A Short History of
Redeemer Lutheran Church
Deer River, MN
Prior to 1922, various missionaries came to Deer River and held services occasionally, In the fall of 1922 Rev.H.E. Klinkenberg, the pastor at Grand Rapids, saw the need for a parish in Deer River. A canvass was taken and he was to serve the people for church services and start a confirmation class. August of 1923 he confirmed the first confirmation class in the Reid School House in Deer River Township. Rev. Klinkenberg was replaced by P.G.Eickstedt in 1924. Services were held at homes and above the Herried Store (now the Auto Parts Store, comer of Hwy 2 and 1st St.). In the spring of 1925 Rev. Siebert from Cass Lake served until the fall of 1925. At that time Rev. M.G. Brammer from Grand Rapids served and organized the Redeemer congregation. At the birth of the congregation there were only four voting members. Rev. Brammer also helped organize a Ladies Aid and Walther League ( youth group ). He stayed until 1931 when Rev. C. A. Joesting accepted a call and served Deer River and the surrounding community until June of 1935. Services were held in the Deer River school and the old Deer River Village Hall.
After Rev. Joesting left, R.E. Dobelstein and Rev.F.L. Von Huson from Grand Rapids served, assisted by Frederick Gunz and Victor Mack. Frederick Gunz, a younger man, worked with the Young Peoples’ Group. This was a rather large group from both Deer River and Cohasset and their surrounding areas. They organized activated like picnics and hayrides. These were young adults, some of them on their own and working. One outing turned into quite an adventure when a storm came up while they were picnicking on an island on Bass Lake. One boat had to be rescued after they lost their paddles. Weddings and confirmations were held in the Cohasset church. That building is now a private home, moved to the Chase Lake Road.
In the spring of 1941 Rev. T.A. Raedeke accepted the call to serve Cohasset and Deer River. With an increase of membership it was felt that there was a need for lots to be purchased and the basement of the present church was built and dedicated on December 17th, 1944. This being during W.W.II and hard times, it was no easy feat to assemble the needed materials. Volunteers did much of the work. In 1947 Rev. Raedeke left and the vacancy was again filled by Rev. Von Huson until June 1947 when Rev.R.A. Brammer was installed. In 1947 the congregation purchased the house behind the fire hall ( now 110 2nd Ave.N.E. south of the high school) for a parsonage. In October 1948 Rev. Von Huson again filled the vacancy with Rev. L. Thalmert assisting. Rev. Haertel was installed in 1949 and served until the fall of 1950. Rev.O.H. Markgraff filled the vacancy until Rev. Leo Schelk was installed in October 1950. He served until April 1953. Again Rev. Markgraff filled the vacancy, assisted by Rev. Rempler and Vicar Earl Gimmer.
In the spring of 1953 the congregation voted to build the superstructure of the church. They borrowed money from the Synod. Deer River was considered a mission church at that time. A Building Committee was appointed. They visited the newly dedicated church in Wright, MN and used its’ design as a model for their plans. The long, narrow chancel and open beam ceiling was the typical design of the day, reminiscent of the inside of a ship, a timeless symbol for the protection the church gives its people. Three local carpenters were hired to organize the volunteers and help with the work. Members came and worked when they could and donated their effort. The pulpit and altar were made by a member of the building committee who had a talent for woodworking. Rev. Bronstad was called and installed in August 1953. The church was finished and dedicated on January 10th, 1954. Rev. Bronstad left in 1959 and Rev. Kruger of Marble filled the vacancy until December 1969, when Rev. H.J. Marth was called and installed. When Rev. Marth married and moved to Squaw Lake the parsonage was sold. Rev. Marth passed away in November of 1970. Rev. Orlando E. Trier was installed in June 27, 1971. Before Rev. Treir and his family arrived the present parsonage was purchased.
On September 28, 1975, the congregation celebrated its 50th anniversary. Rev. Trier was the pastor. Rev. T.A. Raedeke traveled from St. Louis to attend the celebration. At that time there were 225 baptized members and 166 communicant members. The mortgage was paid off and burned. Deer River was no longer a mission congregation. It became part of a dual parish with Centennial Lutheran Church in Squaw Lake.
In October, 1975 Rev. Trier accepted a call to Winnebego, Minnesota. Rev. Bruce Lindeman accepted the call to Redeemer – Squaw Lake. In January 1979 Rev. Lindeman left for Lovell, Wyoming. Rev. W.C.Zeige of Cohasset filled the vacancy until Rev. Lawrence J. Smith and family moved to Deer River in the summer of 1979.
In January 1987 there were 290 baptized members and 219 communicant members. The new addition was dedicated August 16, 1987. In December, 1987 Rev. Smith transferred to Fort Madison, Iowa. Rev. Zeige of Cohasset again filled the vacancy until Rev. Brad Stoltenow and family arrived in June of 1988. In July 1992 Rev. Stoltenow accepted a call to Bismark, North Dakota. Rev. Zeige filled the vacancy until Rev. James Anthony and family came in March 1993.