Lettered prominently on the steeple of the landmark Elbe Lutheran Church is "Ev. Luth. KIRCHE" (Evangelische Lutherische Kirche), a reminder of the founders' German origins.
This tiny (18-by-24 foot) church sits on its original location in the beautiful foothills west of Mount Rainier. The town of Elbe, Washington, has a rich German heritage and bears the name of the founders' origin, the Elbe River valley near Hamburg, Germany. As it has since 1906, the church signifies peace
and tranquility to residents and tourists alike.
Beginning in 1893, worshipers met in homes and the town hall until the church was constructed in 1906. A founder of the town, Heinrich Lutkens, donated the land and material for the church. Pastor Karl Kilian designed this simple yet pleasing building, and the townspeople built it themselves. Pastor Kilian served his Elbe flock from 1906 to 1933.
Forged by the town's first blacksmith, a 4-foot iron cross tops the 46-foot steeple, which houses the first bell. The church still features its original altar and elevated pulpit as well as one of the hand-carved pews. The original Farrand & Votey bellows organ is still used for worship and weddings. Offerings are taken with the traditional "Klingelbeutel" (a small red-velvet bag with a bell on it.)
Dr. Ervin E. Krebs conducted the research that led to the church's placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Experience the simple charm of this tiny church where "time meets eternity." Worship services are held at 2:30 p.m. on the third Sunday of the month from March through November. Please join us if you are in the area. Open during the summer for tourists, the church is also a popular place for weddings.
Volunteers care for the Elbe Ev. Kirche, relying on donations to maintain this historic church building.