Milwaukee County Churches

History of St. Martini Lutheran Congregation
sent in by a researcher/see contributors page
(Missouri Synod)
1520 South 16th Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204

"St. Martini had its beginning in the year 1884 when St. Stephen's on South 5th and Scott Streets released 146 members and their families to begin a new congregation. St. Stephen's had purchased seven lots on West Orchard Street between South 15 Place and South 16 Street to be the site of a new church and school.

In 1883, a two story brick building, 90' x 37' was erected on this land at a cost of $8,000, the cornerstone being laid on September 2, 1883, and dedication observed on December 2. The school opened its doors with an enrollment of 130.

The second floor of the school served as a place of worship by Easter 1884 and on July 6, 1884, St. Martini Church was organized and the Rev. G.H.A. Loeber called as its pastor.

After rapid growth in membership, the present church was built with cornerstone laying May 8, 1887, and dedication to the Lord on October 23, 1887. The cost of the building was $14,327 plus the organ of $2,020. Dimensions of the church are 115' x 52' with a 150' steeple.

As soon as the church was completed the school rooms were expanded to the second floor and in 1892 the south wing was added. Peak enrollment in the school was in 1897 when 429 pupils attended.

The first parsonage was built for $2,041 in 1884 and was replaced by the present house next to the church in 1929.

Up until 1922 only the German language was spoken in our church and school.

A Parish Hall on South 16th Street was built and dedicated in 1954, consisting of a gym, meeting rooms, kitchen facilities, 8 bowling alleys, and the Pastor's and church secretary's offices.

St. Martini's Lutheran Church has had only six head pastors in its history:
Rev. Gotthold H.A. Loeber 1884-1922
Rev. William Grother 1922-1939
Rev. Arthur H. Oswald 1939-1967
Rev. Martin F. Drews 1967-1986
Rev. Lowell D. Holtz 1986-1997
Rev. Jerome Stecker 1997-present

At the present time, St. Martini has joined with St. Stephen's Congregation to a Task Force promoting our Christian Day School and their Spanish Sunday worship services."