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The History of Salem Lutheran Church

Celebrating Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church since 1871

1871 - The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Salem Church was organized in the home of John Sandall.

1880 - The first church building was erected at the corner of N. Vine and Irving Streets, at a cost of $1,175.00.

1883 - Sunday School classes were organized.

1884 - First resident pastor installed. Membership was 84.

1885 - Salem’s first parsonage was erected at 508 N. Vine St. at a cost of $1,015.00.

1887 - Ladies organized into a “sewing society.”

1888 - There were 132 Confirmed members. Worship services were still all in Swedish.

1893 - The Young Peoples Society (Luther League) was organized.

1895 - One service a month was held in English. That following year, the first class was confirmed in the English language.

1904 - The original church was removed, and a new church building was erected on that same site for a cost of $3,757.00.

            The final cost with furnishings was $6,583.74. During construction, services were held in the vacated Swedish Methodist Church.

1909 - The Church bell, a gift from Mrs. Mary Sandall, was installed.

1918 - “Salem Tidings,” a monthly paper, was published by the Luther League.

1919 -  A new parsonage was constructed at 602 N. Vine at a cost of $9,512.40.

1921 - Valuation of Church property was set at $22,000 with a debt of $5,00.00.

1931 - 60th Anniversary celebration included a 10:00 Service in Swedish and a 11:00 Service in English.

1932 - Choir was organized.

1935 - The Annual Yearbook is lists Salem’s name as “Evangelical Lutheran Salem Church.”

            Pastor’s salary was $1,800.00.

1941 - Women’s group was called the “Dorcas Society.”

1942 - Church building was completely renovated.

1950’s - Salem Mixers were organized. Monthly programs and games were geared to include both children and adults.

1955 - Electric Haygren pipe organ was installed and dedicated.

            These pipes are still in use at Salem today.

            Junior Choir and Altar Society were started.

            Sunday School had 62 students and 13 teachers.

1958 - Present church property was purchased and planning began.

1959 - Average attendance was 124.

1962 - Ground breaking for current church. Completed in Feb.1964.

1964 - Present church was dedicated on May 3. Approximate cost of

            building and furnishings totaled $150,000.00.

1975 - The Congregational library went into operation, with bookcases made by Ed Jungst.

            A gift from the Pearson Estate along with congregational donations paved the parking lot.

1995 - The cross above the altar was constructed by Ed Jungst and presented as a gift from Ed and his wife, Frances.

2000’s - The Puppet Booth, Advent Wreath, and the Cross with dove displayed in the narthex were designed, built and 

               presented as gifts from Duane Schmidt.

            Salem Quilters continues to send 100’s of quilts around the world.

            An AV booth and a handicapped bathroom were added.

            Through memorials, our Kitchen and Pipe organ were renovated.

            The Annual Sale and Outreach groups provide for various charities and our community.

Pastors who have served the congregation

Pastors who served the original Salem Church

B. M. Halland 1871-1874                         

L. Frykman 1875-1879

D. Renstrom 1884-1887 (first regular pastor)

À. F. Nelson 1887-1888                           

E. A. Zetterstrand 1889-1891

Joseph À. Anderson 1892-1900;             

C. A. Lindahl 1900-1906

Pastors who served in the Second Church

M. LeVander 1907-1909                          

C. G. Samuelson 1910-1914

H. S. Swenson 1914-1915                       

J. Walton Kempe 1916-1921

Wilbur N. Palmquist 1921-1923               

A. A. Christianson 1923-1928

A. H. S. Brodeen 1928-1929                    

Roy W. Johnson 1930-1936

Clarence A. Carlson 1936-1939

J. Erik Holmer 1940-1944

All but 3 of the above came from the Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, IL.   

John Benson, Jr. 1944-1947                    

F. E. Anderson 1947-1950

C.W. Carlson 1950-1953                                       

J. Marcus Aurelius 1954-1966

Pastors serving in our Current Church

J. William Raymond 1966-1972               

Raymond Thiel 1972-1977

Ronald Ferrell 1977-1982                        

Dan Mixdorf 1982-1992

Ralph Kister 1993-1999                           

Perry Toso 2000-2004

Nate Aaseng 2005-2009                          

Ben McIntire  2010-2014

Brian Jack 2014-2017                              

Cal Oraw  2019-2021

Evan McVann 2021-present

Video of Salem's history

This video was created to celebrate Salem's 150th Anniversary
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