Saint Stephanus Lutheran Church was built in 1890 at Lafond and Grotto to serve a German Lutheran congregation. The building has been renovated twice, after a 1925 fire and a 1990 windstorm. Visitors can see two cornerstones, one for the original 1890 building and one for the 1990 renovation.
Saint Stephanus got its start in 1888 when the Trinity Lutheran Church congregation on Wabasha Street built a two-story wooden school and church building at Lafond and Grotto. The congregation quickly outgrew that space and began a new church in 1890. it was completed and dedicated in 1891. The dedication service was in German, with an evening service in English. The church bell was added in 1896 and is still used today.
In 1917, at the time of anti-German sentiments during World war I, Saint Stephanus began bilingual services in German and English.
In 1925 a fire extensively damaged the church. During reconstruction the building was enlarged. It was also extensively renovated in 1977.
The education wing was built in 1958 after the old school was torn down.
After a 1990 windstorm that tore about one-third of the bricks off of the front of the church, the congregation decided to expand the narthex and improve building accessibility.
Two of the many features of this church are the Richter Memorial Window, which depicts the doctrine of the Redemption, and a mural of Saint Stephan.
Saint Stephanus launched two churches as missions, Jehovah Lutheran in Hamline-Midway neighborhood (1923) and Bethel Lutheran in North End neighborhood (1925).