St. Andrew’s Preservation Committee presents: “Christmas in July” at St. Andrew’s
July 10, 2011
11 – 1 p.m. meal (free will offering) at St. Luke’s Lutheran, Wishek, ND
2:30 Service at St. Andrew’s Lutheran, rural Zeeland, ND
3:30 Guided Tour of 1893 Stone Church and Cemetery Walk
St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church – known as the Beacon on the Prairie - was founded by 15 families from South Russia who migrated to Dakota Territory to take up homestead land beginning in 1884. The property, (for GPS purposes: 24th Avenue and 90th St, Zeeland, 58581) still stands in the original location along Beaver Creek, 13 miles northeast of Zeeland, ND and 20 miles southwest of Wishek, ND
It includes a 29 x 22 ft stone church, dedicated in 1893 as Andreas Gemeinde. To build the church the founding families paid a total $385 and each adult male member donated 15 days of labor. Using the architecture style they had known in Russia, the founders used materials from the land and transported sandstone by ox and stone boat, horses and wagons from a bluff 12 miles northwest of the site. This stone church is one of two original structures of similar architecture and style left on the ND prairie today.
The property also includes a tall white, Carpenter Gothic style church, 26 x 60 ft, with a ten foot square bell tower entry rising 60 feet to the steeple and cross, built in 1906, and a well maintained cemetery, the earliest marker dating to 1894, and includes a children’s section. Until mid century, burials took place in order of occurrence following the style used in Russia. This entire property was named to the National Register of Historic Places on July 12, 1990.
The stone church and the tall white church need some major repair/ restoration and the St. Andrew’s Preservation Committee needs help to get it done. Most urgent need at the moment is a new roof for the beautiful tall white church St. Andrew’s Preservation Committee applied for and received a grant from Preservation North Dakota. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans will match donations made the day of the event.
Keeping clergy to serve a country parish is difficult so regular services are no longer held at St. Andrew’s. It is used for special events and has been maintained all these years by the families that remain actively involved - including the St. Andrew’s Centennial Choir - featured in several documentaries about the Germans from Russia and most recently, Dakota Air: The Radio Show.