9 Britton Lane
The Lutheran Church of Madison was constructed in 1955 as a place of worship for the Lutheran community that had been present in Madison ever since an influx of German immigrants arrived in the late 1800s. Originally, many Germans fled their home nation to escape political turmoil. In New York City, these immigrants met Madison real estate agent J. Myron Hull, who encouraged the Germans to buy farms that had been abandoned by Madison farmers. Reportedly, some of our local farmers felt that the town was becoming too crowded, so they had traveled farther west in search of privacy and more freedom. As extra incentive to the German newcomers, Hull often provided tools and animals to help them begin life in Madison.
Before the construction of this current church, the first Lutheran church services, offered every other week in German, were held in personal homes about once a month, often on such special occasions as weddings, funerals, and christenings. With the rising German population calling for a larger center of worship, the Evangelical Immanuel Lutheran Church was built in 1902 on the southwest corner of Horsepond Road and Green Hill Road. Church membership in that location eventually fell in the 1930s due to declining levels of German immigration to Madison. In addition, fewer second-generation immigrants were able to understand the German-language services. Today, the 1902 meetinghouse, sold in 1938, still exists as a private residence.
The more modern Lutheran community of about sixty members began to take form in 1949. During that time, services were held in the Congregational Church and, from 1951 to 1955, at Lee’s Academy. The construction of a new church in 1955 on Britton Lane finally provided a home for those left without a place of worship after the Evangelical Immanuel Lutheran Church disbanded. The contemporary style of the new church was met with “considerable adverse community comment,” but the design, which its architect Conrad Hanne described as “native American style,” was finally accepted as fitting in scale to its location on the green.
Expanded in 1970 due to growing membership, the church flourished in the ensuing decades. An education wing was added, and its large stained glass window, created in 1969 by the renowned Peter Rohlf Studio of New York, was installed in the sanctuary.
By 1974 the congregation had spiked to 250 and eventually reached 410 members by 1999. An additional renovation took place in 2007 with the help of Madison architects Duo Dickinson, Brian Ross, and Jim Wilson. With a budget of $1.2 million, 8000 square feet of new and renovated space was added. The present building includes a new sanctuary and choir loft plus refurbished bathrooms, kitchen, sacristy, and entry area.