“I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Psalm 122:1
Holy Cross Lutheran congregation was founded in 1848 by five members and the Rev. F. Lochner who also served the congregation of St. John’s, Pleasant Ridge (Maryville). The first services were held in the local Episcopal Church at a monthly rental of seventy five cents. When the pastor was not able to be present, meetings and reading services were held in the homes of members.
FIRST CHURCH – Dedicated 1849
One of the books written for a previous anniversary states: “When two brothers, Adam and Martin Ambrosius, had joined the congregation and the voting membership had increased to seven, the need of a church building of their own so impressed them, that they resolved, with God’s help to erect one. It was to be a brick building, 30 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 12 feet high. A building lot was purchased for the small sum of $20.00. The brethren at Pleasant Ridge and St. Louis were asked for contributions. Into the cornerstone were placed: Luther’s Small Catechism, a copy of “Der Lutheraner,” the constitution of Synod, the history of our congregation up to that day, and a copy of the “Order of the Main Service.” The members were cheered to see their first little church completed before Christmas. In the latter part of November it was, 1849, a little more than one year after the organization, when the first church was dedicated to the service of the Triune God. This first little brick church stood on South Street… Great was the joy of the little flock on the day of dedication. The celebration lasted for two days. Pastor Lochner now moved from Pleasant Ridge to Collinsville. In the meantime the membership had increased to seventeen.”
SECOND CHURCH – Dedicated 1855, Rebuilt and Rededicated 1881
Another anniversary bulletin indicates: “Six years after its organization, the congregation had increased to such proportions that the church building was “overfilled every Sunday” and more room was needed. A larger house of worship, a frame building, 45X30X16 feet, was erected, next to the first church, and dedicated in the first part of July, 1855, with German and English services. Cost $1104.00. The cost of a small tower, which was added later, was met by extra collections. The first church was now used as a school. The altar and pulpit had been removed to the new church.
The year 1872 was a memorable one for Collinsville. In that year by a majority vote of 23 the citizens decided to organize the city of Collinsville, after it had been a village since 1850. In the election on November 11, 1872, Mr. John Becker, a member of Holy Cross, was elected as the first mayor of Collinsville.” Holy Cross had already been an organized congregation for 24 years.
THIRD AND PRESENT CHURCH – Dedicated 1915
Note: Renovation and new entrance addition begun in 1948 and dedicated 1950; Elevator addition 1991; Interior renovation of sanctuary 2001
In July 1915, a St. Louis Newspaper carried this article:
“The new Evangelical Lutheran Cross Church at Collinsville will be dedicated Sunday. The edifice has a seating capacity of 1000. The congregation of 1200 is the largest in Collinsville.
A new pipe organ has been installed at a cost of $2200.00. Stained glass windows costing $1350.00 have been donated by members of the congregation. The Ladies’ Aid Society has donated the carpets, altar coverings, and draperies.
More than 100 chickens have been donated for a big dinner and Mrs. Charles Richter, wife of a wealthy farmer, has given a pig weighing 275 pounds for a supper. Three bells, costing $1000.00 have been donated to the church by the Young Men’s Society.
A short service will be held in the Mission hall (Temperance Hall), after which a preliminary service will be conducted by Rev. H.A. Klein, the pastor, in front of the new church. Following this service a procession will be headed by the Building Committee and Contractor Henry Eberhardt, Prof. H. Person of Bethlehem Lutheran Church of St. Louis will preside at the organ. Rev. Mr. Pardieck of Concordia Seminary will deliver a sermon in German in the morning and Rev. R. Kretzmar of the Emmaus Lutheran Church of St. Louis will speak in the afternoon. An English sermon will be delivered by J.A. Frederich of the St. Charles Lutheran Church in the evening. The Ladies’ Aid Society will serve dinner and supper in the basement of the church.”
For the centennial anniversary of the congregation, a new entrance to the church was constructed beginning in 1948 (now known as the ‘main staircase’ leading to the sanctuary). The building was 33 years old. The original building had 2 outside staircases as the main entrances to the sanctuary, one of which still exists. The outline of the old entrance can still be seen in the outside brick work of the bell tower above the cornerstone. The construction took nearly two years to fully complete and the new entrance and refurbished sanctuary were dedicated in the glory of God in 1950. Extensive redecorating of the interior of the building was done in 1964, replacing the original curved pews and stadium chairs in the balcony with the straight pews we have today. Since the slope of the floor is still that of the original, the height of the pews varies throughout the sanctuary –- some are higher in parts of the room than others. In 1991 an elevator addition was added to comply with handicap accessibility needs. Then in 2001, another renovation of the interior of the sanctuary was undertaken. A new sound system, paint, carpet, wiring, and updating the church basement fellowship hall were part of this endeavor. The building was 86 years old. The congregation worshiped in the school gym during the months the work was being done.
- Short History of Holy Cross Ev. Luth. Congregation of Collinsville, ILL by A.G. Frinke – 1923
- Holy Cross Lutheran Church Brief History and Notes, Ninetieth Anniversary Bulletin – 1938
- The Dedication of Holy Cross Lutheran School and Parish Hall Bulletin – 1953
- Stepping Stones (Messenger Articles) by Louise Meier and the Mens Club – 1973
- 125 Years of Grace — 125th Anniversary Book by Louise Meier – 1973.
- 150 Years of God’s Blessings – A History of Holy Cross Lutheran Church by Rev. Ronald Jansen –1998
Special Thanks to Jeanette Cohill, and Mildred Eigenbrodt (deceased) for their work on our church’s archives, and to Pastor Jansen and Margie Greer for their work in documenting the history of our stained glass windows.
In addition to the projects listed previously, we are also considering improving the space in which the church archives are stored. Valuable and interesting documents and artifacts are in our possession which require a climate controlled area and workspace. More information on this project will be in future newsletters!