Welcome to Rushville, Nebraska
This page features a short history of St Paul Lutheran Church.
The root of what would become St Paul Lutheran Church began in 1889 when a missionary of the Lutheran Church homesteaded northwest of Rushville, Nebraska. During those early years, services for the church were held in the Bennett school building or in members' homes. All services were held in German, a tradition that would continue for the next 25 years.
In 1895, the congregation obtained their first ordained minister that would make Rushville his home. Pastor Lange's church was still classified as a missionary and held their services in the Baptist church. Some of the names that appear in the 1898 ledger include Herman Steltenpohl, Henry Vahrenkamp, Henry Steltenpohl , M. Barth and Adam Weigand.
German M. E. Church
This church was located on Loofborrow street (one block east of
Main Street, two blocks south of what is now Highway 20).
In the 1910s, Lutheran services were held in this church.
My great-grandfather Joseph Warren Hindman's burial service was held
in this church on May 10, 1924. (Photo by Ray).
The congregation continued to grow, but a permanent structure had not yet been obtained. Over the coming years, services continued to be held in the Bennett school, in congregation members' homes and in the German Methodist Church (above). By 1914, $800 was raised to purchase the old Presbyterian Church located at Main Street and 5th Street (see below).
Turn of the century view of what would become St Paul Lutheran Church.
At the time of this photo, it would have still been the Presbyterian Church.
The view is looking north along the west side of Main Street.
The photographer is purported to be the famed S.D. Butcher.
The 1918 roster contained the following names: Max Barth, William Barth, Ed Barth, William Neff, Otto Barth, Walter Barth, Fred Schupbach, William Holtzberger, Henry Barth, Henry Steltenpohl, Jr and Herman Steltenpohl. A report from 1920 noted that the congregation numbered 85 members and 55 communicants, with an average Sunday attendance of 60.
Paster Herman Roth came to Rushville to serve the congregation in the spring of 1922 (serving both the Rushville and Gordon churches for the next 24 years). At that time, the pastor lived in the parsonage located at 412 S. Main Street and earned a salary of $600 per year.
Another view of early St Paul Lutheran Church.
The 1928 roster included Louise Sydow, J. Burtzloff Jr, Mrs Ed Reid, Charles Barth, Anton Rasmussen , Rosa Fluekinger, Mrs. John Rush, Jens Jensen, Ed Tiensvold, Gus Winters, Fred Sydow and Mrs. Harry Caparoon. By 1934, the congregation had 146 baptized members, 95 communicants and an average Sunday attendance of 47.
Over the next 20 years, St Paul Lutheran Church was served by a number of ministers: Pastor Krueger (1947-1949), Pastor Bringewatt (1949-1950), Pastor Wolf (1950-151), Pastor Schaefer (1951), Paster Boerger (1952-1954).
In 1954, the cornerstone was laid for the new church that would be a gift from Mrs. Ida Holtzberger in memory of her husband, William Holtzberger. The old church building was sold and moved to the south side of 5th Street (which was used for many years as the Odd Fellows Hall). The 1954 church board included Roy Myers, Donald Barth, Vernon Hindman, Anton Rasmussen , Martin Barth, Jens Jensen, Bill Rasmussen, Albert Barth, Ivan Hindman and Harley Jensen.
2009 view of St Paul Lutheran Church, prior to ramp being
The Diamond Anniversary of the congregation was observed on January 23, 1966.
This history was taken from the History of St Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, published in 1989.