St. John Lutheran Church


In early 1900 fourteen people from the towns of Lewiston and Porter gathered to organize a new Lutheran church in the northwest corner of Niagara County in New York State. The first service was held in a school house on Pletcher Road in the late summer of 1901. St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod of Youngstown, NY was officially formed September 6, 1901 with its first pastor the Rev. Carl Frankenstein.

Rev. Frankenstein was at the same time pastoring St. Andrews Lutheran Church, Pekin, N.Y. and traveled by horse and buggy at a salary of $50 a year.

In 1902 a church building was built on the corner of Creek and Balmer Roads, 2 miles east of the village of Youngstown, N.Y. The cornerstone was set September 28, 1902. In 1905 a church organ was purchased for $40. A collection was taken by the congregation and $400 was collected to pay off church debt.

1907 brought the laying out of gravesites forming a cemetery near the church building and selling lots for $5.00. The church still cares for and operates the cemetery today.

As time progressed the need for a constitution was drawn up in 1910 and the purchase of a “seal” was made.

Three quarters of an acre of land was purchased for $150 in 1911 to build a four (4) bedroom parsonage at the Creek and Balmer Road site.

Time passed and most were very content until 1942 when a lengthy discussion was held regarding the United States Government purchasing the property along Balmer Rd. and having to move the church building. Many opposed and an appeal was made to the U.S. Congress. In March of 1942 a congregational vote was taken to relocate the church into the Village of Youngstown. The government purchased land along Balmer Road including the parsonage; the cemetery land was retained by the St. John congregation.

After 39 years the church building was moved into the village to the corner of 3rd and Oak Streets. The move was made in June of 1942 and the “2nd cornerstone” was set August 30, 1942 covering the original cornerstone.

In 1944 the salary of a pastor was increased to $150 monthly; in 1947 a new Wurlitzer organ was dedicated on Mother’s Day, May 11th.

Rev. Elvin J. Reimer was called to pastor St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in September 1948. A new parsonage was built and then dedicated in December of 1949. Pastor Reimer served St. John for 29 years tripling its membership; retiring in December 1977.

Back in the early 60’s due to the increase in attendance it was decided to purchase 5 acres of property on Lockport Street, where the church proudly stands today. In 1968 the new structure was begun and by April 27, 1969 a “3rd cornerstone” was set for St. John. A dedication of completion was held November 2, 1969.

At present day St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, stands at 420 Lockport Street, Youngstown, N.Y. and continues to worship, serve and share its Christian beliefs to all who enter its doors to make it a church of God’s people.