St. Mark's English Lutheran Church

Fargo and Southern Railway Depot.

In the summer of 1884, Rev. W.F. Ulery of Greensburg, PA, visited the missions of Dakota Territory on behalf of the Home Mission Committee of the General Council of the United Lutheran Church in America. He came to Fargo in 1885 to start a Lutheran church using the English language. All Lutheran churches on the "frontier" at the time held services in services in "foreign tongues," primarily Scandinavian.

Having no church at the time, Rev. Ulery persuaded the station agent of the Fargo and Southern Railway Depot [later the Milwaukee Road Depot] to allow him to teach Sunday School in the building. Rev. Ulery placed a notice in the newspaper that a Lutheran Sunday School using the English language would be held at the depot.

St. Mark's English Lutheran Church, 1886-1910.

For the next two years, Rev. Ulery continued to hold a Lutheran Sunday School in English for children in the waiting room of the depot. During this time, he raised $2000 in contributions for a church. He used these funds in 1886 to purchase three lots on the southeast corner of 8th Street and 4th Avenue North. On July 25, 1886, a cornerstone was laid and St. Marks English Lutheran Church was built. Now Rev. Ulery needed a congregation.

According to church records, the first ten members of the congregation joined together in the church for the first service on May 18, 1887. All ten members were of Norwegian descent: G.F. Lawrence, S.P. Olson, G.O. Gilbertson, Frederick Pritzloff, Neils Andreas Neilsin, Carl Resinau, J.F. Paul Gross, Louis P. Nell, Cilia Rasmusson, and Cecelia Torgerson.

Rev. Ulery.

Thus St. Marks was founded as the first Lutheran church using the English language in Dakota Territory. With his mission successfully completed, Rev. Ulery returned east.

The upper and lower pictures (and most of the information here) is from St. Mark's 1987 centennial brochure. The center picture is from the 1906 Fargo Souvenir Book.

Rev. Ulrich had arrived in Fargo as the church's fifth pastor in 1907. St. Mark's growth had been slow but steady from the 10 original members in 1887 to 300 members in 1912. A larger new church was needed. Rev. Ulrich raised between $14,00 and $20,000 in five years. The old church was torn down and a new church built in its place. Ulrich also persuaded the Carnegie Foundation to pay for half of a new $3,000 organ for the church. The new church was dedicated on March 12, 1912 and the new pipe organ on October 1, 1913.

In 1949, Rev. Ingold Kindem became St. Mark's tenth pastor. With his leadership, the congregation approved a parish education building. The $94,000 building was dedicated on March 9, 1952.

St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1912-1952.

St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1952-present.

St. Mark's Interior 1912.

St. Mark's Interior circa 1954.

St. Mark's Interior 1962.

All of the pictures (and most of the information here) is from St. Mark's 1987 centennial brochure. A very special thank you to Brad Graber for his help.