Day 383 - Stromsburg
Called the “Swede Capital of Nebraska,” Stromsburg prides itself on its history In March 1872, twenty-eight Swedes arrived from Illinois, and their sod houses and dugouts were soon ready. The community persevered despite devastating grasshopper infestation, disease, and a horrible prairie fire in 1878. The Swedish royal insignia over the front door of the modern Stromsburg Bank is one of many reminders of Stromsburg’s deep Swedish roots. Other evidence includes early twentieth-century mercantile buildings around the town square: the Carlson and Olson Building, the Victor Anderson Building, and the Old Opera House. In the town square, Lewis Headstrom, a Gästrikland native who died in Stromsburg in 1892, is honored with a plaque. Headstrom found no public service job too small or too large. He served as mayor, postmaster, and town and school board member. Headstrom also constructed the first residential and commercial buildings in Stromsburg.
In July 1873, northwest of town, settlers founded the Swede Home Church, now identified as Calvary Lutheran Church of Swede Home, NW Route 2, one mile south and one-half mile west of the junction of State Highways 92 and 39 (402-764-5981). It is the mother congregation of Lutheran churches in the city and some of its former members were leaders in establishing churches and institutions in Oregon. The congregation built its present red-brick sanctuary with two silver steeples in 1914, replacing the original constructed in 1881-1883. In the cemetery across the road from the church are the graves of Johan and Kajsa Hult, victims of the 1878 prairie fire. Surviving members of the family became successful in lumbering in the Pacific Northwest.
Another Stromsburg landmark is the Salem Lutheran Church, 610 Commercial (402-764-2711), a daughter congregation of the Swede Home church. It owns a Signe Larson altar painting, Both Salem Lutheran and a Covenant congregation in Stromsburg worship in modern sanctuaries.
In Buckley Park, created with a donation from Swedish Americans John B. and Christine Buckley, is a gazebo made from the steeple of the former Covenant Church, built in 1900. The Midwest Covenant Home, 615 E. Ninth Street (402-764-2711), is on the north side of Ninth Street in town. Many early Swedish pioneers are buried in the Stromsburg cemetery, which is on Ninth Street, about one mile east of Main Street.
The white-clapboard Swede Plain Methodist Church, whose congregation was established in 1876 and whose building was constructed in the 1880s, was moved to Covenant Cedars Bible Camp (402-753-3241), twelve miles west of Stromsburg and three miles north of Hordville. The Methodist congregation has disbanded.
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