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William Frederick Howat.

A standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) online

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of acting as an agency to effect the settlement of a serious strike called
by union plumbers and which had involved all of the allied building
trades. Building o})erations in the city were at a standstill and the
merchants and workers were considerably affected when that branch
of industry was suspended. After all negotiations between the con-
tending parties had been dropped, the Chamber of Commerce got them
to agree to arbitrate, appointed the arbitrator, and the strike was per-
manently and satisfactorily^ settled.

A problem which assumed serious proportions this summer was the
lack of sufficient Vv'ater pressure. That was not only an economic but
a sanitary question. A committee of the Chamber of Commerce eon-
ducted thorough investigations into conditions and subsequently made
a most competent and comprehensive report. Their recommendations
were acted upon by the city administration (which by the way is in
entire harmony with the chamber) and the water difficulty will, in
the future, be alleviated.

Tlie Merchants" Fall Festival held in October. 191-1, was an idea
originating in the Chamber of Commerce and promoted by it. Its
purpose was to stimulate trade and civic spirit. It was conceded to
be one of the greatest events of its kind ever held in this section of
the state. Thousands of visitors were brought to Hammond and not
only were excellent entertainments provided during the two days, but
the free prize idea brought 300,000 people into 190 stores participat-
ing on the first day of the contest. The decorations, and grand night
pageant, aviation flights, and other events were fine evidences of what
the business men of Hammond could do when their interest was once
aroused.

Perhaps one of the greatest problems which the chamber hopes to
assist in solving is the creation of a Calumet Sanitary District, a proj-
ect that has now been launched, and which has been carefully studied
and discussed by our membership. This organization has, and will
continue, to play an important part in the destiny of this plan.

Just at this time the Chamber of Commerce has launched a scheme
to centralize all relief work in Hammond. A bureau has been estab-
lished through which it is hoped to systematize charity work in Ham-



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 359

mond, to extend aid to those who are not cared for through other
channels, and to conduct this work as efficiently as possible at the low-
est possible cost. It has all the advantages of the United Charities
idea without the usual heavy overhead expense. In short the Asso-
ciated Aid Society of the Chamber of Commerce will see to it that no
out- in Hammond shall lack the neces.sities of life and that no one can
procure relief who is not actually in need. This work is one of the
more humanizing purposes to which this organization is committed.
It is one of the movements that make for a better city in which to
live.

It would be possible to enumerate many otliei- more or less inci-
dental problems that have been dealt with successfully, if space per-
mitted. The privileges which the members enjoy in a social way should,
however, be mentioned. The Chamber of Commerce is, in a sense, a
social center. On an average of one meeting a day is now held in
the quarters, while many organizations take advantage of them for
social purposes at nominal rental. The business men find it a splendid
medium for becoming acquainted with one another. Good speakers
and lecturers are occasionally provided at the meetings. At these meet-
ings there are also many matters of much moment to the city and
region discussed by the leaders of public sentiment.

I believe that the work and the spirit of the Chamber of Commerce
commends itself to all of our citizens possessed of the higher ideals of
living. The compensation which its work renders to the individual
is. of course, indirect, but it is none the less assured. As I endeavored
to state in the beginning, it is the self-effacing, public-spirited type
of a man that is supporting this movement, and who will likely con-
tinue to support it so long as there is a necessity for its exi.stence. That,
I surelv believe, will be for ever more.



CHAPTER XXIV

HAMMOND'S CHURCHES AND SOCIETIES

St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church — First Methodist Epis-
copal Church^ — St. Joseph's Catholic Church — First Congrega-
tional Church — First Baptist Church — St. Paul's Episcopal
Church — The Christian ChurcH' — First Presbyterian Church —
St. Casimer's Catholic Church — St. Johannes' German Evan-
GELic.yi. Lutheran Church — Zion's German Methodist Church —
Evangelical Immanuel Church — All Saints Catholic Church
— Jew^ish Congregations and Societies — Friedens Evangelical
Church — St. Mary's Church — Other Churches — Hammond's
Masonic History — Odd Fellows Lodges — Independent Order of
Foresters — Knights op Pythias and Pythian Sisters — The Elks
Club — ^Knights and Ladies of Maccabees — Daughters of Liberty
— Modern Woodmen of America — Loyal Order of Moose —
Knights of Columbus — Fraternal Order of Eagles — Other
Secret and Benevolent Bodies — The Hammond Club — Hammond
AVoman's Club — The Hammond Country Club — Other Social and
Literary Clubs — The Hammond Settlement.

