The German Evangelical Lutheran Zion Church (later Zion Lutheran Church) dates back to February 19, 1882. Rev. J. H. Theiss was the pastor. 4,5
The congregation met in a building on 9th Street between Washington and Clay Streets. In 1887, they purchased land at the northeast corner of 13th Street and Clay Street to build a church. The first President of the congregation was Herman Meese, who was also one of the original organizers of the church. Meese was the father of Edwin Meese.
The church sold the property at 13th and Clay in 1892, and held their final service on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1892. 9 They then moved to the southwest corner of 12th Street and Myrtle Street, including the building. 10
In the process of moving the building, Bayles, the house mover, cut down 3 trees on Oakland High School property. He said it was with the understanding of pastor Theiss and Director Smith (?). This caused a minor uproar, with Public Works holding back Bayles' $20 deposit, and threatening to arrest him and fine him $100 if he didn't replace the trees. 11 The move also required "the cutting of 100 single telephone wires on Clay Street, and the dropping of two telephone tables, each containing about 125 wires." The Piedmont Cable Car Company complained about the move interfering with business "throughout the greater part of the day" and planned to sue for $50 per hour. As soon as the church was moved off its old spot, the home of L. H. Briggs (who had purchased the property from the church) was moved to the lot where the church had been. 12
An 1894 newspaper listing 2 and the 1903 directory lists it as Zion's Evangelical Lutheran Church, J. H. Theiss, pastor. 3
In 1953, ground was broken for a new church on Park Blvd. (The church is in Piedmont, but is only accessible from Park Blvd. in Oakland.) In the 71 years since the church was founded until the ground-breaking, they had only 3 pastors: Rev. J. H. Theiss (1882-1916), Rev. George Meiger (1916-1946), and Rev. Arnold A. Levenhagen. (1946-1974+) 6,8 The congregation moved to the new church in 1954.
The old building on 12th St. is now home to Pistos Korean Presbyterian Church.
Links and References
- Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division
- Zion's Evangelical Lutheran Church Oakland Tribune June 16, 1894
- Husted's Oakland 1903
- German Evangelical Lutheran Church Oakland Tribune November 11, 1882
- German Evangelist Lutheran Zion Church Oakland Tribune January 20, 1887
- Oakland's 71-Yr.-Old Zion Lutheran Church Breaks Ground for Building Oakland Tribune August 9, 1953
- Manger Child Theme Oakland Tribune December 24, 1931
- Zion Lutheran Installs Pastor Oakland Tribune November 29, 1946
- Eastertide Oakland Tribune April 16, 1892
- German Lutherans Move Oakland Tribune April 8, 1892
- Three Trees Oakland Tribune May 23, 1892
- Much Trouble Caused by the Changes on Clay Street Oakland Tribune April 25, 1892
- Zion Lutheran Church Oakland History Room
- Zion Lutheran Church website