Torrison chronicles history of Our Saviour’s church
by Maddy Houk | Patterson Irrigator
Jul 16, 2009 | 1472 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Barbara Torrison of Patterson poses with a plaque given to Our Saviour's Lutheran Church by two Stanislaus County historical groups in recognition of the church's preservation. Elias Funez/Patterson Irrigator
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At a glance

• For a appointment to view the historical display at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church: Barbara Torrison, 892-5361 or 892-8283.

Church building gets historical award

• The McHenry Museum and the Stanislaus County Historical Society selected Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 650 W. Las Palmas Ave., as a structure that has been preserved and is worthy of public recognition. These groups select only three structures a year for efforts to preserve the exterior of a building.

To qualify, a building must be in Stanislaus County, at least 50 years old and in its original condition as much as possible.

George Aylwin and Barbara Torrison of Our Saviour’s accepted a plaque and a framed photo of the church at a special presentation at the McHenry Museum in Modesto on June 23. Aylwin presented a brief history of the 98-year-old church in words and pictures.

When Barbara Torrison unlocks the door to Moe Memorial Hall in Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Patterson, a world of history awaits the visitor. Scrapbooks labeled year by year of photos and newspaper clippings fill the tables along the walls of the room.

In honor of Patterson’s 100th birthday, Torrison has put together scrapbooks of the church back to 1911, when Our Saviour’s was founded. Scrapbooks put together by others from the church group Women of LIFE — Lutherans in Fellowship and Evangelism — are also on display.

The historical display will be open until Labor Day weekend, by appointment only. Area residents are invited to drop by and see the church albums.

Torrison recounts the church’s history and said meetings began in the first house built in the Patterson colony.

“Seven families started the church in a little barn that is sill standing today on the north side of the street on (East) Las Palmas,” Torrison said. “They met there for a little while until they outgrew it — it didn’t take long.”

Church services were moved to the M.J. Blumgren home on Las Palmas Avenue, where Faye and Harold Hill live today.

It was Blumgren who gave the stained-glass window for the church building that was finished in 1914 at 650 W. Las Palmas Ave.

One photo in Moe Memorial Hall shows the first confirmation class inside the church — before the interior was finished.

The Patterson Township Historical Society toured the display on July 7. Local historian Joland Schut said chronicling the history of the small-town church has been Torrison’s research focus for the past few years.

“If you love history and you have the time, please check the room devoted to the beginning of the church, which was held in a barn in 1911, to the upcoming Centennial and all the years in between,” Schut said. “It is history relived in an accurate account of the enduring legacy of a beloved institution.”

Torrison also proudly displays banners she has made over the years, as well as a large photo of other banners she has created. One features a butterfly for the church’s 90th birthday and another a cross of wood furnished by the late Pat Massingill for the 95th anniversary.

Now, Torrison is getting ready for the church’s 100th birthday in two years and is planning a new banner for that occasion.

“We use the banners every year,” Torrison said. “I have one for every season, as well as for marriage and confirmation. I did have help with one of them — Pat Massingill had the walnut wood at home.”

• Contact reporter Maddy Houk at 892-6187 or
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