On June 2, 2002 this congregation celebrated its 100th anniversary of ministry in this community. In those hundred years we have moved, built, remodeled, grown and changed with the changing times. However, the original purpose of this congregation--to provide worship, fellowship and service in a language that people can understand--has not changed.
On Sunday, June 1, 1901 English-language Lutheran services were offered in Platteville for the first time. The following day June 2, 56 adults were moved to sign a charter to open First English Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Rev. George P. Kabele, Chicago, IL presided over the opening of the congregation. The first action of the congregation was to establish a Sunday School.
The congregation’s first house of worship was located on Bonson Street next to the City Hall. When, in 1927, the City Hall was damaged in a fire, the congregation sold the Bonson Street facility to the city for City Hall re-building and expansion. The cornerstone for a new church on Pine Street was laid on September 9, 1928. At that time, the congregation had 350 confirmed members. The church was dedicated on May 5, 1929.
The sanctuary was designed in the Oxford style. (Three churches of this style were built in Wisconsin during this period of time. Ours is the only one of those churches still in use.) The church incurred $10,000 in debt to build the new church. But in 1929 when the stock market crashed, they were able to make very little progress on the mortgage. In 1942 the last mortgage payment was finally made and a mortgage-burning ceremony held.
After much growth in ministry and numbers, an education and fellowship wing was added to the church in 1956. A major remodeling and building project was completed again in 1999 with the addition of education, fellowship and office space and remodeling of the sanctuary.
Over the years this congregation has expended energy, prayer and financial wealth on missions both international and domestic, ministry with university students, educational ministries, care for the needy in our community, and worship.
One of our earlier church documents stated that the goal of the congregation was to insure that worship continues to speak to people in a language they understand. Although we are no longer having the conversation between English and German, we are continuing to update the ways we communicate our faith.