Old Hazel Dell Township Hall

Founded: 13/12/1882 Current Use: Other, privately owned

Mormons began missionary work in southwestern Iowa, and beginning in the 1840s, many Mormons crossed IA en route to Utah. Some came back from Utah to settle in the vicinity, combining with those who had never left the area. 1853, John Forsgren leads first group of Scandinavian Mormons to Utah through IA via Mormon Trail. Some later came back from Utah to settle in the IA, combining with those stopped and settled there. “Pottawattamie County, Iowa and Douglas County, Nebraska have both always had large Danish populations and while there was never an official organization of Danish RLDS congregations, descendants of these pioneers are still active in local branches of this church (which has been known since 2001 as the Community of Christ), particularly in Western Iowa. Many of the early branches have merged with others, one in particular, the Hazel Dell branch, is now part of the Underwood church.” Olsen 2013: 43. This building previously served as church for both Boomer (not Danish) and Hazel Dell (Danish) branches of RLDS. 1882, Hazel Dell branch was formed primarily of Danish immigrants circa 1882. Its original members were Danish immigrants who lived in or near eastern Hazel Dell Township. In the 1885, 1902, 1913 and 1919 Pottawattamie County plat books, the chapel was located on the Hans N. Hansen farm about a mile south and east of the township hall. Hans N. Hansen, and later his son, John A. Hansen, were mainstays of the Hazel Dell RLDS congregation. The Hansens may have moved to Hazel Dell Township from Crescent Township in 1872. Hans N. Hansen, founder of Hazel Dell chapel, was a significant figure, and was thought to have been the first RLDS missionary to Denmark, in 1875. Around 1930, the RLDS church building was moved from Boomer Township to its current location in section 15 of Hazel Dell Township, on a lot of about half an acre that may have been purchased from the Graham estate. 1941, According to Marge Olsen‘s article in the Underwood Centennial book, the Hazel Dell branch was dissolved in October 1941. Funds used from sale of the property were donated to the North Star RLDS branch in Underwood. After dissolution of the Hazel Dell RLDS branch, the church building became the Hazel Dell Township Hall. 2008, The township hall and lot were sold at auction on November 1, 2008. The purchasers were Rick and Sheryl Larson, who live in Rick‘s grandparents€™ house just behind the township hall. (Preceding material from Christiansen, 2016). RLDS has been renamed community of Christ. There are still descendent congregations of the early Mormon churches in the Iowa, but Hazel Dell is among the earliest surviving historic church buildings

Historic Name: Hazel Dell RLDS (Reorganized Latter Day Saints) Chapel

Renovations/Additions: 1929, Moved to new location

References: Christiansen, Robert A. Boomer and Hazel Dell Township Notes, 2016. http://www.bigpigeon.us/uploads/5/2/7/5/52755035/boomer_hazeldellnotes.pdf (accessed October 21, 2019) Olsen, Robert. "Non-Lutheran Denominations among the Danish Immigrant Churches." The Bridge, Danish American Heritage Society 36 1/2 (2013): 22-60.

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