First English Evangelical
Marker No: 17590
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Geographic: 28.803129, -97.004509
Location: 516 North Main Street, Victoria
Marker Text: As early as 1846, German residents of Victoria met in private homes to read scripture and worship. A Lutheran congregation was organized on December 14, 1851, the first in Victoria County. For sixty years, the congregation flourished with all worship services conducted in German. By 1912, sentiment increased favoring a separate congregation with services in English. J.C. Felger, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Antonio, quickly arranged English services in the Ryan building on Santa Rosa Street.
Pastor Felger conducted two services himself before the mission board delegated seminarian Paul Ebert to take temporary charge of the church. On October 12, 1913, the First English Evangelical Lutheran church was officially organized with 38 members. After ordination, Pastor Ebert became the first pastor of the church. Under his leadership, the church purchased a lot on north main and constructed a small frame church that served the congregation for 35 years.
On January 20, 1952, a new church building was dedicated on North Main Street. The new building was constructed of limestone in the gothic architectural style and was designed by architect Travis Broesche of Houston, who designed buildings for the public works administration, churches, hospitals, schools and other commercial buildings. The church continued to grow and expand by purchasing lots within the city block to add an annex, church offices, additional parking space and an activity center. This church is a reminder of the desire for many German immigrants to assimilate more completely into the American way of life. (2013)