Near Crooks in Minnehaha County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Benton Lutheran Church
At first itinerant preachers from Minnesota held occasional services in homes and in a nearby school. On May 4, 1878, 25 of the new Swedish-Americans met in the home of Samuel Johnson to organize a congregation. They drafted a constitution and the church was named "The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Congregation." In time they purchased for $4.50 one and one-half acres of land at this site for a cemetery and church building. Pioneer Pastor J.H. Randahl served the young congregation
Stone was hauled from Sioux Falls, and materials and furnishings were freighted from Minneapolis. Members furnished most of the labor during the six years the church was under construction. The newly organized Ladies Sewing Society had a sale in 1890 of articles they had made and raised the funds needed to buy pews. On May 15, 1891, with 65 communicant members and 92 children, the new church building was dedicated. A steeple and bell were added in 1894.
Misfortune struck in 1913 when lightning hit the church and a fire quickly consumed the building. Only the steeple bell, cracked and unusable, was salvaged. Members immediately agreed to rebuild. At a cost of $13,000, a new church, with a seating capacity for 400 worshipers, was dedicated January 27, 1915. Among its distinguishing features are a series of grand leaded art-glass windows. Early ministers were part-time until 1921 when Pastor Martin W. Gustafson was called to serve full-time. All services were conducted in Swedish until 1920 when English was gradually introduced; Swedish was discontinued in 1943.
The seeds of faith planted here in 1878 on a barren Dakota prairie took root, sprouted, and continue to grow and produce Christian fruit. Benton Lutheran Church has maintained a long history of support for local and worldwide missions.
Erected 2003 by the Minnehaha County Historical Society and members and friends of Benton Lutheran Church.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Churches & Religion. In addition, it is included in the Historic Bells series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1873.
Location. 43° 39.587′ N, 96° 51.279′ W. Marker is near Crooks, South Dakota, in Minnehaha County. Marker is on 257th Street, 0.2 miles west of 468th Avenue (County Road 141), on the right when traveling west. Located at Benton Lutheran Church near Crooks. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 46784 257th St, Crooks SD 57020, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Peter Byg, Prairie Fire Victim (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Nidaros Replica Church (approx. 4.3 miles away); Old Nidaros Church Replica (approx. 4.3 miles away); To God Be The Glory! (approx. 4.3 miles away); Oyen-Person Log Cabin (approx. 4.3 miles away); Hartford Area Veterans Memorial (approx. 5.2 miles away); Town of Hartford (approx. 5.2 miles away); Foster Children Tragedy (approx. 5˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Crooks.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 28, 2021. This page has been viewed 213 times since then and 143 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 28, 2021. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.