Welcome to the First Lutheran Church of Galveston History and Archive Center! Thanks to the Portal to Texas History, our microfiche data has been converted to a modern digital format and all our original records can be accessed online by the public. Use these links below:
Series of ledgers documenting the membership records of the Galveston Lutheran Church in Galveston, Texas, including marriages, baptisms, funerals, confirmations, and various other information. Click Here For FREE Access
This book contains a series of ledgers documenting the minutes of the Galveston Lutheran Church in Galveston, Texas, including various reports from the Secretary, Treasurer, and committees. The first page contains a list of information contained in the church records. Click Here For FREE Access
Thank you to the University of North Texas!
UNT is the only non-military University to be appointed an Affiliated Archives of the National Archives and their work is published in the Portal of Texas History. We are proud to be in this amazing collection of Texas History!
If you have any old photographs or documents, please contact us! We will carefully scan them and return them to you.
We are also planning to create video documentary of interviews with anyone who has stories or memories about FELC.
Please contact us if you have anything that you would like included in our collection or if you have any questions!
Antique Book Donated
We have accepted an AMAZING ANTIQUE BOOK donation from Anne and Vince Cole entitled “Der erste [zweifte] Teil der Bücher uber etliche Epistel der Apostein” which was published in Wittemberg in 1552! Read more…
Brief History of First Lutheran of Galveston
The first pastor was Rev. J.F. Gueben in 1850. It it is not known why he abandoned his work here, but in the later part of 1850 he departed Galveston Island, leaving the Lutherans without any pastor. In 1851, five young men just graduated from the seminary at St. Chrischona, Switzerland landed in Galveston to do missionary work among the scattered Germans in the then wild state of Texas.
One of these young men was Rev. H. Wendt, and it being pointed out to him the necessity for a resident pastor for the Lutherans of Galveston, he consented to take up the work here. It took this gentleman a very short time to organize to organize the Lutherans into an permanent body, and the congregation then organized has had unbroken existence and is known today as First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Galveston.
The were no public schools in Galveston in 1850, and very few private ones. So Rev. Wendt immediately established a school that would be maintained in connection with the church. The school flourished from its very inception. The school had no building of its own, nor did the congregation possess a house of worship, so quarters were rented for the school in a private residence. The Sunday services for the congregation were held in various private residences as the church had no regular home.
In 1854, the church made arrangements for holding its Sunday services in what was then known as the Lyceum Hall, located on the corner of Winnie Street and Bath Avenue. The Lyceum Hall was known at at time as the intellectual center of Galveston. In this building were held lectures, concerts, and other entertainments. After using the Lyceum for about a year, the church acquired two adjacent lots on the corner of Winnie and 24th streets from a German organization known as “Deutsch-Texanische Freundschaft Bund”, who maintained a German school. The Freundschaft Bund had been deeded the land by the Galveston City Co. on March 23, 1858 for the purpose of building a church. The congregation then purchased the Lyceum building it had been renting and moved it to the corner of Winnie and 24th streets where it was made into an auditorium used on Sunday for services and during the week it was occupied as the school.
Shortly after the Civil War, in 1868, the swelling congregation under Rev. F. Gloor voted to build a new framed wooden church which was completed in May. A picket fence surrounded the white framed building and the old Lyceum building remained beside the new church and served for Sunday School and social gatherings.
In 1915, during the ministry of Rev. C.P. Hasskarl the church was made into a brick veneer. The Lyceum building was attached to the west wing as an annex used for Sunday School and church overflow.
In 1959 the present structure of the First Lutheran Church of Galveston was dedicated and continues servicing the needs of the Galveston community.
Below is the Charter issued to the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Galveston by the State of Texas on June 30, 1891.
Below is the cover of the church ledger, dated 1850.