Published Under the auspices of Muskegon Board of Trade 1892
Muskegon is represented by the principal denominations, having nearly 30 societies and missions, making excellent accomodations for religious services. There are numerous commodious and handsome edifices, every section of the city being represented.
St. Mary's Roman Catholic.- The first religious services held in Muskegon was by Rev. Father Baraga, late bishop of Marquette, who preached to the Indians and a few whites as early as 1833. In 1835 Father Vizoski said mass at Wm. Lasley's house, continuing to come from Grand Rapids, occasionally till 1852, when his place was taken by Rev. Chas. De Cueninck. Rev. Edw. Van Pammell, located in Grand Rapids in 1852, making quarterly visits to Muskegon. He erected in 1855-7, the original St. Mary's Church which still stands. Rev. J. B. Steinhauser was the first resident priest. He came in '57 and was succeeded in '60 by Rev. Chas. Zucker; '68 Rev. L. Schreiner; '65 Rev. Ferdinand Allgayer and '66 by Rev. Rievers, who continued here until his death in '77 when Father Van Pammell came. Born in Flanders, Belgium, in 1828, ordained in Detroit he served in Grand Rapids, Corunna, Ypsilanti and Detroit prior to his present engagement. The congregation consists of 300 families. The new St. Mary's Church, nearing completion, with lot and furnishings, will be worth $50,000, and is a commodious and handsome edifice. St. Mary's Parochial School is in charge of six sisters of the Dominican Order. The enrollment is about 300.
First Congregational Church.- The first protestant services in Muskegon were held by Rev. Wilcox, a Congregationalist, in 1840, at the boarding house of Martin Ryerson. Rev. Wheeler held a series of meetings in 1844, and Rev. Reynolds of Lamont, in 1850, engaged to give alternate Sundays to Muskegon, services being held in the school-house. Rev. Payson located here in 1857 and preached for a time, but a permanent organization was not effected until Rev. A. St. Clair instituted the First Congregational Church of Muskegon in 1859. An edifice was built in '68 at a cost of $7,000. The present structure was erected in 1888, and, with lot and furnishings, is valued at $30,000. (See cut opp. page) In November Rev. Archibald Hadden, a graduate from Oberlin College in 1877, and Yale Divinity school in '81, was called. Rev. Hadden served as pastor of Lyndale Ave. Church at Minneapolis for 7 years, and for some time past has been field secretary for Carleton College of Northfield, Minn.
Central Methodist Episcopal.- The first regular preaching of the M. E. Church, was by Rev. Bennett, 1854-5. Rev. J. M. Pratt came in the spring of '56, to attend the class and soon afterwards decided to build a church. The structure was commenced in '57, partly used in '58, completed and dedication June 9, '59 by Rev. J. K. Gillett, who was then pastor. That building including bell, cost $11,600. It was rebuilt in '87 at a cost of $28,000, and with lot, parsonage and furnishings is valued at $50,000. This was dedicated March 11, '88 (See cut page 34.) The present membership, with probationers, is nearly 600. Rev. W. A. Hunsberger, pastor, was born near Hamilton, Ont., and graduated in 1878, from the Classical course of Albion College. He was appointed to the Muskegon charge in 1890.
The M. E. Circuit of Muskegon Heights, Lakeside and Bluffton, were set apart in Sept. '91 as a separate charge, and a building commenced at the Heights soon afterwards, was dedicated Feb. 7, '92. Rev. C. L. Preston had this circuit for a year, when Geo. A. Odlum was appointed. Rev. Odlum's family is pleased with this climate and he has purchased a nice residence on Maffitt St. The Bluffton Chapel was erected by Geo. H. Tillotson, and presented to the church. Lakeside M. E. Church was dedicated in the summer of '91. The three above societies have a membership of about 175, and are under one charge.
The First Reformed Protestant (Dutch) Church was organized in 1859, Rev. W. A. Houbolt being first pastor. A church edifice built that year was used until '63 when it was sold to the school board and removed to make room for the present. The church is on Spring street between Myrtle and E. Walton, and has a membership of 330.
Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church, at the corner of Giddings and Yuba streets was organized in 1864. The church was erected in '65, at corner of Hull and Yuba but soon afterwards was moved to the present location. Rev. K. Skyberg, pastor, was born in Norway 1852, graduated from the Lutheran College at Decorah, Iowa, in 1880, and came to Muskegon in June '91. The membership is about 200.
St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal.- This church was organized in 1857 and the old building erected in 1875. The handsome new edifice, now well underway, is of stone, early English gothic style, 119x57 ft., peak of roof 55 ft. high and seating capacity 800. The guild room and lecture department, connected with the main structure, will be fitted with modern improvements. A handsome rectory on the same lot will soon be completed. Adjoining the Soldier's Monument and Hackley Library this stone church with handsome adornments is in harmony with the surrounding architectural developments. Rev. P. W. Mosher, rector, was born at Middleton, N. Y., graduated from St. Stephen's College, N. Y., in 1884, and later from the General Theological Seminary of New York. Rev. Mosher was assistant at Troy, N. Y. prior to taking this charge in Feb. '91.
Holland Christian Reformed Church was organized in 1867 by Rev. K. Van Denbosch, and a building erected at No. 140 S. Terrace St. This was burned May 16, '91, but was promptly rebuilt. The congregation consists of 350 families, a total of about 1,300 persons. Rev. J. I. Fles, pastor, was born in Netherlands in 1842, came to America in '73 and to Muskegon April 1890. He was educated in University of Kampen in his native land and ordained to the ministry in 1872. Mr. J. Vos, of Netherlands, was educated in the province of Groingen and had been teaching at Ferrysburg for some years, coming to the Parocial school here April '91. About 150 pupils attend. (See church cut page 64.)
The Frist Baptist Church was organized in 1870, by Rev. Hill, who served for 18 years as pastor. J. C. Jacob came to the charge in '83; John Oliver '87; S. M. Cramblet '89, and Sept. '92 the present pastor was installed. Rev. Jos. B. Banker was born in New York, graduated from the high school of his native city after which he attended Franklin, Ind. College. He graduated from the Theological Seminary of Morgan Park, in 1884, was pastor at Benton Harbor, Santa Anna, Cal., and Valporaiso, Ind., prior to accepting the call to this church. The first edifice was built in 1871 and the present handsome church erected in 1890. This with lot and furnishing is valued at about $20,000. (See illustration on page 24.)
The Danish Lutheran Church, located on the S. W. corner of Peck and New streets, was organized in 1874. Rev. Jens P. Lilleso came the following year as pastor, and still continues to minister to this congregation. Rev. Lilleso, was born in Denmark, 1841, graduated at the Danish school at Ryslinge, 1875, and at once came to Muskegon, where he has been, excepting 4 years of absence, for 17 years in one charge. The membership is about 80.
The Swedish Lutheran Church was organized in 1875, a building erected soon afterward, and has a present membership of about 200. Ref. G. A. Ostergren was born in Sweden, 1854, came to America at 14 years of age, was educated at St. Peter, Minn., and Rock Island, Ill., graduating from the latter place in 1886 and shortly afterwards accepting his present pastorate in Musekgon.
St. John's German Evangelical Church was organized in 1877 by the Ladies Society. The church, built on the corner of Pine and Diana streets, was dedicated in 1881. This burned in the great fire of '91 and the present edifice was erected the same year. This handsome structure, lot, parsonage and furnishings, cost about $10,000 and was dedicated Jan. '92. Seventy-five families are in the immediate charge and 50 other families are served by the pastor of this church. The ministers are supplied by the German Evangelical Synod. Rev. Chas. Kirchner, pastor, was born at Strasburg, Germany, 1861, educated in his native diocese, and was a teacher in the High school there for a number of years. In 1889 he entered the ministry, locating at Columbia City, Ind., where he remained until coming to Muskegon Oct. 1891. (See cut on opp. page.)
