A Brief History of Salem Church and School
Some of us are reluctant to look back on the past. It’s over and we can’t change what happened — its true. Others like to look back to see how people lived, and how much things cost way back then. God uses the historical events of Israel for our learning. And from this we can see how God was a very big part of what was happening then.
Beginning in the 1850’s, German Lutheran immigrants formed the nucleus of a Christian congregation by gathering in the homes of the various families for worship, prayer, and hymn singing. By the 1860’s, these families were being served by a traveling missionary and later by pastors from Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Salem congregation was organized in 1865 and called its first full time pastor. In 1868 the congregation became legally incorporated as a church body according to the laws of the state.
The resolution to build the first church came in 1871 with dedication of that building in the fall of that year. By 1874 the congregation has its first parsonage and it opened its first Christian school in 1881.
1901 - 1917
In 1901 the present parsonage was constructed and in 1902 the congregation bought the old district schoolhouse for its Christian school. In September of 1904 the congregation dedicated the present church building.
A new pipe organ, which still serves the congregation, was dedicated in 1908, and in 1917 the congregation built a new school.
September 22 - Twenty-fifth Anniversary of dedication of Salem church edifice is celebrated with two services, Pastors I.F. Albrecht, H.C. Nitz and W.P. Haar preaching the sermons.
Pastor W. Haar retires after 30 years of faithful service in Salem congregation from the active ministry because of advanced age, and the congregations calls Pastor W.P. Haar of No. Mankato, who is installed on October 12. Electric light is installed in church, school and parsonage.
A modern electric water pressure system is put into the parsonage.
Salem Young People’s Society is organized with Bible study and Christian fellowship as the main objectives.
The schoolhouse is moved on new location, south of the parsonage, a full basement with an addition for kitchen, furnace room and washrooms is constructed. A dedicatory service is conducted on Sunday, September 12, with Professor Carl Schweppe, President of Dr. Martin Luther College of New Ulm, preaching the sermon.
1940 - Salem Church 75th Anniversary year
In the annual congregation meeting a resolution is passed to have the interior of the church painted, the stained glass windows repaired, new concrete steps constructed at the front entrance in view of the fact that this year, 1940, Salem congregation is permitted by the grace of God to commemorate with praise and gratitude to God for His never-failing mercies its diamond jubilee.
The trustees with the elders and the financial secretary and the treasurer are elected to serve as the seventh-fifth anniversary committee.
The painting of the interior of our house of worship, the repairing of the stained glass windows and the construction of the spacious concrete steps were completed. Furthermore, the Ladies Aid, besides contributing a substantial sum to the painting, bought an altar rail and lectern for the chancel of our church, and paid for the silver, re-plating of the Communion vessels. For the memorable occasion, Mr. and Mrs. Otto Middelstadt donated a pair of beautiful candelabra. Miss Ethel Zitzloff donated six oak wood offering plates.
June 23, 1940 - The celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Salem Church is held with three services, Pastor W. Haar, Sr. And Theo. G. Haar preaching the sermons in the morning. Pastor Otto H. Hohenstein and I.F. Albrecht proclaiming the Word in the afternoon. Pastor A. Ackermann, President of Minnesota District, delivered the message in the evening service.
The church council consisted of the following members:
Elders: E.J. Hohenstein, W. E. Strehler, W.R. Giese
Trustees: Emil Zoldahn, Fred Biegert, Hubert Kohnen
Financial Secretary: Gottlieb F. Tessmer
Treasurer: Christ H. Lieder
School Elders: Arthur Greehling, Delbert Loeffler, Ervin Kohnen.
Statistics: 446 souls, 335 communicants, 144 voting and women members.
During the 75 years of its history, there have been at Salem Church 1,490 baptisms; 1,064 confirmations; 33,965 communion guests; 352 marriages; and 510 burials.
Salem congregation resolves to open a Christian Day School.
On September 1, 1947 the first full time Christian Day School was opened. Esther (Poehler) Wieschmann, a graduate of Dr. Martin Luther College, served as our first teacher. The school building was located east across the highway from the present school building. There were 37 students that first year of school..
Salem Church is insulated; the church windows are weather-stripped and painted. A new oil furnace is installed in the church basement, the schoolhouse is insulated, the school windows are weather-stripped, and an oil burner is installed in the parsonage.
Miss Doris Tietz of New Prague, Minnesota, a graduate of Dr. Martin Luther College is called through the Assignment Committee and is installed as the teacher of our Christian Day School.
Miss Janet Schmidt of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a student of Dr. Martin Luther College, serves as second teacher for one year
Miss Beverlee Haar is called through Synod’s Assignment Committee as second teacher of our Day School.
Miss Beverlee Haar receives a call to Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and is given a peaceful release. Miss Anita Urban of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, a student of Dr. Martin Luther College serves as second teacher for one year.
Salem congregation resolves to build a new schoolhouse and assembly room. The building committee consists of Erven Schmidt, chairman, Leonard Daluge and Ralph Lange. In memory of their sainted father, Otto E. Middlestadt, Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Zimmerman buy and donate two acres of land adjoining our church property on the south side from Mr. Herman Reich for $400.00 for the site of the new school building.
