Our Savior’s Lutheran church had its beginning when Mrs. Leonard (Elise) Bakken walked into the homes of Lutheran families in the area and invited them to come to the Bakken home for worship on Sunday.
Knowing that there was a need for the guidance of a pastor, Pastor N. O. Lee was invited to meet with these families on December 6, 1914. Two weeks later on December 20th, the congregation was formally organized. It was called Our Savior’s Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The following families were charter members of the new congregation: Leonard Bakkens, Emil Bartel, Louis Nybergs, Olaf Hansens, H. Sylvesters, Chris Olsons, Tom Moes, Nils Hennings, Swan Olsons, John Sjobergs, Edward Nylunds, Gust Fried, Sr., Emma Swansons, John Becks, Edward Breviks. [Forty-seven souls].
Pastor Lee lived in Ashland, Wisconsin and came to Solon Springs by train. The railroad granted the pastor free passage during this time. If there was no one at the depot to meet him, Pastor Lee would walk to the home where he was to stay and conduct services. Pastor Lee conducted Sunday School classes also on Sunday mornings.
The Ladies Aid was organized on February 15, 1915. Confirmation instruction was begun by Pastor Lee and the first class was confirmed on February 13, 1916 at the Nils Henning home. Worship services were held in homes and in the old school house. The Congregational Church (now Presbyterian) was used for weddings and funerals. As the congregation increased in number, the old school house which was located on a lot east of the railroad tracks and north of the present ball park became the place of worship.
In 1917 Pastor J Laurence came from Ashland for monthly services. His salary was $50.00 per year. The third pastor to serve the congregation was John Ritland. He came from Ladysmith, Wisconsin during the years 1918 to 1920.
The next pastor was A.T. Juveland. He was the Assistant Pastor at Concordia Lutheran Church in Superior. He came once a month to conduct services. Following the morning service the congregation would eat dinner together and the various organizations would meet during the rest of the day. Pastor Juveland is remembered for his long sermons, tales of his trips to Norway and for a few favorite hymns which were sung over and over.
In June of 1931 Pastor V.A. Fiskerbeck accepted the call to serve Our Savior’s and became the first resident pastor. Services were now held every two weeks. Pastor Fiskerbeck spent a great deal of his time making the old school house into a house of worship. A building fund was started with hopes of building a new church.
The local German Lutheran Congregation joined with Our Savior’s in 1934. In 1935 Pastor Fiskerbeck began holding services in Solon Springs every Sunday. On August 19, 1936 the Sunday School began.
It was decided in 1941 that the old school house would be moved and made into a parsonage. The lots were acquired from Richard Flamang, Sr. and a foundation was made. The school house was moved onto the foundation. Pastor Fiskerbeck supervised the moving and did the remodeling work himself. He was later reimbursed $400 for the time and expense he had taken upon himself.
Work on the present church building began in 1941. This was a great undertaking for the congregation since it was still receiving financial assistance from the church -at-large. The church was constructed of native stone, which was hauled by Pastor Fiskerbeck and other men of the congregation. Mr. Paul Lewis laid the stones and the carpentry was done by a Mr. Anderson of Trade Lake, Wisconsin. The lots for the church were given by Mr. Fred Dahlberg. Worship services were first held in the new church in January of 1942, with most of the finishing work still to be completed. The church was dedicated in May of 1942 by Dr. I.T. Aastad, pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church of Superior. Pastor Fiskerbeck left Solon Springs following the dedication.
Pastor O.M. Hanson came on July 1, 1942 to serve the congregation. He was responsible for landscaping around the parsonage. He also build the stairway and worked on the upstairs of the parsonage.
During the years that Pastor Hanson was in Solon Springs, finishing work was also done inside the church. The bare stone wall on the inside of the church (which had always frosted over in the winter) were covered. Mr. David Lien constructed the altar, pulpit, baptismal font and communion rail, all of which greatly enhanced the beauty of the church.
Pastor Hanson also served Immanuel Lutheran Congregation in Gordon, Wisconsin. This congregation decided to discontinue and some of its members joined Our Savior’s congregation. Pastor Hanson left Solon Springs in 1950.
In July of 1950 Pastor Lawrence Steen arrived to assume pastoral duties. Under his leadership the congregation became self-supporting in 1951. For several years Our Savior’s had been part of a three point parish, sharing the pastor with congregations in Patzau (Bethlehem) and in Wentworth (Grace). In 1957 when Pastor Steen resigned to accept another call, Bethlehem voted to leave this parish and be served by the pastor of Bethel Lutheran in South Superior.
