St John Lutheran Church

414 S Main / (573) 594-6640

The Vandalia Historic Church originally set on the corner of South Main and Union Street and was the first Lutheran Church erected in Audrain County. It also has the distinction of being the oldest building within the city limits of Vandalia. St Johns congregation was founded shortly after the Civil War by a group of German settlers. In 1875, when the city of Vandalia was one year old, the settlers purchased the 120 x 120 lot on main street and constructed the original church building. It became known as the "Little German Lutheran Church." Prior to that time, the German Lutherans of this area worshiped at meetings held in their homes. Having been displaced by the construction of the new church building, the original structure was moved in January 1983 from its home at the corner of Main and Union to the downtown parking lot, where it remains today, serving the community as a Vandalia Historic center. It has been preserved by various civic organizations that utilize the building to display memorabilia from Vandalia's past. That structure was continuous use until the dedication of a new church building in 1983.

In 1962, it became apparent that the "little church" needed more space and other amenities such as running water and bathrooms. Groundbreaking for the new educational building was in April, and on November 25, 1962, this new building was dedicated. It was constructed directly behind the church and served as a Sunday school, meeting room and fellowship hall. A building fund for a new church was established by mid-1972. Construction of the new church began in 1982. By that time the, St John has become a dual parish with Trinity Lutheran Church at Cannon Dam, and the church in Louisiana became a dual parish with a newly constructed Lutheran Church in Bowling Green. The educational building was attached to the new church building, and on the Day of Pentecost in May 1983, the new St John Lutheran Church was dedicated as a worship center to the glory of God.