Hanunond has enjoyed the benefits of religious instruction for more
than forty years — long before it was organized as a city. The Lutherans
and the Methodists preceded the Catholics in the local field by several
years, and with the growth of tlie city as an industrial center and the
attraction of a rapidly expanding- populace with most varied religious
beliefs, the churches have fully met such conditions and demands by a
rapid increase in numbers, especially during the past twenty years.

The social, benevolent and charitable instincts of the people have also
found vent through the founding of all the firmly established secret
societies, such as the Masons, Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias,
benevolent, social, literary and sociological organizations of more recent
origin. As in most communities of at least middle-age, the Masons and
Odd Fellows were first organized into lodges at Hammond, and it prob-
ably was not a simple and remarkable coincidence that they became
such on the same day — that is, May 27, 1883, the year preceding the
incorporation of Hammond as a city.

360



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 361

In all of these movements of a religious and generally uplifting nature
the women of the city have been leaders, although they are not always
mentioned by naiiic in the sketches of churches and societies which
follow.

St. r.vui/s Evangelical Lutheran Church

Organized Lutheranism in Hammond dates from 1871. A few
families from Reverend Wunder's church, the oldest Lutheran organ-
ization in Chicago, had settled at Tolleston, now Gary, and were occa-
sionally visited by Reverends ]\layer, ]\Iott and Rauschert from Dalton,
Illinois. On their way to and from Dalton these ministers would also stop
at Hessville, where some eleven Lutheran families had settled. In 1871
Rev. Herman Wunderlich was called to the Tolleston pastorate, with
branch at Hessville, which was afterwards incorporated as a part of
Hammond. Reverend Wunderlich conducted the tirst Christian service
in Hamntond at Jacob Rimbach's residence, on Hohman and Dolton
streets. The only attendants at these services wert" the three families of
Kleeman, Rimbach and Ilartman. Because of the small attendance these
services were discontinued and the Hammond families attended services
at Hessville. Regular bi-weekly services were begun in 1880 and held
in the public school and later in Miller's Hall by Reverend Wunderlich.

On October 22. 1881, the Lutherans resolved to build a small frame
church. For its site M. M. Towle donated a lot on Clinton Street, on
which August Seestatlt l)uilt the chui'ch, which was dedicated July 29,
1883.

In October, 1882, St. Paul's congregation had organized and obtained
a charter, whose members were : Paul Wieseke, secretary ; Henry Klee-
man, Jacob Rimbach, John Jarnecke, trustees; August Seestadt, Theo-
dore Lange, Helmuth Hopp, Henry Huehn, C. Hocker, William Hart-
man, G. Muenich, John Dillner, William Winter and Henry Seestadt.
In the meeting after the organization six others became members.

In December, 1885, Reverend Luebker of luka, Illinois, became pastor
of the church, and in July, 1886, a parochial school was completed. The
school grew rapidly, the pastor being at first assisted in its operation
by theological students. M. Maschhoft' was the first settled Lutheran
teacher, with ]\Iiss Clara Heintz of Crown Point as assistant.

In 1889 the members of St. Paul's, north of the Calumet River,
formed a separate organization, which was called St. John's Evangelical
Lutheran Church, and a sketch of which is published elsewhere. Rev-
erend Leubker having accepted a call to Milford. Nebraska, Rev. P. W.
Herzberger assumed charge of the organization on July L 1889. Ham-



362 LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

moiid ill those days experienced its first boom, and 800 dwellings were
erected \nthin one year. Reverend Herzberger was blessed in propor-
tion as the town grew. The church became too small and a larger
building, with a two-class school in the lower story, was built by Gustav
Muenich for $4,500 and dedicated February 2, 1890.

In 1891 the members west of the state line organized a separate
organization, which received the name St. John's Evangelical Lutheran
Church of West Hammond, Illinois. In the same year the congrega-
tion, at a cost of $11,000, erected a large school on Sibley Street and
Oakley Avenue.

In 1899 Reverend Herzberger removed to St. Louis, Missouri, to take
charge of Lutheran charities in that city, and Rev. W. H. T. Dau,
erstwhile professor of theolog>^ in Conover, North Carolina, succeeded
him. The church again proving too small, in 1903 the congregation com-
pleted its third and present edifice at a cost of $28,000.

