground for its new church edifice on Sunday. The new church will be erected at the corner of South Third and Clark Streets in the city's Seventh Ward. Services marking the occasion will be held in the church Sunday morning at 8 and 10 o'clock. The actual ceremony of breaking ground will take place on the site of the new church in the Seventh Ward at 11:15 a.m., following the 10 a.m. service at the church. WDT
05 01 Building permit for new St. Luke's church and parsonage, estimated expenditure of $170,000 WDT
07 29 The cornerstone laying ceremony for St. Luke's Lutheran congregation's new church will be held on Sunday morning, the pastor, the Rev. I.G. Uetzmann, said today. A parsonage for the pastor of St. Luke's Church is part of the new church structure, the two being attached. The general contractor is Arthur W. Griebenow of Beaver Dam. The architect is Hugo Logamann of Milwaukee. St. Luke's congregation will continue to occupy the present church until the first of the year, when it is to be taken over as part of the plan for the new city parking lot which the Wisconsin Telephone Co. is to develop in that area to replace the South Fifth Street lot which the company intends to utilize for its telephone building expansion program. WDT
01 28 The final services to be conducted in St. Luke's Lutheran Church, North Fourth Street, will be held on Sunday, according to announcement made earlier this week. Thereafter the congregation will worship in the basement quarters of the new church now under construction at South Third and Clark Streets. Completion of the new church is nearing and plans call for the dedication of the new edifice sometime after Easter. The pastor of the church, the Rev. I.G. Uetzmann, said today that for Sunday there will be three communion services in the old church. The church building which is soon to pass into history was constructed in 1866 and in the intervening years underwent remodeling and improvements several times. The present pastor, the Rev. Mr. Uetzmann, came here in 1941. He and his wife will shortly occupy a new parsonage which is part of the new church construction. WDT
DEMOLITION IN PROGRESS
03 16 NEW PARKING LOT EXPANDED
The new parking lot which will be created in North Fourth Street to replace the one now in existence in South Fifth Street will be expanded with the addition of adjacent property, which the city council last night voted to acquire at a cost of $9,000. The land will be purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Knoll. The land is located at 201 North Fourth Street. The sum of $1,000 will be paid before March 31, with the balance of $8,000 to be paid upon the delivery of the warranty deed and merchantable abstract. The money will be taken from the parking meter fund. WDT
03 22 Yet another significant Watertown landmark, St. Luke's Lutheran Church, disappeared from the city's scene. It was replaced with a beautiful asphalt parking lot. Work on demolishing the old structure began with the loss of the roof and continued with the wrecking of the brick edifice. The work is in charge of the Greeler Wrecking Service of Neosho which has a crew of men here doing the job. The church was erected in 1866 - the year following the close of the Civil War.
The North Fourth Street church property was acquired by the Wisconsin Telephone Co. which used it and other nearby property for developing a new city parking lot which it will turn over to Watertown to replace the city's South Fifth Street parking lot adjoining the telephone company building. The company will use the present lot for expanding its Watertown plant and installations. WDT
03 30 1860 penny recovered in connection with demolition; Richard Hoge WDT
05 26 Confirmation service WDT
10 29 WISCONSIN LUTHERAN CHAPEL AND STUDENT CENTER AT MADISON
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod which numbers St. Mark’s and Trinity Lutheran Churches in Watertown among its members and of which St. Luke’s Lutheran church is an associate has made plans for the construction of the Wisconsin Lutheran chapel and student center at Madison. The Rev. Henry E. Paustian, one of the pastors of St. Mark’s church, who serves as missions chairman of the synod’s western district, first made the plans known several months ago and the purchase of property for the construction has now been completed.
04 04 PARKING LOT APPROVED
Purchase by the city of the Lloyd Kopp property at the northwest corner of Main and North Fifth Streets, recently approved by the common council, has been completed. The building on the property is to be razed and the site will be used for further development of the North Fifth Street widening project. The city paid $16,000 for the property.
School built at 801 South Fifth Street
04 30 140th ANNIVERSARY
St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Third and Clark streets, will observe its 140th anniversary with a series of special church service themes on four consecutive Sundays beginning this week. The services are conducted at 8 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. The sermon themes will center around the formal name of the congregational and what each word in it means. The services are being planned jointly by the Rev. Ervine Vomhof, pastor of the church, and Dr. Arnold Lehmann, retired professor of music at Northwestern College, choir director and a member of the congregation.
