A Brief History of Decoria Township

Decoria Lutheran Church, 1935

Lying between the Big Cobb and Le Sueur Rivers sits Decoria Township. Decoria is notable for many things including being one of the last settled township in Blue Earth County. It is a township rich in culture, values, and dedication. Because of its incoming settlers, Decoria managed to establish three churches, eight schools, and many other unique organizations. There are no towns located in Decoria, but many people call this township home.

Before Decoria Township was officially established in 1864, it was part of the reservation for the Winnebago Indians. They remained on these lands until February 21, 1863, when a treaty was signed which removed all Winnebago from the land. Soon after their departure, the government began selling the land to white settlers. The first settler was a man named Joshua Ady, and along with his family, settled the land in 1865. Following his arrival, others began flooding to the land.  Because of the growing community, a post office, called “Decoria” was established in 1868. After its discontinuation it was preceded by the “Lortz” which was also discontinued and replaced by the free delivery system. Other notable organizations that surfaced included the Grange, a City Hall building, and a telephone service company.

The settlers arriving in Decoria were very rich in their religious beliefs. Because of this, many churches arose and were usually very well attended. One of the notable was the Congregational Chapel. This churches roots lead back to 1903, when the Congregational Church of Mankato sent a young divinity student named Rohrbach from Yale to Decoria. This young man preached and led Sunday school in the school house of District #131, until the congregation eventually erected a chapel in 1907. The church operated until 1912.

Another popular church was the Le Sueur Lutheran Church. Because of the influx of Norwegian immigrants to the Township, mass held here was led in Norwegian. It was a very successful church and reached ninety members by the time it united with Bethlehem Lutheran Church in 1910.

The Redeemer Lutheran Church was another successful church in Decoria. Along with Norwegian immigrants, many German immigrants were also arriving. Mass was first held in the home of S.J. Manton. As the congregation began to grow, however, they switched to having mass at the Lortz Schoolhouse. Sensing that they would need even more room, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Weber donated land and money to build a church. Along with the help of others in the community, the church was completed in 1887. Previously, mass was always held in German, but following the arrival of Reverend Ewald Kaiser they switched to English.

The Township felt very strongly about its education and because of that many schools were built. Schools build included; Ballard, Hodapp, Burlison, The Iron Bridge, Schultz, Lortz, Kennedy, and Jubilee. Around the time these were built a new legislation was passed which allowed Townships to name schools titles, not just their assigned numbers. This is visible in the uniqueness of the schools names such as: Iron Bridge School. This was named after a large Iron bridge that sat nearby. 

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