-The project will tell the story of Vikur Lutheran Church and the Mountain settlement
By Loretta Thorfinnson Bernhoft and Sandy Matthiason Wright
The Vikur Lutheran Church located in Mountain, North Dakota will turn 140 years old in 2024. It is the oldest Icelandic Church in North America and welcomes visitors from all over the USA as well as abroad. It is truly amazing to read the
names of guests who have signed the church guestbook.
But so often, no one is around to share information about the church and the surrounding settlements. To improve the experience for visitors, our goal is to create permanent storyboards displayed outside the church where visitors can find the story in words and pictures. We hope to have the
storyboards in place for the 125th Icelandic Deuce of August celebration in 2024.
Immigrants from Iceland left their home country under dire circumstances to find a new life in America. They faced many hardships including diseases, language barriers, and harsh North Dakota weather—many obstacles the likes of which we have never had to endure! However, they had no choice but to survive. The strong Icelandic spirit has been kept alive through the years and their story is one that we must never forget!
For those who have had the privilege of traveling to Iceland, you know that the
Vikur Church resembles many of the churches found there. As visitors from Iceland
tour the area, they are amazed at the resemblances. It has always been a priority to
maintain this building not only as a place of worship but also as a tribute to our
ancestors who sacrificed much to build a new life in America.
The church and the community are historically important not only to the local community but also to the larger Icelandic North American community. Several key elements are:
Placement on the National Register of Historical Places
In 2014, the Vikur Church was placed on the National Register of Historical Places.
The church met three criteria to qualify for this distinction:
1. ‘It has statewide significance for the patterns of events associated with