“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Baltic in Minnehaha County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Willow Creek Lutheran Church

Willow Creek Lutheran Church Marker <i>(Side one)</i> image. Click for full size.
August 27, 2022
1. Willow Creek Lutheran Church Marker (Side one)
Inscription.  Incoming Norwegian pioneers homesteaded in this area in the early 1870s, and many of these newcomers built homes on the high ground overlooking Willow Creek. Some lived in dugout homes carved into hillsides, while others used the tough, thick prairie sod to erect "soddies," homes with wills and roofs of prairie sod. A few were able to harvest enough timber growing along the creek to build log cabins. Most of the early worship gatherings were held in these primitive homes, even though there were two well-established Norwegian churches in northwest Minnehaha County. However, both were located a considerable distance away, and a Sunday round trip was impractical.

The first service to be led by an ordained minister was held in the home of Axel and Brita Scott in July 1874. An itinerant preacher, Hans Zahl Hvid, conducted the service. Pastor Hvid was a circuit rider whose ministry stretched from Nobles County, Minnesota, to the James River in Dakota Territory.

A year later on June 27, 1875, in the home of Peter Olson Wold, Pastor Hvid led a worship service that was then followed by a business meeting. The Scandinavian Evangelical
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Lutheran Congregation of Willow Creek was organized and a constitution was accepted. Although a cemetery three miles south of this site was opened and dedicated in 1876, because financial resources were unavailable, almost ten years passed before the congregation decided to build. Sam K. Ducken donated land for the church site and for the present cemetery, and most of the remains buried in the older cemetery were then moved to the new cemetery. In 1886 a Ladies Aid Society was established. Ambitious members held numerous fund raising projects including traditional lutefisk and lefse suppers. The income from their projects was divided with 80 percent earmarked for construction of the church and 20 percent for foreign missions. Some of the Ladies Aid income was used to buy a half-ton church bell. Finally, on November 19, 1893, the Willow Creek congregation celebrated the dedication of their new house of worship.

In 1919 after younger members asked to have services in English, it was voted to have one or two Norwegian services for each English service. By 1934 all congregation minutes were written in English.

Dedicated to the memory of the founders and to honor all members of Willow Creek Lutheran who have kept their steadfast faith for over 125 years with the Word of God as their guide.
Erected 2005 by the Minnehaha
Willow Creek Lutheran Church Marker <i>(Side two)</i> image. Click for full size.
August 27, 2022
2. Willow Creek Lutheran Church Marker (Side two)
County Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1874.
Location. 43° 47.43′ N, 96° 48.682′ W. Marker is near Baltic, South Dakota, in Minnehaha County. Marker is at the intersection of 470th Avenue (County Highway 137) and 248th Street (County Highway 110), on the right when traveling south on 470th Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 24795 470th Ave, Dell Rapids SD 57022, 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. Saint Olaf Roller Mill and Power Dam (approx. 4.1 miles away); Mill Wheel (approx. 5.1 miles away); Lyons High School (approx. 5˝ miles away); Railroad Caboose (approx. 5.8 miles away); Dell Rapids (approx. 5.8 miles away); Colton Public Schools (approx. 5.8 miles away); To Gina Smith Campbell (approx. 5.8 miles away); South Dakota Central (approx. 5.9 miles away).
Willow Creek Lutheran Church & Marker image. Click for full size.
August 27, 2022
3. Willow Creek Lutheran Church & Marker
Willow Creek Lutheran Church & Marker image. Click for full size.
August 27, 2022
4. Willow Creek Lutheran Church & Marker
Willow Creek Cemetery image. Click for full size.
August 27, 2022
5. Willow Creek Cemetery
Credits. This page was last revised on September 3, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 3, 2022. This page has been viewed 114 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 3, 2022.

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Dec. 10, 2023