Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fun Facts - Vilstad

1. Vilstad was a small community between Askov and Bruno. Actually, the “village” was little more than a Swedish Lutheran church, which was established by nearby homesteaders on April 3, 1899, and named for Vilstad, Sweden. Vilstad means “place of rest” in Swedish.

2. Nels Lindstrom donated the land for the church, and community members provided all the labor. Building materials had to be hauled by wagon from Rutledge.

3. Everything in the 24 by 16 foot church was handmade by community members. Dan Nelson painted the church and decorated the pulpit.

4. The first Vilstad church board members were Nels Linstrom, Dan Nelson, and Frederick Degerstrom.

5. About two years after the church was established, members added an entry way and bell tower to the building.

6. From 1899 to 1909, the Vilstad church was served by traveling ministers who stayed a few days, conducting services in the church and prayer meetings in local homes.

7. The Vilstad Ladies Aid was organized on March 19, 1908. Prof. Landstrom served as the first president with Mrs. Charles Lindstrom as vice president, Mrs. Charles Jackson as secretary, and Mrs. Fred Degerstrom as treasurer. The organization's income for its first year was $89.31.

8. On February 2, 1909, the congregation decided to affiliate with the Lutheran Augustana Synod and changed the church's name to the Evangelical Lutheran Vilstad congregation. C.G. Gronberg from Sandstone became the first resident pastor. Board members at that time were Nels Lindstrom, Dan Nelson, Fred Degerstrom, Charles Lindstrom, Charles Jackson, and Albin Hedin.

9. The Vilstad community decided to replace its old church with a brand new one in 1921. Community members torn down the old church in October of that year and became work on the new one immediately. Again, much of the labor was provided by volunteers. A new altar was added to the new church in 1924, an entry in 1929, and a kitchen in 1938-39.

10. The Vilstad church organized a Luther League in 1926. Mrs. Jess DeMaris served as the first president with Melinda Lundgren as vice president, Evelyn Jackson as secretary, and William Degerstrom as treasurer.

Source: Askov American newspaper, July 1, 1976

Dan and Christine Nelson

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