Beautiful Restoration of St. Olaf’s Kirke in Bosque County
The small number of Norwegians who came to Texas in the 1850s were from the agrarian areas of Norway and became farmers in their adopted homeland. Bosque County in the Texas Hill Country reminded them of the rolling landscape of rural Norway. Those who founded the community of Norse, Texas, came seeking economic and social advancement. Their old-world customs and language were maintained into the 1920s. By 1940, their descendants, wholly integrated into the fabric of Texas culture and used English exclusively.
St. Olaf’s Kirke is located on a rise overlooking Meridian Creek valley, four miles east of Cranfills Gap in Bosque County, Texas. Built in 1884 of native limestone, it originally had a dirt floor and the pews were planks laid on wooden kegs. Designed by Andrew Michelson, St. Olaf’s Kirke was constructed from limestone quarried from the surrounding hills. It was recently refurbished.
Norwegian was the primary language used during church services into the 1920s. Today, St. Olaf Kirke serves as a historical landmark with special significance for the descendants of the Norwegian settlers of the area. Special events, such as weddings and funerals, continue to be held in the church. The church was designated a historical landmark by the Texas Historical Commission in 1974 and entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.