W5940 Chestnut St Packwaukee WI 53953 Church: 608-589-5138 Dual Parish Office: 608-586-5877 Pastoral Care: 920-293-4312
Sunday Morning Services: 8:30am Communion Sunday: 1st and 3rd
Packwaukee was a thriving community in the late 1800’s, located on the north shore of Buffalo Lake on the Fox River. Packwaukee had a school (built about 1851), a lumber yard, four stores, two hotels, a blacksmith shop, two wagon shops, a tailor, shoemaking shop, a sandstone quarry, railroad station, lawyers, butchers, milliners, lodges & the Fox River Boat Lines. With all this, there was only one church. The new Presbyterian Church had been dedicated on November 23, 1871. During the coming years, the Presbyterian congregation was to host temperance meetings, Christian crusades & share their church with the Methodists & later with the German-speaking Lutherans of the area. The first Lutheran congregational meeting was held at the Presbyterian Church on December 30, 1897. It was to officially form the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. Two earlier meetings were held to draft the constitution that was accepted point by point with the Iowa Synod. Basically, the church was founded on the acceptance of the Old & New Testaments of the Bible as Holy Scripture inspired by God. As Evangelical Lutherans, its members held Luther’s Catechism & the Augsburg Confession as containing God’s direction for their lives as Christians with the promise of “God’s ever being near them.” The constitution stressed the importance of teaching the children in the Scripture. The pastor was to be responsible for this until at such time as a trained teacher could take over the duties. The founding fathers were: Ferdinand Hinz, Christ Baker, Fred H. Miller, John S. Miller, Edward Baartz, Herman Groskreutz, Julius Kluth, August Jeis, Carl Tonn, G. Hell, Gust Labrenz, August Wnoch, Fritz Pluth & Albert Hinze. On May 2, 1898, the congregation voted to build a church of their own. It was to measure 26-feetx36-feet. On September 7, 1898, the property on which the present church stands, was purchased from Sarah Fink, Administratrix of the Chester Fink estate for $50.00. The church was then built in the fall of 1898. Incorporation papers for Packwaukee Lutheran Church were drawn up on October 12, 1898. A horse barn was added in 1901. Rev. Christian Sund, Pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Harrisville, was instrumental in helping form the Trinity congregation. He held services every other Sunday, first in the Presbyterian Church and then in the new building from 1897 to 1904. In 1901, plans were made to hold a Jubilee twice a year - spring & fall. Four housewives were in charge of the altar and were to show good arrangements for these festivals. The altar pieces, candlesticks, etc., bought this year, were to be of ‘choice quality’ silver. Rev. N. Mattheis served the congregation from 1904-1906 and Rev. F.W. Herz served as pastor from 1907 - 1911. Services were still being held every other Sunday, alternating with St. John Lutheran Church, Harrisville. The first mention of Sunday School was in 1907 when Gust Labrenz & Albert Thalacker were elected to be teachers. Also in 1907, annual church dues were assessed at $5.00 for the head of the house & $2.00 for his wife. Each member was asked to give an extra 75-cents to cover the church upkeep, the church servant (custodian) and the organist. The church servant had lots of chores to tend to, including keeping the horse barn clean and starting a fire on cold Sunday mornings. His wage was $3.00 per year. The horse barn was necessary to stable & feed the horses hay and as a shelter during the winter services. On February 15, 1912, the congregation discussed the problem of dropping attendance. They came to an agreement to break with the Iowa Synod and join the Missouri Synod with Westfield & Oxford. Rev. Carl Deitz of Westfield served Trinity from March 1912 - December 21, 1916. It was at this time that Trinity became a mission church of the Missouri Synod; signing a contract with no changes in the former constitution. As a mission church, the Synodical Mission Board matched funds for the pastor’s salary. Annual reports were made to the synod with a request for matching funds. As early as 1912, English services were held from time to time - the traditional services were done in German. Between the time Rev. Deitz left & Rev. Richter came, Rev. Theodore Gohlke served as vacancy pastor. Rev. Richter served from mid-1917 - 1918. About this time Trinity, along with its sister congregation at Oxford, formed their own parish - breaking away from Westfield. At the June 1917 congregational meeting, Oxford & Packwaukee were planning to rent a parsonage in Packwaukee. At the September meetings, the minutes read, “In case the congregation of Packwaukee could not agree with the congregation of Oxford with buying of the parsonage, we alone take the buying of the parsonage ourselves.” On October 1, 1917, the elders of Trinity did purchase the property from Archie Kinney for $800.00. Oxford offered to pay $25.00 a year for rent on the parsonage and $4.00 for the phone. The parish was served by Rev. Julius Wagner from 1918 - 1921. In 1921, the Mission Board added another congregation to the parish. This third church was in Coloma & the parsonage was to be located there. The parsonage in Packwaukee was then sold to William Tonn, a member of Trinity. Rev A. Ross served the newly-formed parish from 1921-1922. The last congregational meeting was held in this church on January 18, 1922. Sometime in the spring of 1922 the church was completely destroyed by fire. The same fire burned down most of the businesses in the village. While everyone was fighting the blaze downtown, a south wind carried sparks three blocks north to the church and before anyone noticed what was happening, it was too late to be saved. Until another church was built the congregation met at the parsonage for weekly services and special events. The Lutherans were then invited to use the Presbyterian Church again. Trinity gave $1.00 a week and shared half of the fuel expense.