Elbe Lutheran Church (Elbe, Washington) Records

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ELCA 7.2.3

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Elbe Lutheran Church (Elbe, Washington) Records


  • 1906-1991 (Creation)
  • 1906-1991 (Creation)


2 boxes

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Administrative history

Pastor Karl Kilian of Peace Lutheran, an Ohio Synod congregation in Puyallup, established this congregation as a mission in Elbe, Washington. He conducted services periodically in the Town Hall. Most of the members came from Germany and services were conducted in German. One of the members, Heinrich Lutkens, donated the building site and the present church, now on the National Register of Historic Places. It once was a feature in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” because of its unique size and design.

Karl Kilian served until 1933. Other pastors who came from Puyallup were Fred H. Theuer (1933-1937) and E. H. Jahr (1937-1947). The congregation was closed in 1948. After that time the little church went through of variety of stages, and in 1973, under the leadership of retired pastor Ervin E. Krebs of Tacoma, the place revived. The physical plant was restored, services began to be held on a monthly basis, and the church became a tourist attraction. Many volunteers worked in various phases of the restoration. In April of 1984 the Historic Elbe Church Association was organized. The title for the property was given to the American Lutheran Church, and administration of the Association is the responsibility of the Rainier Conference. The church has been designated as the Bishop’s Church of the North Pacific District, and all District Bishops and Presidents of the Lutheran Church worldwide have been designated “honorary pastors”.

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Contains the records of Elbe Lutheran Church in Elbe, Washington, including correspondence, publications, manuscripts, photos, glass negatives, and legal, historical, administrative, and organizational documents.

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