Back in 1988 when Trondhjem Lutheran, Lonsdale, Minn., was building a new church, there was talk of destroying the old one. But some wanted to preserve it, said Joyce Pflaum, historian and chair of the museum committee, part of the Trondhjem Preservation Society. Not only did they preserve the church, but it has also been designated a National Historic Site.
The church was built in 1899, underwent remodeling in 1949, and five years ago had its ceiling removed. First, they were excited to find a tin ceiling after removing the false one, Pflaum said. Then the Minnesota Historical Society encouraged them to look underneath it. There they found painting done in 1900 in Norwegian color and design for free by an unknown artist, she said.
Private donations paid for the restoration and for the process for landmark nomination, Pflaum said. The historic site opened last fall for group use.
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