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Eteläkarjalainen maisema
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torstai 6. huhtikuuta 2017

More articles on Fort Bragg Finns: Founding and building the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church

The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fort Bragg has changes its name to the Trinity Lutheran Church

The first Finn permanently moved to the Fort Bragg region, Mendocino count, in California as early as 1869 and the other early settlers in 1877. In the beginning of 1880s the Finnish population in the area increased rapidly. The Finnish immigrants came to Fort Bragg area because of the employment available in the logging, lumbering and fishing operations, trades they knew from the old country. Many members of the Fort Bragg Finnish community felt a need for a church where they could worship in their native language. The Finnish religious heritage was primarily Lutheran and early group of Finns formed al Lutheran congregation on February 17, 1889. The fifteen charter members adopted the name Finland Evangelist Lutheran Church. Evangelist was a mistranslation of the Finnish word evankelis. Notes from the minutes of this initial meeting establish the identity of founders:

At this first meeting we established and named the church with 15 members. Council members were elected by voice vote
Chairman: John Barquist
Secretary: Johan Petter Westerbeg
Treasurer: Johan Guest
Board members: Johan Jensen, Herman Barquist/Berkovitz, Jacob Nyy, Isak Markkula, Jacob Backman (Haiman in Amerikan Suomalainen Lehti and in the original minutes), Peter Johanson (missing in Amerikan Suomalainen Lehti).
We agreed that the name shall be Suomalainen Evankelis-Lutherilainen Seurakunta and it shall be changed unless the whole congregation agrees. Members shall be morally upright and they shall not be saloon keepers.

The Finland Lutheran Evangelist Church' churchbook.
At the same meeting a lot was secured at the southeast corner of Corry Street and Redwood Avenue.  In  the next meeting in March plans were underway for the construction of a church building and was decided to clear the Church lot. At the meeting on April 28, 1889, a list was prepared for sign-ups for building funds. On June 30, 1889, the architects drawings were approved and a loan for $300 was negotiated to purchase lumber. At this point, however, the Mill (Fort Bragg Redwood Company) donated the necessary lumber, first-cut redwood timber which was being harvested at that time.

Finnish Evangelical Lutheran church in Fort Bragg
Following articles were published in the local Advocate-News:

On July 19, 1889:
Lumber is being hauled this week for the building of a Finland Lutheran Church on Redwood Avenue. It will be 30x50 feet and the top of the steeple, 75 feet from the ground.

On July 17, 1889:
New Church
The new Finland Lutheran Church is well under way and everything points to a neat house of worship. Mr. Barqvist desires to return thanks to those who donated toward the project: Fort Bragg Redwood Co $50, C. L. Burbeck $5, H. Houston $2,50, T. L. Johnson $10, H. A. Weller $5, G. W. Perkins $2,50, Geo Berryhill $1,50, Eri Huggins $5, C. R. Johnson $10, Marks & Leiser gave a keg of nails, Julius Wintzer $5, F. Kammerer $1,50, G. A. Johnson $1, Bucholtz Bros. $5, A .A. Lord $2,50, A. F. Carmichael $2,50, H. R. Danders $2, R. Glanders $1,50, A. C. Kimball $1, O. R. Johnson $25, A. B. Cambell $1, J. Barqvist $10, H. Barqvist $5, A. Wilson $5, Matti Pelta (=Pelto?) $10, J. Martin $3, J. Soderman $10, J. P. Westerberg $5, Y. Hyman $5, Jacob Nyy $5, This does not complete the list.

On August 28, 1889:
Work on the Finn Church has stopped for want of funds. This little edifice will present a neat appearance when completed.

On September 18, 1889
The following people are new contributors to the building fund of the Finland Lutheran Church: Peter Peterson $5, F. A. Whipple $5, T. Murray $5, Kaarl J. Jakobson $5, Eza Terraien $6, Herman Berkamtje (=Barqvist?) $6, J. Soderman $4, J.A. Diel $1.

The Finnish Newspaper wrote in the beginning of June, 1890,
that the Finnish Church in Fort Bragg was nearly completed.
Tampereen Sanomat June 4, 1890.
Construction of the building started in September 1889 and in the end of the same year the structure was roofed and closed in enough to hold regular services. The building was finished in the Summer 1890. It was painted both inside and outside, the altar, pulpit and pews were completed, too. The church was built of redwood and fir with clapboard siding on the exterior. There were four Gothic windows on the north side as well as on the south side of the church.

The membership of the congregation grew rapidly. As early as in the end of the foundation year it was counted to rise over one hundred, including children. In the end of the second year the membership had risen to two hundred. Membership has not thereafter at any point increased to enlarge. The church members lived in addition to Fort Bragg in Noyo Hill, Noyo, Caspar, Mendocino, Albion and Comptche. Some live up to thirty miles from the Fort Bragg.

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