This website is a project of Partners for Sacred Places with funding from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.  The project team included A. Robert Jaeger, President, with Joshua Castaño, Allison King, and Emily Sajdak. Tuomi Joshua Forrest, formerly of Partners for Sacred Places, played a key role during the first year of the project. Consultants Laurie Kay Sommers and Timothy C. Prizer served as Project Manager and Research Associate respectively. David Pruitt provided technical support with the database. Gregory Tarallo worked on the interface of the database and website.  For more information on the project team, click here. Our project advisory group provided valuable expertise throughout the project.


Most historic sites data on this website came from state historic preservation offices.  Special thanks to Lorna Meidinger and Thomas Linn from the North Dakota SHPO; Liz Almlie from the South Dakota SHPO; Berry Bennett from the Iowa SHPO; Todd Walsh and Laura Rose Ashlee from the Michigan SHPO; Denis Gardner and the late Tom Cinadr from the Minnesota SHPO; and Joe DeRose and Daina Penkiusas from the Wisconsin SHPO. Kathryn Eckert, past Michigan State Historic Preservation Officer, also aided with Upper Peninsula churches.


Staff of various archives and libraries were invaluable.  Special thanks to Joel Thoreson, Archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Tim Jensen and Michael Hennick of the Danish American Archive and Library; Sheri Miller, Grand View University Archives; Lisa Hunt and Jill Seaholm, Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center; and Joanna Chopp, Finnish American Heritage Center


We also received valuable assistance with photos, leads, and/or background research from Arnold R. Alanen, professor emeritus of Landscape Architecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Lynn Bjorkman, board president, Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association; Tova Brandt, Curator of Danish American Culture, Museum of Danish America; B. Marcus L. Cederström, folklorist, Scandinavian Studies, University of Wisconsin; Gregory Hansen, folklorist, Arkansas State University; Ruth B. Hetland, pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Audubon, MN; Noreen Johnson, Menominee, MI; L. DeAne Lagerquist, Harold H. Ditmanson Professor of Religion, and Chair, American Studies, St. Olaf College; James P. Leary, folklorist and professor emeritus, Scandinavian Studies and the Center for the Study of Upper Midwest Cultures, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Brian Magnusson, Jyväskylä University, Finland; Todd W. Nichol, historian emeritus, Luther Seminary and St. Olaf College; Bob Olsen, Danish American Historical Society; Lisa Rathje, folklorist and Executive Director, Local Learning; Molly Skadsen, Icelandic State Park; Carolyn Torma, Retired Director of Education, American Planning Association; Scott Wagar, editor Bottineau Courant;  Katherine Wilson, great-granddaughter of the master Danish artisan Jes Smidt; Sally Yerkovich, folklorist, American Scandinavian Foundation.


Special thanks to the many church members who shared photos and history, especially Bill Dodd for photos of Sims Lutheran; Cyril Myren, Lyster Lutheran Church, for information about his ancestor, the Norwegian master carver Ole T. Myren; and the Movalson family for historic photos of the midsummer pole raising at Trinity Lutheran in Brevort, Michigan. Don Dickman also provided photos of Trinity Lutheran in Brevort. Clergy and members of Bethany and Immanuel Lutheran Churches in Kimballton, Iowa, gave impromptu building tours and historical information. Members of Our Savior’s Lutheran, Viborg, South Dakota, worked with Partners’ Emily Sajdak and Mark Volkers of Dordt College on the project video and provided information on Jes Smidt.  Our Preserve Nordic Heritage Churches training session hosts made welcoming space available to our 17 project churches for the Partners for Sacred Places’ New Dollars/New Partners training sessions. We are grateful to Pastor Del Oliver and Augustana Lutheran, Sioux City, Iowa, and to Springdale Lutheran, Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, especially Sue Bakkan.