The Small Area of Ottenheim In Lincoln County

Hanging in the Lutheran Church – old photo of church, postcard from Ottenheim and old photo of the area.

A few years ago, Ritchey and I visited the small area of Ottenheim in Lincoln County.  At one time it was a bustling area with many immigrants from Germany and Switzerland.  It is now a very quiet place, very beautiful, with three churches and cemeteries within sight of each other.  Follow US 127 south of Stanford, take a left onto Hwy 643; this will take you to Ottenheim.

In the 1880’s, Jacob Ottenheimer, of New York, purchased land in Lincoln County, with the intention of drawing immigrants to this Kentucky, as well as Americans from outside the state.  There were originally over one hundred families from overseas.  The occupants of this small area worshiped at the Lutheran Church, the German Reform Church and St. Sylvester Catholic Church (the only church still having weekly worship).

Immanuel Lutheran Church 1886 Ottenheim, Kentucky.

The Lutheran Church was purchased by the historical society and is used for annual gatherings, weddings and other occasions.  Ritchey and I were fortunate to meet the caretaker of the church, who lived across the street.

He showed us inside the beautiful building, with many of its original features.  His relatives lie in the cemetery beside the church.

The Last Supper engraving above the altar is exactly the same as that which hung in my grandmother’s kitchen for as long as I can remember – and now hangs in my kitchen!

A portion of the Lutheran Church Cemetery.

The German church, originally known as the Dutch Reform Church, is no longer used.

Rosa Platzeck, March 17, 1902 – August 15, 1986.

The cemetery for the German, or Dutch, Reform Church, is very small.

St. Sylvester Catholic Church is still used for weekly Mass.

St. Sylvester Catholic Cemetery.

The Interior Journal, Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky

Tuesday, August 15, 1911

In 1884, J. Ottenheimer, a German colonization agent, founded Ottenheim.  Here in the solitude of a forest primeval these hardy German pioneers carved out a home and farmlands and now are prosperous.  A nice little town of 109 souls is Ottenheim.  There are three churches, Catholic, Lutheran and Dutch Reformed, Father Leo, pastor of the first named, Rev. C. J. Mehrtens the pastor of the Lutheran church has the nicest library we have ever seen.  The Dutch Reformed has no pastor at present but hopes to get one soon.  Two very good stores here, John Wentzel and the store conducted by W. T. White.  Mr. White is conducting the public school, with an average attendance of fifty pupils, 100 being in the district.  A new addition has recently been built under the supervision of Mr. Wm. Landgraf, which will comfortably accommodate the increasing attendance.  This is one of the best districts in the county.  Mr. W. is teaching a good school and the patrons are satisfied.