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Old Palmdale Cemetery
In 1886 a group of German Lutherans came to the Antelope Valley lured by the prospect of fertile fields and lush landscape as well as 20 acre plots of land. This group of 50 to 60 thrifty families, originally from Germany, Switzerland and southern Russia, had been attracted by ingenious land promotional schemes. They came to settle Palmenthal (German for Palm Valley). This self-sustaining community consisted of about 250 people, 40 buildings, a Lutheran church, a Christian day school, a public school, a general store with post office and other necessary businesses as well as a Lutheran cemetery.
The church that was established in Palmenthal became Zion Lutheran Church and filed incorporation papers in April of 1887. The official name of the church was Deutsche-evangelische lutherische Zionsgemeinde ( Zion Lutheran Evangelical Lutheran). They constructed a church that was completed 10 months after the town was founded. The pastor of the church was Rev. Christian Frederick Meyer, born in Germany, but living in Australia before being called to Palmenthal and the Lutheran church there.
Palmenthal became the name of the town when the post office was officially established on June 17, 1888 in the general store owned by Johannes Munz.
The congregation had a 20 acre cemetery located north of the town on what is now 20th Street East, just north of Avenue S. The land was donated to the church by the Jonas family. The cemetery has headstones and markers that bare the names of some of the early church members: Rathke; Nagel; Ritter; Munz and Jonas. The cemetery continued to be used by other settlers even after the town of Palmenthal failed, but gradually fell into disrepair. It was closed in 1979 due to incomplete records. In 1981 it was reopened when the Palmdale Kiwanis accepted responsibility to keep accurate records. But again the cemetery was closed and it remains closed as of this writing. It is now under the management of the City of Palmdale.
With our thanks, much of the information for this history was provided with the assistance of Concordia Historical Institute, Department of Archives and History, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, St. Louis, MO, 63105.
History of Old Palmenthal
The following article describes the early history of Palmenthal (now known as Palmdale). It is provided courtesy of Concordia Historical Institute and was originally printed in Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, vol. 79-1, pages 26-47. We would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Concordia Historical Institute, Department of Archives and History, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, St. Louis, MO 63105 in making it available for republication on our web site.
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