Christian Education in St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Congregation
German Lutherans have for centuries stressed the importance of education. When the emigrants from northern Germany traveled from Bremen to America in the 1800's they conducted daily catechism classes with their children.
Henry Christian Liever, a German normal school graduate, apparently was the first Christian teacher for the children of the early German Lutheran settlers in Lafayette County, Missouri. The care of children in the name of Christ appears to have been of great importance to him. He baptized the children for the settlers.
School classes were held in the log church which was completed in 1844 and also in the brick church completed in 1860 to replace the log building. These buildings were cold all day long in the winter. Edward Stuenkel recalled that when he started to school in 1844 as a first grader, he and the other children had to dress warmly. Most of the children came on foot--some three to four miles. It was warmer to walk than to ride on an open farm wagon or to ride a horse.
Mr. M. Broening was called to be the first trained schoolteacher in 1858. He was a graduate of a normal school that was establised by The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod at Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 1860 the school had an enrollment of 80 children.
From 1862 to 1865, Joseph Gruber served as the congregation's school teacher. He was succeeded in the fall of 1866 by Mr. H. Hamm, who had received his education at a normal school in Germany.
In 1866, the congregation built its first special school building. The school was built on property near the old brick church which is now the cemetery. The steady growth of the congregation soon necessitated the erection of additional school buildings in outlying areas of the congregation. On such school was erected near the Blackwater Creek. Another school was erected north of the Davis Creek. By 1881, there were three schools in the congregations with enrollments of 35, 44, and 100 pupils.
In 1887, the congregation decided to build a school in the town of Concordia. The upper grades were to attend the town school which would be located at the corner of Fifth and Main streets while the lower grades were to continue at the school near the church one-half mile north of town.
The present school building at 407 Main Street was built in 1921. Only five of the six rooms were used when the school was first completed. In 1956 the gymnasium, kitchen, and office were added.
In the 1960's kindergarten was moved to the parish school from St. Paul's College. A school band was organized with some 50 memebers from the upper grades. Interschcolastic basketball for boys and volleyball for girls were added.
The enrollment of 273 in September 1965 reflected an increase of 56 students over the ten-year period from September 1955. Part of the increase was due to the closing o the St. Matthew Lutheran School in
Ernestville. There were nine full-time teachers and one part-time teacher in the 1965-66 school year.
*This information comes from the Sesquicentennial History Book published in 1990.
Old Hamm School
School Dedication - 1921
German Lutheran School