On November 4, 1849, the first building was dedicated and, Pastor Brauer installed the first teacher, Henry Bartling. On opening day, there were 8 boys and 9 girls. As enrollment increased, additional teachers were employed and new classroom buildings built. At no time was the enrollment limited or restricted. Children of parents too poor to meet tuition costs were always accepted. The policy of the school always urged the practice of Christian missions and charity at home. The first bible story taught at the West District was:
And they brought young children to Him, that He should touch them. And His disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for such is the Kingdom of God. Verify I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little children he shall not enter therein.” And he took them up in His arms, put His hand upon them, and bless them. St. Mark. 10:13-16
In November 1855, Zion re-established their school. In 1943 the Bloomingdale School (Located near Army Trail and Swift Roads) which was originally established in 1881, joined St. Paul. Both congregations maintained their independent schools until the establishment of Concord.
During the years between 1972 and 1988 the number of children in the congregation available to the school decreased, and in 1988 St Paul Lutheran School merged with Zion Lutheran School to form Concord Lutheran School. Pre-School was taught at both the Zion and St. Paul campuses with grades 1 through 3 taught at the Zion campus and 4 through 8 at the St. Paul campus. This jointly operated ministry was established to meet the changing resources and needs of St. Paul and Zion congregations. Even though Concord has been around for a relatively short time, both congregations have a long history of providing Lutheran education.
In 2006, Zion congregation received notice from St Paul that they were no longer interested in assisting with Concord school. Zion's congregation decided to continue on with the school, housing it completely on their own campus.
Zion's Church History
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church was established in 1837 and three years later, in 1840, opened its first school. On January 14, 1849 twenty men from Zion's church congregation, who lived in the Addison area signed a document organizing a society for the purpose of operating an English and German Lutheran school that was called the West District. 40 acres of land was purchased for $235. This amount was prorated among the members and each was given equity in the property. Later the name changed to Saint Paul. The main intent of the school in 1849 was to preserve the spiritual values of life for all future generations.
In October of 1851, the parish divided into six large parish's. These parish's marked the beginning of missions activities that moved out into a number of communities including: Elmhurst, Itastca, Elk Grove, Proviso, York Center, Bloomingdale, and Bensenville. Zion celebrated their 175th Anniversary in 2012 with a service led by LCMS President, Rev. Matthew Harrison. This was also the year many of the restoration projects kicked off.
- Western District (Home): Organized in January, 1849. Became St. Paul Lutheran School, Addison
- Eastern School District: Organized in May, 1852. Closed 1916.
- Southern School District: Organized in October, 1852. Became Proviso. Now Immanuel Lutheran Hillside
- Northern School District: Organized in November, 1855.
- Town of Bloomingdale District: Organized in July, 1880.
- Itasca District: Organized in July, 1885.
Articles about Zion Lutheran's History
Zion Lutheran Church History - Zion Lutheran Church History 1837-1938 from the Franzosenbusch Heritage Project
Zion Lutheran Church History - Zion Lutheran Church History 1838-1978 from the Bensenville Library
Issues, Etc. - Christ centered (Christocentric) Cross Focused Radio
Lutheran Church Charities - Lutheran Church Charities comfort dogs visit Zion's Annual Church Picnic
Zion Lutheran Liturgy - Reviews of Zion's worship service
Zion's 175th Anniversary Service - President Harrison preaches at Zion Lutheran Church