Histories of the Churches

in the City of Barron

-- From the Souvenir Historical Album of the Barron Centennial - 1960
  (used by permission of the Centennial Committee)

Donated by Linda Mott

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The early settlers in Barron and Barron County were God-fearing men and women. In early days they availed themselves of every opportunity to hold religious meetings in places where there was room for small groups to meet. As soon as resources would permit, each denomination built a church suitable for the needs of its members.

Some of these churches were destroyed by fire and had to be rebuilt. As years passed, others became too small for the ever growing congregations and new, larger churches had to be constructed.

Within the Barron city limits there are, today, eight Christian churches, a positive proof that the strong religious convictions of the pioneers still live on.


St. Mark's Episcopal Church

St. Mark's Episcopal Church was organized in Barron in 1894. Some church work had been done starting in 1891 under the direction of Rev. Edgar F. Gee. For some time, Rev. Canon Richey held services in the courthouse.  At that time he was Rector of Christ Church in Chippewa Falls.

Mayor and Mrs. Edward N. Stebbins, Sr. and their family had arrived in Barron in 1891 from Pennsylvania. They were active workers in the church and helped a great deal in getting the organization started and later on in building the beautiful church which still stands on the northwest corner of
E. LaSalle Ave. and Eighth St.

On April 7, 1892, St. Hilda's Guild was organized. The meeting was opened with a prayer by Rector Rev. E.F. Gee. These women became members: Mrs. Kinsley, Mrs. Ed. Coleman, Mrs. Stone, Mrs. E.N. Stebbins, Mrs. Munroe, Mrs. McDonald, Mrs. Horsman, Mrs. Whitmore, Mrs. Birdie Smith, Miss Boyer
and Alma Whitmore. On January 11, 1893, officers were elected and a set of by laws was adopted.

The congregation grew and a church was needed. Funds were raised and the corner stone of the church was laid on August 28, 1893. The church was built during the summer of 1896. There was no basement. The church was heated by stoves which burned 4 foot wood. (The Stebbins boys had the responsibility of keeping the fires going on Sundays.)

The first service in the new church was held August 31, 1896. Rev. A.T. Young conducted the services. The first funeral in the church was conducted for Frank Sprague Stebbins in September, 1896. The first wedding was held in the church in 1897, when Isabelle Stebbins and Rev. Young were married.
By 1901, the church was free from all debt. In 1902, a suitable and comfortable rectory was built at the rear of the church at a cost of $1400, and a furnace was installed in the church. Carpet was laid, also.

Mr. E.W. Stebbins, Sr., died in 1903. He lived in Barron 12 years and served his church faithfully and was a man who was also interested in the welfare of this community. He served as mayor of this city for some time.  Mrs. Stebbins died in 1909.

In 1925, the church building was raised to provide much needed place for social and recreational meetings. A guild room with a well equipped kitchen was installed in the basement. St. Hilda's Guild, whose faithful members have played a vital role in the history of this church, paid the cost of these improvements.

The clergymen who served this church since it was organized follow:
Edgar F. Gee (1891-1893); Francis Vey (1894-1895); A.T. Young (1896); F.S. De Mattos (1896-1897); Fr. Cheney (1897); F.W. Wilson (1897-1898); R. Rowley (1898); Charles B. Fosbroke (1899);
Henry Harris (April 1902); Silas C. Walton (March 1905-1907); Henry E. Chase, assisted by
W.E. Vincent (1907- 1914); Wm. F. Hood (1914-1917); Ralph E. Gentle (1917-1918); Milo B. Goodall
(1918-1929); Lester M. Morse (1929-1936); Arthur R.P Heyes (1936-1945); Eugene Douglas (1945-1947); Gerry Wall (1947-1949); Francis C. Reynolds (1949-1951); Putnam McKay (1951-1955); Douglas G. McCreight (1955-1959); Thomas K. Sewall(1959- ).
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Foursquare Gospel Church

The work of the Foursquare Gospel Church began the last week of June, 1930, when Miss Anna Kleist of Iowa came to Barron and started holding cottage prayer meetings as well as jail services, visiting the County Farm and the hospitals, and having children's church in the park.

For a period of time public services were held in the Lodge Hall on LaSalle Ave., above the feed store, (now the hardware across from Frazey's).  Later services were held in the Anderson Hall, above Anderson's Hardware store, with Reverends Vern Cardiff and Finis Wahl holding special services.

This covered a period of time from 1930 to 1932.

