St. Paul Lutheran Church is named after the Apostle Paul, the missionary to the Gentile world. To bear such a name and to live up to the meaning requires a dedicated concern for the love of Jesus Christ.
The potential for a Lutheran Church in Anamosa was recognized by Rev. J. P. Willms, then pastor of the neighboring Wayne Zion Lutheran Church. The first Lutheran services held in Anamosa were held in the Baptist Church by Rev. J. P. Willms. Other places of worship during the early days of the church were the Congregational Church, Hotz Hall, Powers Court and in a hall above Barker's store. Pastor H. A. Diers of St. John's Lutheran Church, Olin, Iowa also helped out with the preaching services at this time.
On the evening of August 29, 1923, a meeting was called by Rev. H. A. Diers for the purpose of the organization of a church. The first council members of this church were H. H. Doden, Treasurer; A. H. Fischer, Secretary; Warner Heiken and Edward Herren, Deacons; J. A. Gerdes, Carl Westphal and Henry Rickels, Trustees.
Rev. H. A. Diers conducted services at St. Paul every other week until Rev. Werner Fritschel arrived for installation as the first resident pastor in March, 1924.
The first baby to be baptized was Duane Herren on September 26, 1923. The first marriage was of Edward Mohr and Viola Litts who were married on September 12, 1924. The first confirmation class consisted of four young ladies, Louise Gerdes, Mildred Heiken, Hanna Ehlers and Frances Dircks. Mrs. Henry Rickels was the first organist. The first funerals were a young mother and daughter. Mrs. G. F. Rickels gave birth to a daughter, Ruth Mary Rickels who lived just six hours on March 6, 1925. Mrs. Rickels died just six days later. Charter members of St. Paul are Warner Heiken, Ed Harms, Carl Westphal, Henry Ehlers, John Ehlers, Ralph Zimmerman, Albert Fisher, Henry Doden, John Gerdes, Henry Rickels, Chris Dircks and Charles Fiedler.
The parsonage and adjoining lot were bought on June 15, 1924 for $5,000.00 from A. W. Preston. In the summer of 1924 construction of the chapel was begun. The chapel was dedicated July 20, 1924. The congregation used the chapel for worship, education and youth work until 1931. In the summer of 1931 upon advice of the Iowa District Mission Board the congregation purchased the present church building called Power's Court for $4,000.00. The original church building was built in 1902 by the Presbyterians. They dedicated it to the service of God on May 3, 1903. The stone for the building was furnished by James Lawrence and was taken from his quarry. On December 17, 1914 the property was sold to the Roman Catholic Church. At first it was used as a recreation hall known as Power's Court. When the Catholic Church burned in 1926 the building was used by them as a place of worship until 1928. In August of 1931 the Board of Trustees of the St. Paul Lutheran Church purchased the property from the Catholic Guild. Since the interior was empty and in need of repair $1,200.00 was spent to remodel and furnish the church. The church was dedicated on December 6, 1931.
On June 4, 1953 at a special meeting the congregation voted to start a church remodeling project. The work was started April n19, 1954. The Narthex, entrance, balcony, Chancel area, three upstairs classrooms, the church office and the kitchen were added to the building proper. Interior remodeling and new furnishings were included in the project. The first services were held in the newly remodeled church on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1954. The rededication services were held June 26, 1955. During the period of remodeling services were held in the former Schumacher Furniture Store and in the High School Auditorium.
The necessity of replacing the old parsonage resulted in a new parsonage. Bids were let on April 29, 1958. Work was started that summer and on October 5, 1958 it was dedicated.
On March 15, 1964 in a special meeting the congregation voted to purchase a portion of the Anamosa Lumber company lot adjacent to the parsonage for a new a Parish Education unit. Ground breaking services were held on October 18, 1964 and on August 8, 1965 we dedicated our new Parish Education building.
In 1973 the Snyder property was purchase next to the church building and was made into a parking lot.
In February of 1987 an extensive remodeling was undertaken of the church, educational building and the parsonage. Much remains to be done.
Pastors who have served St. Paul:
Rev. J. P. Willms & Rev. A. H. Diers, 1923–1924
Rev. Werner Fritschel, 1924–1927
Rev. August Matthias, 1927–1939, (Also served as chaplain at Reformatory for eleven years)
Rev. H. L. Buesing, 1939–1950
Rev. H. E. Hahn, 1951–1955
Rev. J. A. Siefkes, 1956–1961
Rev. L. C. Beener, 1961–1968
Rev. W. A. Behrens, 1968–1973
Rev. Marvin Mueller, 1973–1979
Rev. Richard Kling & Rev. Victor Nelson, 1980–1983
Rev. Victor Nelson, 1983–1986
Rev. David Hagstrom & Rev. Jane Hagstrom are the present Pastors who have just begun their ministry on April 1, 1987.
Pastors who served St. Paul as interim pastors:
Dr. S. F. Salzmann
Rev. Waldamar Gies
Rev. William Palmquist
Rev. Ronald Bronemann
Rev. Palmer Sevig served the congregation as an Associate Pastor from 1971–1972. He worked one day a week at the Reformatory. He was granted his leave in 1972 to become full time Protestant Chaplain at the Reformatory.
Interns who served at St. Paul:
Roger Grow, 1963–1964
Nolan Harmon, 1969–1971
Steve Humburg, 1975–1977
Dennis Schmidt, 1977–1978
Craig Bowyer, 1983–1986
Pastors ordained at St. Paul:
Nolan Harmon on January 17, 1971
Dennis Dirks on June 20, 1971
Craig Bowyer on August 17, 1986
From its small beginnings the congregation has grown. We now have 904 baptized members and 704 confirmed members. One son, Dennis Dirks, has been ordained into the ministry. God has richly blessed this congregation during its 64 years of history. The congregation gives thanks to God for all who have faithfully served and are still serving the Lord. In spite of the growth the challenge remains the same—to spread the word of God that souls might have eternal life. God had been good to St. Paul.
Sharon Oltmanns transcribed and submitted the St. Paul's information.