Our History- One Congregation from Four
Keene Evangelical Lutheran Church
Founded in 1897, in Keene Township, rural Hitterdal, Keene Lutheran Church was an active congregation Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church, then the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and finally the American Lutheran Church, until its closure in 1971. The building was demolished, with the exception of the bell tower that still resides in the Keene Lutheran Church cemetery.
Atlanta Lutheran Church
In 1878, in the home of Ole Noben, the Atlanta Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized; it was incorporated as the Atlanta congregation in 1888. Congregational worship and meetings were held in various members homes until the congregation built a formal church, which opened on Nov. 1, 1893. On June 9 1902, the first church building of Atlanta Lutheran was destroyed by a cyclone, and so began the process of building the new church, which still stands in rural Ulen today. During most of its history, beginning in 1921, the congregation at Atlanta shared a pastor with Salem Lutheran and Keene Lutheran (until Keene's closing). Due to dwindling numbers, it was decided to close the Atlanta Lutheran congregation in 2001. Many members of Atlanta chose to move their membership to Salem Lutheran, and are still active there today.
Highland Grove Lutheran Church
Founded in 1885, Highland Grove Lutheran Church was originally a member of the Augustana Lutheran Synod (Swedish Lutheran churches). The congregation formed the Gloria Dei Lutheran Parish, with Eksjo Lutheran Church and Scandia Lutheran Church, of which it was a member until Highland Grove's closing in 2008, due to an increasingly diminishing congregation. Many members transferred their membership to Salem Lutheran, where the Highland Grove archives reside.
Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church
On June 28, 1873, at the log cabin home of Andreas Larson, Rev. Knut Bjorgo held the organization meeting of Buffalo River Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Clay county. The first church was dedicated in 1898. On March 23, 1889, Reve O.K. Veium lead the organizational meeting of Hittterdal United Norwegian Lutheran Congregation. On March 9, 1921, a merger meeting was held for the two congregations. Salem Lutheran Church came into being, and the present church building was dedicated on Nov. 1, 1953.
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