In 1932, the first property was purchased, which is the location of the present church on the corner of Ninth Street and Division Ave.. Rev. and Mrs. Carl Dahlin purchased the lots from Charles Maxon in September of 1932, and erection of the Foursquare Tabernacle was started. Before completion of the tabernacle, Rev. Dahlin was transferred, and the building was completed by Rev. (Dad) Correll.

The first building, the Foursquare Tabernacle, was a frame building with sheet metal siding and roof, sawdust floors and wooden benches.

During the first four years, several ministers served as pastors of the Tabernacle; Rev. Wm. Stovall, Rev. Fred Jones, Rev. La Donna Dalrymple, and Rev. and Mrs. Herman Walters.

May 29, 1934, Rev. and Mrs. Fred E. Clements and their two daughters Annie and Cora, assumed the pastorate of the Foursquare Church. This date marked the beginning of seventeen years in the church, during which time a four bedroom parsonage was built, besides many changes and improvements in the
Tabernacle under the capable leadership of Reverend Clements. The pastoral duties of Rev. and Mrs. Clements terminated in the spring of 1951, due to the ill health of Rev. Clements.

Rev. and Mrs. Timmons and daughter, Bobbie, supplied as interim pastors between the resignation of Rev. Clements in the spring of 1951, and the arrival of Rev. and Mrs. Roland R. Johnston and daughters, Patricia and Joyce, in October of the same year, when they were appointed to the pastorate of the Barron Foursquare Church.

During the eight years of ministry of Rev. Johnston in the Barron Church, the old tabernacle was dismantled and the present brick and block church was erected on the same site, much of the building being done by the pastor and the men of the church who donated their time.

In the spring of 1959, Rev. and Mrs. Johnston resigned the pastorate and on June 17, the duties of the church were assumed by Rev. and Mrs. Delmer S. Walker, who, with their three daughters, Carol, Betty and Linda, and one son, Ralph, moved to Barron from near Chicago, Illinois.

The church at present has a Sunday School enrollment of 163, with an average of between 110 and 120 in attendance.
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Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church

This church was organized January 15, 1893. On April 3, 1893, the members decided to build a church 28 feet by 40 feet. The church was built on the north east corner of the 6th Street and Division Ave. The total cost was $1,534.05. Rev. H.O. Rastin of Shell Lake laid the corner stone. The congregation consisted of 15 families. Rev. R.F. Nammacher was the first resident pastor. In 1895, a parsonage was built and wooden sidewalks were installed on three sides of the church.

Shortly before 1900, the two German Lutheran churches in Barron united. Before this union one had been organized under the Wisconsin Synod and the other under the Missouri Synod. In 1907, it was decided to hold one service in English per month and in 1922, it was decided to hold English services
every other week. By 1922, the congregation numbered thirty families, making a total membership of 200.

In 1924, the church was raised and a full basement was installed. The total cost was $3,000.00. By 1949, there were 80 families in the congregation.  In this year further improvements were made. More seating space, a chancel, a sacristy, a council room and furnace room were added at a cost of $4,000.00.
Most of the work was donated by members of the congregation. In 1952, a manual Wurlitzer organ was purchased.

There were four societies in the congregation; Ladies Aid, formed in 1907, the Sewing Circle, Luther League for young people, and the Men's Club.

On July 27, 1958, the church observed its 65th anniversary. Rev. Lloyd Lambert and Rev. Julius Wagner, former pastors, took part in the ceremonies.

Rev. Theodore Zaremba is pastor of this church at present. He came to Barron in 1955. The congregation has recently decided to build a new church on a five acre tract at the corner of E. Division Ave. and 14th Street.  It will be a fine, modern structure. The main building will be 36 feet by 86 feet and will seat 310.

A large wing 44 by 80 feet will provide a large social hall, six class rooms, a kitchen, rest room facilities and the heating plant for the complete project. A third wing suitable for a parsonage may be built later on. On this site there will be ample parking facilities for all members of the congregation. One Ft. Atkinson contractor has estimated the cost at $100,000.00.

Mr. George Schmidt is president of the church council and has served faithfully on that council for the past 36 years. Other men who have rendered long and faithful services are: George Hamman, Will Krueger and Julius Zabel.