Under Pastor Steen’s leadership the congregation continued to improve on the house of worship. An organ was acquired in 1952 and in 1954 new pews were installed. The church bell was purchase and mounted in the tower on June 26, 1955. The inscription on the bell, translated from the Norwegian reads, “I call on the old and the young, especially the soul tired and heavy hearted.”
Pastor Steen left Solon Springs in April of 1957 and during the next year the parish was served by four seminary students: Arnold Kjesbo, James Braaten, Bruce Hesse and Arthur Solem. A Wulitzer organ was purchased during this time.
Pastor C.A. Christofferson began serving the parish in August of 1958. On January 1, 1961 the congregation together with other ELC churches became part of the new American Lutheran Church, the Northern Wisconsin District and the Rice Lake Conference. Pastor Christofferson left in February, 1962. Two Seminary Students: Preston Jones and Waldo Pierson served the congregation until the new pastor arrived in July. Pastor Henry Haffermann conducted the communion services during that time.
Pastor Philip D. Anderson and family arrived in Solon Springs in July of 1962. The parsonage had been completely finished before they arrived. It had been repainted on both the interior and the exterior.
The 50th Anniversary of the congregation was observed on August 30, 1964. Pastors, members, former members and friends joined to celebrate this milestone at Our Savior’s.
Pastor Anderson was called into the U.S. Navy and left in May of 1966. Immanuel Lutheran Church of Bennett, Wisconsin joined Our Savior’s on July 10, 1966.
Pastor Dean C. Brockmeier was installed on July 17, 1966. The building of an educational unit was begun in October of that year and the building was dedicated on June 11, 1967. The church was redecorated at this time. Our Savior’s became a single parish on March 1, 1968 when Grace of Wentworth joined with Poplar to become Peace Lutheran.
The kitchen of the parsonage was remodeled by Pastor Brockmeier. He and his family left Solon Springs in July of 1972.
Pastor Roger Rattmann accepted the call to Our Savior’s in August of 1972. The stained glass window in the Chancel was installed in 1972. The 60th Anniversary of Our Savior’s was observed on December 6, 1974.
Pastor Dennis L. Bergeson was installed on March 6, 1977. A church choir was organized and began singing for services on May 29, 1977. It was decided on December 7, 1980 to purchase a new Allen organ. The organ was dedicated on January 11, 1981. The mortgage for the educational unit was burned on August 9, 1981. The Sanctuary was remodeled and rededicated on June 19, 1983.
The church kitchen was remodeled in the late 1980s. In 2001 new windows and ceiling fans were installed in the sanctuary and light fixtures were updated.
Pastor Bergeson passed away November 10, 2009 after serving our congregation for 32 years. He shared his gift of music with us especially at Christmas Eve services. He was an avid antique collector and the parsonage overflowed with antiques. His family generously donated many of his treasures to the church. The congregation held several sales and a two day auction with proceeds going to the church.
Pastor David Putz became our interim pastor. A call committee was formed and a questionnaire was sent to all members of the congregation seeking direction for the church.
Pastor Nathan Winterhof accepted the call to become pastor in August 2011. Pastor’s wife, Pastor Sara Pearson, accepted a call to Calvary Lutheran in Minong, Wisconsin. They chose to live in Minong.
Our Savior’s parsonage was sold in June 2012. A lift was installed in July 2012 making the church handicap accessible. A new roof was put on the church in 2013. New basement windows were installed in 2014. Pastor Winterhof and his family left the area to take a call in California on Easter Sunday 2015.
Pastor Victor St George served Our Savior’s as a bridge pastor in 2015, until we called Pastor Jason Clifton. Pastor Clifton was installed in September 2015. He has been instrumental in leading the congregation to reach out to the community and leads in this by example.
A new sound system was purchased with donated funds in 2017.
In December of 2010 volunteers made 500 pasties to sell to begin community dinners. The dinners were held monthly sometimes serving 200 people. A free will offering was taken to help pay for the dinner the next month.
An annual church service is held in Lucius Woods Park followed with a potluck picnic. There has been an active youth group at Our Savior’s for many years.
Vacation Bible School is an annual summer event. The program is led by counselors from Luther Park Bible Camp and assisted by congregation members. Our VBS is available to all community children.
We have held a Holiday Silent Auction since the mid-1990s. The annual event is a fund raiser for church needs and an opportunity for community fellowship.
A handbell choir was begun in 1987 with the purchase two octaves of bells. They were played for the first time when they were dedicated on December 13, 1987. The handbell choir still plays today and continues to enrich our holidays and special occasions.
Information originally prepared for the 2014 centennial booklet, with additions made in 2018.