Monday, June 23, 2014

Swedish Vasa

   Vasa, Minnesota, was one of the first Swedish settlements in Minnesota.  A group of them came from Indiana in 1855, searching for a better climate as they believed Indiana was too warm and people needed a more sensible six months of winter to be healthy.  They certainly found that here!


   Led by Lutheran minister Eric Norelius's group to an area reminiscent of their lives in Sweden, most Swedish immigrants to America would soon choose Minnesota as their new home. 
 
Today, like so many small towns in America, the highway bypasses Vasa and it isn't even a town anymore.  There are no photos of its earliest days, but this is one artist's view.


 
The church still rides the tallest hill, and near it are the  school and grave digger/church janitor's old home, both a museum today.
 
 
The early settlers traveled by oxcart, and amazingly, this one has been preserved and is on display in the museum.
 
Most walked much of the distance  to Minnesota in their homemade shoes to save the strength of the oxen.  They were sturdy people -- look at the size of these shoesBehind is a photo of the man who made and wore these.
 

I was intrigued that such a small settlement of a couple hundred could muster a community band with uniforms, concerts, and a little bandstand between church and school. 
 
 
Of the old town itself, nothing remains today except the old Vasa creamery and a handful of the beautiful old houses.

Thank you for visiting my blog today.  I love to your comments and I will visit you in return.

18 comments:

  1. Cynthia, it's very interesting story about Swedish community in Minnesota.Shoes made from wood I saw at my great grandparents when I was a very small girl. Definitely they were not comfortable.

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  2. Lovely, I especially like the clogs. I suppose living in England I don't always appreciate the history we have. Old to me would be the Roman settlements lol. I grew up in London and every year we would go to the National History Museum as it was free but you don't really appreciate it until your older.

    I never really think of Swedish settlers either, I always think of English and Irish but I suppose that is what we were taught at school.

    Always a pleasure Cynthia x

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  3. Lovely pictures. I can certainly relate, as many small towns in Illinois have met a similar fate as people move on. But there is a lovely nostalgia about visiting "back home" where my brother still farms.

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  4. So nice to see that some things has remained from those old settler times. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Lovely historical post and very informative also with photos ~ thanks for the tour ~ xoxo

    artmusedog and carol ( A Creative Harbor)

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  6. What lovely shots with Swedish origins. I'm an ex-pat Brit living in Sweden so this was doubly interesting!

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  7. It must have been quite an active community.

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  8. What an interesting set of pictures and a fine commentary and explanation. I had never thought about Swedish settlers in the New World before - just shows how brainwashed we are by school history lessons.

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  9. People in the north of Europe were mostly musical so it is no surprise to me that they could muster a band which would have also played at funerals. A sturdy people indeed and so hard working. Thanks for the pretty pictures, that church is so typically Lutheran.

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  10. That is a wonderful tale of the early settlers and such a pity not much is left. Would be a lot of history there. Same thing happens here in Australia, roads are moved and small towns can become by passed with no industry anymore.

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  11. Thank you SO much for the glimpse of the history about Swedish community in Minnesota♡♡♡ Picture and the church (still exist); what is more interesting for me was the shoes. The size is amazing and also surprising that the wooden one might be a bit hard for the feet. In Japan, there are shoes like thing called "waraji" made of straw. Quite different, one is hard and the other is tight between the fingers p;)

    Sending you lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

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  12. I can't imagine even standing in shoes like those. I love the oxcart. That is the kind of place I would enjoy visiting.

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  13. Such a lovely and peaceful looking town that has a Scandinavian feel to it. Your photographs are quite precious.

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  14. I'm amazed at how functional and sturdy (and comfortable?) the wooden clogs were - and that folks actually used them to trek long distances! Thank you for the wonderful photos + very interesting piece of history :)

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  15. I love that little church. I drive right past is when I drive one of my favorite roads in Minnesota: Welch Road from Hwy 19 to Hwy 61. But, you know, I have never been inside the museum. Thanks for sharing the photos!

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  16. It's quite sad that there is little written history about this little place or pictures, but, at least, it's not forgotten.

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  17. Music was a social thing, practices and performances...by gone days for sure. Interesting little town...good to see a museum there! :)

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