Pastors of this church during the 67 years are as follows: H.O. Rastin (1893), Theo. Thormaehlen, J. Frennd and Oswald Lungenhein, also in 1893; R.F. Namacher, (1893-1897), George Kerchke, (1897-1898); H.J. Ableman, (1900-1903); Adolph Leaderer, (1903-1908); Wm. Keturakat, (1909-1911);
Julius Wagner, (1911-1916); Walter Motzkus, (1916-1927); Samuel Rathke, (1927-1947); Lloyd Lambert, (1947-1955), and Theo Zaremba, (1955- ).
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First Baptist Church of Barron

The first Baptist Church was organized on March 3, 1894, in Maple Grove. The meeting was held in the Johnson School House. Those who joined this church during the first few weeks of it's existence were: Mr. and Mrs. A.W. Arndt and their children, Michael and Minnie, Mrs. Philip Arnold and Edith Arnold, Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Ellis, Mrs. Harry Young, and Charley S. Sanderson.

The first name of this church was Immanuel Baptist Church. In April, 1895, the name was changed to the First Baptist Church of Barron. For the next two years the meetings were held in halls in Barron. In 1897, a church was built. Church members gave generously of their time and labor and money to make this project possible. Most of the lumber came from the trees cut on the A.W. Arndt farm.

In 1913, the church was remodeled and enlarged to a seating capacity of 250. Other improvements, some of them in later years, included new oak floors, chimes and recording equipment, new lighting and a heating plant.  In 1950, a fine, new parsonage was built just west of the church on Division Ave.

For some years this church has broadcast a church program over Rice Lake radio station, WJMC.

The present pastor, Rev. F.H. Stair, came to Barron in 1949. He is the twenty-third pastor of this church.

Records show that these men served on the first board of trustees: S.R. Wiley, A.W. Arndt and W.H. Ellis. The pastors who served this church from its beginning are as follows: (most dates are not available), George B. Dissmore, S.S. Hageman, A.E. Goff, G.S. Wain, H.E. Hoare, E.J. Parsons, G.W. Morton, H.A. Ericson, J. McFarlane, J.W. Bell, J.C. Johnson, George Hamilton, H.H. Savage (left in 1915), C.H. Dinsmore, (1917), David Alexander (1917-1921), S.M. Duyzers, (1922), Lorraine M. Clark, (1924), H.E. Beldon, (1929), Ralph Spangler (1930-1936), D.A. Clover, (1936), L. Solomon, (1939-
1949), F.H. Stair, (1949- ).
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The First Lutheran Church of Barron

First Lutheran Church of Barron, Wisconsin, was organized on the 29th of March, 1884, with nine charter members. Prior to the organization, missionary work had begun in 1872 with services in homes and the Methodist Church in Barron. Pastors serving during this period were C.J. Helsem, H.Z. Hvid, N.I. Wikrie, and J. Waage. T.O. Juve served the church at the time of  organization and until the year 1888. J.E. Nord served until 1890 and A.J. Orke until 1893.

In the year 1891, the congregation built the first church with logs at a cost of $423.81. In 1893, Rev. J. Urnes from Prairie Farm served the congregation and continued to do so until 1900. In June 1899, the church was destroyed by a tornado. Immediately the congregation began to build a second church which was completed in 1906 complete with belfry, bell, altar, pulpit and other pieces. The cost was $2,253.10. The congregation was served temporarily in 1901 and 1902 by H. Lund and J.B. Reynardson.
In the spring of 1903 the congregation was served with the Dallas and New Scandinavia churches and Rev. Lund was pastor. In 1912, the congregation withdrew from the Dallas parish and formed a parish with Poskin. In 1915, Faith Lutheran at Cameron was added to the parish. Rev. N.B. Ursin was called as pastor in 1912 and served until the spring of 1919.  In 1914, First Lutheran celebrated the thirtieth anniversary, and for this occasion, Rev. Ursin worked out a brief history wherein partly he says: "In these thirty years 353 have been baptized, and 217 confirmed. From the small beginning of nine families as charter members, the congregation has grown to seventy two families with four hundred souls."

In 1920, Rev. E.B. Swenson, a graduate from Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, was called and installed in June of the same year. Rev. Swenson served the congregation for six years. On January 26, 1922, the second church was completely destroyed by fire. The congregation began
immediately to construct the third church building. The corner stone was laid June 22, 1922, and the church completed the same year. During the construction of the church, services were conducted in the Salem Lutheran Church. The new brick church was built at a cost of $30,000.00. A history of the church by Rev. E.B. Swenson states, "The congregation consists at present of 98 families, 309 confirmed members, 123 voting members and 475 souls." In 1926, Rev. B.B. Ostrem was called as pastor. He was installed on New Year's Day, 1927. Rev. Ostrem served the congregation for 19 years. On June 18, 1944, the 69th anniversary of the congregation was celebrated.  From Rev. Ostrem's historical sketch we quote: "Through these sixty years the means of grace have been faithfully administered and used. Eternity alone can reveal the blessed fruits of this activity."

