LASR.net Homepage




Menu

Swedish Crosses Cemetery


category : Cemeteries
Swedish Crosses Cemetery For over a century, three unique crosses have been a lasting symbol of the Swedish heritage of Gothenburg.

In the early 1880s, Peter and Anna Berg, along with Anna's parents, the Benjamin Palms, came to Gothenburg from Helsingland, Sweden. Tragedy struck the Bergs on their prairie homestead when their first child, Singne Ester, died July 21, 1885, four months after her birth.

Carl Alfred, their second child, died at the age of three months on September 14, 1886. Gustav Andrew, two years old, died August 19, 1889. The three children were buried on a knoll near the family farm.

Markers for the graves were made in a traditional Swedish style by the children's grandfather, Benjamin A. Palm. Mr. Palm was Gothenburg's first blacksmith.

He is reported to have sent to Sweden for some of the steel with which he fashioned the crosses. The distinctive crosses, complete with elaborate scrollwork, hearts and stars, each carry a Swedish inscription of the children's names and their dates of birth and death. The Bergs were blessed with four more children after the first three died.

A wrought iron fence forged by Mr. Palm to protect the graves has long since disappeared. The late Harry Williams of Gothenburg began an effort to preserve the cemetery in the 1960s. With the aid of an anonymous donor and the Historical Trails Committee, a chain link fence was erected in 1967.

Although the crosses have stood for over 100 years, several mysteries remain. The initials A.G. on one of the graves stands for Andrew Gustav, but the family remembers he was called Gustav. What was the order of his formal name? On the back of Singne's cross, the word Havilar is etched. Many tombstones and crosses in Sweden have this inscription. It translates to "Here Rests". However, the other two crosses have the initials H.W. Do the initials mean the same? The causes of their deaths have never been conclusive. Family stories tell of an epidemic that struck in the late 1800s. It is also believed several neighboring children caught in a prairie fire are buried here without markers.

These unusual and artistic grave markers, wrought in Swedish steel by a loving grandfather, mark three children's graves--making a small corner of Dawson County "forever Sweden."

The Swedish Crosses Cemetery is one of Dawson County's historical sites. A Nebraska Historical Marker was dedicated in August, 1991.


Address: 2 mi. N. of Gothenburg on NE Hwy 47 and 2 mi. W. on Road 769.
Phone: 308-537-3505

Come visit us in Gothenburg, Nebraska

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Gothenburg Carnegie Library

The library was built in 1916 with assistance from a $7,000

Gothenburg, NE Carnegie Libraries

Ernest A. Calling House

Ernest A. Calling, a pioneer businessman of Gothenburg, hired L.J. Anderson to build this distinctive Queen Anne style home in 1907. Born in Klipp, Sweden, in 1870, Calling emigrated to the United States in 1889

Gothenburg, NE National Register

Pony Express Mural

The Pony Express galloped through the West in 18 short months before Nebraska gained statehood. The historic value of those early times is being preserved in Gothenburg, which was named Pony Express Capital of Nebraska in 1991

Gothenburg, NE Arts

1320 Lake Avenue

James E. Norsworthy came to Gothenburg with his wife Sarah in 1889. In 1905 he built this lovely 2-1/2

Gothenburg, NE Historic Homes

Sod House Museum

The award-winning Sod House Museum was established in Gothenburg in 1988

Gothenburg, NE Museums

Things to do Cemeteries near Gothenburg, NE

Robb Cemetery and Memorial

Within the cemetery you will see the white dome of the memorial built by Mr. Robb for his daughter who died from an illness a...