In 1858 the Allegheny Synod of Pennsylvania sent Rev. Henry Kuhns as the first Lutheran missionary to Nebraska Territory. On December 5, Kuhns and fourteen charter members organized Emanuel's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Omaha. In 1862 the congregation dedicated a small brick church at 1210 Douglas Street. A larger church was completed in 1885 at Sixteenth and Harney Streets with a gift from charter member Augustus Kountze. In gratitude, the congregation renamed the church in honor of Kountze's father.
The present building, completed in 1906 at a cost of $92,000, is constructed of white limestone in German Gothic style and boasts curved pews, a magnificent skylight, inspirational stained glass, and a tower housing the bell from the 1862 church. The Fellowship Hall and Education wing was completed in 1942 at a cost of $100,000 and expanded in 1969, followed by a $2.5 million entire building renovation in 2006.
Kountze Memorial, the oldest continuous Lutheran congregation west of the Missouri River, creates an atmosphere in which all can worship, grow in spiritual commitment, and engage in lives of service: "A City-Wide Church with a World-Wide Ministry."
To those who served during the first 150 years
Nebraska State Historical Society, 2010
2650 Farnam St., Omaha