A Norwegian Lutheran Church was organized in 1881 by Rev. J. Sether and a building was erected in '83 at the corner of Grand Ave and Barclay St. The society has a membership of about 400. Rev. A. Krogstad, pastor, was born in Norway, in 1864, came to America in '80 and graduated from the theological institute at Redwing, Minn., May '90, shortly afterwards accepting this present charge in Muskegon.
Elim Swedish Baptist church was organized by Rev. J. P. Forsell, in 1881, and a church built the next year. This was burned March '91, and the present church dedicated Dec. following. Although two societies have gone out from this, the remaining membership is 110. Rev. C. W. Lundmark, pastor, born in Sweden, 1865, came to America in '86. He is a student of the Union Baptist Theological Seminary of Chicago and will graduate next spring. He has been in charge here since early in '91.
St. Joseph's R. C., (German) was organized in 1883, and a substantial brick church erected at the corner of Monroe and Fifth streets. Jos. Benning was in charge till '85, when he was succeeded by Thos. Schneider who died July 29, '91, and the next month the present pastor came. Rev. N. J. Irmen is a native of Luxemburg, Germany, and finished his education at Notre Dame, Ind. in 1882. St. Joseph's parochial school has about 100 pupils in charge of Sisters of the Dominican order.
St. Jean Baptiste R. C. (French) church is located at junction of Jefferson and Third streets. It was organized in 1883 by Rev. M. Letellier, and the building was commenced that year but not completed for two years. The parish has 375 families and a parochial school of about 225 pupils under the charge of six Ursuline sisters, where English and French is taught in common grades. Rev. Jos. R. Magnan, pastor, was born at L'Assomption, Quebec, Canada, in 1857, and graduated from the college of his native town in 1877. Father Magnan came to his present charge at Muskegon Sept. 24, '84. He is assisted by Rev. Eutrope Langlois, who graduated from Laval University of Quebec, 1889. Father Langlois remained in the university as a professor for three years; was ordained to the ministry May, '92, assuming his present charge, Aug. 4th.
Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Mission church was organinzed in 1885, and the present edifice, which is located on the N. E. corner of Giddings and Yuba streets, was erected soon afterward. Rev. Albin Anderson, temporary pastor, was born in 1862, and came to America in 1887. He is a student of the West Side Theological Seminary at Chicago, and will graduate in the spring of '94. Mr. Anderson came to Muskegon on the 18th day of November last and will remain at his present charge unitl January '93. The present membership is seventy-five.
Second Holland Christian Reformed church was organized in 1887, and the present building, located on Fourth street near Mason avenue, was erected the same year. Rev. A. Keizer officiated as the first pastor and was succeeded by Rev. J. B. Hoekstra, who now has charge. He was born in Netherlands and came to America in 1881, entering the theological seminary at Grand Rapids, from whence he graduated in '87. He came to Muskegon August '91. The membership number is 210.
The Second Baptist Church was organized Dec. 31, '89, by the late Rev. J. C. Jacob, who with religious zeal secured the building of a suitable church, corner of Hovey avenue and Sanford street, Muskegon Heights. This cost about $5,000, and was dedicated Feb. 28, '92. Rev. Jacob fell from an electric car in April, and May 5, '92, died from effects of the fall. He was greatly beloved and it was estimated that 10,000 people attended the funeral. The church is now named in his honor, "J. C. Jacob Memorial," and belongs to the White River Baptist Association. Rev. Geo. H. Lockhart, who was called to his pastorate on his thirty-fifth birthday anniversary, was born May 22, 1857, at St. Martins, N. B., on the bay of Funday. He was educated at the Baptist Seminary in his native city, and after a few years in business entered the ministry, having been ordained in Galesburg May 22, '89. Rev. Lockhart is an ardent worker and has witnessed the conversion of many souls.
Free Norwegian Lutheran Church, corner Southern ave and Franklin street, was organized in 1887; but it was three years later before a church was built. The membership of twenty-five, for two years, has been in charge of Rev. Ole Hornas, who was born in Norway in 1852, and came to America in 1881.
