Augustana Lutheran Church

Founded: 13/12/1882 Current Use: Active Congregation

1875, Founded and organized by Rev. P.A. Philgren from Ft. Dodge, IA Initially met in a school building; first church built 1876 1889-90, Current (second) church built; in continuous use since. Designed by Charles P. Brown, a locally significant architect who designed various businesses and residences in Sioux City. Charles A. Larson, builder listed in National Register Nomination. Church history mentions labor of members, including carpenters, bricklayer, contractor, marble workers, painter, and other laborers. Exterior nearly unchanged. Church features much iron construction, including the original iron balustrade with its open fretwork and concentric circles. Other examples include iron-filled columns in the undercroft and nave, and iron weather vane on top of bell tower spire. Significant interior changes over the years (see additions/renovations section) Marble baptismal font dates to 1889, with Swedish text inscribed in gold. Given to church by John Malmquist family of the Malmquist Monument Company of Sioux City. Austrian stained glass windows original and depict different symbols of Lutheran church. 1891, Church bell, weighs over 2000 lbs. 1919, “Altar of Peace”, which replaced earlier altar, features hand-carved wooden statues of John and Moses by Anton and Alois Lang, woodcarvers from Oberammergau, Germany, who were in the US working for the Chicago-based American Seat Company when WWII broke out. Installed in 1919 as gift of thanks to God for safe return of those who served in WWI. 1919, Elaborate stained glass, and gothic-style pulpit 1959, Name changed to Augustana Lutheran Church Moeller organ purchased 1955, installed/dedicated 1958. Third organ in church. 1970, original altar painting, “He Is Risen,” by Olof Grafstrom, moved to nave wall when oak Thorvaldsen Christ statue (carved in Italy) was installed in its place. Notable congregation member was Gustav Nilsson Swan (1856-1938), successful businessman (President of Scandia Printing and Publishing Co.), Swedish-Norwegian vice consul for IA, literary critic and collector of Swedish American literature. Annual Sankta Lucia celebration since 1954. Historically maintained Swedish traditions such as smorgasbord, midsommer, Julotta.

Builder: Charles P. Brown, architect; Charles A. Larson, builder

Historic Name: Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Church

Craftspeople/Artists: Anton and Alois Lang, Altar of Peace; Olof Grafstrom painted original altar paintingAnton and Alois Lang, Altar of Peace; Olof Grafstrom painted original altar painting

Renovations/Additions: 1918-19, sanctuary renovated to accommodate the new "Altar of Peace." New chairs and oak Gothic-style pews, as well as pulpit, lectern, and altar rail. Nave ceiling repainted with gold leaf and decorative designs. Choir loft moved to rear balcony. 1955, brick re-cladding on exterior, caused loss of original brick texture and patterning, and limestone trim also replaced. Removal of four small towers at the base of three towers on west facade (due to water damage); 1969, major interior renovation with addition of new oak Thorvaldsen Christus, new pews, freestanding altar, and new communion rail. New light fixtures installed. Narthex created and enclosed in etched glass. 1969, church ceiling repainted 1976-79, education building,interior additions on first and second floor for pastor's study, Sunday school, kitchen, gymnasium, etc. Undercroft renovated for additional space. Reippled transluscent glass on south and east facades replaced with stained glass on lower part of south facade. 1979, St. Erik's Chapel, designed by Lars Gjerde, church member and employee at National Woodworks of Sioux City. Given in memory of John Swanson. 2005, church ceiling repainted 2006, "My Rock, My Salvation"" mural by Paige Lukens-Gray installed in narthex..

References: Moline, Marion, and Jeanne Emmons. Augustana Lutheran Church, A Brief History. Self Published, Circa 2006. Moline, Marion Larson. Swedish Evangelical Augustana Lutheran Church." National Register of Historic Places/Inventory/Nomination Form. Augustana Lutheran Church, June 15, 2005.

Is anything missing or incorrect? Let us know!

Scroll to Top