History of Plattville Lutheran
From 1851 to 1881 the early settlers of the Lutheran faith in Seward and Lisbon Townships in Kendall County held memberships in the Lisbon congregation served by Pastor PA. Rasmussen. The present congregation was organized by Pastor PA. Rasmussen in 1881 with 82 souls. It has not only held its own, but has had its natural growth.
The name was originally “The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of the Unaltered Augsburg confession” at Plattville, Kendall County, Illinois. Plattville was then the post office, but in lieu of the long name it was called “Plattville Lutheran Church”, though it is about three and one-half miles southeast of the village.
By July 7, 1881 the foundation had been laid for the new church. On September 8, 1881 the church was enclosed and the Rec Mr.. Rasmussen preached the first sermon on Sunday, September 13. Temporary seats were put in for the occasion. The church was dedicated on May 17, 1882 with a membership of 82 souls. The church was crowded for this occasion.
Just after the turn of the century, in 1903, the church was made larger by adding onto the end of it and also adding a schoolroom for Sunday School and Norwegian School. For quite a while we had two months of school, one in March and one in November. At that time the pulpit was lowered and the chancel was raised and carpeted. A new reed organ was bought and Eva Olson Burgess was the first organist. A few years later, a double reed organ was purchased.
In 1920 English services began, but only every three weeks and in the evenings. All preaching services at that time were once every three weeks. The other Sundays, Sunday School, followed by prayer meeting took place.
In 1923, frosted windows were purchased. Considerable remodeling was done in 1924 on the church interior, such as metal ceilings and sides, new carpeting on the chancel, and linoleum on the aisle. A new altar and pulpit were bought at a total cost of $600.00. The first piano was bought in 1937. A cookstove for the schoolhouse was purchased in 1928 which made it more convenient to serve dinners at bazaars. That same year, new Delco lighting was installed to replace the carbide lamps. Prior to this, three kerosene lamps, hung from the ceiling, had furnished lighting for the church.
The 50th Anniversary of the church was celebrated July 12, 1931 along with the Mid-Summer Mission meeting of the Illinois Circuit.
Two circulating heaters were bought to replace the potbellied stoves in 1932 – – big improvement. By 1935 we felt the need for a basement. It was voted on, carried and work began. An addition was added to the west side along with a full basement. The chancel was moved to the west, raised, and carpeted. A bell was donated for the tower in 1935. About this time the old horse sheds to the west edge of the church yard were torn down.
The cornerstone was laid November 3, 1935, rededicated in 1936 with special ceremonies.
The 75th Anniversary of our church was celebrated on September 21-23, 1956. These were three very festive days. Former pastors and many neighboring pastors joined in the celebration.
We became a one point parish parish 1959 and purchased the home of the late, Mrs. Dan Iverson in Plattville as our parsonage.
The Sacristy was added in 1965 which provides an ideal study for our pastors.
Another big improvement to the church was made in 1961 added an addition on the east side, basement for more Sunday School room, and more seating capacity in the auditorium. That was a big job, too, and much work was done by the men of the church.
The year 1968 brought new changes in the basement. The kitchen was moved from the west section to the northeast center section and the heating systems two units changed to one bottle gas unit. New draperies were hung in the basement section.
During 1974-75 a new parsonage was built across from the church at an approximate cost of $56,000. Our Pastor and family moved in February 26, 1975. Dedication of the parsonage was held a little later in 1975.
Considerable remodeling was done in the church proper in 1978. The walls and ceiling were painted gold, new wood paneling placed around the lower edge of the walls, steps widened leading to the chancel, pulpit moved to the north arch, center aisle instead of two aisles, red carpeting laid throughout, and memorial pews with padded seats were added. The total cost, including a new Electrolux, was $14,918.35. This really made the church a beautiful place to worship. The present baptized membership is 437 souls.
The latest remodeling, 1980-81, includes a 20 foot by 28 foot new entry to the south, changed west stairway, closed west door, new room (to be called the Erickson Music Room) on the southwest with basement under for Sunday School room and storage space. The back entry with new steps, encloses the door to the furnace room, new sidewalks and landscaping complete this project. Estimated cost of remodeling is $44,200. This project was made possible by a generous bequest by John Erickson, a long time member of the church.
We find that our ancestors carefully preserved their faith on the land of America. As in Norway, a house of worship was important to them in America so they built one here in the Midwest prairie. Through faithful pastors and Christian homes that faith was brought down to us. We praise Cod for this precious heritage and want to pass it on to the generations following us.
The Erickson addition was dedicated on May 17, 1981. This project was supervised by Harvey Burgess. A bequest from John Erickson, long time member of the congregation, made this project possible. The Lutheran book of Worship and an Aeoline Stop addition to the pipe organ were also purchased from this bequest.
In 1998 the church was made handicap accessible with ground level entrance, elevator and rest room addition was made possible by a large bequest from the Ivar and Viola (Knudson) Meland estate.
The basement floor was carpeted in 1999. The women’s congregational unit raised the funds for this project
A lighted cross was added to the church steeple in 2000 in memory of Verna Mae (Bentson) Fox.
A new Rodgers organ was dedicated on June 2, 2002. Memorial gifts honoring loved ones gave the congregation this gift
In 2006 an opportunity tree gave members projects they could choose to do. A lot of cleaning, painting and maintenance jobs were done to get ready for the 125th Anniversary celebration. New red carpeting was installed in the narthex and Erickson music room.
The 125th Anniversary celebration started with the dedication of the banner, “The LORD is my Light and my Salvation” Psalm 27:1 on January 15th. History of Norwegian settlers in Seward Township and the church were shared. The women’s congregational unit served a stone soup luncheon. Each family brought two cups of raw vegetable for the soup pot.
Heritage Sunday was observed on Sunday, May 21st. Rev. Vernon T. Tweedt gave the message. String ensemble of Cina, Sonja and Kristin, accompanied by Gloria Gilbertson, offertory music.
The first anniversary offering was received for the Fund for leaders in Mission/seminary scholarships.
Smorgasbord dinner was served at noon to 125 members and guests.
Congregational reunion for all members, past and present, was held July 8th. An ice cream social was served, followed by time for fellowship and renewing of old friendships. A concert by “Spirit Harmony,” a men’s Gospel quartet from Oregon, IL, was enjoyed by all.
The Anniversary Worship on Sunday, October 1st with Bishop Gary M. Wollersheim, Bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod of the ELCA, concluded our year of celebrating. A catered dinner was served.