In 1945, a call was extended to Rev. P.E. Van Tassel who was installed on March 31, 1946, by Dr. T.F. Gullixson of Luther Theological Seminary of St. Paul, Minnesota. He served the congregation for 10 years. In the fall of 1947 work was begun on a new parsonage and dedicated on Palm Sunday, March
21, 1948 by Dr. Martin Anderson, President of the Eastern District, Evangelical Lutheran Church. On Sunday, October 23, 1949, the congregation observed its 65th anniversary. On that day the congregation had 230 families, 560 confirmed members, and 780 souls in the congregation. The enrollment in the Sunday School was 205 children.

On July 3, 1955, ground breaking ceremonies were held for the new education building. The corner stone was laid on November 27, 1955, and dedicated on Sunday, September 23, 1956. Rev. P.E. Van Tassel returned for the dedication and delivered the sermon at the morning worship services. The Rev. H.A.
Hanson, assistant to District President, Dr. Myron Austinson, dedicated the building. The building, complete with furnishings, was built at a cost of $102,000.00. Mr. Harold Clausen, Mr. Sigfrid Nelson and Mr. Arnold Ellison served on the building committee. Officers serving during the construction were Herman Severson, Pres., Thorsten Moberg, Sec., and Thoreld Moberg, Treas.; Trustees were Martin Anderson, Erling Christianson, Otis Berger, Harry Johnson, and Woodrow Haugen. Deacons were Arthur Kirkeby, Milton Jacobson, Ellis Amdall, Arnold Ellison, and Irvin Jasperson.

In the year 1956, Rev. E.J. Nesset was called and was installed in the parish in May of the same year. In 1957, Rev. Carmen P. Thronson was called and installed on August 11th by Dr. Myron C. Austinson, President of the Eastern District. At present, the congregation numbers over 1200 baptized members. There were 350 enrolled in the Sunday School.

The congregation has given to the ministry, one son, Rev. E.C. Nordby, and one daughter, Lorraine Haugen, to the Sudan Mission in Africa.
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Barron Free Methodist Church

It was in 1903 that the Peniel Church of Maple Grove was organized into the Free Methodist Church. After the intervening years of worshiping there, in September, 1956, the members of the Free Methodist Church in Maple Grove purchased the pink stone church beside the river on Highway 8 in Barron from Ed. Sprague of Rice Lake. The church, parsonage, garage and acre of ground were purchased for $10,000 through the generous consideration of Mr. Sprague.  It included pews, pulpit, piano and automatic oil furnace. To the band of believers in Maple Grove, it was nothing else than a miraculous answer to prayer. Scarcely a month previous to this time, an offer for twice this amount had been rejected (which was also far below the actual evaluation of the property). Since moving into town, their membership has nearly doubled and church attendance tripled.

The Barron Free Methodist Church is privileged to observe a "double centennial". They join others in the Barron centennial as well as observing their own denominational centennial. It was in 1860 at Pekin, New York, that the denominational Free Methodist Church was organized after leading preachers and laymen had been expelled from the Genessee Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York for being too spiritual. The name "Free Methodists", was adopted to stress the fact that they were very
decidedly of the Methodist tradition, being "Methodists at heart", and "free" because they were opposed to the slavery system (then a vital issue) and there were to be free seats throughout the church (a custom prevailed then of paid pews in certain sections). At the centennial celebration of the Genesee Conference of the Methodist Church held in Rochester, New York, in 1910, that body publicly apologized; restored the parchments to the families of the then deceased ministers; and invited the Free Methodists back into the parent body. A spokesman of that conference, Ray Allen, said at this occasion, "Those expelled brethren were among the best men the conference contained and scarce any one thought otherwise even then........" The reunion of the two churches was never consummated. This year a General
Conference of the Free Methodist Church is to be held at the denominational headquarters at Winona Lake, Indiana with emphasis being made on its centennial observance.

Incidentally, one of the four presiding bishops was born in the Free Methodist parsonage in the town of Maple Grove, Barron County. He is Bishop Walter S. Kendall. He preached his first sermons there in Maple Grove and has held revival meetings there in previous years.

The Free Methodist Church is glad to share in the observance of the Barron Centennial.
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Saint Joseph's Catholic Church

At the beginning of the century, a few Catholic families lived in Barron. Father Francis Bourg, the Pastor of Almena, made trips to Barron to minister to their spiritual needs.

In 1909 the small congregation bought three lots on E. LaSalle Ave., which was densely wooded then. The old Ward school building, which was built in 1881, was purchased by the congregation and moved to E. LaSalle where it was remodeled for a church.

