The History Alive Project traveled to the Norsk Museum in Norway, IL. This museum is the home of the first Norwegian Lutheran Church in America in 1846. The photo shows the current Church on this location. Elling Eielsen of the Hauge Synod was the first Pastor to begin Lutheran worship services in North America (in the Fox River area of Norway, IL) in 1839. In 1841, the first church built by Eielsen, was a log cabin structure which burned after several years use. The building there today (the Norsk Museum) took its place.
In 1977, the Norwegian Center, members of the Cleng Peerson Lodge, purchased the old church for $12,000. Materials for the present building were hauled 70 miles from Chicago by wagon and oxen. It was used as a house of worship from the dedication in 1847, to its merger with Fox River Church and its decommissioning in 1918. In 1918, the Eielsen Synod merged with the Norwegian Lutheran Synod.
Dave Johnson, the curator of the museum, was one of the teachers for the Sons of Norway 16-week Norwegian-American Immigration story that HAP was part of producing. This was the first time the Ruth and I met Dave Johnson in person. Dave Johnson provided us with so much information that will help us to increase HAP's mission here in Westby.