The congregation numbers about eighteen hundred souls, 1,150 com-
municant members and 194 voting members. During its existence, St.
Paul's Church, through its pastors, has baptized over 1,500 adults and
children, confirmed over 700 young people, joined in marriage about
300 persons, conducted Christian burial for over 500 departed, and
administered Holy Communion to over 16,000 communicants. Rev.
Theodore Claus succeeded Reverend Dau in June, 1905, when the lat-
ter went to St. Louis as professor of theology in the Concordia Seminary.

First Methodist Episcopal Citurch

The Methodists, as a religious body, in the Calumet region, first con-
ducted services at Hammond. In the spring of 1872 a student from the
theological department of the Northwestern University. Evanston,
organized a class in the little red sehoolhouse located at what is now
the corner of Hohman and Wilcox streets. * Services were held there reg-
ularly for three years, during which period IM. M. Towle organized a
Sunday School, although no church was formally established.

Reverend Baker preached during the year 1875-76. Services were
then abandoned until February, 1877. after which for two years, they
were continued under Reverend Stewart. There was another period of
suspension until December, 1881, but since that date the First Methodist
Church of Hammond has had a continuous history and steady growth.

A clear and condensed history of the church was published by ''The
Calumet Survey," issued by the Northwest Indiana Conference of the
Methodist Episcopal Church in the fall of 1913, since which there has
been no material change in the status of the local organization. The



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 363

sketch to which reference is made is as follows, the continuous history of
the first Methodist society in the Calumet region dating from 1881 :
■ ' Hammond has the distinction of organizing the first society. This was
eifected by Rev. S. E. Vinal in December, 1881. His report to the con-
ference the next year shows a membership of 26, and 10 probationers,
with an annual salary of $200, and no church property. In 1882 the
first church building was erected on the present site, the gift of M. M.
Towle, Sr., at a cost of $4,000. This served the congregation for twenty-
five years, when it was replaced by the present commodious and well-ap-
pointed structure under the pastorate of Rev. L. S. Smith, and at a cost
of $32,000. The church has grown in all departments and materially
affects the life of the city, most of its office bearers being prominent in
the commercial and civic affairs of the city. The membership is at
present 490, with a Sunday School enrollment of 700, an Epworth League
of 100, a Methodist Brotherhood, a strong Ladies' Aid Society, and all
working harmoniously together for the advancement of the Master's
Kingdom. In addition to promoting the woik in the local church, this
congregation has materially aided in the establishing of Monroe Street
Chapel, in the south part of the city, where there is a growing congre-
gation and a thriving Sunday school, having as pastor J. Edgar Purdy.
This church entertains the annual conference this year, no easy task
for a much larger congregation, but this congregation is used to big
undertakings, and wiU do this in a very satisfactory way. They believe
in their church, they take pride in their city, they believe in the greater
future of the Calumet region, and are glad to welcome their friends to
share their hospitality.

"The following have served this church as pastors:

1881-82— S. E. Vinal. 1897-99— M. H. Appleby.

1882-83— William Crapp. 1899-1900— N. A. Chamberlain.

1883-86— Edwin A. Schell. 1900-04— A. W. "Wood.

1886-89— S. P. Edmondson. 1904-07— L. S. Smith.

1889-93— G. R. Streeter. 1907-12— W. F. Switzer.

1893-95— A. H. DeLong. 1912— F. 0. Fraley."

1895-97— E. P. Bennett.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

Rev. George Steiner, of Michigan City, was among the first of the
Catholic priests to enter the Calumet region, and in the late '70s he
occasionally gathered a few of his faith at the home of John L. Knoerzer.
By 1879 the Catholic population had so increased that a small frame
church was built in what was then the Town of State Line, a settlement



364 LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

grouped around the Hammond slaughter house. The lirst holy mass
was read in December of the same year, and the dedication took place
in May, 1880. Rev. F. K. Baumgartner, who then resided in Turkey
Creek, conducted services about once a week. Father Romer, of Michi-
gan City, then occasionally visited the little flock, and, later. Father
Rosenbauer, of Chicago, attended the mission. In the year 1883 the
congregation, having grown sufficiently to influence the Rev. Bishop
Dwenger, of Fort Wayne, to assign a resident priest, the people received
their first pastor, the Rev. Father Baumgartner, who came from Turkey
Creek. He immediately erected a parsonage and, with zeal and energy,
labored at Hammond until the time of his death. May 9, 1885.

