Saint Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
Organized by Rev. Jesse Hoover on October 14, 1837, with a congregation of 24 families, it was the first Lutheran church in the Fort Wayne area. A school was organized by Rev. Hoover the same year. Originally known as the First Evangelical Lutheran Church, the present name was adopted in 1846 when it became part of the newly formed Missouri Synod. – Historical Marker Text
In 1836, Reverend Jesse Hoover arrived in the Fort Wayne area and immediately gathered the growing number of German Lutherans for worship either in the courthouse or a schoolhouse. A year later, the “First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne” was formally organized. Fort Wayne pioneer Samuel Hanna gave the church land on the west side of Barr Street at Lewis Street to erect a church. In the summer of 1839, a building along with a parsonage was constructed.
In spring of 1846, the English-speaking Lutherans withdrew from the church to form Trinity English Lutheran Church; the remaining German speaking congregation formed the German Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul’s Church. While under leadership of Reverend Wilhelm Sihler, who was also founder of Concordia Theological Seminary of Fort Wayne, the congregation converted its chapel to a school and built a larger chapel. An even larger brick building was built in 1889. This building was damaged greatly by a large fire in 1903. The foundation and standing walls were repaired as a new church was erected using the design and foundations of the old church.
In the late 1940s, extensive restoration and renovation was done, so that the church could serve the congregation well into the future.