Thursday, September 6, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 55

Exterior, Chapel in the Hills, Rapid City, South Dakota
[Dale A. Jensen, photographer]

Interior, Chapel in the Hills, Rapid City, South Dakota
[Jack Tshamer, photographer]

Both cards are products of Rushmore Photo & Gifts, Rapid City, South Dakota.

Stave churches were built in Norway during the 12th and 13th centuries so it is a little like stepping back in time to see this church that looks today much as those older churches looked when they were new.  Earlier I posted the photo below and some other pictures from Little Norway near Mt. Horeb in Wisconsin.  At that time I mentioned this church in Rapid City, South Dakota.  I think there may be yet another one in or near St. Paul, Minnesota and perhaps even others in different places.  I must admit to being curious as to how many of these reproductions there might be in the United States.

A few years ago a friend sent these two cards above of the Chapel in the Hills located in Rapid City, South Dakota.  It is an exact replica of the Borgund Stave Church in Norway.  Dedicated in 1969, blueprints of the original church were sent from Norway to be used in the construction of this church.  Unlike the one at Little Norway, part of an outdoor museum, this one is being used as a church and is associated with the South Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  It is the home of the radio ministry of Lutheran Vespers

Stave Church at Little Norway, Wisconsin

Borgund Stave Church, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway

Though I have posted this postcard above showing the Borgund Stave Church before I am using it again so a comparison can be made between the original church in Norway and the replicas in South Dakota and Wisconsin.  Note a stonewall, like the one at Borgund, has been erected on the grounds of the Chapel in the Hills while this has not been done at Little Norway.

The Stave Churches in Norway for the most part were tarred, creosoted or painted with some sort of dark preservative.  It does not appear that these buildings in the United States have the traditional dark colored preservative on them.  When the wood is left untreated it will “silver” as the building ages.

Four supporting pillars inside the church represent the four gospels in the New Testament.  The decorative carvings were the combined efforts of Erik Fridstrøm of Norway and Helge Christiansen of Rapid City.  A log cabin typical of those used by immigrants can also be found on the grounds as well as a grass-roofed stabbur (a small out building usually used for storage) that houses a gift shop.

Both Little Norway and Chapel in the Hills are on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

For more pictures and additional information see:

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.