Then came Rev. Henry M. Plaster. He reached Hammond August
16, 1885, and is still the father and spiritual adviser of St. Joseph's.
Father Plaster immediately inaugurated the first parochial school con-
nected with the church, which opened with forty children under the
immediate instruction of John Bergman. In 1889 the house of worship
now used as a schoolroom was erected, which was followed, a few years
later, by St. Joseph's Academy and the sisters' residence. A large
and comfortable parsonage was completed in 1905, and commemorated
the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the parish.

St. Joseph's is the mother church of the Calumet region, and from
it have sprung four other Catholic congregations. During the later
years of his pastorate, whieli has nearly covered thirty years. Father
Plaster has been assisted in his l)road work l)y P'atliers Tremmel. Shea,
Kappel, Sand, Abel, Koch, Lauer and Keyser.

The present church was completed in 1914, and is the largest and
most costly church in Hammond.

First Congregational Church

The First Congregational Sunday School of Hammond was organ-
ized early in July, 1887. at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Evan R. Williams,
with seventeen children and several adults in attendance.

The latter part of the same month Dr. E. D. Curtis, of Indianapolis,
and the Rev. Mr. Andrews, of Hobart. looked over the field and decided
to organize a church, a council to recognize which was convened Septem-
ber 15, 1887. The meeting was held in the old Hohman Opera House.
There were ten charter members. The first services were held in the
old skating rink, corner of Hohman and Russell streets, the first pastor
being the Rev. W. W. Lineberry, of IMaxinkuckee.

In May, 1888, a chapel was built, which is still standing at its old
site. 224 Hohman Street. Here services were held until the dedication



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 365

in December, 1890, of the church building on the north side of Gostlin
Street, just west of Hohman, which is still in use.

Nearly five hundred residents of Hammond have been actively iden-
tified with the church during its history. Plans are under way for a
new church building, which is to be erected upon the new site already
purchased at the southeast corner of Towle Street and Chicago Avenue.

First Baptist Church

Li the early part of 1887 Hammond contained about thirty-five hun-
dred souls and one Protestant church — the Methodist of this city, the
only Protestant church in the Calumet region at that time. The Bap-
tist State Board of ]\Iissions looked over the field and, contrary to the
advice of Baptist leaders in this part of the state and South Chicago,
decided it was wort^ while, and, accordingly, sent a missionary to
organize a church that was destined to become the leading Baptist
church in, Northwestern Indiana.

The labors of this man of tlie Baptist faith soon bore fruit, and the
First Baptist Church of Hammond was organized with eleven con-
stituent members on the 28th day of November, 1887. The eleven per-
sons whose names belong on the' honor roll are as follows : F. J. Cross,
0. D. Vamey, T. S. Dake, Julia Dake, Mary E. Irish, Clara Irish, Iva
E. Irish, J. W. Jones, Lester V. Jones, ]Mrs. C. J. Pine and Mary Lewis.
So far as the writer is able to ascertain, only one of the above named
persons, Mrs. Mary E. Irish, of Zion City, Illinois, is now living.

For some time services were held in a small room in what is now
known as the Carleton Hotel, but these quarters soon proved inadequate,
and the congregation moved to the Hohman Opera House, and a little
later to a home of its own on the site of the present church building.
Soon after the organization, the church, in April, 1888, called Rev. B. P.
Hewitt to minister unto the needs of the church and community.
Brother Hewitt remained with the church a little more than five years,
during which time the membership increased from 11 to 131 ; the church
developed from one supported largely by the State Board of Missions
to a church self-supporting and owning a home free from del:)t.

During these twenty-five years the following have served as pastors
of the church: Rev. B. P. HcAvitt, from April 1, 1888, to May 7, 1893;
Rev. S. W. Phelps, from August 13, 1893, to October 31, 1900;
Rev. Edward T. Carter, from November 1, 1900, to December 15, 1901 ;
Rev. W. H. Jones, from January 31, 1902, to November 10. 1907 : Rev. J.
E. Sharp, from January 1, 1908, to April 30, 1911; Rev. Floyd H.
Adams, since August 1, 1911.



366 LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION

In December, 1898, owing to a difference of opinion in regard to
the method of disciplining its members, a division occurred in the church,
which resulted in the withdrawal of about forty per cent of the member-
ship of the First Church, and the organization of the Immanuel Baptist
Church. The Immanuel congregation worshiped in the Odd Fellows
Hall and during the five years of its existence had two regular pastors —
Rev. E. M. Martinson and Rev. B. S. Hudson.

