I CONSIDER IT ONE of the most scenic spots in Rice County. A location that presents a sweeping vista of the countryside from atop a hill adjacent to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. Autumn, especially, at Valley Grove offers a visual delight.
On Sunday afternoon, in hot and humid temps that felt anything but autumn-like, I attended the annual Valley Grove Country Social hosted by the Valley Grove Preservation Society.
The group aims to preserve and maintain this place on the National Register of Historic Sites. Here, on this land claimed by early Norwegian immigrants, two churches (built in 1862 and 1894) stand next to a cemetery and next to the prairie.
To visit here is to feel a deep appreciation for the history of this place and those who chose this site to build houses of worship.
To attend the country social is to experience history—through music,
demonstrations, historical talks,
hands-on activities and more.
I always feel such a peace at Valley Grove. As if the world of today exists somewhere distant.
It’s good for the soul to take time on a sunny Sunday afternoon in September to step back in time. Not necessarily to idealize life then—because it was hard. But to gather with others in the countryside far from traffic and distractions and the noise of modern-day life.
To appreciate simpler times
and simple beauty.
To gather under the burr oaks, to walk the prairie, to study tombstones, to sing in the same church where early settlers sang, to watch youngsters craft ropes and walk on stilts. And so much more.
I appreciate the preservationists who understand the personal and historic importance of Valley Grove, of not allowing these churches to fall into disrepair like too many other shuttered country churches. They clearly value the land, the efforts of their forefathers, the importance of this place. Still today.
© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
What a lovely way to spend the day. I think I’d absolutely love this outing.
You would love Valley Grove, Dawn.
Ahhh the simpler life 🙂 Plus it is great to get hands on too. Thanks so much for sharing – made my day! Happy Day – Enjoy
You are welcome. Any time history is brought to life, I appreciate it. That allows us to connect with those who came before us.
What what treasures to preserve for future generations! You’ve posted about these two churches before, right?
You are right. I’ve written about these duo churches several times in the past. Each time there I look for something new to show you.
I knew we would be out of town for this special event. Thanks for letting me see it through your pictures.
It is a very special place indeed.
I know you appreciate Valley Grove as much as I do. I’m so grateful to those who work tirelessly to preserve this beautiful spot.
Love the history!