Some of the rich ethnic heritage of Howard County is seen through its historic churches. At one time, the county had 12 Danish Lutheran churches. This tour includes 10 churches that have stood the test of time to bring the beauty and history to generations for over 100 years.
1. St. Libory Catholic Church - (Church 1953, congregation 1878) - Just east Highway 281 in southeast Howard County. 308-687-6276, or 308-687-6323.
2. Dannebrog-Dry Creek Lutheran (Presently Our Savior's Lutheran) - 1885 - 403 S. Mill St., Dannebrog. 308-226-2482. (Good food at Harriet's Danish , Mill St. & Roger Welsch Ave.) - Lars Hannibal, leader of the Danish Land and Homestead Co., brought a group of Danish settlers to Dannebrog in 1871, most of them from Wisconsin and Illinois. Almost simultaneously with the settlers came missionaries and pastors. In 1885, the present Lutheran congregation was organized.
Hannibal and his wife, Karen, were known as the "father" and "mother" of Dannebrog. Karen's greatest desire was to have a church in Dannebrog. On July 20, 1886 a first meeting was held to consider the possibility, but poor farming conditions hindered fund-raising. A second, more successful effort was made in January, 1890. A building contract was let at $1,365. The cornerstone was laid on May 11, 1890 and the church was dedicated on October 19, 1890.
Karen Hannibal did not live to see the church completed, or to hear its bell, which she donated. She died in April 1890.
The minutes and services of the Dannebrog church were in Danish until the 1920s. Both English and Danish were used for services until 1933. On January, 1962, the Dry Creek Lutheran Church merged with the Dannebrog Lutheran Church, taking the name of "Our Savior's Lutheran Church." The Dry Creek building was moved to Dannebrog to serve as the Sunday School building.
3. St. Peder's Lutheran Church, Nysted (1883). Special wooden carvings site of Folk School, uniquely Danish tradition. The town of Nysted is now gone. From Dannebrog, the church is situated 1 mile north, then 3 miles west of Hwy. 11. The road is well-maintained gravel. (308-226-2343). Continue north on Hwy. 11 six miles and note site of first church in Howard Co. (Ebenezer Methodist) at 10th Avenue (SE corner). Intersection of Hwys. 11 and 92 was the site of a grain elevator, RR station, and dancehall. Called "Midway," it was important to the pioneers. Left on Hwy. 92, four miles to Farwell.
4. St. Anthony of Padua (1877), Kearns Ave. and South St., Farwell. (308-336-3323).
5. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (1882), 17th Ave., just west of Yutan Rd. From Farwell. continue 5 miles west of Yutan Rd.; 4 miles north on Yutan Rd. to 17th Ave. Turn left; note cemetery at top of hill where nearly 100 children are buried in an unmarked grave. They all died in 1892 - about one child per pioneer family. Yutan Road is rolling hills and well-maintained gravel. (308-738-2138 or 308-738-2106).
You can continue on Yutan Road three miles north and one mile east (hills, gravel) OR return to Hwy. 92 (4 miles), take Hwy. 92 (9 miles), take Hwy.11 north (7 miles), and west on 20th Ave. (6 miles; rolling hills and gravel) ... TO ...
6. Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church (1906-1968), Dannevirke. Another "ghost town," whose former residents and congregants remain intensely loyal to their seldom-used church and moved-away neighbors. Calls for money help and labor in the summer of 1996 brought immediate, generous response. (308-863-2210).
Return/continue to Hwy.11 (6 miles, hills and gravel), go north on Hwy. 11 (3miles), and east on 22nd Ave. (rolling hills and well-maintained gravel). Turn south on Deadwood Trail, follow river south (5 miles) to Alexander Ave. (18th Ave.) (The family of the famous baseball player, Grover Cleveland Alexander, lived on this road. He was born here.) Turn west and go straight ahead to ...
7. St. Joseph's Catholic Church (1885), Hwy. 11 and 18th Ave. (308-863-2257 or 38-336-3323).
8. United Methodist Church, formerly Scandinavian Lutheran Church (1905-1950) Pearl St., Elba. (38-863-2314) Nila's, 703 Pearl St., Elba, serves an excellent noon meal daily, coffee or other meals for groups by appointment. (308-863-2314).
Go back to Alexander Ave. and east on this winding river road (gravel) about seven miles to Hwy. 281. Go south about four miles on Hwy. 281 to St. Paul OR take Hwys. 11 and 92 (10 miles) to St. Paul and ...
9. First Presbyterian Church (1881), 816 Indian St., and
10. Scandinavian Lutheran Church (1898-1965), now in the Historical Village, 6th and Indian Sts.
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