Church History

  Church History  

The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church in Red Wing was organized in September 1855, under Dr. Erik Norelius. In 1856, the congregation erected its first church at Fifth and Franklin.

The German Lutheran Minnesota Synod was instituted at First Lutheran, and the Conference School which later became Gustavus Adolphus College originated at First as well.

In 1895, under Pastor Gustav Rast, a stone church was erected on the same site occupied by the second or brick church, at the corner of West Avenue and Fifth Street.

For the stone church, no contractor was hired. Pastor G. Rast supervised the work of stone masons and carpenters hired by the day to erect the Gothic Style edifice with a 130-foot tower. The highly picturesque Gothic Revival Style church is dramatic in its contrast between tan stone walls and white painted details.

The church has had many later remodeling and additions including the annex which was later remodeled and named the Norelius Chapel. Most recently (2001), a new fellowship hall, kitchen, and education rooms were added.

Today, First Evangelical Lutheran is a welcoming ELCA congregation involved in regular worship, adult and children’s education, youth activities, confirmation classes, choirs, and a regular concert schedule during the fall and winter seasons. 



Self Guided Tour

Link to podcast walking tour