June 11th was a special day in the history of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Concordia Seminary. A Log Cabin College had been built outside Altenburg, Missouri in 1839. After several years as a German gymnasium, this institution transitioned to become a seminary with the purpose of training young men for the ministry. After the Synod was formed in 1847, a decision was made whereby the people in Altenburg gave its blessing to move the seminary to St. Louis. It was Perry County’s gift to the synod. This happened in the fall of 1849. In December of that year, Professor Goenner came from Altenburg along with nine students to continue their studies in St. Louis.
Classes would be conducted temporarily in the home of Christiane Buenger, who had died in July of 1849. A photo of that home was shown on yesterday’s blog titled Happy Birthday, Mama Buenger.
On November 9, 1849, a cornerstone for a new building had been laid for a new building to house the seminary. The new building would be located on the northwest corner of Jefferson and Winnebago Streets, very near where Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Concordia Publishing House are now located. The new building was dedicated on June 11, 1850.
During the dedication of this building, Pastor Wyneken delivered a German speech, Professor C.F.W. Walther delivered a speech in Latin, and Pastor Schieferdecker addressed the Young Men’s Society. Pastor Fick composed a hymn for the occasion titled, “Praise the Lord, Ye Nations All.”
The new home for Concordia Seminary $4236.88. When it was opened, the C.F.W. Walther family also used it as their home from 1850-1870.
Here is a photo which shows Concordia Seminary in 1875 for the 25th anniversary of this building. One can see that the original building had been greatly expanded by this time.
In 1883, this building would be torn down and replaced with a new one.
One amazing and even ironic aspect of the 1850 building is that its plans were drawn by Martin Stephan, Jr., son of the leader of the Stephanite immigration who was removed as leader in 1839.