An emblem of the deep history rooted in Pflugerville, the Immanuel Lutheran Church will celebrate 150 years in the community May 31.

Marking a milestone

As early as 1852, German settlers formed the first Lutheran congregations in the area and formally established a church in 1874. With 11 members, they ratified a constitution, predating the 1965 incorporation of the city of Pflugerville by nearly 100 years.

“Records of what happened in this community [prior to the city’s formation] are mostly in the church records,” said Vernagene Mott, a lifelong parishioner and organist for the church.

She explained that epidemics, such as the 1920s flu epidemic and 1940s diphtheria outbreaks, are all on record, visible for anyone walking through the church’s cemetery.
Some headstones in the Immanuel Lutheran Church cemetery date members back to the 1700s. (Haley McLeod/Community Impact)
Early members and clergymen include well-known names for the area, such as Pastor William Pfenning, William Bohls and William Pfluger.

“Names on the church roll read like a directory of early Central Texas settlers,” a historical tribute to the church states.

Many of today's church members still have deep roots in Pflugerville history.

A descendant from both church and city founding members Bohls and Pfluger, Lois Luedtke recalled—during an interview with Mott—coming to the church as a little girl and eventually meeting her husband at church-sponsored activities, such as a group called the Luther League.

However, the church has not only been a local place of gathering; in early years, several state Lutheran conventions were held at the church, Mott said, adding that attendees would rent Model T cars for transportation and stay in the surrounding homes of church members.

Immanuel Lutheran Church received a state historical marker in 1974 and is listed on a German heritage tour by the Texas Historical Commission.

During this year's sesquicentennial celebration, members of the congregation will plant a time capsule, honoring the church’s tradition of preserving the area’s history. Mott said the capsule will contain items reflecting recent and significant events, such as pandemic masks and solar sunglasses.

What else?

The original church, built in 1875, was rebuilt in 1909 to accommodate the growing community. After the building was destroyed by a fire, it was reconstructed in 1929 and is the building seen today. Despite these rebuilds over the years, the church has always remained at its historic hilltop location at 500 Immanuel Road.
A pillar of the community, the Immanuel Lutheran Church has stood as it looks today since 1929. (Courtesy Immanuel Lutheran Church)
“It’s interesting that they chose this place because it was on a hill overlooking Gilleland Creek,” Mott said. "... People could see this church."

The church also houses a Reuter pipe organ and is one of the few churches in Central Texas to still have an operational full-scale organ, Mott said.

The church spent close to $100,000 in 1998 to restore and upgrade the instrument, and the organ is still used today in traditional worship services.

Learn more

Immanuel Lutheran provides weekly services, both traditional and contemporary, as well as provides Sunday school opportunities.

The facility also includes a day school; a food pantry; and space for church-related activities and groups, such as backpack ministries, choir practices, prayer knitting or crocheting, and more.

Find more information and history on the church's website.