A Brief History of Luther Park


1932 – The Luther Park Association was formed. First Board of Directors was elected.


1933 – Luther Park’s first week of campers was held. The registration fee was $3 for a week.


1934 – The “auditorium” – now the Chapel – was built. A “logging bee” was held. Cabins were built by Luther Leagues of the Rice Lake Circuit.


1946 – The Luther Park Bell was retired by the Soo Line and given to camp. The Rice Lake Circuit, Eau Claire Circuit, and the Mondovi Circuit formed Luther Park Bible Camp, Inc.

Chapel in 1938
Outpost Gate 1974
Campers at platform tent, Luther Woods Housing during summer


1959 – Mr. Richard Kahl, a teacher from Rice Lake was hired as Camp Manager.


1960 – The first retreat house, now called Covenant Center, was built.


1964 – The first year Luther Park hired a full-summer staff.


1965 – Frank Brocker became the first year-round Director, he also served the Dovre Lutheran parish in rural Chetek.


1966 – Luther Woods, then called Outpost, a 320 acre property in Birchwood, WI was purchased. Covenant Center was winterized.


1971 – Al Dungan, the first full-time year-round Director was hired.


1975 – John Walledom became the third Luther Park Director. The Enrichment Appeal made possible: A new dining hall; A remodeled chapel; A swimming pool; and a second retreat center called Shalom.


1979 – Jim Wehn, the first year-round Property Manager was hired.


1983 – An A-frame cabin used as a retreat facility was at built at Luther Woods


1984 – 11 wooded acres across the road from the main site were purchased.


1986 – A 74-acre farm adjacent to the main site was purchased. It provided a third retreat center and a growth in summer programs. Sherm Toufar was called as the fourth Director. Mary Toufar was hired as the first year-round Director of Program Ministry.

A-frame at Luther Woods
Cabins 1994
Welcome Center 2004


1990 – The Annual Fund was started and the Way Club was updated in order to encourage individuals to support the ongoing ministry annually.


1991 – The first Annual Antiques & Collectibles Auction was held. A master plan for the future site and program at Luther Park was developed. Trailblazers “a day at camp” program was started.


1992 – The Sixtieth Anniversary Appeal was kicked off: Eight new winterized duplex cabins sleeping 160 people and the Welcome Center to house the Luther Park offices and a few sleeping rooms.


1993 – Construction of the new duplex cabins begins. Four cabins were built by volunteers. The other four were completed by a contractor.


1994 – Cabin construction is completed. Traveling Day Camps to serve congregations become a part of the regular summer camp program.


1996 – Year-round programming is born. Adult ministries sponsored two adult day cams and a travel ministry to the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. Youth retreats called Recharge are started.


1997 – The Welcome Center construction begins to build upon the foundation that was put in.


1998 – Welcome Center opens for business, with the Luther Park offices. 


2002 – The largest summer ever at Luther Park! Camper numbers top 1350 in residential programs.


2004 – Annual fund experience the biggest year ever for support of camp programs.


2009 – Rev. Craig Corbin named Interim Executive Director.


2013 – Keith Newman was called to serve as Executive Director.


2020 – Ground is broken for the new Ministry Center, with the purpose have having a large indoor space along with sleeping rooms, and meeting rooms.


2021 – Upstairs of Ministry Center is completed, with just bedrooms and lower meeting rooms in need of finishing. The space is used year-round for youth retreats & summer program, quilt retreats, and many synod events.

Ministry Center 2021