“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Napoleon in Henry County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Building the Church

Saint Paul's Lutheran Church

Building the Church Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, January 18, 2021
1. Building the Church Marker
On February 26, 1867, Henry Precht and his wife Louise sold to St. Paul's Lutheran Church a one-half acre plot of land on the northwest corner of what are now Roads 17 and QI for S15.00. It was on this plot of land that the church was built that same year. The Prechts owned a small farm on the corner and later sold another acre of land to the congregation.

The builder of the new church was Fred Oberhaus, a young man of 25, who had come from Germany a few years before with his family. The father's name was Kaspar Oberhaus, and the Oberhauses were members of the new church. Fred had learned the carpenter trade in Germany. He was well qualified to design and construct not only the building as such, but he also made the furnishings, including the altar, pulpit, and the pews in his shop.

Records do Bot tell us who the members of the building crew were. However, it may be assumed, they were mostly members of the new church, many of whom were known for woodworking skills. At the time, when the country was still largely covered with trees, logging was no doubt a common experience with most of them.

When this old

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church building was torn down in 1981, all the frame material was open to view. One had to marvel at the thoroughness of the design and construction of the original structure. The dimensions of the building were 36 feet wide and 60 feet long. In addition a small sacristy had been built on the back. There was no foundation as such but the sills were laid on large stones that had been carefully put in place and leveled.

The basic support system for the building consisted of seven identical (frame sections) made of hand-hewn material spaced at ten feet. Sills, plates, beh tower supports and frame, and bracing are all hand-hewn. It is estimated that there were over 2,000 feet of timbers in the structure that were all skillfully handerafted. The rafters were all small natural logs (5 to 8 inches in diameter) hand-hewa on one side.

Unlike the churches in Germany, which often were not heated, this church had the luxury of two wood stoves. There was no chancel area as such. The simple altar was in the front with a very high pulpit directly behind it. There were three sections of pews; two short sections on each side, and a section of longer pews in the center. There was no center aisle but two aisles, one on each side, which were entered from the narthex. A divider down the middle separated the men's side from the ladies' side. Hats and coats were hung on this

Building the Church Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, January 18, 2021
2. Building the Church Marker

On December 30, 1868, the second annual congregational meeting was held. Here it was reported that the new church had been completed at a cost of $2,343.04. At that time $2,237.00 had been received into the building fund leaving a debt of $106.04.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches & Religion. A significant historical date for this entry is February 26, 1867.
Location. 41° 24.392′ N, 84° 11.394′ W. Marker is near Napoleon, Ohio, in Henry County. Marker is at the intersection of County Road 17 and County Road Q1, on the left when traveling north on County Road 17. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 16976 Co Rd Q1, Napoleon OH 43545, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Parish School (here, next to this marker); First Bell and New Foundation (here, next to this marker); William F. Baden (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Zion Lutheran Church and Cemetery (approx. 1.4 miles away); Kevin Sonnenberg (approx. 2˝ miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. 2˝ miles away); American Legion Post 454 Veterans Memorial (approx. 2˝ miles away); a different marker also named Veterans Memorial (approx. 2.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Napoleon.

Building the Church Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, January 18, 2021
3. Building the Church Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on May 10, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 6, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 122 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 6, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 11, 2023