The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

History: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Mary Wingerd

Third Advisor

Bill Morgan

Keywords and Subject Headings

Immigrants, Rural, North Dakota, Norwegian, Church


Edmore, North Dakota is located in Ramsey County, in the northeastern part of the state and was founded in 1901. The Edmore area was settled primarily by Norwegian immigrants and first generation Norwegian-Americans that started coming to the area in 1896. There were several reasons why people immigrated to the United States. Most Norwegian immigrants wanted to farm, and there was little opportunity to own enough land in Norway to make a decent living. Norwegian immigrants followed a pattern of chain migration. They first settled in Wisconsin and, when land was no longer available, the immigrants or their children moved further west to find available land.

Concordia Lutheran Church has·been a part of the Edmore community since 1898. It began as a rural church with a few Norwegian families south of the present Edmore town site, but moved into Edmore in 1903 when the first official church was built. Immigrants usually settled in communities with others of the same ethnicity, which helped the immigrants adapt to life in this new country. The church was very important to immigrant communities, as those who belonged shared the same language and culture. The church helped preserve the Norwegian culture and, because of the remoteness of North Dakota and the high volume of Norwegians, the Norwegian language was used in churches well into the 1930s. However, the church also helped Americanize the immigrants. Through the Ladies Aid, women contributed to their communities and immigrants had to learn how to run their churches.

As the American culture emerged and technology advanced, life changed for people in urban and rural areas. Concordia experienced changes too. Rural churches in the area closed due to population loss and many of the people joined Concordia. In 1987, a group split away from Concordia to form a new church. Concordia Lutheran is now part of a parish with five other churches called the High Plains Parish. While parishes have been around since settlement days, the relationship between churches in a parish is different and the High Plains Parish has decided to work together as a community. This arrangement has allowed the involved communities to cope with the uncertain future of rural America while maintaining their churches.

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