Neuburg Congregational Church

Neuburg Congregational Church

This is Neuberg Congregational Church, in Hettinger County, rural Mott.  The church, which is quite remote, nearly 25 miles from the nearest town, was built in 1925 and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Neuburg Congregational Church

We visited Neuberg Congregational Church in July of 2014. The sky was thick with haze from forest fires (in Washington, Oregon, or Canada, depending on who you ask) which lent some weirdness to the look of the sky. The light changed by the minute.

Neuburg Congregational Church

Neuberg Congregational Church was founded in 1898 by a group of settlers, Germans from Russia, who had come to America seeking relief from increasingly oppressive living conditions. For seven years, they worshipped at the farm of John Sayler, but in 1905, they bought a vacant Lutheran church and moved it to this site. Twenty years later, their congregation having swelled in number, they chose to build this church. According to the National Register of Historic Places registration form, the settlers that built this church “totally ignored the Russian part of their heritage. They culturally identified as Germans.” Until 1953, all services were held in German.

Neuburg Congregational Church

This church was featured in our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains — a great gift for the North Dakota-lover on your list.

Neuburg Congregational Church

Must have been a big congregation. That’s a lot of biffies.

Neuburg Congregational Church

Neuburg Congregational Church

Sometime after we visited in 2014, area residents decided it was time to bring Neuburg Congregational Church back from the brink. Our friend Tim Riley got some photos in 2016.

Neuburg Congregational Church

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media


23 Comments on “Neuburg Congregational Church

  1. We drove by there once several years ago and sitting on of the gravestones was a huge golden eagle. It was beautiful. Thank you for the beautiful photos of this old church.

  2. Lovely photos, do you get any of the inside of the church?

  3. My great grandparents helped build this church. It served the farm families in the Burt (6 miles away) Mott and surrounding areas. A yearly service is held on Memorial day weekend but regular services haven’t been held there since the late 80 s I believe. My brother maintains the cemetary grounds where many of our families rests.

  4. Hi
    A am from Croatia.
    I just want to say i love this page.
    I newer was in ND but this is sprecial place for me. Dont know why.

    Thanks for these pictures

  5. I must also say “THANKS” for some very beautiful and meaningful new photos to an already awesome web site! You guys are doing such a great job with this! Keep it up! Yes, hopefully the public can get involved with helping to preserve this site as well as so many others that the actual property owner hasn’t the means or the interest in doing so. There are so many of these places that just don’t deserve to be lost to time and neglect.

    Lynn Mickelson

  6. I grew up about 5 miles north of this church. We went to vacation bible school here every summer, and I was in the youth group they had there. It was such a cute church and had many members. I will always remember the fun times we had there playing anti over one of the out houses during recess. I was there for a burial a few years ago and looked into the windows. It sure brought back memories. I know that if I called the owner of the property, they would probably open the doors to be able to go inside providing it would be safe. Love this place.

    • Hi Lori! I plan on paying the beautiful state of North Dakota a visit this summer and visiting some sights such as this, particularly prairie churches, and documenting them with photographs. If it wouldn’t be too much to ask, would something like that be able to be arranged?

      I also do appreciate meeting with the locals and learning anything about the area that there is to learn… safe to say, I’m a history buff!!

  7. I grew up in this church. my great-grandfather is buried in the cemetary, as well as other relatives. I was married there in 1971, at a time when many young men and women chose not to marry there (no indoor plumbing, only outhouses for bathrooms), but I loved having my simple wedding in this special place.

  8. This link from 2007 may be of some interest:

    Key info: “A rural church north of both Mott and Burt in Hettinger County has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. Neuberg Congregational Church, deep in the rural countryside and about 25 miles from any town, was started in 1898 to serve as the religious and community center for Germans-from-Russia settlers in the area. The white clapboard church there now was built in 1925. The church is significant for the way it demonstrates how settlers in southwestern North Dakota used the building as a community focus and a place for passing on ethnic traditions.”

  9. My parents were married in this church. I remember attending services there when I was a child and we were visiting my grandparents.

  10. I grew up 2.5 miles from this church. Attended services there until 1983 or so. Also many positive memories. Usually an Easter service held on the grounds. Facebook pictures posted by Morrell Hirning of 2015 Easter Sunrise Service. He also grew up and still lives 2 miles from the church. Last I heard, a match would probably take it down as not much economic or other interest in preserving it. When I heard that from my parents I was astonished. Is there any help with it being listed on historic registers? Name always confused me too: U R G comes from the German heritage. Again Russian heritage completely lost due to the oppression endired. My family is part of that heritage: Germans from Russia. My parent still live 1 mile south and 1.5 miles east of the church. It is located 15 miles north of Burt.

    • The Church is now getting some help with restoration. It still stands on the Prairies of North Dakota. This building is 90 years old and had such good bones ~ it is well worth our efforts to save it. As of now It has a new coat of paint – a restored steeple – and plexi glass on the windows ~ work on the roof will began soon. It will be a colored tin roof, so in coming years it will not have to be replaced 🙂

      • I heard about the restoration since my post. Good to hear. Who is funding/coordinating the restoration?

  11. The inside is not done at this time. If you know Morell Hirining and he is at home – he does not mind opening the Church.

  12. I happened by this church last week, and when I searched to find information about it, I came across this page.. The structure is the same, but the restoration work makes it appear very different than the posted photos. From the outside, it looks like it just closed very recently. Does anyone know where it got it’s name (Neuberg or Neuburg)? I wonder if that (Neuburg) was a place in Russia where the immigrants had lived.

  13. Yes, that name comes from the Germans from Russia heritage. Neuberg is the German name of a small village in the Black Sea area of what is now the Ukraine. It also has a Russian name and a Ukrainian name. Another similarity, the village is near modern day Odessa, Ukraine. The rural Neuburg church sits in Odessa township, Hettinger county North Dakota. If you Google Neuburg, Ukraine you will find all sorts of information on Germans from Russia including a number of sir names that are common to the Hettinger county (Mott, ND) area.

  14. I spent the Summers with the Grandparents who lived in Burt. Went to one Bible school at this church. We went every Sunday. My Grandparents sisters and brothers also went to this church. We would usually have lunch with one of them, or they would come to our place.My Grandma always made jello with a half of bananna in it on Sun. My Grand father was the last person to be buried in the cemetary before they closed it. Seeing these pictures brings back so many memories. I still miss the charm of this church and the farm life I enjoyed every Summer.

Leave a Reply