Our Savior's history is at the roots of Stanley, WI. Below is a timeline of important events throughout the congregation's history that have helped culminate what we know Our Savior's to be.
Prior to the construction of the Wisconsin Central Railroad from Chippewa Falls to Abbotsford (1881;1882), there were no settlers located within some distance of what is now the city of Stanley. There were, however, a few homesteaders who lived miles apart and who made their living mostly hunting, trapping, and logging. In 1875, a family of Danes by the name of P. Pederson homesteaded on land a mile and a half outside of today's town limits of Stanley. In 1882, more Danes arrived and bought land to settle down near Pederson.
Stanley had two Norwegian Lutheran Churches for 25 years (1892-1917) because of their different Norwegian backgrounds and theological interpretation of scripture.
The South Side church, called the Norse Synod, was organized October 1, 1885. (Today it is occupied by the Bretheren Congregation.)
The North Side church was organized May 16, 1892, and is the Our Savior's that we worship in today.
Our Savior's was originally called The Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Stanley, Wisconsin.
1881 - Stanley plotted by L.C. Stanley and W.P. Bartlet, who promised a free lot to the first organized church in Stanley. October 1, 1885 - Our Savior's Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation organized under leadership of Rev. P.A. Dietrickson. 1886 - The church is incorporated into the Norwegian Lutheran Synod of America 1889 - Congregation purchases Stanley's first school house and converts it into a house of worship. May 16, 1892 - The Congregation is originally organized in Carsten Olson's home. Here, those present voted to raise and organize a congregation.
The following people signed their names as charter members of the congregation:
Carsten Olson and family
Ole H. Thorpe and family
Ole C. Haugen and family
John L. Solie and family
Ben Berslie and family
Charlse Eng and wife
Ellick Ruud and wife
Hans Lee and family
Hans Berg and family
L.I. Roe and family
Theodore A. Hoidahl and family
Jens Hanson and family
Anton L. Solie and family
April 17, 1892 - The first communion service is held in Ole H. Thorpe's home on Easter Day. August 10, 1892 - The committee votes to postpone the building of a church until a later date. 1892 - A Ladies Aid Society is founded for Our Savior's. February 27, 1893 - A building committee is elected and they work to unite the two Norwegian Lutheran congregations in Stanley.
At this point in time, the committee needed to find some land to build the church upon, and D.R. Moon, a lumber and telegraph businessman in Eau Claire, offered to gift the congregation with two lots. His stipulation was that he wanted the church to become one of the first legally organized christian congregation in the village.
May 29, 1893 - The committee votes to accept D.R. Moon's generous gift and build a 50' x 34' church within three years' time, and they aimed to be debt free within 3 years. Throughout this building time, many men worked until darkness had made it nearly impossible to work.
March 10, 1895 - The Ladies' Aid gives money toward the first Church Bell and it tolls for the first time. April 29, 1895 - The congregation asks for admission into the United Lutheran Church. November 12, 1895 - The congregation agrees to support the Young Peoples Society. January 25, 1897 - The church buys two acres of land for a cemetery - purchased from James Cahill. February 8, 1897 - The church accepts a gift from Mr. and Mrs. L.I. Roe of one acre of land, upon which a parsonage is built. March 1899 - A new, larger organ purchased for the congregation. May 18, 1906 - A terrible fire rages through town. The church and the Young Peoples Hall are both destroyed by the fire, and the congregation suffers a loss of $10,000 at that point in time. May 26, 1907 - The new church is dedicated and costs about $25,000 - all debt was paid by 1913. August 28, 1916 - The church has its new pipe organ dedicated. This organ was a partial gift from the Carnegie pipe organ fund - $1,000 was given by them and the congregation gathered $1,000 as well. November 12, 1917 - The two Norwegian Lutheran Congregations of the city unite into one congregation. (Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church and Our Savior's.) 1917 - A vote is taken to have 1/2 of the worship services in English and 1/2 in Norwegian - this is rejected, but later in the year the congregation allows one English service for every three Norwegian services. 1919 - South Side Church sold to the Brethren Congregation and Young People's Hall sold to private interests. 1929 - The Ladies Aid Group is divided into groups or circles. 1930 - Great Depression takes its toll on the congregation - reduction of most financials in the church. Late 1930's - The church is in recovery from The Great Depression's financial hardships. September 20, 1959 - The church adds to its building with the construction of a three story educational building - this is the most successful venture and for a number of year the individual giving of Our Savior's congregation was among the highest in the Eau Claire Conference of the Northern Wisconsin District! 1965 - Our Savior's 80th Anniversary! 1975 - Our Savior's 90th Anniversary! 1976 - Our Savior's starts holding communion services on the first and third Sunday of each month November 1977 - New pews purchased and installed.
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