Sacred Heart Church

Congregational Church

Christ Lutheran Church

(Netherlands Reformed)

Alvord Church Histories


Sacred Heart Church

Moved by a deep sense of gratitude for the faith they possessed and realizing the true value of it, the early Catholics in and around Alvord made plans for a church in their own town. Before 1891 they went to Rock Rapids or Rock Valley to fulfill their religious obligations.

A committee was chosen from among the group of early parishioners to attend to the various business transactions but with every member of the congregation contributing more or less to the success of the new church. Materials for the church were purchased from local business firms as F.A. Haselman, W.P. Page, J. Paulsen, while Sioux City, Minneapolis and Chicago firms furnished articles of religious aspects. Henry Wellendorf, a carpenter and businessman of Alvord, was chosen as contractor, with William Snyder laying the foundation of the Sacred Heart Church located on the northeast corner of block seven facing east. The rectory was located on the northwest corner of the same block west of the main street.

The following and their families made up the first parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish in Alvord: Joe Schnee, Joe Umhoefer, Gregory Umhoefer, John Drier, Jim Allen, Henry Wellendorf, Bernard Holthaus, Fred Kippley, James Waters, Tom Cleary, Leo Krebers, Henry Donnelly, Jacob Kramer, William and Chris Barron, William Kiner, Jim and Patrick Kelly, Nick Sehr, Daniel McMullen, Matthew Fahey, Mrs. Fagen, Maurice O'Connor, Pat Reynolds, Theodore Goldsmith, Thomas Levins, Tom Quinn, John O'Meara, Wm. O'Meara, Stephen Kohl, Mr. and Mrs. Jensen, John Spain, Wm. Hanragan, John McCarty, Geo. Weisensee, Sr., McDermott Bros., Patrick and Bridget Coyne, Frank Leiterman, E.D. Rogers, Martin Sullivan, and the Barth, Healy, Thiel and Pat Collinan families. No doubt there are a few other names that could be recalled.

Record books show that the Altar Society was established in August 1903 uniting with the Rosary Society in 1910. In that year Mrs. James Allen and Mrs. Wm. O'Meara were the officers. The Altar Society is in existence today and is living up to its primary purpose of each member taking her turn to help keep the house of the Lord a worthy place for Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Sacred Heart Church was a mission of Rock Rapids, with Father Thomas Dullard as pastor until December of 1893. In that month the parish received its first resident pastor, Father James McCormick, and during his pastorate St. Mary's of Doon became a mission of Alvord. St. Mary's remained a mission of Alvord until its closing in October 1965. Father McCormick served as pastor until October 13, 1898.

The following priests are his Successors:
Rev. W.P. Desmond 1898-1905
Rev. Gabriel O'Rourke 1954-1956
Rev. L. Cooper 1905-1911
Rev. E. Everett Apt 1956-1959
Rev. J. Fitzpatrick 1911-1912
Rev. Ralph Reinhart 1959-1961
Rev. F. LeBlond 1912-1913
Rev. Dale Koster 1961-1965
Rev. F. Wren 1913-1915
Rev. Charles F. Bormann 1965-1966
Rev. P. Murphy 1915-1919
Rev. Gerald Fisch 1966-1968
Rev. J.A. Roder 1919-1927
Rev. Jerome Loutsch 1968-1970
Rev. R. Graf 1927-1934
Monsignor Richard Zenk 1970-1972
Rev. Wm. Buchholz 1934-1943
Rev. P.J. Nooney 1972-1979
Rev. Leo Kelm 1943-1944
Rev. Gerald Zeman 1977-1979
Rev. George Benjamin 1944
Rev. John M. Thomas 1979-1981
Rev. Linus Eisenbacher 1944-1951
Rev. D.W. Wingert 1981-1986
Rev. Elmer Thom 1951-1952
Rev. Donald Smith 1986
Rev. Vincent Beacom 1952-1954

On December 8, 1958, during Father Apt's pastorate, while the interior of the church was in the process of being redecorated, it burst into flames and was completely destroyed. Thus the parishioners at that time in our history found it necessary to plan and build a new church. It was built on practically the same location. On Thursday, February 25, 1960, the church was officially dedicated by the Most Reverend Bishop, Joseph M. Mueller, with Father Reinhart as pastor.

On September 7, 1991, Sacred Heart Church celebrated it's centennial with a Mass at 5:30 p.m. and a catered meal. The Mass was co-celebrated by Bishop Laurence Soens and Father Donald Smith resident priest. Also present was Monsignor Zenk, a former pastor at the church. During the Mass, a surprise storm hit the town and surrounding area. Many trees and branches were broken making the streets impassable for a time.


The Congregational Church

In 1892, with the growing of Alvord and the need for more religious facilities, the Congregational people built the second church in town. Rev. Leichliter, of Larchwood, assisted in the organization of the church and became the first pastor.

The congregation was well represented in Alvord with members from town and the surrounding country attending services when they were held. Services were irregular, however, as there was no resident pastor at that time.

