Founded in 1839, Historic Trinity Lutheran Church houses the oldest Lutheran congregation west of the Mississippi River and is considered the Mother Church of Missouri Synod Lutheran Congregations. The parish was founded by German immigrants who fled Saxony in the 1830s to escape persecution by the Prussian Union. Its original building was constructed in 1864, though that structure was destroyed in 1896 when a tornado swept through the area. At the time the church didn’t have insurance (which people said was “gambling against the will of God”). The people of Dresden, Germany, helped them rebuild (and by this time the parishioners had changed their mind about purchasing insurance). The 1864 baptismal font and pulpit, which survived the tornado, are still in use in the church, and represent beautiful examples of German woodworking skills. Take note of the statue of Martin Luther that graces the the pulpit, as well as the carving of the Last Supper behind the altar.
The German influence still remains strong in the church, which continues to hold a German-language service once a month. The German Service is held on the fourth Sunday (the third Sunday in December) at 8:45 a.m.
When I visited the church, I had the special treat of climbing to the top of its bell tower, which offers a wonderful vista across St. Louis. This beautiful old church continues to serve as a visual and spiritual beacon for the city.
Historic Trinity Church is at 1805 South Eighth Street in the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, an area known for its brick row houses, corner taverns, historic churches, and the oldest operating farmers market in America.