Mr. Frederick Panning of Gibbon, Minnesota, a graduate of Dr. Martin Luther College, through Synod’s assignment committee is called and is installed as principal and teacher of our upper grades of our Day School on August 31, 1958.
September 14 - Groundbreaking ceremony.
October 12 - Laying of school cornerstone at 2:30p.m., Pastor M.J. Lenz, Delano, guest preacher.
Dedication of new school and new assembly room on June 14 with Professor Martin Albrecht of New Ulm, guest preacher. The ladies of the congregation serve a delicious ham dinner after the dedication. The cost of the new school and assembly room is $58,462.33. Lloyd A. Hohenstein, a son of Salem Church is ordained and installed as pastor at Pickett, Wisconsin.
Miss Lanita Aswege of Johnson, Minnesota, through Synod’s assignment committee receives a call and is installed as second teacher of Salem School on September 4, 1960. An additional one-half acre of land is bought and donated to the congregation by Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Zimmerman for a softball diamond and recreation area for the school children.
The old school building is dismantled and the usable lumber is sold at public auction and netted $1,500.00. A house is purchased from the Freeway Road Builders Project and moved to the place where the old school building stood, and a full basement is constructed. This house serves as the teacherage. The total cost is $11,410.71.
Miss Lanita Aswege receives a call to Johnson, Minnesota, and is given a peaceful release.
1965 - Salem’s Centennial Year
Mr. Frederick Panning receives a call to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and is given a peaceful release.
The exterior of the schoolhouse (slate and metal trim) is painted; members of the church paint the interior of the schoolhouse.
Mr. Ronald Ertner of Kenosha, Wisconsin and Mrs. Ronald Ertner (Joann nee. Sager) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, both graduates of Dr. Martin Luther College, are called as principal and teacher of Salem Christian Day School, through Synod’s assignment committee.
Their installation occurs on August 22,1965. They begin their teaching ministry on September 7,1965.
The Salem Church council is made up of the following:
Church elders: Elmer Strehler, Ervin Kohnen, Marvin Tessmer
Church trustees: Allyn Lange, Otto Bethke, Walter Zoldahn
School Elders: Glenard Tessmer, August Ernst, Jack Hoppe
President: Marvin Tessmer
Secretary: Duane Beise
Treasurer: Alex Lieder
Financial Secretary: Willmar Bechtold.
Mission Secretary: Ronald Vollrath
Stewardship committee: Gerald Schleif, Gaylerd Lieder, Howard Schmid, Willard Lieder.
Head usher: Clarence Loeffler, Jr.
Assistant ushers: Alvin Bursch, James Dixon, Thomas Haar, Leon Loeffler, Clyde Martin, Darven
Vollrath, Ronald Harff.
Ushers for German services: Erwin Bechtold, Alex Lieder
Salem Centennial Committee
Gerald Schleif, chairman; Ervin Kohnen, Walter Zoldahn, Glenard Tessmer.
Louise Greenwood and Lois Klawitter begin serving as teachers of our school.
Pastor William P. Haar retires on August 25, the exact date of the 50th anniversary of his ordination into the ministry. Pastor Edward W. Lindemann is installed on November 3. Janice Schlomer and Janet Berndt serve on our teaching staff.
Mr. David R. Farstad is installed in August as principal of Salem Lutheran School.
The celebration of 25 years of full time Christian education for its children took place in 1972 and the congregation also dedicated the narthex addition to the church. Serving as a teacher in our school is Rosanne Steil.
A third full time teacher is added to the staff to meet the demands of an increasing enrollment. Doris Baglo and Sue Ferch fill that position. Remodeling the social activity room allows for an additional classroom by installing removable walls.
In February, Pastor Lindemann accepts a call to Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin. Deborah Garbow accepts a call to serve on the teaching staff.
Pastor Norbert A. Gieschen is installed on January 26 as Salem’s ninth pastor in its 110th year history.
Cathy Ulrich and Terri Spittlemeister serve as teachers on our staff during the year. The second floor of the parsonage is extensively damaged by fire in June.
Helen Lochner is our next addition on the school staff.
Pastor Gieschen resigns as pastor in February and Lynda Hanke joins the faculty. Work on a school addition building program begins in June.
Pastor Walter C. Davidson accepts the call as Salem’s 10th pastor and installed on June 21. Dedication of the multi-purpose building addition is held on July 12 with a special afternoon service. The theme for the dedication was ‘Working Together - Building for Christ’ .The guest speaker is former Salem pastor, Professor Edward Lindemann. The addition contains a kitchen, storage rooms, 2 classrooms, restrooms, and a gymnasium. In all the addition added 11,520 square feet of space to the school.
An additional 2 acres of land to the south of the school building was donated by Mr. Herman Reich in memory of his wife, Viola. The three iron crosses seen on the front of the building were given by the Strehler family in memory of Mrs. Rosa Strehler. Other donations included the basketball rims and backboards, scoreboard and time clock, various pictures in the classrooms, a piano dolly, clocks for the various rooms, a ping-pong table, flag for the gymnasium and door mats in the front and rear entryways of the building.
