St. Jacobi - A Brief History
April 20, 1873 marked the beginning of the history of St. Jacobi Congregation on Milwaukee’s south side at S.13th and W. Forest Home Ave. It began with a converted blacksmith shop, then a first church building that same year, and in 1906 a second large Gothic church building. The congregation had a school from its beginning days. There was rapid growth because of immigrants. As the years went by the picture changed, with many from the area moving out into the suburbs. In 1961, because of the need for a new school with adequate space, and because of the high cost of maintaining its present location with a declining membership, a new location was purchased 6 miles to the southwest at 8605 W. Forest Home Ave. in Greenfield. The school was built first and use began in 1964. From 1965 to 1977 services were held at both locations. German services were conducted through 1970, and English services began in 1918. In 1977 the original location was sold and all services were held in the school gymnasium until the present church was completed in 1979. An expansion was added to the school in 1994. An addition was made to the church in 2020, providing room for early childcare and more gathering space for the congregation. The membership of the congregation stands at about 1200 souls and 950 communicants.
The congregation has been served by 10 pastors and 10 principals. The pastors: William Damman (1873-1894); John Jenny (1894-1931); Paul G. Naumann (1931-1941); Gervasius Fisher (1941-1949); Harold H. Eckert (1949-1961); Paul G. Eckert (1959-2014); Timothy P. Henning (1989-1998); Timothy J. Spaude (2000- ); Richard A. Waldschmidt (2001- ), James L. Langebartels (2022- ). The principals: Albert Baerwald (1873-1885); August Haise (1885-1909); Friedrich Curschmann (1893-1928); George Denninger (1928-1947); Raymond Mueller (1947-1959); Kenneth Kolander (1949-1969); Arlen Koestler (1969-1978); David Hackmann (1978-2014); Brian Mensching (2014-2018); Joshua Walker (2018- ).
- organized on April 20th.
- Pastor William Dammann, first pastor.
- First school, a converted blacksmith shop.
- First church dedicated in October, location at W. Forest Home Avenue and S. 13th and W. Mitchell Street.
- Second school dedicated in November; served until 1964.
Pastor Gervasius Fischer accepted a call to Mankato, MN.
Pastor Harold Eckert installed August 7th as 5th pastor.
Pastor Harold Eckert accepted a call to the WELS office.
Pastor Paul Eckert installed, December 10th, as sole pastor.
- Congregation voted to purchase our present Greenfield, Wisconsin location.
January 30th accepted offer on W. Mitchell St. property.
February 20th closing service at church on W. Mitchell St. (1,152 attending).
Congregation hit 1000 souls mark.
Second pastor added, Pastor Timothy Henning, November 5th. St. Jacobi's 7th pastor.
New hymnal use began - Christian Worship.
Footings in place for school addition.
Afternoon Advent and Lenten services began in addition to evening.
Changed communion services from 1st and last weekends to 1st and 3rd.
Pastor Richard Waldschmidt, July 15th , becomes St. Jacobi's 9th pastor.
Pastor Paul Eckert, after announcing his retirement for August 31st, accepted a call to continue serving the congregation in a semi-retirement position.