The Barron church was attached to the Chetek Parish as a Mission. The priests from Chetek took care of the Barron congregation until 1941, when Barron became a parish.

Father Roman Fassbender was the first resident pastor. He came to the parish in November, 1941. A house beside the church was purchased for a rectory, which is the present one. With the coming of Father Fassbender, more families moved into the parish. On December 1, 1943, Father Fassbender died.

In October, 1944, Father Ignatius Kinney was appointed pastor. The little parish continued to grow so that in 1950 the congregation numbered over fifty families.

Father James Harte was appointed pastor on February 16, 1950, to succeed Father Kinney. With the continued increase in the number of families, it was soon realized that the old church was too small. Father Harte went to see Cardinal Meyer, who was then Bishop of Superior, concerning the need of
accommodation for the growing parish. Cardinal Meyer decided that a new church should be built.

In September, 1957, the old church was razed and the construction of a new church began. The new church was completed in late 1958. The congregation is very proud of its modern cruciform church, which has a seating accommodation for 350. The parish now numbers ninety four families.
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First Methodist Church of Barron

This church began on December 3, 1876, when a few Barron residents met at the courthouse and heard a sermon preached by Rev. K.A. Fulmer of Prairie Farm. He had charge of the Sumner Circuit. He planned to preach here every other Sunday, but bad roads sometimes prevented him from coming. On May 20,
1877, a Sunday School was organized. Ten children were present.

Rev. William Haw held quarterly conference here in August, 1977. The Mite Society was organized about 1880. At first it was composed of women of several faiths. By 1896, it became strictly Methodist. By that time other churches had organized and set up their own working societies in each church.

Church was being held in the frame school house which was located north of Division Ave., where the Ward School now stands, by the year 1882. In 1883, when Rev. James Conner was pastor, funds for building a church were solicited. The church was built in 1885 and was dedicated August 28, 1886.

Rev. G.W. Pepper was the first resident pastor. He came here in the fall of 1887. In 1894, a parsonage was completed. The Woman's Home Missionary Society was organized July 10, 1894. Mrs. Sarah Parr was the first president.

In 1897, the church was enlarged; a basement, a tower and a heating plant were added to the old church. In 1908, the church was remodeled and a pipe organ was installed. In June, 1909, the church was rededicated. Mrs. C.S. Taylor, who was a member of the choir, declares that four male members sang in the choir with her for forty years and more. They were: J.F. Coe, L.S. Cheney, W.B. Crawford and A. Crawford.

In 1947, a building fund for a new church was authorized. By the end of 1948, the fund had grown to $7,450.00. From 1948-1955, three fund raising campaigns brought in pledges of $25,971.00. In November, 1955, a fund raising crusade conducted by Rev. C.M. Fritz was started. A goal of
$45,000.00 was set. Pledges totaled $54,000.00. Mr. and Mrs. Herman Williams gave one and one-half acres of land for a building site and the church purchased an additional one and one half acres.

On May 6, 1956, the work on the new church began and on September 30, 1956, the corner stone was laid. On March 17, 1957, the fine, new church was consecrated. During 1958-1959 a new parsonage, east of the church, was built. It was dedicated January 3, 1960.

The new church is located south of Quaderer Creek and east of Memorial Drive. It is a splendid brick structure of contemporary design and 300 can be seated in its pews. For larger gatherings, chairs can be placed back of the pews. The spacious basement has a modern fully equipped kitchen and ample space for tables and chairs for social gatherings. Over the kitchen are two Sunday School rooms. In the Sunday School building are two large class rooms and five smaller class rooms.

The membership of the church has grown steadily over the years and now numbers 518. The new church was erected at a cost of $215,000.00, and the parsonage at a cost of $21,000.00. The members of this church may well be proud of their splendid, new church and parsonage.

Pastors for the past seventy years are: G.W. Pepper, 1891-1892; S.M. Griffin and Elmer Sidel, 1892-1895; H.P. Blake, 1895 to 1896; E.C. Dixon, 1896 to 1901; M. Benson, 1901 to 1907; George Kershaw, 1907 to 1912; Emmanual Harris, 1912 to 1918; R. Harold Gee, 1918 to 1920; William H. Penn, 1920 to 1923; Andrew M. Harkness, 1923 to 1927; Daniel H. Fleet, 1927 to 1936; Clarence E. Weed, 1936 to 1939; George Bell, 1939 to 1943; Archie R. Henry, 1943 to 1949, Rev. Harold A. Allison has served as pastor since 1949.
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