Day 90 - Augustana Church
Augustana Lutheran Church — 704 S. Eleventh Avenue, two blocks south of the Metrodome (612-332-8595; www.augustanampls.org).
In December 1857, the Reverend Peter Carlson preached the first Swedish Lutheran sermon in Minneapolis. Nine years later Carlson joined with eleven Swedes and Norwegians to organize the Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Church of Minneapolis. In 1867 the new congregation, now numbering twenty-nine communicants, joined the fledgling Augustana Synod and bought a lot on the corner of Washington Avenue and S. Thirteenth Avenue, just west of the Scandinavian neighborhood around Seven Corners. A year later the new church building was sufficiently finished to house the first service.
The enormous increase in Swedish immigrants in Minneapolis soon forced the congregation to look for new and larger space. By 1882 the members finished the present sand-colored church building on the corner of S. Eleventh Avenue and E. Seventh Street. On June 24, 1883, it was dedicated by the Reverend Erland Carlsson, who, with pastors Lars Paul Eshjörn and Tuve Nilsson Hasselquist, is considered a father of Swedish Lutheranism in North America.
Between 1874 and 1910, seven daughter congregations spun off from the mother Augustana congregation: Bethlehem (1847) at 2200 N. Fremont Avenue; Emanuel Lutheran (1884) at 697 NE Thirteenth Avenue (612-789-1319); St. Paul Lutheran (1887) at 2742 S. Fifteenth Avenue (612-724-3862); Ebenezer (1892) at 2720 F. Twenty-second Street; Zion (1893) at 128 W. Thirty-third Street (612-824-1017); Messiah (1908) at 2504 S. Columbus Avenue (612-871-8831); and Grace University (1910) at 324 SE Harvard Street (612-331-8125).
Two schools founded by the church no longer exist: Emanuel Academy (1887 — 1894) and Minnesota College (1904 — 1930). The college enrolled more than 800 students in its building at Harvard and Delaware Streets in 1923, but heavy debts forced it to close.
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