Whittaker church left an impression on Milan

Photo by Martha Churchill The performers, from left: Clarice Weiseman, soprano; Alex Ellul, tenor; Tori Darnell, soprano; and Amanda Williams, soprano. Not shown: HaeHyun Park, pianist.

Photo by Martha Churchill
The performers, from left: Clarice Weiseman, soprano; Alex Ellul, tenor; Tori Darnell, soprano; and Amanda Williams, soprano. Not shown: HaeHyun Park, pianist.

Jean May could tell the story of St Paul Lutheran Church.
She was there when it happened.
Today’s photo gives a glimpse of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Whittaker. Notice the attractive, ornate windows. May provided the photo at her kitchen table in March 2010, and shared her experiences growing up with the church.
This building, on the north side of Talladay Road east of Whittaker Road, was abandoned after the congregation joined with St. Paul Lutheran Church of Milan in 1949.
The two congregations joined hands, led by Rev. Paul Foust, who had been preaching at both locations.
The Whittaker building became a residence for a while, then disappeared.
The church in Whittaker was established in 1891. The first resident pastor was Rev. H. Metzger from 1903 to 1905. He actually started a school, attracting 13 students.
In the early days, people could have spoken German at the church.
Harold Schuessler served the Whittaker congregation from 1905-1940.
Today’s photo shows May on her Confirmation Day in 1942 or 43.
Growing up with the Whittaker church was fun, she said, especially the children’s Christmas program. “We had a little pump organ,” she remembered. “The children got a big bag of candy. Sometimes we got fruit, always an orange.”
The photo shows she was confirmed the same day as her brother, Donald Lentz.
The Lutheran Church in Milan started in 1935, with five families. The first service was led by Rev. George Mueller, meeting at “Grandma’s Pantry” restaurant in the Stimpson Hotel.
The Stimpson, later the Danube Inn, was destroyed by fire in 2011.
It was a major step forward for the Whittaker and Milan congregations to join hands in 1949. Rev. Paul Foust was leading both congregations when they “amalgamated.” That same year, the new brick church was built in Milan at Dexter and County Streets.
Members of St. Paul Lutheran Church were the founders of Aid in Milan.
Jean May passed away in December. She loved her church, and she loved history.

Martha Churchill can be reached at Martha30535 [at] gmail [dot] com  

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