10 31 REV. SCHULTZ IS NEW PASTOR
The Rev. Anthony Schultz will be installed as the new pastor of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Third and Clark streets, in a special afternoon service Sunday at 4 o’clock. The Rev. Mark Schroeder, president of Northwestern Prep School, will deliver the sermon on the theme “Promises, Promises.” Professor Steven Ehlke will install Schultz into his new office. Professor David Gosdeck will conduct the liturgy and Dr. Arnold Lehmann will write the special service and be the organist. The congregation’s senior choir, under Lehmann’s direction, will sing for the service.
04 04 $3.2 million expansion of church; a 10 classroom school facility and a church expansion. WDT
09 17 PRINCIPAL MOELLER’S 25th
Trinity-St. Luke's Lutheran School will observe the 25th teaching anniversary of Principal James Moeller on Sunday. A service of thanks and praise for Moeller's ministry will be held at 3 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 604 S. Fifth St. A reception will follow the service. Moeller graduated Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn., in 1976. Before moving to Watertown in 1988, he served two congregations of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) located in Houston, Texas, and Chicago, Ill. In addition to the principalship, Moeller has taught grades seven and eight, and served as organist at Trinity Church. He still teaches some math classes and serves as administrator of the joint school operated by Trinity and St. Luke's congregations. He also serves as parish schools coordinator for the Western Wisconsin District of the WELS. WDT
07 26 REV. GARTNER ACCEPTED CALL
The Rev. Mark Gartner will preach his last sermon at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church Thursday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 7:45 and 9:30 a.m. A dinner will be held in the church’s fellowship hall at 11:45 a.m. on Sunday in celebration of Gartner’s 25 years in the ministry and appreciation for his 19 years of service at St. Luke’s. Gartner has accepted a call to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Appleton. WDT
06 23 PASTOR RECOGNIZED FOR 40 YEARS
The Rev. Anthony Schultz, pastor at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Watertown, was honored with a special service on June 23 to commemorate his 40 years in the preaching ministry and his retirement from that full-time ministry.
Nearly 500 members of the congregation and friends of Schultz attended the service and the dinner and program in his honor which followed.
The Rev. Mark Gartner, who served with Schultz in the public ministry at St. Luke’s, delivered the sermon, emphasizing that it was God’s grace that changed Schultz’s heart and life to become a minister, and subsequently through his ministry God changed many people’s hearts and lives.
Gartner offered many insights into the broad scope of Schultz’s ministry but also brought those thoughts back to the theme of God’s grace.
Schultz is well-known in Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod ministry well beyond his church work at St. Luke’s.
One of his popular ministries has been the Kids Connection devotions which he did for 25 years, reaching out in church and video settings to the youngest followers. He also portrayed “Mr. Whistle” who presented the Gospel in the simplest of terms.
He also served as a professor at the church’s seminary in Nigeria and visited orphans in Haiti in addition to many ministries in Watertown and the surrounding area.
The dinner following the service included a program where several members of Schultz’s family offered their recollections of his long ministry.
The Rev. Mark Schroeder, a member of the congregation and president of the WELS, also offered comments on Schultz’s ministry as did the Rev. Tim Dolan, president of the congregation.
Schultz is a public high school graduate and then went on to Northwestern College in Watertown where he received his bachelor’s degree. He then went on to Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon where he graduated with a master of divinity degree.
He served a vicar year at Trinity Lutheran Church in Waukesha and then was ordained and installed at Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Loves Park, Illinois, on July 1, 1979. He served that congregation four years before accepting a call to Trinity Lutheran Church of Dundee. He continued at Dundee for nine years and then accepted the call to St. Luke’s in 1992 and continued in that capacity until his retirement from the full-time ministry.
He will continue to serve the congregation as a parttime minister for visiting the sick and shut-in members of the church. He will begin serving in that roll immediately.
St. Luke’s Lutheran is currently served by the Rev. Justin Cloute. A call for a second full-time minister has been made and the congregation is awaiting a decision on that call.
St. Luke’s, located at South Third and Clark streets, has about 1,100 members.
Image available, 1928, 75th anniversary of City of Watertown, PC_133
Image available, 1955, Caretaker’s home adjacent to church, WHS_005_002
Image available, 1960, Demolition in progress
In 1981 the joint school operation was established. School was named Trinity-St. Luke's Lutheran School, or TLS.
History of Watertown, Wisconsin