The conditions which brought about the division in the church no
longer existing, the two churches united in December, 1903. Altogether
1,042 names have been placed on the church roll during the twenty-five
years of the existence of the church ; probably one hundred of these were
duplicates. The present membership numbers 341, In 1914 was opened
a magnificent new church in which provision has been made for the
establishment of a social center.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

This, one of the pioneer religious bodies of Hammond, is more than
a quarter of a century old. It was originally organized in 1888 as a
mission, which was established, according to the parish register, under
the following conditions :

"By the authority of the Rt. Rev. D. B. Knickerbacker, Bishop of
Indiana, on June 17, 1888, the Rev. Thos. G. Kemp, D. D., of Plymouth,
Ind., visited this place to see if there were any church people in the city.
He found eight in the city. He gave them a couple of services, and on
July 8 returned and made a house to house visitation, baptized three
children and administered the Holy Communion. On July 15 and 16
he organized St. Paul's Mission with Jas. E. Harvey, Warden; W. H. B.
Menzies and Frank Morton, vestrymen. Mr. ]\Ienzies was appointed
treasurer, and Mr. E. F. Fox secretary."

These first services were held in the old Odd Fellows Hall. Doctor
Kemp was followed by Rev. Robert C. Wall, who took full charge
September 22, 1888. Services were held in the Royal League Hall,
Towles Block, for two years. Meanwhile the present lots on Rimbach
Avenue were purchased, the mortgage being paid off October 1, 1890.
Already the contract for the church edifice had been let, and on Decem-
ber 22, 1890, Reverend Knickerbacker visited the mission for the service
of benediction. Stephen Prentiss, a student from Chicago, was in charge,
and the building committee consisted of Messrs. David Fenton, J.
Kopelke, E. F. Fox, and W. H. B. Menzies. The total cost of the church
and furnishings was approximately two thousand dollars. At that time
there were forty communicants, representing about thirty families.



LAKE COUNTY AND THE CALUMET REGION 367

Mr. Prentiss was followed by the Rev. T. D. Phillipps, temporarily
appointed, who in turn was followed by the Rev. H. B. Collier, May 21,
1891. Mr. Collier was missionary in charge for nearly two years, fol-
lowed by Rev. Austin F. Morgan, then a student. It was during the
tenure of the Rev. Edward Saunders, from 1894 to 1896, that the Dio-
cese of Indiana was divided, and Hammond became a part of the Diocese
of Michigan City. The Rev. George Moore was priest in charge in
1896-97, followed by Rev. J. Otis Ward in 1898, by the Rev. T. G.
McGouigle in 1899. During the rectorship of the Reverend McGonigle
the mission applied for and received admission to the convention as a
parish.

Rev. Mr. ]\IcGonigle resigned in 1900 and was followed by Rev.
Charles A. Smith in April of that year, his successors having been:
Rev. A. W. Webster and Rev. W. J. Hawthorne. The present number
of communicants is about two hundred and twenty-five; souls in the
parish, '550. The value of the church property is about twenty thou-
sand dollars.

TiiK C11RI8TIAX Church

The Christian Church of Hammond was started following a revival
meeting held in the old Hohman Opera House by Ellis G. Cross in 1888.
Soon afterward the old building of the First Christian Church of Chi-
cago w^as secured. This building was dismantled and removed to Ham-
mond, w^here it was erected into the frame church on Indiana Avenue.
This building was dedicated by Gov. Ira J. Chase, one of Indiana's elo-
quent Christian preachers. The pulpit and pews of the old Chicago
church were retained. The pulpit stand is still retained by the new
church in Hammond because of its historical associations. Behind it
President James A. Garfield preached many times.

The Hammond church fell on evil days and in 1901 found its mem-
bership reduced to about a dozen, its building badly dilapidated and
covered with threatening debts, and its Bible school reduced to thirty.

In October, 1901, C. J. Sharp, then a student in Chicago University,
a high school teacher by profession, came to preach and help tide over
for a time. ]Mr. Sharp is still the pastor. The attendance began soon to
increase. The debts were paid in tw^o years and additions to the church
came constantly. In his ministry of a little over twelve years there
have been 1,600 added to the church. A Bible school has been built



Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 35 of 44)