First Lutheran Church of Ellicott City

Source: Centennial History of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Maryland 1820-1920, Wentz

The church when built was near the first rail line of the Baltimore and Ohio system. It was here that a colony of Germans settled between the years of 1840 and 1845. The church was a matter of utmost importance to these immigrants. The only Lutheran church that could be reached by these settlers was the Salem Congregation in Catonsville, which was about four miles away. Keep in mind that the only transportation was horses and your feet. Many made the trek to Catonsville every Sunday…farm wagons, walking and on horseback. They worshiped in the rain, snow and sunshine. The children baptized, confirmed and married and the dead were buried. As the years progressed, the distance seemed to get longer and become a burden to the congregation.

Early in 1874 the members of Salem living in Ellicott City were called to meet. It was to be a memorable meeting and including family names such as Laumann, Kraft, Hermann, Wehland, Rodey, Werner, Keiner, Engle, Wiese, Dontell, Meier, Bauer, Gerwig, Wosch, Buetefisch, and many others. The meeting was called to order by Rev. Martin Kratt, who was an independent pastor. Twenty-five charter members were enrolled. Services were held in the different homes for a time. Then Charles J. Werner offered all the granite stone, together with the corner stone towards a church building. The building was begun at once. It was a two-story frame building, about thirty by forty-five feet, and was dedicated in 1875. It cost about $3,500.

In 1877 Rev. Martin Kratt resigned and was succeeded by Rev. E. Lehnert, who served until 1881, when he gave up work here. Dr. Ebeling, then pastor at Salem, Catonsville, supplied it in connection with his own work, for one year. In 1882 Rev. Rhodes, of Chambersburg, Pa., took charge, but after eight months resigned the field. It was then that Rev. E. C. Ide, father of Dr. E. E. Ide, now pastor of Trinity Church, Baltimore, came upon the field. He labored earnestly for nearly a quarter of a century. In 1884 the congregation joined the Maryland Synod.

Rev. C. F. W. Hartlage, of the Joint Synod of Ohio, followed Rev. Ide, and ministered here until 1907. During his pastorate the church was remodeled and stained glass windows were installed.

In 1908 Rev. I. Wegner became pastor. In his five years of service a parsonage was erected by the side of the church. It was a three-story frame building, and cost about $2,200. In 1912 Pastor Wegner resigned and Rev. Earl S. Rudisill from the Seminary at Gettysburg supplied for two summers.

In 1915 Rev. H. C. Fultz gave up his work in Washington, D. C., and came to Ellicott City. He succeeded in rallying the people to begin remodeling of the church. A vapor heating plant was installed in the house and church at a cost of over $900. The ceiling of the church was lowered and a choir loft was built to accommodate a pipe organ at some future time. New altar furniture was ordered and many other improvements made. When the remodelling was about finished and before the altar furniture, arrived Pastor Fultz died in March 1917.

In June of the same year Rev. A. G. Null was called to fill the vacancy. On July 8 the house was rededicated. Rev. J. C. Bowers. D.D., pastor of Salem Church, assisted. The improvements cost about $5.000., which was fully paid by February 1919.

The pipe organ was obtained through congregation subscriptions. The congregation at its peak probably numbered about 185 members

The church moved to its present site in 1956, and has undergone several building additions, culminating in the present eight-sided sanctuary dedicated in 1996. In 2008 the First Lutheran Preschool was begun. Our staff includes a senior and associate pastor; directors of music, education, youth, and preschool; administrator, secretary, custodial/maintenance; and a preschool staff of 11.

Many attending the church today are third generation at First, but many are new to the area and some even to the country. Their website states that when we pray in our home languages more than 7 languages may be heard.


  • Rev. Martin Kratt 1875-1877

  • Rev. E. Lehnert 1877-1881

  • Rev. Rhodes 1882-1882

  • Rev. E. C. Ide 1882-1907

  • Rev. C. F. W. Hartlage 1905-1907

  • Rev. I. Wegner 1908-1912

  • Rev. Earl S. Rudisill (Supply from Gettysnburg)

  • Rev. H. C. Fultz 1915-1917

  • Rev. A. G. Null (1917)

Church Address:

3604 Chatham Road

Ellicott City, MD.

Telephone: 410-465-2977

Church Website: