Icelandic Evangelical Church is in Pembina, North Dakota at the northern U.S. border with Canada. It’s the second oldest Icelandic Church in North America with the oldest (by a year) being the Vikur Church in Mountain, North Dakota which I also was able to visit. Settlers from Iceland started a colony in this area and built the church in 1885. Eventually the Icelandic population diminished and the church was sold (1937) to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. John. who added the Byzantine dome (1957) and redecorated the interior. The church is located between two rivers and flooded in 1948 and more recently in 1997. Today, the church is owned by the Fort Pembina Historical Society.
The Trondhjem Norwegian Lutheran Church is near Lonsdale, Minnesota, about 35 miles south of Minneapolis. The church was built in 1899, replacing a 20 year old building in order to add more interior space. The style is a mix of Greek Revival and Gothic Revival with some medieval Norwegian elements thrown in for good measure. The accompanying cemetery’s oldest graves date from the beginning period of the church (1877). A very detailed history of both this church and the Norwegian immigration patterns into Minnesota is included on the National Register of Historic Places website.
Zion Lutheran Church is another listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Victorian Gothic church was built in 1883, and it served the Norwegian immigrants who settled widely in the area. The building has faced some battles with the weather over the years – a tornado shifted the Victorian Gothic church off its foundation in 1902 and rods were added to stabilize the building. Lightning also hit the church in 1979 and burned the spire down to the belfry, but it was rebuilt. There is a cemetery next to the church where many of these early settlers were buried.
This church and cemetery below named Bethany Lutheran was only a few minutes away, but seems to have been built much later in 1955.
A placard on the front wall of Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church tells a little of the story of this rural Minnesota church – “This Church, the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ham Lake, as it is called on the National Register of Historic Places, has a rich history. Founded in 1872, the building was constructed on land donated by Johan and Fredrika Magnuson shortly after their daughters Alida and Emilia died of typhoid fever and a need for a cemetery was realized. Originally laid to rest in their front yard, when the church was completed, the two coffins were moved and became the first graves in the cemetery. When the church was first built there were no local pastors, thus whenever the families in the church wanted to hold a service someone would have to travel to Anoka [Minnesota] to pick up the pastor and bring him back. Since that time, the church as expanded and required new buildings. But despite its now limited use, the old church remains an important part of the history of our saviours Lutheran church.”
The Holy Transfiguration of our Lord Chapel is in the village of Ninilchik on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. In the 1800s Russian settlers established several villages along the Cook Inlet and many remained here even after Alaska was sold to the United States. There was a church in Ninilchik as early as 1846 when the village was founded and later this church above replaced it in 1901. The exterior features onion domes and orthodox styled crosses. It’s included on the National Register of Historic Places.
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.
The area around Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia has been settled by various groups for several hundred years. The French began colonizing Nova Scotia in the early 1600s and started their settlement in this area soon after. The Saint-Jean Baptist Parish (renamed later) was founded in 1636 and is considered Canada’s second oldest Roman Catholic Parish. This church, built in 1910, replaced a smaller building and has a mix of Greek Revival and Second Empire architectural styles.