St. John Lutheran School
Submitted by Don Knopf

ST. JOHN LUTHERAN SCHOOL (Rogers City, Presque Isle County, MI)
 The original Rogers City St. John School began at the corner of First Street and Michigan Avenue in the Horn house, built 1872 by Friedrich Horn,
and also served as a parsonage for the first two Called Lutheran clergymen to PI County; namely, Rev. Joseph Antonius Bohn and Rev. Joel David
Druckenmiller. The house is also where the first services of the FIRST St. John were held until the church building, across from the Horn house
on First Street, was constructed in 1873, also, by Don Knopf's gr-gr-grandfather, Friedrich Horn. The House served as school from 1874
through 1880. After Friedrich Horn moved to his farm in Rogers Township the school continued in the Horn home, but inhabited by his son,
the Robert Horn family. The Lutheran School was conducted there until 1886 when Robert Horn and family moved to Detroit. Then the School was held in the home of William Kitchen, and some years later in the home of Friedrich Bertram. A little log cabin was built (no year listed)
close to the church on First Street which served as the Lutheran School until April, 1902. Paul H. Hoeft, who was interested in education,
built a one-story school building for the German Lutheran people at the corner of Michigan Avenue and 5th Street. Due to a misunderstanding,
the school was sold to the school district. With alterations Rogers City had its first 4-room school house. The Lutheran parents used those facilities until 1910 when the congregation built their first school next to their new Church at the corner
of Erie and Fifth Streets. This was diagonally across from the first Rogers City Public Grammar School built by P. H. Hoeft. The 1910 minutes from St. John Church records the acceptance of a bid of $945 of a school building, with basement, by the brothers Max
and Leopold Kuhlman. That building, dedicated 22 Jan 1911, had a primary and grammar room with two teachers and about 100 pupils. This
building served as the parish school until 1940. Prior to 1916 the children were taught by the Pastor. In 1916 Louis Schilke became the first Called Lutheran teacher. He was followed by
H. F. Hanson in 1920. Mr. M. L. Weiss arrived in 1930 to replace Hanson. Hanson was also the first organist/choir director of St. John's
Church. The new Reuter pipe organ of 1921 was donated by P. H. Hoeft. Prior to that a reed, pump organ was used. Under the pastorate of the Rev. Louis A. Linn, St. John's drew up plans in 1940 for a larger school and assembly room. In January 1941 the
new school was dedicated with special services and a community dinner-reception. At the dedication, Pastor Linn spoke of the patriotic
responsibilities. A flag was presented by Mrs. John Schalk, in memory of her father, John Bruning, a Civil War veteran. Enrollment for the 1940-1941 school year was 108, with 44 in grades one through four, taught by Mr. Edward Lietke and 64 in grades five
through eight, taught by Mr. M. L. Weiss. By 1959, the school was expanded to six classroom, an auditorium/gymnasium, three offices, two
utility rooms, kitchen, and three restrooms. Enrollment eventually reached a peak of 226 students in Kindergarten through eighth grade. St. John School continues to service the community today (2011) after 137 years It is the only elementary school, public or parochial,
in Presque Isle County with that long a period of service.

Return to Home Page