First Evangelical Church
Houston , 77004
Notes: Holman Street area heart of Houston's old South End; THC Atlas in includes marker title with text
Directions: Marker mounted on exterior of building, west side entrance of sanctuary building; church across the street from old San Jacinto High School/HCC Central Campus
Key Time Period: 1846 - 1865 Statehood - Civil War
On July 1, 1851, a group led by the Rev. Caspar Messon Braun (1822-1880) founded the Erste Deutsche Evangelische Lutherische Kirche, or First German Evangelical Lutheran Church. The State of Texas issued the church's charter in September of that year.
The first sanctuary was a wooden building on the southeast corner of Texas Avenue at Milam Street. In 1901, under the Rev. William L. Blasberg (1862-1935), the congregation moved to the northwest corner of Texas at Caroline, to a new red brick and sandstone sanctuary. After selling the second structure in 1926, the First Evangelical Church, as it became known, purchased this site. Under the leadership of the Rev. Detlev Baltzer (1889-1962), the congregation hired architect Joseph W. Northrop, Jr., who had moved to Houston to oversee construction of the original Rice Institute, now Rice University. James West was general contractor for the new church campus, and J. C Nolan and the Star Electric and Engineering company held sub-contracts.
Northrop's North Italian Romanesque styling features terra cotta roof tiles on the sanctuary, education building and parsonage, as well as a campanile, or bell tower. The buildings were constructed of interlocking concrete tiles covered with buff-face brick and white sandstone trim. The campanile's bell was forged in 1880 and has rung at each of the congregation's places of worship. The tower connects the sanctuary to the seven-bay arched portalis of the education building, which houses a stage, sports facilities, auditoriums and classrooms. The sanctuary's details include pulpit and altar made by master woodcarvers from Oberammergau, Germany. Pews and chancel furnishings, designed by Northrop, are by the American Seating Company. The choir loft houses a 1903 Kilgen and Son pipe organ, and the stained glass windows are from the Browne Window Company.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2002
Marker Type: Marker wall mount
Historical Org: Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Map Information: 493 T
GPS Coordinates: 29 44.289, 95 22.555
Precinct No: 1
Marker No: 12912