In the days of the circuit Riders, their territory often included several states. So it was that J. G. Miller from the Galena, IL Mission that visited the Madison area, the early settlers in the Evangelical movement. Some of the circuits were made in 1845. By 1846, through the efforts and visits of Broker Miller, a mission was started in Madison. These circuit riders were persistent Men of god and were always anxious to explore new territory. By 1852 the work had spread to Portage and rom there down the Fox River Valley.
In 1858 W. Stegner and Peter Massueger, who were both servicing the Portage Mission and Fox River Circuit, came to Lodi and began preaching there and in the surrounding territory. Very likely this was the beginning of their contacts with some of the people of the Arlington Prairie.
In 1859 and 1860, Rev. Hauert was stationed at the Portage Mission, during which time the first two member of the Arlington class were won for Christ. From this humble beginning the class grew to 14 members and in 1864 was organized as the Emmanuel Evangelical Congregation of Arlington. Louis and Margaretha Lintner were the first of these to be won for the work of the Lord.
During the first and second year of the work at Arlington, the Lodi and Arlington classes were taken from the Portage Mission and added to the Dane County Circuit. By this decision of the conference, the organized class was served by the Dane County Preachers.
|The charter members of this Class of 14 were:|
August Gundlach, Sr.
August Gundlach, Jr.
Louis Lintner was the first Class Leader serving from 1864-65
The following charter members are buried at the Arlington Evangelical Cemetary on Kampen Road: Louis & Margaretha Lintner, August Gundlach Sr, August Gundlach Jr & Wilhelmena Gundlach.
By the year 1866, the congregation had grown to 26 members. In 1867 this small group was made up of 12 families, under took the construction of a church building. This was quite an undertaking for such a small group, but the Spirit of the Lord was upon them. They volunteered their services. The land was donated.
The first plot of land was offered by Louis Lintner, but wet conditions that year made it impossible to build on it. August Gundlach offered a higher plot on the other side of the road. This proved a suitable site, so the volunteers went to the other side of the road and started their big project. The lumber had to be hauled from Portage through muddy trails, winding their way through woods.
When the long timbers became lodged between trees on the narrow trail, the trees had to be cut before moving on. Many hardships had to be overcome by these willing servants of the Lord so that they could have a place to worship.
The plot of ground on which the church was built was one and a half miles from Arlington. Early in July 1867, the labors of these forefathers had shown forth in a frame church building, thirty by forty eight feet. On July 14, 1867 the new church was dedicated by Rev. H. Schelp, District Superintendent of the Madison District. At the dedication service Herman Siewert, then a babe in arms was baptized. He was a faithful member of the church throughout his 80 year of life.
The Arlington Church was in the Lodi Mission until 1881 when the name was changed to the Arlington Mission and the preachers were then located at Arlington. This meant that a parsonage was needed, so in 1883 one was built in the Village of Arlington.
By 1910 the church membership had grown. As time went on many families attended the church not only from west of Arlington but also from the Town of Leeds and the Village of Arlington. Arlington seemed a logical place for the church, so the congregation decided to move their church into the village. With the help of Mr. Wint Jwett, who used planks, rollers, and a treadmill device operated by a mule, as well as the power of John Bells’s steam engine.
The cost to move the church was approximately $3600. The church was completed with a new basement, a furnace, and was re-opened in January 1911. It was about this time, services which were conducted in German, were gradually changed over to English.