ST. JOHN LUTHERAN CHURCH
(The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod)
A family united by faith in Christ gathering around God's Word and Sacraments.
To reach out in Christ-like concern and Christ-borne love to each other and to those without Christ!
140 Years of History
During Mr. Emrich's last term of teaching, 1884-85, some members voiced concern relative to the crowded conditions in the small frame school building. Their concern prompted consideration of erecting a larger school building as there was also prospect of increased enrollment in the coming years. Discussion continued during the next four years. Pastor Senne taught the 1885-86 term. On May 16, 1886, the voters called Mr. Cornelius Prohl. He accepted the call. In the fall of 1886 he became the second called teacher of the school. In April, 1888, the voters elected to drill the well at the parsonage deeper. On a Sunday near June 25, 1888 the Adam Kratzers invited the congregation to their farm on Hendricks Creek to celebrate the silver anniversary of their marriage. They served dinner to a large crowd. Boiled, baked, and fried corn-fed fresh German carp from their spring-fed pond highlighted the dinner menu. The children would not eat boiled carp (fish). The carp were dip-net caught, put in cold spring water in a large tank on a spring-wagon, and transported to the farmyard where they were killed, dressed, and washed in spring water to be ready for cooking. On September 25, 1888, The Kansas District comprising Kansas and Colorado was organized in Leavenworth. On November 4, 1888, Mr. Prohl asked for a release in order that he could accept a call to Bremen, Kansas. It was granted. Pastor Senne completed the school term. On March 31, 1889, the voters elected to call a teacher at a salary of $300 a year and furnish housing and fuel. They also discussed removing the stone fence. Mr. Feiden volunteered to remove the stone fence. Mission Festival was to be held on the sixth Sunday after Trinity. The morning service was to be a German service; the afternoon service was to be an English service. At the June 30, 1889, meeting it was reported that Henry Albrecht had accepted the call to teach.In the fall Mr. Albrecht opened the school term with an enrollment of 62 students. How could 62 students be seated in an 18'x28' room?! At the October 6, 1889 meeting it was announced that the teacher was to get school books. Adam Kratzer volunteered to furnish and set hitching posts. The estimated enrollment for 1890 was 68 students. On October 31, 1889 the voters voted to build a stone school on the site west of the church. On December 8, 1889, they decided that the building should be 28'x50'. The hall on the north was to be 8' wide. On December 26, 1889, they voted that the second story should be 10 ½' high. The information was to be printed in the local paper. On January 17, 1890 bids for the building were received. August Zeckser (August Zeckser, (Junior's) grandfather) contacted the mason work for $895.60 which included furnishing the sand and caulking. Mr. H. Richter contracted the carpenter work for $715 and Mr. August Ohst contracted the painting for $156. However the total cost was $2,600. After serving St. John for nearly twenty-one (21) years Pastor Senne received a peaceful release to accept a call to a church near Paola, Kansas. He preached his farewell sermon on Easter Monday, 1890. He did not see the completion of the new two-story stone school building. Rev. Fred Pennekamp, who was then the first president of the newly organized Kansas District, was extended a call with a salary of $500 a year and house and fuel furnished. He accepted the call and was installed three weeks later at a two o'clock service. The new two-story stone school building was dedicated on August 17, 1890. Mr. Albrecht lived on the second floor of the new school. Rev. Pennekamp taught the confirmands in the north room. Mr. Albrecht kept 62 children in line. Only by faith and trust in Christ could they have conquered gloom As they studied in an 18'x28' room. With 68 students expected next term The need for a new building the voters did confirm. When the plans were made I really don't know But in April the signs of a new building did show. Near by were heard sounds of a pick and shovel Muffled by harness' squeaks as horses aided earth's removal. Soon dirt was removed on the 50x28 For the strong foundations so deep and so straight. A steady held chisel and a hammer's hard blow Shaped rock for the walls to fit row on row. Door and window opening were carefully measured And fitted top and bottom with stones by me treasured. Mr. August Zeckser's careful work with stone Soon to a building had grown. Mr. Richter's crew with occasional laughter Soon placed each joint and rafter. Nailed each board and shingle with care For nails were precious with few to spare. Then after nailing boards to the floor They placed each window and door. On second floor partitions were built for a living quarter To serve as a home for the Lutheran school teacher. A room on the north to be used each school day For confirmation instruction the congregation did say. Sturdy wooden stairs were built up to the south door For convenience in reaching the second floor, To ease in carrying household and wash water all From the cistern and well near the south wall. Also for carrying wood and coal up stair after stair For cooking and for heating the rooms up there. Without power tools the 50x28 two-story stone school was built With hard work. From April to August - it was finished! Then near the end of summer vacation Came the happy day of dedication. Praise in German ascended to our God Almighty. Oh! What joy in September! Each girl and boy could long remember, How they moved double desks and put them in place In the first floor room which gave them much space.