Ted Woznicki Merrick House History

History of Immanuel Lutheran Church

June 14th, 2007

immanuel50thanniversary3.jpg2928 Scranton Rd.  Immanuel Lutheran Church traces its history to Trinity Lutheran Church on West 30th St. in Cleveland.  In 1853, Trinity opened their first school on the West 30th St. property.  Because so many of the members were locating in the “Brooklyn” (of which Tremont was a part) area, a second school was erected facing Seymour Ave., off Scranton Road (in Tremont).  Candidate of Theology, Henry Weseloh, was brought to Cleveland from Germany to assist Pastor Niemann, of Trinity in 1876.  Aside from being assistant pastor at Trinity, it was understood he should devote himself especially to “Brooklyn” with the thought of establishing a new congregation there.

The new congregation in “Brooklyn” was formally organized on June 19, 1880, taking the name of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church.  On July 18, 1880 the new church building was dedicated.  The church’s statistics were:  48 feet wide, 100 feet deep, the steeple 144 feet high.  The cornerstone was laid on September 7, 1879, and contained the following items:  The Bible, Book of Concord, Luthern Hymn Book, Luther’s catechism, Lutheraner, Lehre und Wehre, Cleveland Leader and the history of the congregation.  The cornerstone remains unopened.

The congregation grew rapidly from its original 537 communicants and 58 voting members.  The first baptism on the new church property took place February 18, 1880 when Olga Borchert was baptized.  The first marriage ceremony was held on March 30, 1880 when Catharina Ficken married Heinrich Meyer.  By 1881 the school enrollment had increased to 403.  Three teachers taught all these children.  By 1884 the congregation numbered 2,354 baptized members.  The decision was made to begin a new congregation, splitting the present parish at Clark St.  In five years Immanual had grown from being itself an offshoot of Trinity to having its own daughter church.  This did not stop the growth of Immanuel, which had to build a balcony in 1885 to handle the overflow of worshipers.

In 1909 Cleveland was hit by a tornado that did great damage in the city.  Much damage was done to the church building when a large part of the upper structure of the church was torn off.  The steeple was so insecure that it was later removed.  As a result of the damage to the church and school, the church was entirely renovated.

On June 29, 1930 the congregation celebrated its Golden Anniversary.  The church had been renovated inside and out, and a new three manual Estey organ, one of the finest organs in the city, had been installed.  During the depression many of the church’s members were out of work.  And, during World War II and the conflict in Korea, many sons and daughters of the parish faced death. 

In 1978 the church was confronted with a new faith-building crisis.  Highway construction nearby had caused a shift in subterranean water tables such that the foundation of the church shifted.  The congregation declared their intention to stay at the location and authorized a major reconstruction project which was ultimately to cost $100.000 – more than the church cost originally.  The church began its second century with confidence:  the buildings are sound, the congregation is sound, the Word of God is still proclaimed in both German and English.

 Information from the parish archives and used with permission from Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Entry Filed under: Churches

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