Church Building History

Front facade before the window fix during a morning fog.
Front facade before the window fix during a morning fog in 2012.

Here is a brief history of the Old North Church in the form of a timeline:

  • The first pastor to serve in this church building was Ole Lokensgaard (1879-1893) followed by H. O. Fjelstad (1893-1906), O.J. Eriksen, and M. B. Eriksen (1908-1943).
  • 1878: The Scandinavian pioneers felt the need of an organized group and a place to worship.  They formed the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation on Nov. 9, 1878. A conflict over the understanding of scripture created two congregations – the United Lutheran and the First Lutheran. This building was built by the United Lutheran church.
  • 1881: Construction of the church began and Sunday School was started
  • 1882: Cornerstone was laid on April 28th
  • 1884: Religious Summer School began
  • 1885: The Hillcrest Cemetery was purchased and platted
  • 1887: The dedication was on June 31st
  • 1887: Furnished the church with chairs, altar, and pulpit
  • 1887: N. N. Rudy built an altar railing in lieu of his offering to the church.  It matched his earlier work of the altar and pulpit.
  • 1890: Lightning struck the church steeple and a diphtheria epidemic cancelled the Christmas Tree program.
  • 1891: Started a Young People’s Society
  • 1899: The congregation struggled financially in its early years and had a partnership with Bergen Lutheran Church to share costs. Only 8 voters attended the annual meeting in November, 1899.
  • 1912: Basement was constructed
  • 1918: The congregation voted to have services in English rather than Norwegian
  • 1923: The north-end addition was built
  • 1926: Women began to vote in the congregation
  • 1941: The two Granite Falls Lutheran congregations merged and a new church was built – the present day Granite Falls Lutheran Church.
  • 1950: The building was also used for public school classrooms and for other church affiliations.
  • 1951: The Masonic Lodge purchased the building
  • 1954: Church was remodeled to occupy the basement for their first meeting in January.
  • 1982: The Masonic Lodge sold the building
  • 1982: The church became Open Door Baptist Church
  • 2003: The church became the Hispanic Church
  • 2012: Sarina Otaibi purchased church to rehab it in to a home
Old photo of the Old North Church and its past pastors
Old photo of the Old North Church and its past pastors


2 thoughts on “Church Building History

  1. Hi, my name is Lois Peterson and I renovated a luthern church from the 1870″s into my home 19 years ago. My home is in Saint Peter, mn. If you would like to come to saint peter sometime to see it, I would be more than happy to talk with you about the process that I went through. It has proven to be a very good home over the years and I hope that yours will prove to be an equally rewarding place to call your home. There are certain challenges that this type of dwelling presents, but in the long haul I beleive it was worth it.


    lois peterson

    1. Lois,

      I would love to see your church home and learn about what you went through to turn the building into your home! I was just in the St. Peter area last weekend. I will have to plan a trip out in that area soon so that I could visit with you. My email address is if you wouldn’t mind sending me a message there where I could have your contact info to get a hold of you when I do get a chance to make it over to St. Peter.

      Thank you for checking out my blog.

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