Old Trinity Lutheran School
When Pastor Emil Kasischke
arrived with his family at the parsonage February 3, 1938, they noticed a “FOR SALE” sign on the residence. It was a hint of events to come. Little could Pastor Kasischke imagine that God would use his tenure to double the size of the congregation and replace every building belonging to the congregation.
It was the wish of the congregation to replace the aging parsonage. The former funeral home was deteriorating; even the sand plastered walls had to be repaired with roofing nails and cardboard. An old faulty furnace consumed over twenty tons of coal each winter. These plus other “inconveniences” contributed to make it not quite the healthiest home in Bay City. Little had been done with the residence as the congregation had intended to provide a new parsonage.
In the early 1940’s church trustees proposed purchasing a home on Marsac, but Pastor Kasischke prevailed on them to have the replacement of the school take precedence, as the need was far more urgent.
Financing the school project was not easy. A building fund was started, but as the economy had not yet recovered from the depression, funds came in slowly. Members were asked to put aside, if they were inclined, “a penny per meal” for each member of the family to help finance the school.
Original plan for school, with basement
A building committee was formed in 1942, headed by member Roy Martens. A new school was proposed with four classrooms plus a gymnasium and lunchroom in the basement. Samuel Allen was engaged as architect. The exorbitant cost of construction materials during the war forced the congregation to delay the project. With a heavy heart, members also directed the building committee and architect to delete all non-essential features to reduce cost, so everything on the basement level was eliminated from the blueprints.
The state of Michigan also directed that more space was required for the new school. The residence next door was moved across the street on Broadway in 1945. Later the home at the corner of Broadway and 33rd needed to be purchased and moved.
Charles Englehart Construction Company of Bay City submitted the low bid and was awarded the contract to build the new school in 1947. The old school was moved next to the church during construction. Pastor Kasischke conducted groundbreaking ceremonies on a rainy Sunday, September 21, 1947. Adelbert Zink, president of the congregation, turned the first shovel full of dirt.
In anticipation of the new building, a third teacher was called, Miss Mary Lou Eckinger, who held classes in the church basement until the school was complete.
The school was dedicated August 22, 1948. Pastor John Zink returned to give a sermon in the morning service, while Pastor Kasischke conducted the dedication rites between services. Reverend G. L. Press, president of the Michigan district, delivered the afternoon sermon. Members enjoyed touring the school building, and were greeted by neat rows of desks donated by the Ladies Aid. The rooms were ready for classes to begin the next month, and the congregation thanked God for His blessings.
The Home and School Society was organized in 1953. This organization still assists with the work of our Christian school. It consists of all the communicant members of the church, especially parents of our school children.
New parsonage, shortly after completion.
Pastor Kasischke and his family moved into the new parsonage in mid-February 1960, twenty-two years after they were greeted by a “For Sale” sign on their arrival at the Broadway residence.
In August of 1959, the congregation officially resolved to build a new church and named a building committee headed by Oscar Grimmer. Douglas Morris was engaged as architect.
The committee was aware that the shape of the structure would be to a great extent determined by the property on which it would be built. It was “back to the drawing board” for Mr. Morris as the first design was unsatisfactory to the congregation. The architect acknowledged that the building committee had done exceptional work and incorporated their suggestions in a new design.
The congregation favored a tent-type roof with heavy beams extending to the exterior bases, and a flat roof over the Parish Hall and education wing. A free-standing tower was connected to the church only by a small roof over the driveway. The educational wing included six multi-purpose rooms with dividers to provide twelve Sunday school rooms. Englehart Construction was awarded the contract to begin construction.
The congregation held groundbreaking ceremonies on Thanksgiving Day, 1961. After a service in the church the congregation proceeded to the grounds of the future church near the corner of 33rd and Stanton, where appropriate Scripture passages and prayers were offered. The president of the congregation, Harold McDougald, turned over the first shovels full of dirt with members of the building committee.