Discover our Story

Our History

A lot can happen in 150 years, but we’ve highlighted a few of our favorite CPH milestones.

1869

In the beginning. . .

The young Lutheran synod needed books, so they formed a printery—and Concordia Publishing House was born. Everything was printed in German. Alte Schule.

1870

A home for the House

A two-story building and single-story lean-to made up our first home. Smoke from the boilers blew in our neighbor C. F. W. Walther’s windows, and our employees drank beer while they worked. How times have changed.

1874

Growing pains

We quickly outgrew our humble beginnings and moved down the street, where we still live today! Over the years, we’ve built up and out, literally combining buildings together as we expanded.

1904

St. Louis World’s Fair

Not to toot our own horn, but we were kind of a big deal at the World’s Fair. We received the grand prize for excellence of workmanship and materials for the printed volumes we displayed. We also won a few other awards and medals.

1908

Sparks fly... or not

Our plant was finally entirely lit by electricity. . . kind of. When we dramatically flipped the switch to turn on our new-fangled lighting, nothing happened. Turns out we had forgotten to remove a protective lacquer from the electrical contacts. After a quick sanding, it was lit.

1911

Horse power for horsepower

We replaced our draft horses and delivery wagons with a delivery truck.

1925

Tubular, dude

Since computers weren’t invented yet, documents were sent through a system of tubes to get across the multi-building plant. Some people used overhead baskets to send files between departments.

1937

An Icon is Born

The general concept of Portals of Prayer was put out in 1937, but it would go through quite a few name changes until Portals was chosen as the final name in 1948.

1941

The iconic red hymnal is born

You know it, you love it, you probably grew up with it. Lovingly referred to as The Red Hymnal,The Lutheran Hymnal has been a staple in Lutheran churches for years. Instant nostalgia when you see one.

1947

The First CPH VBS Songs get Stuck in Volunteers’ Heads

And nearly every year since then, we’ve released an original VBS program. So more songs can get stuck in your head on car rides for years to come.

1950s

“Crazy People’s House!”

Many employees used St. Louis’ trolley system to get to work. Because they would dash across the street without looking for traffic, one trolley operator announced the arrival at CPH by calling out a reworked CPH acronym: “Crazy People’s House!”

1964

Arch® Books

Paying homage to the then-new Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Arch® Books series has been read to generations of kids.

1974

Beep Boop Beep

Our first IBM computer was installed. We were one of only three companies in St. Louis with this technology.

1992

To the ends of the earth. . .

Concordia Gospel Outreach, the charity of CPH that sends books and Bibles to those in need, is established.

1995

Work is fun

Operation F.U.N. (For a United Neighborhood) happens for the first time. Each year, employees hand out backpacks filled with school supplies to families in our community.

1999

Nicht mehr Deutsch

We stopped publishing our last regularly produced German resource. Auf Wiedersehen, Tagliche Andachten.

2006

A New Hymnal for a New Millennium

Once the twenty-first century hit, we put out a new hymnal.The future was calling, and we answered.

2009

Missouri Quality Award

We established standards, procedures, and measures for our business performance.Then we won this award.

2009

A Distinctly Lutheran Bible

The Lutheran Study Bible was born in 2009 after years of writing all-new distinctly Lutheran study notes. It was a big deal.

2011

National Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award

Our excellent leadership, operations, and customer relationships were recognized with this prestigious award. We’re the only nonprofit publisher to win this award. We’re proud of it.

2012

A new room in the House

We remodeled a boring conference room into our Innovation Center, featuring new technologies and an open work space for employees.

2017

Portals of Prayer Gets a New Home

We launch the Portals app, where you can read the devotions you love each day.

2017

A New Explanation of a Classic

We released a new edition of Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, featuring an updated and expanded explanation alongside the original catechism text.

2018

A better Builder

Lutheran Service Builder goes web-based, allowing churches to easily plan services