Norwegian settlers, emigrants from Sogn, Telemark, Gudbrandsdal, Valdres as well as many other areas of Norway, first came to the North Prairie area in 1853. The first church service of these early pioneers is recorded as September 1, 1856, when the Rev. U.V. Koren held services in the home of Isaac Jackson in Arendahl Township. In 1858, the North Prairie congregation was officially organized with a board of trustees.
Church services were conducted exclusively in Norwegian for many years. It was not until 1926, 70 years after the church began, when it was first decided to begin conducting every third service in English. In 1950, the congregation officially discontinued services in Norwegian.
Over its long history, North Prairie Church has been aligned with various local churches. In 1910, when Root Prairie withdrew its connections, North Prairie joined with Pilot Mound. In 1994, North Prairie and Arendahl joined their Sunday School programs.
Congregational services were held in homes (1856) and in the District #36 schoolhouse (1862) until the first church was built in 1863.
By 1863, the congregation was able to build its first church through the help of financial contributions from its members. The church was built on acreage donated by Jon Currie, and is the site of the church and cemetery today.
With a growing congregation, they saw a need for larger church structure, and on July 4th, 1896, the cornerstone was laid on the current North Prairie Church. This church was built in the Gothic Revival style; each tower once had a spire. An altar piece with a painting of Christ is the focal point of the beautifully preserved interior of stamped metal ceiling and walls. In 1937 the spires were removed due to their deteriorating condition. A new entrance built in 1972 eliminated the problem of icy steps and allowed for the installation of a lift in 1987. Most recently, the roof was re-shingled and repaired in 2014.
In 1869, the first parsonage was built as that year they called their first resident pastor, Rev. M.H. Magnus. The parsonage was located ¼ mile southeast of the church and is located on a bluff overlooking the northwest beginning of the Big Springs Valley. The location of the parsonage, in relation to the parish and the members, was a marked and favorable feature. Having the church building quite central, as well as the parsonage, kept all the families in the parish in good contact with the pastor.
In 1907, a second parsonage was built to replace the deteriorating first one, which burned to the ground in 1930. Immediately, plans were made for a new structure and the third parsonage was built that same year. That parsonage was eventually sold in 2004.
North Prairie Cemetery