Bethel Lutheran Awaits Just One More Potluck

Bethel Lutheran Awaits Just One More Potluck

The cornerstone for this church along County Road 5 reads “Bethel Hauges Norsk E.V. Luth. Kirke, 1915”. Put more plainly, that’s Bethel Hauges Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church. The building is located in northern Wells County, about 10 miles east of Harvey, and although the cemetery is still active, the building stands abandoned and boarded-up. In the place where the Lord’s word could once be heard on Sunday mornings by 80 or 100 parishioners at a time, Bethel Lutheran awaits just one more potluck.

Bethel Lutheran Church

Although there were open windows into the basement, it was clear someone wanted visitors to stay out, so unfortunately, we did not get to see the inside.

Bethel Lutheran Church

To paraphrase a comment from someone on our Facebook page, you can almost imagine kids playing outside on a sunny summer day, with the organist playing near an open window, and the scent of ham and potatoes drifting on the breeze.

Bethel Lutheran Church

This church is right in the middle of what could be described as a hotspot for abandoned places. Other places we’ve photographed — Manfred, Hamberg, and Bremen, for example — are all within a short drive. Mostly, they’re remnants of North Dakota’s vanishing railroad transportation culture, from a time when there had to be a town every eight miles along the tracks so the steam locomotives could refill their water tanks. As the automobile came into use, small towns started to wither, and places like this fell into disuse.

Bethel Lutheran Church

Bethel Lutheran Church

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13 thoughts on “Bethel Lutheran Awaits Just One More Potluck

  1. Oh, how beautiful that place is! It’s unfortunate that the survivors and descendants couldn’t take up a collection to paint it. It would be a nice place for funerals for those who will be there someday and it would a great place for a family reunion!

  2. Wow what a treat to see this this morning. Been there many times in ’50-’52 as my grandfather Gudmund Rortvedt’s farm was just down the road on the way to Heimdal. I believe the Claven family were our neighbors. My mother, Marta Noss, still owns the property there where I spent precious days with my grandfather. I grew up in nearby Harvey but moved to Los Angeles at about age seven. I still have contact with my friends from Harvey. Would love to visit again one day and visit the old beautiful Bethel Church. Thanks for the wonderful memory. God bless.

    1. Wally, we farm your Mom’s land! How neat to hear your memories of this area! I always love hearing your mom’s memories of this area. I can see this church from my living room window. Many times I wonder what secrets that building holds from the past. Such a beautiful landmark to have so close.
      Amy Ongstad

      1. Hello Amy,
        Thank you for your response. Sad to inform you that my mother passed this morning and will be buried hopefully at the Bethel which is what she wanted. My brother is making the arrangements. The farm, I believe is to go to my brother’s son, Eric Noss, so I am sure you will be informed of such in the near future. God bless and be well always.

        1. Amy, my name is Cheryl Graham. My grandmother, Borghild Eilertson Halvorson was raised in Heimdal. Her father was Osmund Eilertson, and mother, Anna Karina Foss. Karina was taken ill on the journey with her family from Norway as a young girl. She married in 1895 and the story is that there were many children born that did not survive. She had seizures her whole life following her illness. My grama, born in 1915 was raised by Karina’s sister, Gundla Foss Rostvedt. Her brothers were Ole and Selmer Eilertson and sister, Olga Eilertson Austenson. I have recently become very interested in the history of the church as well. I would like to come to the town to investigate. Please reply if you are willing to have a conversation about this.

    1. Hello Amy,
      I tried to get your number from information with no results but was just informed that my mother’s service will be at the Bethel Church this Monday the 24th at 10:30. Her son David and his wife Liz will attend as I am disabled and not able to attend. Feel free to attend and meet her son and guardian David.
      Best, Wallace

  3. Amy, my name is Cheryl Graham. My grandmother, Borghild Eilertson Halvorson was raised in Heimdal. Her father was Osmund Eilertson, and mother, Anna Karina Foss. Karina was taken ill on the journey with her family from Norway as a young girl. She married in 1895 and the story is that there were many children born that did not survive. She had seizures her whole life following her illness. My grama, born in 1915 was raised by Karina’s sister, Gundla Foss Rostvedt. Her brothers were Ole and Selmer Eilertson and sister, Olga Eilertson Austenson. I have recently become very interested in the history of the church as well. I would like to come to the town to investigate. Please reply if you are willing to have a conversation about this.

    1. Thank you for this nice surprise in my email box this morning. Remember much about the area but did leave at age seven. Do recall an Anne Christiansen in Heimdal who was a favorite of my mothers. Of course remember Rosie’s cafĂ© with the nickel coffee. The memories are plenty and all warming. God’s country for sure. The big city of Los Angeles has deteriorated sadly from the 50’s when we arrived. Too many homeless and too many cars. Even the weather is a tad bland. Miss a really good storm, ferocious winds and hail. The snow not so much. Keep on “keep’n it real” back there in ND. God bless.

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