Grand Ave. Congregationalchurch was organized in 1888 by Rev. J. F. Kellogg, and the next year the present church building, corner Grand ave. and Division street, was erected. Rev. Kellogg continued his pastorate until his death Aug. 14, '92. Rev. A. E. Seibert came Oct. 1st. He is a native of Canada, taught German for a time, took a three year's theological course, entering the ministry in 1882, since which he has been pastor in this and other states. The membership is about 100, Rev. Seibert also has charge of the Jackson St. Congregational church, which was organized in 1891, and has about thirty members.
Third Holland Christian Reformed church was organized in February, 1890, by Rev. A. Keizer, and a building erected on the south side of Allen street, near Wood avenue the same year. Rev. Peter Keizer, who now has charge, is the first regular pastor. He was born in Netherlands 1845, came to America in '76 and graduated at Grand Rapids, Mich., in '84. He came to Muskegon in December 1890, at which time the membership was sixty-eight families, but by energetic work he has doubled the membership.
Second Reformed Church.- This church was organized under the direction of Rev. Wm. Moerdyk of the First Reformed church in April, 1891, and the edifice corner Houston ave. and Jefferson st, was dedicated August, 1891. Rev. G. H. Hospers, pastor, came to Musekgon Sept. 6, '92. He was born at Pella, Iowa, in 1864, graduated from Hope College in '84, and the Holland Theological Seminary in '87. His first charge was at East Williamson, N. Y., which was held for five years prior to coming here. The present membership is about fifty.
German Evangelical Zion church was organized Oct. 1, 1891, by Rev. A. Kreuter, who still has charge. A new church is being erected at the corner of Fourth street and Strong avenue. Mr. Kreuter was born in Germany and graduated from the Theological College at Basel, Switz., in 1874. He was in South America for several years in missionary work, and in 1885 he located near St. Joe, Mich., removing to Muskegon in 1887, and having charge of the Pine Street, St. John's German Evangelical church until its destruction by the fire of '91. The church has about fifty families and several single members. A parochial school is held in connection.
Scandinavian M. E. Church.- Rev. H. E. Christopherson started a mission Oct. '91, which consummated in the organization of a class March 2, this year, and the erection of a neat chapel at the corner of Grand ave. and Franklin street, which was dedicated Nov. 20th.
Young Men's Christian Association.- The Muskegon Y. M. C. A. was organized Feb. 1, '90, and has a present membership of 200. The association occupies the second and third floors of the Russel Block, and the compartments are pronounced by critics to be among the best rented rooms in the country. The gymnasium is especially complete, having nearly all the modern appliances for symmetrical body-building. It is 30x65 feet in size with 20-feet ceiling. A running track is suspended 12 feet from the floor and requires 34 laps to the mile. The parlors are beautifully furnished, and the finest bath rooms in this city are in the Y. M. C. A. The bowling alleys, reading room and educational class department are all well equipped. George Williams was the leading spirit in organizing the Young Men's Christian Association in London, in 1844. For 20 years there was no special uniformity in conducting the different societies; but since that time the work has been more clearly outlined, and has been endorsed by all evangelical churches as an auxiliary to christian work. It was started in the United States in 1851, and active organization are now working in 1,500 cities, with a membership of 300,000 and property worth $15,000,000. It has made a wonderful development and the remarkable progress of the physical culture department reflects credit upon the zealous workers for sanitary reform. In city life the gymnasium is an essential feature for growing young men and under Physical Director Lewis O. Gillesby, a native of Waterford, Ont., this department is doing great good in Muskegon. Arthur F. Barrett, a native of Somers, Conn., was educated in the schools of Springfield, Mass., and for several years was in railroad, newspaper and insurance work. In 1887 he engaged as a secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association, after four years at Yonkers, N. Y., going to Newton, Mass., where he remained until induced to accept a home in Muskegon. He entered upon his duties here Nov. 1st, and his active inaugural work stamps him as the right man for the place.
Graphics for this page are from:
Copyright © 1999 by Patti Norton. All rights reserved