Augustana Lutheran Church was established on April 16, 1866, by Swedish and Lutheran immigrants. According to the WAP Report (L. Hallgrains, 1936), the few Swedish families began meeting in homes for services in 1857. By 1865, services were held in Chutes schoolhouse, or, more commonly, in the home of C. G. Vannstrom, with the Reverend E. Norelius, from St. Paul, preaching. Meetings were moved to "Dr. Knickerbacker's church (Episcopalian),at Hennepin and Fourth St. in 1866 and the congregation was formally organized. They bought a lot at Washington and 13th Ave. and built a Gothic style church, using Kinckerbacker's schoolhouse at 7th Ave and 7th Street while the building was being erected. During this period, the congregation included both Swedish and Norwegian members, but in May 1868, the Norwegians withdrew to found Trinity Church at 9th Ave and 20th St. The congregation moved in 1883 to another church at 7th Street and 11th Avenue South.
The parish sponsored a number of daughter congregations, including Bethlehem Lutheran at Fremont and 22nd Avenue, North; Emanuel Lutheran at 14th and Monroe Streets, NE; a Sunday School on the East Side of the Mississippi River (in St. Anthony); the River Flats Mission (organized in 1884) and the resulting Ebenezer Evangelical Lutheran Church at 28th Avenue South and East 22nd Street. The congregation also assisted in organizing serveral other groups.
With arrival of Swedish deaconesses in 1895, Augustana organized the Augustana Mission Colony on 10th Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets, an establishment that included a Home for the Aged, a Home for Children, and a Hospice for Young Women.