C.F.W. Walther (October 25, 1811 – May 7, 1887) was the first president of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and was its most influential theologian.
As a young pastor, Walther was part of the groups who immigrated to the United States, and at the age of only 26 found himself leader of the group, which was struggling mightily to make it in the New World. With the Lord’s blessing, the church prospered under Walther’s guidance, and he became the single most prominent figure in American Lutheranism.
The Walther Mausoleum
Five years after Walther’s death, a mausoleum was built in his honor as a cooperative effort of the four congregations in St. Louis he served.
Built of gray granite, the mausoleum stands 28 feet high, and features French-cut windows with inlaid stained glass depicting various biblical scenes. A statue of Walther stands inside, visible from every angle. The remains of Walther and his wife, Emilie, lie at rest under a mosaic tile floor. All in all, the mausoleum is a fitting and sober tribute to a man whose deep faith and unwavering trust in the Holy Scriptures guided his every decision.
Preserving This Historic Site
The mausoleum has experienced several phases of restoration over the years (most recently in 1956 and 1988) due mainly to simple aging of the structure and the effects of weather and time. Deeded to the LCMS in 1987, it is now desirable that a modest endowment be created for ongoing maintenance and funding for larger restoration when needed. Creation of this endowment is done in conjunction with members of the Walther family and with Concordia Historical Institute with the main goal being the proper upkeep of this structure, which the final resting place of the Synod’s first president, and the accompanying promotion and increased awareness of the history of the LCMS and how the Lord used humble people like Walther to accomplish great things.