Lebanon Lutheran Church is in Grant County, South Dakota and was built in 1908. It was named Lebanon because it was located on a high elevation with an open view. The church was organized in 1892 by Norwegian immigrants. It was very active until the late 1960s when it merged with another congregation and formed Hope Lutheran congregation. This church was then closed and intentions were to sell the building in the early 1970s. It didn’t sell, and eventually a preservation society was formed to save the building and it was later added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. There’s also an accompanying cemetery with graves dating to the end of the 19th century.
Zoar Norwegian Lutheran Church is a Gothic Revival church built in 1904. The Norwegians along with Polish settlers were among the groups who homesteaded this part of South Dakota near an Indian Reservation. Norwegians were the largest European group to migrate to South Dakota, though in this area they were a minority. The church organized in 1893 and worshiped in private homes and schoolhouses until they had enough money to build this church. The accompanying cemetery started burials in 1895. By the 1980s the church had become generally unused. Most of the other rural churches in the area have been demolished, but this one is still preserved and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Concordia Pioneer Lutheran church is now abandoned and sits in a rural prairie field in Roberts County, South Dakota. For such an interesting looking church, not much history is available. It looks to have been active from 1893 to 1976.
This little church building in Ortley, South Dakota is now for sale. The town was founded in 1906 and had 65 people in the latest census. So far, I haven’t found any history on this particular church.
St. James Episcopal was founded as a mission church for the Dakota Indians (Santee Sioux) settling in the area after being forced out of Minnesota after the 1862 Sioux Uprising. The first church was built in 1885 but was destroyed by fire in 1925. A new white frame church was then built and remains today.
Walla Lutheran Church is located in rural Roberts County, South Dakota, near the town of New Effington. The Gothic Revival church was built in 1902, a few years after the Swedish Walla Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded. The grounds also include a cemetery with graves from 1895. Although I don’t think the church still has normal services, it did look like a wedding may have taken place recently based on leftover decorations on the fence. The church is included on the National Register of Historic Places.
Waubay, South Dakota is only a handful of streets wide, but I noticed at least two church buildings are still standing. Zion Lutheran is the most prominent and their welcome sign says they’re celebrating 126 years (1892). I assume that was the organization date since the cornerstone of the church shown above has 1925. Below is a photo of another church in town, but it looks to be now privately owned and possibly used as a residence.
Built in 1899, Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church is a historic church in Claremont, South Dakota. Swedish immigration picked up in the late 1800s and as Brown County was created in 1879, a number of Swedes established roots in the area. Much of the labor for the church was supplied by congregation members. The church is a mix of Gothic Revival and Classical Revival and features twelve large arched stained glass windows and a high bell tower. It’s believed to be modeled after a church in Smaland, Sweden. The building is included on the National Register of Historic Places.
Peace Valley Evangelical is a rural church included on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s located on State Highway 79 in the western part of South Dakota. Rural Gothic in style, it was built around 1900 was originally the Fredensdal Church, named after an early church member. There’s also a small cemetery of about 30 graves nearby.
This small chapel was spotted on a country road in central South Dakota. It’s located on the grounds of a Christian school. I’m not sure of the age of this building.