Danish Lutheran Church History
Withee, Hixon Twp., Clark Co., Wisconsin
In 1892 a group of Danes from Chicago were offered cheap land if they came to
Withee. Although that promise failed, they stayed, formed a Danish colony, and
started the church in 1893. A. S. Nielsen was the first pastor. The church was
built in 1896 and in 1909 a church hall was built for the social activities of
the church. The Danes believed that the body be nurtured physically and socially
as well as spiritually. In 1913 Christian Frost was hired to teach folk dancing
and gymnastics. He continued doing this for some time. Some of you may remember
the gymnastic apparatus in the old church hall.
Danish was the predominate
language spoken at the church for some time. In the 1940s this was discontinued
and English was spoken at all services.
As time went by, members realized the need for a new church. It was built
south of the old church which was surrounded by the cemetery. The new church was
dedicated in October, 1958. In 1987 a new hall and educational wing was added.
The building is completely handicap accessible.
The sister church at Wolter's Corner joined Nazareth in 1958. In the 1960s a
number of families from Bethany Lutheran Church at Owen transferred membership
to Nazareth. The Finnish made up a large portion of Bethany's membership. A
structure on the north side of the church houses the bell from Bethany.
The American Evangelical Lutheran Church (Danish Synod) joined with three
other synods to form the Lutheran Church in America in 1963. In 1988 the LCA
merged with other Lutheran synods and became the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America. Nazareth belongs to the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin of the ELCA. Each
year outdoor services in the pines west of the church are held along with
participating churches of the area. In over 100 years, Nazareth has seen many
changes, but it remains a pillar of strength and encouragement to people from
the Owen and Withee communities.
Danish Folk Dancers,
left to right: Marie Frost, Alfred
Frost, Mable Sorensen, Chris Frost, Dagmar Hansen, Jens Andreasen, Cecelia
Jacobsen, ?; Front: Katherine Stockholm, ? Marie Madsen, Holger Hansen, Thyra
Hansen, ?, Jennie Jacobsen, Theodore Sorensen.
Antique Christmas Card featuring a photo of this Church
Rev. Dixen & Wife;
Rev. Dixen and his brother
1900 - 1927 Miscellaneous
The new Danish Lutheran Church built in 1958.
Credits: Interior Church Photo, contributed by
Diane Kleinke; Exterior Photos of the old and new churches, and the dancers as
well as the details are an excerpt from"Withee Memories", 1901-2001, pg.
(Central Committee: Dorothy Klabon, George Waller, and Mary Ann Beahr)