St. Matthew's Lutheran Church (LCMS)

302 Third Street N.W.
Hazen, ND 58545

Builder: Wicks Organ Co., Op. 5725, 1979.
Manuals: 2
Ranks: 11
Action: Wicks Direct Electric (c)

Notes: From 1902-1904 Rev. J. Duerr of Beulah served Hazen, Golden Valley, and Zap. He was followed by Rev. Schmook who served from 1905-1910. Rev. Elmer Bliss served Hazen the year he was ordained. A congregation was organized in 1903 north of Hazen known as Wolf’s Gemeinde. It was affiliated with the Missouri Synod and was officially called Zion’s Gemeinde. Pastor Leinhardt served this church for a brief time. After the railroad came to Hazen about 1914, it was necessary to conduct services here and this was done by Pastor Gustav Merting of St. Paul’s at Otter Creek. It soon became evident that if work in Hazen was to flourish, it had to be organized, so a meeting was called January 19, 1915, of all the people served by Pastor Merting. At this meeting a congregation was organized and a constitution was adopted. In 1915, the congregation purchased an acre of land in Hazen’s new Keeley Addition and began building a temporary house of worship in the spring. This 20’x30’ building was built to be a school but used as a temporary church until the actual one was built. Through an error on a carpenter’s part, a steeple was put on the first building. Sometime during the summer, building of the parsonage was also started. The dedication was a time of rejoicing even though the crowd was kept down by swollen streams and muddy roads. The combined cost of the buildings was $3,400, of which $1,000 was borrowed from the Church Extension Fund. This was paid back. The church debt was liquidated in one-third time of the loan. In 1947 a $3,670 Wurlitzer Electronic Organ was purchased.

In 1979 the congregation began raising funds for the installation of a new church organ. It was built and installed later that year by the Wicks Organ Co. of Highland, Illinois. The 11-rank Pipe Organ was built from basic materials, took 18 months to complete, and cost $40,000, installed. The congregation’s fund raising efforts were very successful, the new organ was paid for on installation. Leonard Wohlfeil was very instrumental in this project, coordinating the purchase and installation of the new organ. Leonard served the congregation of St. Matthew’s and the Lord for 57 years as church organist. Combined with the time he played at Rolla and St. Thomas, Leonard served in this capacity for 64 years. The son of one of our former pastors, Leonard has been recognized several times over the years for his efforts, which are yet greatly appreciated. (100th Anniversary History written by church members). Additional information from Organ Historical Society database as of 2020.