history + heritageFrom buildings to people, the stories of the past are rich at Danebod
OUR RICH HISTORY
It wasn’t until 1947 that church services in the English language, as well as the Danish, were held every Sunday. Pastor Holger Strandskov, who came to Danebod in 1930, was the first pastor born in America to serve the church. He was involved in the period of language transition, and the beginning of the adjustment from the using the Danish language only. The time has come when very little Danish is used.
In 1953 the name of the synod was changed to American Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1962 we merged with the Augustana Evangelical, Finnish Evangelical and United Lutheran Church, forming the Lutheran Church in America or the L.C.A. In 1988 we merged with the American Lutheran Church and the American Evangelical Lutheran Church to to become the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Danebod Lutheran Church is a part of the campus at Danebod. The entire campus at Danebod including Danebod Lutheran Church has been a part of the National Historic Register since 1975 due to both the architectural and historic significance of the structures with the district.
“The Cross Church at Danebod” was dedicated Sunday, June 16, 1895. It was built largely with volunteer labor and money pledged by the early settlers, who had little to give. The Danebod Colony was established by a church organization and became the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
Points of interest: The altar chairs, kerosene lamps, architectural structure, wainscoting walls and ceiling, porthole windows as in a ship, hand-carving on the altar, pulpit and railing, the candelabra and altar cloth, handcarved stone baptismal font, the Star of Bethlehem in the church ceiling, Thorvaldsen’s statue of Christ, the Celtic cross, and pictures in the narthex.
The first Danebod Folk School was built in the year 1888, and church services were held in the lecture hall of that building. On February 25, 1917, the first Folk School burned to the ground, but nine months later the present brick building was dedicated.
In 1946 the Folk School was renovated and is now used as the Parish hall for the Danebod congregation, for camps, retreats, and a meeting place for local clubs and groups.
Points of interest: The hand-carved podium in the lecture hall, the picture behind the podium, the hand-carved wooden cross on the podium, collection plates made by Dr. Thomsen, and also the statuary in the lecture hall and sitting rooms, pictures in the sitting rooms and the small podium in the dining room.
The Stone Hall was built in 1889 from native field rock hauled in by farmers and split and shaped by a Danish stone mason named Kristian Klink. The Stone Hall was used as the first church, later as a gym and assembly hall. At the present time it is used as a museum and at times as a classroom.
Points of interest: The old bell from the former children’s school (outside), fresco from the gym hall, the old chandelier from the church, old pictures, and handcut field stone in the structure.
The Danebod Gym Hall was erected in 1904 and was used for gymnastic and basketball for the Folk School students and local people. In 1928 it was enlarged with a stage, basement and furnace. Many home talent plays were presented there and it is still used for an occasional play, and is also used by the camps and retreats for folk dancing.
Points of interest: The statue with an original canvas curtain with advertising, bars used years ago by gymnasts (on south wall), and the original wainscoting on the walls.