Trinity Lutheran Church


For almost a century the congregation, now known as Trinity Lutheran Church (ALC), has been a part of Cooperstown.  In 1886 there was activity among the residents of

Norwegian Lutheran heritage in Cooperstown to establish a church in the community.  First services were conducted by a mission pastor, O.K. Quamme, who served nine congregations at that time.  A Christmas Festival was held in 1888 in the courthouse with Pastor Quamme and children participating.  Part of the program was given in Norwegian.  The Cooperstown brass band assisted.

The church was organized April 20, 1890 as "Den Norsk Evangelisk Luthersk Menighed i Cooperstown, Griggs County, N.D."  (Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Cooperstown, Griggs County, North Dakota), and incorporated under the state laws of North Dakota in 1895.  At the time the church was fully organized in 1895, the recorded members of the congregation were 15 families (56 souls) as follows:

  1. Nicolas August Aagreen
  2. Severin Almklov
  3. Anders Gustave Anderson
  4. Rollef Berg
  5. Ragnar Biorn
  6. Anton Enger
  7. Steen C. Gunderson
  8. Soren Hagen
  9. Karimus Hegge
  10. Claus Jackson
  11. John Johnson
  12. Nils Nelson Kiel
  13. Martin Lee
  14. Hans 0. Lien
  15. Iver Jacobsen.

Voting members listed in 1908 were as follows:

H.P. Hammer

A.H. Berg

Lewis Berg

P.A. Melgaard

Henry Haugen

P.E. Nelson

S. Almklov

Albert Larson

Martin Rood

J.E. Johnson

C.J. Lucken

Knut Hamre

F. Gronland

Gunder Frigaard

Pete Moe

Pete Tang

Benjamin Tufte

Ole Feiring

Andrew Johnson

Ernest Johnson

Mrs. Julie Stevens

Mrs. R. Anderson

Mrs. S. Black

Mrs. M. Simenson

Martin Garlid

Ame A. Olson

C.L. Brimi.

Services were conducted alternately in Norwegian and English.  In 1923 there were more English services than Norwegian.  Since 1940 all services are in English.

There has been a building program throughout the years.  Shortly after the congregation was organized, the pioneers saw the need for a church home.  The north half of block 62 was purchased for $100 in 1895.  In 1896 the church was finished and first services held.  It was a frame church built with a tall belfry and cross.  A basement was added in 1909.  The church was remodeled and refinished through the years.

When the congregation outgrew its quarters after World War 11, a new church was built.  The modified Gothic brick structure seats 650 and has 22 classrooms.

Ground was broken in July of 1956, and the new church dedicated in November of 1957.  The mortgage was burned ten years later.

In 1914 a parsonage was built east of the church and used for 63 years.   A garage was built in the sixties.

In 1976-77 a new parsonage was built on lots in the southwest corner of block 62.

The pipe organ was installed in 1915 in the first church.  Sarah Anderson was the first organist. When the old church was torn down, the organ console and pipes were purchased by Selmer Quam, who later donated the pipes to the church.  Six new ranks were added to make a 14-rank organ, a total of 890 pipes in the specially prepared chamber behind the altar.  On the day of dedication of the organ in the new church, a concert was given by Eugene Doutt, organ builder.  Present organist is Lise Johnson who has served for over 40 years.

Pastors who have served the congregation are:

O.K. Quamme, 1890-1895 (1886-1890 as mission pastor)

E.T. Silness, 1895-1905

J.N. Jensen, 1906-1911

T.E. Sweger, 1912-1920

G.R. Estrem, 1921-1928,- 1.0. 

Jacobson, 1931-1938;

P.H. Holm-Jensen, 1938-1941-1

H.J. Hansen, 1942-1947

C.M. Rasmussen, 1947-1954

A.P. Tidemann, 1954-1960

E.R. Schmidt, 1961-1970

Marvin Williamson, 1970-1979

David Putz, 1980.

In 1962 Trinity became a one-church parish.  Prior to that time the pastor had served one or more congregations in addition to Cooperstown.

In 1968 the Ness Church, east of Cooperstown, disbanded, and many members joined Trinity.  Trinity Lutheran Church had 607 members November 1, 1981.

The oldest organization in the church is the Ladies Aid, now known as the ALCW (American Lutheran Church Women).  The women's organization is older than the church itself and played an important part in establishing the church.

The first Ladies Aid meeting was held November 1, 1888.  There were nine members:

  1. Mrs. P.A. Melgaard
  2. Mrs. John Oie
  3. Mrs. Rollef Berg
  4. Mrs. Signor Rice
  5. Mrs. Julius Stevens
  6. Mrs. Anton Enger
  7. Mrs. Quamme
  8. Mrs. S. Almklov
  9. Mrs. Ole Feiring

The first three mentioned were present at the Ladies Aid 50th anniversary in 1938, according to a report compiled by Mrs. Lewis Berg and Mrs. Theodore Kittelson.

In 1888 the Ladies Aid organized a Sunday School and rented a room for it.  Some teachers have served for 10, 20 and up to 50 years.  A board of education of three members is elected by the congregation.  Sunday School enrollment in November 1981 is 131.

As far as can be determined, choir was organized in 1910, but no doubt from the beginning music was an important part of worship and activity in the church.  Some members have been in choir as long as 40 years or more.  For a time there were five choirs in various age groups.  The first director was P.O. Lillence.  Present director of the choir is Mrs. S.J. (Della) Quam, who has served in some phase of music in the church since 1934.

Special events celebrated by the congregation include:

  • The 50th anniversary celebration May 12-19, 1940

  • End of World War II Jubilee night in service of prayer and song

  • April 23-26, 1953, Christian Service Recognition Festival honoring Lillian Young Otte, Gerald Garlid, Clarence Solberg

  • 75th anniversary celebration September 16-19, 1965

Members of the congregation who served in full-time ministry:

Lillian Young (Mrs. Carl Otte): became a missionary in 1929, after completing nurses' training; served in Zululand, South Africa for over 40 years.  She made four trips to the United States, first one in 1938 and last one in 1968, died in 1969.

Gerald Garlid: Ordained in 1939.  Served in Heron Lake, Brewster, Ellendale, Appleton, all in Minnesota; Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin; Torrence, Corte Madera in California; and North Hollywood, California where he had special responsibility for Christian education which included a Christian Day School with an enrollment of 600 and pre-school of 200.  He is now retired and lives in Northfield, Minnesota.

Clarence Solberg: Ordained 1942.  Served in Bison, South Dakota; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Area missionary in northern California, assistant director of Home Missions, ELC; Regional director of Home Missions in NW United States, western Canada and Alaska; Executive assistant to president of Northern Wisconsin District ALC. Since 1969, Bishop of North Pacific of American Lutheran Church.

Glenn Hetland: 6rdained in 1960, served ten years as a missionary to Brazil, later served at Beltrami, Minnesota and now at Van Nuys, California.

David Lura: Attended Wartburg College, Iowa two years, one year clinical training in Lincoln, Nebraska, served in Navy for four years, graduated from University of Hawaii in 1976, completed Master of Divinity, Illif, Colorado in May of 1980, called as pastor in Rockford Methodist Church at Rockford, Washington, where he is serving at the present time.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 162

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