Norway Lutheran Church is in Nelson County, forty-three miles southeast of Devils Lake, not far from the valley where the Sheyenne River carves its way through the North Dakota landscape. Terry and I were on an adventure to photograph old steel automobile bridges, but as always, we were scanning the countryside for other abandoned things and roadside curiosities to shoot. As we traveled down a gravel road, Terry spotted a weathered steeple sticking up above the treeline, and we made a short detour to this place.
Norway Lutheran Church looks as though it has not been used in quite some time, but someone has taken the care to secure it from the elements by covering the former windows, and even took the time to paint them with faux-window frames for aesthetic purposes. Quite nice. The green shingles are peeling in places, though, and this church will need some TLC in the foreseeable future.
It reached almost 60 degrees on this day in the second week of November. We couldn’t resist the urge to take advantage of the good weather.
The cemetery is still well-cared for and regularly used. We saw some interments that were as recent as 2014. Quanbeck, a name that survives today with local landowners, was one of the more prominent family names in the cemetery. The cemetery is also listed at Find A Grave.
UPDATE: In the spring of 2021 a visitor to our Facebook page told us this church is gone.
If you enjoy prairie churches like these, please check out our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains. It makes a perfect gift, and every order helps us offset the cost of documenting these vanishing places.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © Sonic Tremor Media