1902 Delafield Church


In 1873, a group of Norwegian families chartered the Delafield Lutheran congregation. They met in various member homes for 10 years. By 1883, the group wanted to have its own place to worship, but because of their size could not afford to build a church. They joined together with two other Scandinavian congregations who could not afford to build either, and built a church building, using it alternately for the next 19 years.

In 1902 the Delafield Lutheran congregation built a separate church northwest of Lakefield in Jackson County at a cost of $2500. The other congregations used the old church until they disbanded in 1907. The church building then became the Delafield town hall, which still stands today. The first service was held in the Delafield church on December 26, 1902.

Electricity was installed in late 1924 and lights were first lit at the Christmas program that year. In 1928, the high pulpit was replaced. New hymnals were also purchased that year. Half were in Norwegian and the other half in English. The Norwegian services were dropped in the 1940s. In 1930, a full basement was added as well as the addition of a room on each side of the narthex at a cost of $3000.

Delafield Church front view

The "Good Shepherd" painting on the altar is an original done by Minneapolis artist, Sarah (Kirkeberg) Raugland. It is estimated that she produced about three hundred altar paintings, most for churches in the midwestern states. Quite impressive for a women back in the late 1800s.

In 1964 a Vocalian reed organ was purchased from the Prince of Glory Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A maintenance repair slip found in the organ is dated 1889, older than the church itself. For over 46 years, and to its final service, Ardith (Brodin) Fredrickson accompanied the congregation on this organ.

Church organ small

The Delafield congregation sustained itself for 125 years. In 1998, it was apparent it could not continue due to declining membership. The last service was held on November 1, 1998.

In February 1999, the church building was moved 23 miles to the new Fort Belmont site in Jackson. It continues to be used for a variety of services and celebrations. During the summer months, WWW (Worship, Word and Watermelon) services are held Sunday evenings beginning at 7:00 pm.

The church is also available for weddings, baptisms and other events. Please contact the local Chamber of Commerce office at 507-847-3867 to reserve the church or other buildings at the Fort.