Day 479 - Grafton
The Swedish-born population was fairly evenly distributed throughout the region though many moved into the Red River Valley On U.S. Highway 81, three and one-half miles north of Grafton and a little over five miles west on Walsh County Road 9, is a marker for the Sweden Post Office, which was established in 1879 and served the community until 1882, when the railroad reached Grafton. Less than one mile west of the marker, take a gravel road south for one half mile to where the former North Trinity Lutheran Church and cemetery is located. The congregation, mainly of Swedish background, was established in 1879; in 1885 it divided into the North and South Trinity churches (the latter with its Norwegian congregation is about six miles to the south). The white-clapboard Gothic-style North Trinity Church was constructed in 1893. The congregation ceased to exist in 1953, but the sanctuary is well maintained by a local group, and a yearly service is held there.
After the congregation disbanded, members continued to support maintenance of the building. One member who lived in San Francisco sent her annual contribution with a note that in her thoughts she still listened to the bell every Christmas Eve. In the mid-1970s, Ken Johnson, a farmer whose family had rung the bell for five generations, brought his mobile phone to the church, and while the bell tolled he dialed her California number. This tradition has continued, and now a number of people gather annually with their cell phones, calling former members and friends to broadcast the lovely tolling of the old bell.
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