History of Freemount Lutheran Church and "The Old Stone Church"
On June 12, 1869, the Freemount Lutheran Church congregation was organized by Swedish settlers, the first Lutheran congregation in the Smoky Valley. Their first church home, built by church members in 1870, was built from brown Dakota sandstone cut from the bluffs several miles to the north. The blocks are still held firmly by the mortar they made from lime burned at nearby Indian Creek. Masons were the only paid workers. It was put into use as soon as the walls were up in May. By the end of the summer, the roof had been added, but another year and a half went by before the floor was laid. Members built the altar, pulpit and pews.
The membership grew rapidly and for a time, the congregation was organized into five districts. Two of these, Andover and Marquette, later became separate congregations. The early congregation served a large area. The first Sunday School was organized in 1870 and shared the stone building with the public school from 1870 to 1875, when a school house was constructed. Young men and women came from near and far for meetings of the “Young Peoples Society,” started in the early 1870s. Ladies met for sewing, fellowship and study. The Freemount Band was organized and used the building for rehearsals. The building also served as a public meeting place and even for political rallies.
The old stone building could no longer contain the growing congregation so a larger, spired, brick building was constructed in the early 1880s. Even with the new worship space, the old stone building continued to serve as a fellowship hall.
Pastors of Freemount
A.W. Dahlsten 1869-1873
O. Olsson 1874-1876
J. Seleen 1876-1897
J.D. Danielson 1898-1902
J.F. Aurelius 1904-1924
O.L. Larson 1926-1944
Carl Johansson 1947-1948
J.M. Rassmussen 1949-1952
C.A. Odahl 1954-1961
Donald Conrad 1963-1965
Eugene Nelson 1965-1979
Frank Pekarek 1980-1983
Stan Swanson 1961-1963
Robert G. Lundgren 1995-1998
James A. Harrison 1998-2013
Gerald Berggren 2012-Present
On the night of June 7, 1926, a fire caused by lightning destroyed the huge second church building. The little stone building once again served as a place of worship until the third, and current brick building was dedicated in December of 1927.
Since then, the the little stone building has served many purposes: Bible Study Room,Sunday School Classroom, and even for a while, a storage building for lawn mowers and equipment.
In 1981, the old stone church building was cleaned and restored. Here are gathered the mementos of our early history as a church and community. The original Freemount Post Office Boxes now reside here along with reminders of the
Freemount School, photos of the early town, veterans of three wars, an active band organization, and a plat of the city that never grew.
The history of Freemount Lutheran Church is chronicled by photos of church leaders, pews, a clock, communion vessels, and the cross from the steeple of the beautiful church building destroyed in 1926. The altar and rail here were crafted from pews from the second church, made according to oral description of the original. The reed organ, if not the original, is similar to the one first used in this church. To crown it all the beautiful motto above the altar was repainted: LET US SERVE AND SACRIFICE FOR THE GLORY OF GOD.
In 1988, structural problems in the present brick church prevented its use so for seven and a half months, the Stone Church was once again a worship center for the congregation while repairs were made to the other structure.
In 1999, a more extensive restoration of the little stone church building was undertaken after some artifacts started to deteriorate because of high humidity. A weather control system was installed, a cedar shingle roof was added and new custom made thermal pane windows were installed. The original ceiling is seen again and the trim is a copy of the original. After three years of work, the Stone Church was rededicated on June 2, 2002.
The Old Stone Church is the oldest public building in McPherson County still in its original location. Sunday services are held here on various occasions (especially in the hottest part of the summer). It is a reminder of the power and influence His Church has had since pioneer days. A former bishop said, “Take care of this building, it is a Gem!” Join us as we celebrate our heritage and ask for God's continued blessing on our congregation.