Ebenezer Lutheran Church: History of Congregation


The congregation began in 1891 when a small group of Swedish immigrants (17 adults and 16 children) realized the need for a Swedish-speaking Lutheran church in the Summerdale and Edgewater district (a.k.a. Andersonville). Assisted by Rev. C.A. Evald of Immanuel Lutheran Church (then at Sedgwick and Hobbie), and funds from a women’s sewing circle eventually known as the Dorcas Society, Ebenezer was officially chartered January 22, 1892. Its name means “Thus the Lord has helped us.”
The early years of this steadfast Swedish congregation were a struggle, with four pastors in ten years. The first, Rev. C.P. Rydholm, stayed only a few months.
Ebenezer first occupied a rented frame storefront at 1610 W. Summerdale. A new church was built at a cost of $619 on lots belonging to John Bengtson at Berwyn near Ravenswood in 1895. It was moved to a lot, purchased by the church, at Winnemac near Ravenswood in 1898. The cornerstone for the present Gothic limestone structure at Foster and Paulina, designed by architect Andrew Norman, was laid July 24. 1904.