Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

N SIDE OF TOWN LINE RD .1 M E OF CHAPEL DR, E SHORE OF WHITEWATER LAKE

Architecture and History Inventory
N SIDE OF TOWN LINE RD .1 M E OF CHAPEL DR, E SHORE OF WHITEWATER LAKE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Heart Prairie Lutheran Church
Other Name:FIRST EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
Contributing:
Reference Number:9946
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):N SIDE OF TOWN LINE RD .1 M E OF CHAPEL DR, E SHORE OF WHITEWATER LAKE
County:Walworth
City:
Township/Village:Whitewater
Unincorporated Community:
Town:4
Range:15
Direction:E
Section:34
Quarter Section:SE
Quarter/Quarter Section:SE
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1855
Additions: 1950
Survey Date:1974
Historic Use:church
Architectural Style:Greek Revival
Structural System:
Wall Material:Cream Brick
Architect:Ole Nosman
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Heart Prairie Lutheran Church
National Register Listing Date:12/27/1974 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the State Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation. Restored in 1950.

This little church originated in the early 1840s, when several families emigrated from Skien in southern Norway’s Telemark region to settle around Whitewater Lake, in an area called Heart Prairie. In 1844, thirty-seven of the settlers met to establish a congregation with the Rev. Claus Clausen, pastor at the large Norwegian community of Muskego and missionary to surrounding Norwegian settlements. A decade later, the parishioners began building a church at the lake’s edge. Accounts differ over the date, but work may have begun in 1855 and reached completion in 1857. Mason Ole Nosman trimmed cream brick walls with brick decorations: a plain frieze surmounted by a dogtooth and then a dentil course. The segmentally arched doors and windows and the Gothic-arched louvered belfry openings show the immigrants’ creative borrowings from the fashions of their adopted country. The central pulpit, fronted by a semicircular chancel, faces the congregation’s original hand-hewn pews.

The congregation merged with one in Whitewater in the 1940s, limiting this building’s use. In the 1950s, the consolidated parish returned for Sunday morning services in the summer and for “Oil Lamp Services” on the last Sunday evening of every summer month. The church acquired nineteenth-century vestments from Norway and for some years revived the use of Norwegian liturgy. The building itself, complete with oil lamps and pump organ, was restored in the late 1950s and ranks among the oldest Norwegian Lutheran churches still in use in the United States.


COVENANTS: Have expired.

Effected:
10/25/1983

Good until:

Term:

Property:
Heart Prairie Lutheran Church

Property address:
T4N R15E, Section 34, Whitewater vicinity

C dist:

Owner:

Owner Organization:

Owner address:

Covenant type:
Preservation agreement

County:
WL

Record:

Program:

Covenant provision 1:
Maintain and administer

Covenant provision 2:

Covenant provision 3:
Bibliographic References:Perrin 62, pp. 58, 61-62. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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