This article is about Lake Lillian church history. My curiosity was triggered by a photo of a church that was in the collection of my Aunt Lillian Gauer Anderstrom.
Of course there was no description on the photo. I came up empty looking through The Centennial History of Kandiyohi County published in 1970. It did not match any of the other old local churches. Note that it had 4 arched windows on a side.
The town of Lake Lillian once had several rural churches nearby. Today the buildings are gone and only the cemeteries remain. Two Lutheran congregations, Christina and Tromso moved into town to eventually become the United Lutheran Church.
The first to move was in 1925 when the Christina Lutheran church building 3.5 miles west of town and .7 miles South of #7 was torn down and the lumber reused for the First Lutheran Church. The Christine Lutheran had organized March 8, 1875 and its building completed in 1889.
Next to move in 1946 from North along CR 8 was the Tromso Lutheran Church. The Tromso Lutheran congregation was organized Aug 16 1885 and built in 1885. It became the Grace Lutheran as it built a new church building in town.
The East Lake Lillian Baptist church lasted until 1972. The site is 3 miles east and 1.4 mile N of #7. It was known as the Norwegian Lake Lillian Baptist Church and was built in 1899, The building was 26 x 40 feet with tower, and cost $1,200 including the lot. The picture below also from Aunt Lillian's collection is similar to the one found in the Centennial History of Kandiyohi County 1870 to 1970 and is consistent with the outline of that church on the monument at the site of the Baptist Church.
The Methodist Church was 0.7 mile east of the lake. It lasted the longest of the nearby rural churches with services through June of 1986. The Norwegian Danish Methodist Episcopal was built in 1890. The Methodists had a church in Lake Elizabeth as early as 1866
The St Thomas Moore Catholic congregation started in the LL Railroad Depot in 1936. It met later at a building on Main Street that burned. in 1941. A basement church was built later on Swede hill with a pitched roof. Young Lutheran boys could easily climb on top to look around. The present church was built up in 1958.
My cousin Leone now living in Oregon told me that she was a young girl when the Baptist church was rebuilt. The mystery of when was solved by reference to
That led me to a search of 1933 newspaper headlines to find that powerful tornados traveled through ELL on the evening of May 18, 1933. All of the nearby and Minneapolis papers had articles and pictures. There was no loss of life except livestock killed on several farms. The pictures on the newspaper microfilms at the Minnesota Historical Society are unclear and not copied here. The pictures showed damages to the Riedel farm, the Holmgren farm and a picture of the Baptist church as it appeared before the tornado struck. No doubt that Lillian's picture was of that church.
Following are excerpts from larger articles.
One of the pictures showed the Holmgren farm with roof gone from the house and barn wrecked. The roof was replaced later and a more modern barn on that place had been built sometime before my cousin Warren Gauer lived there. During the summers of 1952 and 1953 I was learning how to be a farm kid from him and my bedroom was upstairs in that house. I had no knowledge of the history of that house and place back then.
The adult membership was 27 in 1905 and 21 in 1970.
The next 2 pictures were also unidentified in collections that I have. They show people salvaging what was left of a church building.