Monday, April 15, 2013

first German Protestants on the west side

Vereinigt Deutsch Evangelisch Protestantische Kirche 1866
United German Evangelical Protestant Church
The 1866 building is inside the present exterior.
Like many cities in Pennsylvania and the Middle West, Cleveland was heavily German. In the years before the Great European War, centering around 1900, the majority of children in Cleveland's public schools were German speaking and had German language instruction.* On another count, Cleveland had forty-nine German Protestant churches, seven Catholic, and six synagogues.*

1848 was a year of failed revolutions in much of German speaking Europe. There was not one Germany. There was the great multi-national empire, which was the Habsburgs in Vienna, and the smaller Hohenzollerns in Berlin. Parts of those two states were in the German Confederation with 37 other states [state=independent sovereign entity; not the U.S. usage, the words 'state' and 'nation' refer separately to a political unit, and an assemblage of people].

While the Irish were fleeing starvation and the British tyranny, the Germans fled conservative political reaction. In 1853, the first German Protestant church on the west side of Cleveland began. They built a third church on Bridge and Kentucky (now West 38) in 1866, next to the second, which was very near the first. they did not move far. The Irish were building the new Saint Patrick on Bridge on the other side of Kentucky from 1871 and moved in 1873 while construction continued for years, they also only had moved a few feet from their 1853 church.

In the 1870s the finances of the German church almost lost the building. In 1880 the church had a pastor from the German Evangelical Synod. In 1934 that church merged with the Reformed Church to create the Evangelical and Reformed Church. In 1957 they merged with the Congregationalists to become the United Church of Christ.
a window with Heilige Schrift (Holy Scripture)
The parish decided in 1926 that the language in the church to become English. To-day, portions of these windows give testament to the old language.
Jugend Vereine Sonntag Schule (Youth Union Sunday School)
 West Side Evangelical and Reformed became the West Side United Church of Christ
The congregation is now a couple of dozen people. I talked to one couple, one of the fourth generation, and the other the sixth. People still have a spiritual home.
*Germany on the Cuyahoga. Eleanor Prech. Cleveland Press. March 31, 1976

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