St. John's Lutheran Church
4260 Hessen Strasse
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
St. John's Lutheran Church, located at 4260 Hessen Strasse, is situated on the south side of the road, south of Lobsinger Line and west of Moser-Young Road in the Township of Wellesley. This fieldstone church was designed in the Neo-Classical revival style and was constructed in 1872.
The property was designated for its heritage value by the Township of Wellesley under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 39-2003).
Hessian Lutherans from Hesse, Germany, settled in the Wellesley area in 1845 and built a log church adjoined by a burial ground on lands donated by George Hahn in early 1850. The log church was destroyed by fire in early 1870. A land donation from Katherine Reichart of a corner of her farm enabled the current St. John's Lutheran Church to be built in 1872. It is across the road from the original log structure. This new church was constructed using fieldstone gathered by Katherine Reichert and her children from their farm. For the first fifty years of its existence, St. John's Church had its own pastor, but as the number of Lutheran families decreased in Wellesley, the church was joined , in 1907, with the congregation of the nearby Village of Linwood. One of its pastors was the distinguished Rev. John H. Reble who served the congregation from 1912 to 1925. In 1970, the Synod asked the congregation to disband and the members to join neighbouring congregations, but the church remained open until 1982. Since this time, the church opens only for four special Lutheran services annually.
St. John's Lutheran Church is representative of the Neo-Classical revival style of architecture with a coursed fieldstone exterior and cut limestone quoins. On top of the roof is a square wood bell tower complete with tin louvers and a Swiss/Bavarian octagonal spire and finial. The north, east and west elevations of St. John's Lutheran Church are field stone mortared to look like cut stone. The church has an engraved dedication stone which reads, “Duetsche ev. Luth./St. Johannes/Kirche/1872”. The windows with 6 over 6 sashes and a semi-circular wood head are located on the front elevation, while the side elevations have windows with 6 over 6 sashes and glazed semi-circular transoms. The large wood doors have a semi-circular wood fan overhead and maintain the original locks which are opened by an eight inch iron key.
Inside the Church, there is a carved wooden altar, pulpit, and lectern, with a stained wooden ceiling above the narrow loft. In the front foyer, there are two centred and raised doors to accommodate the transfer of coffins to and from the church nave.
Sources: Township of Wellesley By-law 39-2003; Ron Hackett, personal correspondence dated March 1, 2007 (e-mail); Wellesley Township Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee, Heritage Driving Tour of Wellesley Township, revised 1989.
Ontario Genealogical Society, Waterloo Region Branch, 1990. (website: http://www.waterlooogs.ca/)
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of St. John's Lutheran Church include its:
- north, west and east facades
- gabled roofline with soffits and narrow fascia with no return eaves
- square wood bell tower louvered with tin
- octagonal Swiss/Bavarian style spire and finial
- coursed fieldstone with cut-limestone quoins
- windows with 6 over 6 panes and mock fanlight of wood (front elevation)
- windows with 6 over 6 panes and semi-circular transoms (side elevations)
- wooden front doors
Local Governments (ON)
Ontario Heritage Act
Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)
2003/01/01 to 2003/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Township of Wellesley
4639 Lobsinger Line, RR 1
St. Clements, ON.
Cross-Reference to Collection