Church: Curtiss – Peace Reformed (1905)


Surnames: Odland, Ecke, Bartels, Hake, Klessig, Gosse, Smith, Schultz, Schumacher, Boehm, Koeme, Crier, Mahlsted, Miller, Degnitz, Augustine, Utke, Buchholz, Lindau, Sheets, Strassburger, Dunow, Thieme, Luscher, Tonn, Minshall, Jakel

----Source: Olson Family Scrapbook

It was while Rev. Odland was here that the Peace (German) Reformed Church merged with us. This church had been formed on August 6, 1905 with the following members: August Ecke, Rudolf Bartels, Adolph Hake, Christ Klessig, Henry Gosse, Charles Smith, Carl Schultz, Johan Schumacher, Winzenz Boehm, Moritz Koerne, August Crier, John Mahlsted, Louis Horn and John Miller, Jr. The church was then built on the west side of town and dedicated on December 2, 1905. In 1906, the Ladies Aid was organized and in 1910, 2 1/2 acres was purchased from Jake Lapp for $350.00 for the purpose of a cemetery. This is known as the Pine Hill Cemetery. English services were conducted in 1912 in this church with one service a month done in English. In 1915, the pastors of the Sheboygan Classis held a conference at this church with the women of the church preparing meals for the day which were served in the village hall. In 1937, a new constitution was adopted and the name changed to Peace Evangelical and Reformed Church. In 1947, a furnace was installed and the church was also painted, insulated and reshingled. It was in 1952 that this church disbanded and joined the Evangelical (Norwegian) Lutheran Church to make a stronger parish, however services in the church west of Curtiss were discontinued and held in the Peace Church in Curtiss.
In 1955, it was decided to build a new church rather than remodel the old church. On April 20, 1956, ground was broken for the new building. Peace (German) Reformed Church was dismantled and most of the material was used in the construction of the new church. On October 6, 1957, the new Evangelical Lutheran Church was dedicated. Several former pastors came to take part in this dedication.

In 1962, the German Lutheran Church, "St. Paul's Kirche", merged with our church. Some members chose to go to another parish; those joining our church were: Walter Degnitz, Delmar Augustine, Mrs. Norma Utke, August Buchholz, George Lindau, Carl Sheets, John Strassburger, Henry Dunow, Arthur Thieme, Vilas Luscher and Arthur Tonn. It was ratified to become one undivided Lutheran witness under the name of St. Paul's American Lutheran Church, Curtiss, Wisconsin. On December 2, 1962, the Norwegian cemetery was deeded from the congregation to the St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery Association.

On November 10, 1963, it was voted to remodel the basement of our church, add a steeple and get a new electric organ. On June 14, 1970, it was voted to obtain new padded pews, carpet the center isle and chancel, convert to gas heat, expand and modernize the kitchen, refinish the woodwork of the church and parish hall and lower the voting age of members to all confirmed.

In the fall of 1975 and spring of 1976, the old parish hall was torn down and sold and a new hall and kitchen were built with a seating capacity of 100-125. In the summer of 1976, the German Lutheran Church, "St. Paul's Kirche", was also sold and torn down. The corner stone has been preserved and put by the present church.

At the present time the church has 100 families in membership with Rev. Alan C Minshall serving as pastor since 1978.

Let it be said in closing that we who were not present at the beginning of our church cannot appreciate the conditions under which it was started. We note well that every dollar spent for anything but sustenance in those times was a real sacrifice and yet it was not withheld when it came to building a church and starting a congregation. Those early men and women regarded this as a real necessity, as spiritual bread was regarded just as essential to life as bread for the body. Let us never forget that such was the spirit that built our church.

Submitted by: Jenny Jakel



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