Day 256 - Kylertown
In central Pennsylvania, near the Kylertown exit on Interstate 80, are the small mining communities of Grassflat and Lanse. In 1883 thirty Swedish men, who had been part of a migration beginning in 1875 from Dalsland to the coal fields of Mclntyre in Pennsylvania’s Tioga County, moved west and south to this area. The following year, 181 more Swedes arrived. In nearby Peale, no longer extant, Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Nebo Church was organized in 1884. Gustavus Adolphus, a daughter congregation, sprang up in Lanse shortly afterward, and the congregation built a chapel in 1892. Other congregations also formed, and eventually some merged to form Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Lanse, 1167 Maple Street (814-345-5204). This church on Lanse Road holds several items from the old Gustavus Adolphus Church, dismantled in 1986. Included in the collection are the 1901 altar painting by Olof Grafström of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, the remodeled pulpit, the altar, and most of the altar rail. Several graves in the Grassflat-Lanse Lutheran Cemetery on State Highway 53 have Swedish inscriptions (go north from Interstate 80 on State Highway 53 for two miles and then drive east for one-half mile). In the center is the grave of Pastor R A. Bergquist (1855-1912), who served all the Swedish congregations in the area. Several early markers give Älvsborg län, Sweden, as the birthplace of a number of early Swedish settlers in the area. Organized in 1892, the Evangelical Free Church of Lanse has Swedish roots; its present sanctuary was constructed in 1977.
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