Our Heritage


In the late 1860’s emigrants from Sweden came to Clay County, Dakota Territory to file on claims under the Homestead Act. As more settlers came to occupy the land, churches and schools were organized. Dalesburg Lutheran Church was organized on January 3, 1871 in a sod house with S.P.A. Lindahl as the organizing missionary pastor. In the beginning the congregation was part of the Swedish Augustana Synod, based in Rock Island, Illinois. The first resident pastor was Carl Beckstrom who was a new seminary graduate.

The first church building was built in 1874 with lumber hauled from the Sioux River. A parsonage followed. The present sanctuary was built in 1897. A second parsonage was built in 1900. In 1920 the single tower was removed and the present towers were added. The present parsonage was built in 1951, and the present entry was added in 1986.

The core of the organ is a Moeller pipe organ, purchased in 1916, and transported from Pennsylvania by rail to Centerville, and horse-drawn wagons to the church. Major renovations of the organ were completed in 1969 and 1998.

In the early years of the congregation, in addition to Sunday School classes during the year, there was also instruction in the Swedish language for the children of the parish in what was called “Swede School” during the summer. The “Swede School” evolved into the Vacation Bible School of today. The Swedish Midsummer holiday has been celebrated in the Dalesburg community since the 1800’s. Neighborhood picnics gave way to picnics at the parsonage. Later the festival was moved to the church grounds. In the 1960’s the St. Paul’s (Rockfield) Lutheran Church closed and many of the members transferred to Dalesburg Lutheran. In 1978, the Ahlsborg Lutheran Church merged with Dalesburg Lutheran with a number of members keeping their membership with Dalesburg. In the late 1980’s the St. Peter Lutheran Church closed with four members transferring to Dalesburg Lutheran.

Every summer we hold a Midsummer Festival to honor our heritage and to celebrate our future.  Browse through our photo gallery to see pictures from past Midsummer celebrations and make sure to check the web site for further information regarding Midsummer!

Permanent link to this article: https://dalesburglutheran.org/our-heritage/