Funds will be applied to restoration of the 1862 historic stone church and maintenance of the 1894 wood church and surrounding oak savanna.
A Little Background Two historic Norwegian immigrant churches sit on a hill in the farm valley south of Northfield, Minnesota near Big Woods State Park in a panorama of new prairie. The Valley Grove Preservation Society members are stewards for the white clapboard Valley Grove church built in 1894 and for the 50 acres of rolling prairie grasses and trees at the site. In 2000, in an eleventh hour appeal to friends, the Society raised the funds to acquire and preserve the land surrounding the churches from development and restore it to native prairie. In the past few years, the church has also received a new steeple roof, finials, extensive exterior repairs, re-painted exterior and as the first well being dug. Valley Grove is on the National Register of Historic Sites. Under the oak tree in the southwest corner of the churchyard, Pastor Bernt Julius Muus from Norway baptized 52 children in 1859; he went on to help found St. Olaf College. Many of the memorial stones are in Norwegian , and the graveyard contains the family plot of the innovative Veblen family, whose son was economist Thorstein Veblen. The 1862 stone church (shown on left) is now also undergoing restoration. Raising funds to complete that project is the primary goal of the Valley Grove Preservation Society. Web site is http://valleygrovemn.com/ Today, Valley Grove is the site of weddings as well as its annual country social and concerts including its well-loved Christmas Eve concert/celebration.