In 1861, in a section of Beaver County that had been settled by hardy pioneer families of German descent, a group of Christians set out to create a community that feared, loved, and trusted God above anything else. This group consisted of names that still appear on Oak Grove's membership list, including the Bonzo, Deemer, Freshcorn, and Goehring families. In 1867, Bonzo's School House was made available to the burgeoning church for worship, which was led by Rev. Gottleig Bassler.
On March 15, 1873, Rev. M.L. Kunkleman organized Oak Grove Lutheran Church. The first trustees chosen are listed as George Bonzo, Henry Bonzo, G.R. Bonzo, and Jacob Goehring. The organization was completed by 24 charter members in January 1874.
A half acre lot was donated by Henry Bonzo to build the first church building, whcih was 35 x 40 feet and cost $1,500 to build. This first Oak Grove Lutheran Church building was dedicated August 16, 1874 by Rev. M.L. Kunkleman and services were held every alternate Sunday at 2:00pm.
October 16, 1886, a half acre of land was purchased on Klein Road for burial purposes. The congregation also purchased additional ground adjacent to the church, creating a total church plot of a three-quarters acre.
At a meeting in 1905, the congregation voted to erect a new church building if it could be built for $4,100 or less. The former church building was razed September 24, 1905 and the contract for the foundation of the new building was given to George Klein & Sons, assisted by members of the congregation.
On October 15, 1905, the cornerstone was laid in a formal ceremony. The Gothic style building was constructed with a drop floor and two rows of pews separated by a wide center aisle. The windows are beautiful stained glass adorned with scriptural symbols. The altar, pulpit, and lectern are richly carved and finished with natural wood tones. The large bell in the tower was a gift from Mr. Jacob Dambach, Sr.
February 11, 1906 at 1:30pm, just 130 days after the razing of the former church building, this beautiful house of worship was dedicated to the glory of God
The stained glass windows in the church are an important part of our history that help remind us of important themes from scripture. The windows were built in 1905 and were then refurbished in 1995 by Renaissance Glassworks, Inc.
By 1907, the communing membership had reached 175 and Oak Grove became its own worshiping body, separating from the Zelienople Parish. Now that the church was self-sustaining, the need for a parsonage was evident. In 1908, a parsonage was constructed on a half acre lot opposite from the church building.
Through the willingness of the community to make Oak Grove the best it could be, many additions and embellishments were added to the building throughout the following decades. Oak Grove hosted a Men's Group, vacation bible school, Sunday school, fall festivals, and many other opportunities for the community to grow together with God.
Confirmation Class of 1906: Vernard A. Kirschler, Mable M. Leonberg, Matilda E. Steinacker, Gladys M. Leonberg, Amanda R. Buehler, Gertrude E. Dambach, Rosa E. Dambach, Albert J. Reiser, Rev. E.H. Daugherty
On December 27, 2009, new front entrance doors were dedicated at service. The doors were made from two 300-year-old oak trees that were cut down for a proposed addition and were also made of the same design as the original doors installed on the church building 100 years ago.
A new stainless steel cross was installed on the roof of the church in 2009 and the Moller self-contained pipe organ was restored in 2010.
Today, Oak Grove Lutheran Church exists because of the dedication and generosity of members that came before us. Keeping this history alive and remembering the ideals that Oak Grove were founded on remain important to our community. A more detailed printed history is available at the church.