Later history of the church is vague, as there were no records available to the writer. However, a former member of the church, Mrs. Ed Ahrens (Esther Meyer), remembered some of the names of the Ladies Aid. They are as follows-Mrs. Henry Meyer, Mrs. Wm. Page, Mrs. Frank Waumett, Mrs. Jake Fields, Mrs. Frank Dell, Mrs. Art Ripley, Mrs. C.F. Fitzgerald, Mrs. Henry Jensen, Mrs. S.E. Blair, Mrs. Maude Brake, Mrs. Jesse Schemmer, and Myrtle Lake.

Rev. Jensen, a later pastor, lived in a bungalow just to the south of the church. This house is still standing. Rev. John Duncan also lived there later. Another pastor, Rev. Mrs.

Netherlands Reformed Church

Blandford, also an ordained minister, came here every Sunday while her husband was serving the Doon Congregation. Rev. Blandford was probably the first woman who had been ordained to the ministry to serve a parish in Lyon County at the Congregational Church in Alvord from 1917-1921. After the Blandfords left, the church was served for a time, by Rev. Carl P. Bast, who was the Rock Rapids pastor for the Congregational Church. After he moved the church was closed.

The church property was sold to the Netherlands Reformed denomination in 1943 and was used by them for a number of years, and closed in 1975.




Christ Lutheran Church

It was in the early 1880's that the Lutheran activity began, mostly to the south and west of the present Alvord area. The first Lutherans of the community were of the Schleswig-Holstein, Germany descent. They attracted many other friends and relatives who were living in the Davenport, Iowa area. There was no church as yet and services were presumably held in the members' homes. The first pastors to serve the area, which was a mission, were Pastors Schussler of Hull, and Hopf of Rock Valley.

On June 11, 1893, the first business meeting was held. It was at

Alvord Lutheran Parsonage - 1968

this meeting that it was decided to build a church. Two acres of land were purchased from H.J. Schneede and it was here that the church was built. Rev. H. Flathmann, who was the congregation's first pastor, was present at the meeting and helped the members to start the church. At this same meeting the official name of The Evangelical Christ Lutheran Church was adopted. The constitution was drawn up and after adoption was signed by the charter members-Adolph Kruse, F. Block, Carsten Groth, Henry M. Schmidt, Henry Paulsen, Christian Siefeldt, John Fiebelkorn, Peter Nessler, Henry Folkers, H. Wellendorf, Wm. Lueneberg, Juedgen Engelbrecht, Max Trzynka, and H. Flathmann. A portion of the new church served as a home for the pastor and school rooms.

In 1895 2 acres were purchased for use as a cemetery. Also in this year Rev. Fischer became pastor but was forced to resign because of ill health.

Adolph Kruse, Fred Boysen, Jacob Reimers and John Fiebelkorn signed and filed the articles of incorporation on July 27, 1908.

The congregation experienced change and struggle. A crucial period was the first decade of the 20th century. At one point the church council had been disbanded at the absence of a pastor, which left the leading women to seek a way to continue the church. It was then decided to have a Sunday School to keep the children in church. 1913 was a joyful year when Rev. Jahr was called, and interest in the congregation grew. It was during Rev. Jahr's years as pastor that many people were brought into church membership.

The church building as seen today was constructed one step at a time. In 1914 the portion which served as a home for the pastor was made part of the church proper after a parsonage had been built.

In 1916 electric lights were installed. In 1920 the church tower was rebuilt and a bell was added. In 1928 the church was widened and a basement dug. In 1941 a hardwood floor was laid. In 1953 the entrance was enlarged and a new kitchen built. In 1967 construction of a 16'x38' educational addition was begun. Dedication is being planned for the summer of 1968.

Christ Lutheran Church has a membership of 324 baptized persons and 240 confirmed adults. It is associated with the American Lutheran Church, which has its main office at Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The pastors from past until present are- H.F. Flathmann, E.H. Gillman, Ed Goeringer, Erwin H. Jahnr, Ewald Senst, A.G. Bretthauer, Fred C. Lutz, Arnold Sommer, Harold Schmidt, A. Duane Manson, Raymond Ehrman, David Gosewisch, John Kronlokken, E.S. Webb, John Planz, and Kevin Weeks. At the present time the church is served by an interim pastor, Ray Heidenson.

Dedication of the education addition was held June 23, 1968. The addition was made possible by a $10,000 gift from Karl Hasselmann who was born and raised in the Alvord-Rock Rapids area, and it was given in memory of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ernst Hasselmann. The dedication was combined with a day of special services in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the church. Rev. Ervin Schemmel, (now deceased), a son of the congregation, spoke at the morning services. Former pastors were also present and spoke at the services. The church's centennial was celebrated on June 13, 1993 with special services and with former pastors present.

Source: Alvord, Iowa Centennial A Century of Memories and a Dream for the Future 1893-1993
with written permission from Mary Ann Bosler.

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