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Dakota City, Nebraska


The Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Dakota City was the first Lutheran church building constructed in Nebraska. It has occupied the site since 1860.

The congregation was first served by Reverend Henry W. Kuhns, a missionary sent by the Allegheny Synod to the Nebraska Territory. Kuhns preached his first sermon in the front room of the Bates House (hotel) in November 1850 and formally organized the church on July 22, 1859.

The membership immediately made plans for the building but their effort of moving the abandoned store from the abandoned town of Pacific City was frustrated when the structure was destroyed by a prairie fire while being moved to Dakota City.

This church incorporates Greek revival elements in its design and was designed and built by Augustus T. Haase, a local carpenter and member of the Emmanuel Lutheran congregation at a cost of $2000. For several years the building also served periodically as a Territorial courthouse with religious services being held on Sunday as usual. Samuel Aughey, a leading scientist of the period was the second pastor to serve the church.

This old church still stands as a monument to the steadfastness of purpose of the early settlers and as a symbol of pioneer religious life.

The Emmanuel Lutheran Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1973, and is located at 1500 Hickory St., Dakota City, Nebraska.