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Historic Structures Report
September 20, 2012, the Minnesota Historical Society awarded a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant in the amount of $7000 to the Valley Grove Preservation Society for a Historic Structures Report for the Valley Grove Historic Site project. This Historic Structures Report can be found as a pdf file on this website's Resource page.
This project has been made possible by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Administered by the Minnesota Historic Society.
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 and oak savanna.
The Valley Grove Preservation Society members are stewards for the two churches--the stone church built in 1862, the white clapboard church built in 1894-- and for 50 acres of rolling prairie grasses and trees surrounding 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 and oak savanna. In the past few years, the church has also received a new steeple roof, finials, extensive exterior repairs, re-painted exterior and a new well was dug.
Since 2007 restoration of the 1862 stone church is also underway and will proceed as funds are available.
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.
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.