Among the artifacts donated to Historic Bremen by the Bremen Public Library was a comb-bound book celebrating the 100th anniversary of St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Bremen.
It featured photographs of past and present ministers and church buildings, as well as photos and an index of the congregation at the time.
St Paul’s was founded in 1846, five years before the town was even platted and one year before there was any post office. It was organized by Reverend G K Schuster, a native of Bavaria settled a few miles east in Hepton. He had been charged with serving Lutherans in Marshall and Kosciusko counties. In 1848, he helped to establish a log cabin church north of of the Yellow River, just west of the tiny cemetery. At that time, there was no railroad, no grain elevator, and no foundry. That building was torn down in the 1880s.
In 1859, St Paul’s built a frame building at the corner of North and Washington streets. At first, it was also used as a school, but by about 1865 a separate building was built behind the church at 218 N Washington as the first proper Lutheran school. The second church building remains even today.
The third church and second school were built in 1875 under the direction of Rev C F W Huge at a cost of $6000 or $8000 (the 100th anniversary book disagrees with the 1896 newspaper article on the 50th anniversary). The church was located on E South Street, while the school was behind it.
Up until 1893, all services were conducted in German, with English services being sporadic for many years. In 1896 (the 50th anniversary) the congregation numbered 700, with 65 students in the school. In 1906, the church purchased a building on the corner of Washington and Maple to use as its third school. It had previously been a Methodist Church, armory, and Turner Hall. They moved the previous school across the street to the south side of E Maple, where it remains.
Renovations and modernization took place in the early 1900s. A brick teacherage was built for $8000 in 1925 at 225 E South St. Services were still being conducted in German as well as English in the 1920s, altho English came to dominate after 1927. In 1936, the church engaged I O Pfeiffer to build a fourth school as a brick addition to the back of the church at a cost of $14000. In 1940, a modern parsonage was built at 128 E South St for $5500.
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