Norwegian Synod (1853-1917)
Lake View Lutheran Church (First Norwegian)
|Lake View Lutheran Church was originally known as the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran
Church of Chicago and later as First Norwegian. It was organized in 1848 as a member of
the Franckean Synod of the General Synod, joining the Northern Illinois Synod in 1851, the
Augustana Synod in 1860, and the Norwegian Synod in 1866.
Although some work among Scandinavian Lutherans in Chicago may have been started as early as 1834, a Scandinavian Lutheran mission was in operation by 1843. In 1847, the Missouri Synod was organized at First St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Chicago. The pastor, Rev. C.A.T. Selle, was interested in work among the Scandinavian immigrants in the city. At his urging, the Missouri Synod contributed $600 toward establishing a Scandinavian congregation.
The Scandinavian Lutheran mission began constructing a building on Superior, between LaSalle and Wells. The nearly completed structure was destroyed by a wind storm, however, and the funds were gone. In distress, the congregation called to theological student Paul Andersen for aid. Coming to Chicago, he helped the congregation formally organized as the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Chicago on Jan. 6, 1848. Meeting first in the Bethel Chapel on Kinzie Street, between Franklin and Kingsbury Streets, the congregation took over the property on Superior and rebuilt.
English services were begun at an early date, including an English Sunday School in 1848. In 1852, a group of Swedish immigrants were stranded in Chicago. Coming to their aid, Rev. Andersen and his congregation helped establish them and to organize a Swedish Lutheran congregation. This congregation became Immanuel Lutheran Church. For a time the two congregations worshipped jointly, but when the Norwegian congregation decided to build a new building, Immanuel purchased the old one in 1855.
Dedicated in 1855, the new building was constructed on the corner of Erie and Franklin Streets. The congregation changed its name to the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Chicago at this time.
The Chicago Fire in 1871 destroyed a large portion of the building. The congregation worshipped for nearly three years in temporary quarters, including the basement of Rev. C.J.P. Petersen's home on Peoria St., and at Our Saviors Lutheran Church (1858, Norwegian Synod) on May and Erie Streets. The church was rebuilt on the same site in 1874 using some of the salvaged material.
After the fire, many Scandinavians had relocated throughout Chicago, especially on the North and West Sides. It was decided to move the congregation to the North Side. Those on the South Side were encouraged to join Our Saviors. Rev. Daniel Kvaase accompanied them to Our Saviors to serve as the assistant to Rev. Juul. Those on the West Side were given half of the proceeds from the sale of the building, to be used for the establishment of Christ English Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Those on the North Side in 1891 purchased lots at Osgood (now Kenmore) and Roscoe Streets, in the Lakeview district. A church building was purchased from Ravenswood Methodist Church at Hermitage and Sunnyside Aves., and moved two miles to Osgood and Roscoe.
In 1922 the congregation voted to join the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America. In 1958 the popularly-used name Lake View Lutheran Church was formally adopted
In 1960 because of lack of space, a new building was constructed at 835 W. Addison St., at Rota St. On Nov. 5, 1961 the congregation moved into the new building.
"Lake View Lutheran Church, The Norwegian-Evangelical Lutheran Church of Chicago, Early History," 1948.
Norlie, O.M., ed., Norsk Lutherske Menigheter i Amerika, 1843-1916. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1918.
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