(The following was written by Lewis Garrison, and is reprinted from 1927’s “Grove City – The Town with a Future”, available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)
The work of the Evangelical Lutheran St. John’s Church was begun in 1849 with the idea of gathering the Lutheran people together for services. In all probability a circuit rider of this denomination held meetings in the early days at various homes and later a log cabin church was used for services in the south end of town.
In 1850 the services of Pastor Johnson, of Columbus, were secured. He served until 1852. At this time the small gathering of part German and part English people were formed into an organization under the title it is now known. The German speaking part was then served by Professor William Lehman, and the English part by the Reverend Greenwalt. Services were held on alternate Sundays, one for the German part of the congregation, and the next Sunday for the English.
In 1852 arrangements were made for erecting a small frame church, which was financed jointly by the two sections. The structure was located on Columbus Street, a little west of the present location of the church, and directly opposite the present parsonage.
A few years later the English section sold out their rights in the church to the German speaking part and the English section disbanded. Reverend C. Reichert was the first Pastor installed, coming to Grove City in 1863 and remaining until 1885. Under his charge the work became well established and the congregation grew. Rev. Philip Schmidt followed. He came from Trenton, Ohio, to assume the pastorate here and remained until 1912. The present large brick church edifice is a monument to this pasture zeal and enterprise. At the time of his resignation the membership had grown to 400 confirmed members.
(The conclusion of this story in the next blog entry).