A time capsule to be opened on July 12, 2081 is installed behind the cornerstone. The cornerstone was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Immanuel Hohenstein in memory of Adam and Caroline Hohenstein and Emil and Ida Hohenstein.
DeLyte Schultz joins the faculty to teach kindergarten. A congregational picture directory of church members is made in November.
Grade school basketball tournaments involve our school children for the first time in February and March. The DMLC Touring choir from New Ulm gives a concert here on the 26th. An entryway to the gym addition is constructed in November because of severe icing and the church steeple is repaired.
Cindy Kuecker is assigned to teach replacing Miss Spittlemeister who resigns due to marriage plans.
The assignment committee assigns our teaching call to Ellen Zank to replace Lynda Hanke who accepts a call. Greenfield voters now cast their ballots in our gymnasium in November. Sunday School nursery and kindergarten children do their own Christmas service the Sunday before Christmas eve.
The congregation approves increasing our teaching staff by one full-time worker. Bonnie Maliszko is installed in August to teach grades 5-6 and the classrooms are reduced from three grades to two. The Lutheran Pioneers program begins on November 5. Sunday worship and church activities on December 5 are cancelled due to a snowstorm. Two Christmas eve services at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. are inaugurated because of crowd concerns.
The 40th anniversary of the school is celebrated on August 23 with former student Pastor Oliver Lindholm our guest speaker. Principal David Farstad celebrates 25 years in the teaching ministry.
Kiersten Scholz is assigned by our Synod to fill the teaching vacancy of Miss Maliszko who gets married.
Asbestos is removed form school on July 20 according to state regulations. Voters approve a new parsonage building project and groundbreaking occurs on Oct. 1.
1990 - Salem 125th Anniversary Year
Plans intensify for celebration of the 125th year of organization. An anniversary picture directory is begun in January. The new parsonage is completed and dedication is March 4 between the two morning services. A Vacation Bible School is held in June with 45 students enrolled. Carol Drumm is installed on our teaching staff to replace Miss Zank who accepts a call to Wisconsin. The 125th Anniversary of Salem Lutheran Church is scheduled for Sunday, October 14 with Pastor Tom Haar as guest speaker in the morning services. Pastor Carl Mischke, WELS President was the guest speaker in the afternoon service at 3:00 p.m. Mr. David Farstad serves as organist in the morning and former teacher, Mrs. Doris Panning, plays organ for the afternoon festival service.
125th Anniversary Committee
Gerald Schleif, chairman, Victor Matthesen, Waldemar Giese, Walter Zoldahn, Marvin Bursch, Harry Meyer. We also acknowledge the help of the committee’s wives who assisted with their direction and advice.
1990 Church Officers
Chairman: Howard Schleif
Secretary: Fred Pfotenhauer
Financial Secretary: Michael Reich
Asst. Financial Secretary: Gary Lieder
Home Treasurer: Glenn Schwartz
Mission Treasurer: Dennis Baker
1990 Church Council
Elders: Howard Schleif, Marvin Bursch, Fred Pfotenhauer, Willmar Bechtold, Jerry Vollrath.
Trustees: Tom Lieder, Doug Reich, Duane Beise, Ronald Schmid, David Lohse, Darven Vollrath.
Education: Joseph Siers, Bruce Beatty, Richard Schmid, Ken Schleif, James Tessmer.
Finance: Michael Reich, Gary Lieder, Dennis Baker, Glenn Schwartz
Head ushers: Robert Oberlander, Scott Anderson, Kevin Schmidt, Thomas Bursch.
Our school begins participation in the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department program entitled D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) for grades 5-8. The number of students this year is at 78. There are 9 members in our band program
This year, our school gymnasium became our worship facilities while the church interior was being repainted. Two new furnaces were installed in the utility room in the school.
Student enrollment is 79. A computer lab has been set up in the 5th and 6th grade room under the guidance of Miss Scholz. An eight station listening center was purchased for the students to listen eight at a time to cassette tapes. The first annual Dad’s Pancake Breakfast was held with an enthusiastic crowd.
The boy’s basketball team took their first ever Class 2A championship. The first annual Outdoor Worship Service was held at the south entrance to the school. School began with 83 students and rose to 89 during the year.
Pastor Davidson accepts a call to Schofield, Wisconsin. Pastor Andrew Krause of Cross Lutheran Church Rockford is called to serve as vacancy pastor. Our school has 90 students.
Pastor Dennis Strong accepts Salem’s call to be pastor. Several members of the congregation move him. The installation service was held on June 2, 1996.
Kiersten Scholz accepts a call to Waucousta, Wisconsin and Rosemary Leerssen accepts a call to teach 5-6 grade at Salem. 101 students were registered for our school.
1997 - Salem School 50th Anniversary
Ann Karpenko accepts the call to teach 5th and 6th grade at Salem. Cindy (Kuecker) Steinke resigns her call as 3-4 grade teacher to be a full time mom. DeLyte Schultz accepts a full time call to teach 3-4 grade. Kathy Strong accepts a call as kindergarten teacher.