Our beloved Iowa River Lutheran Church was built
in the year of Our Lord 1880. The membership
consisted of approximately 26 families. Chief
carpenter for the construction was Peter Quandahl who
received $300 for his labor. The membership increased
for a number of years and by 1910 consisted of about
In 1909, it became necessary to replace the old
heating system set in a hole under the church and
with a single grate in the floor of the church. The
men of the congregation excavated for a new larger
basement and foundation beside the old one. The
excavation was done with horses, scrapers, picks,
shovels, and much muscle work. Sand and rock were
hauled to the site by wagons and sleighs. The rock
had been quarried by hand. August Hulquist, an
immigrant rock mason, laid the foundation. Mr.
Hulquist is grandfather of Dr. Edwin Overholt who is
on the Medical Staff at the Lutheran Hospital at
LaCrosse, Wis. In August 1910, the church was moved
onto the new foundation by a Waukon, Iowa firm by the
name of Stilwell and Sawell.
A cement floor, sidewalks, and steps were added by
the men of the congregation. A modest kitchen was
added, the first such convenience provided for the
women. Its first use was for the preparation of a
Thanksgiving dinner. Up to this time, all cooking and
serving had been done outdoors.
The Iowa River Congregation worked cooperatively
and harmoniously for the Kingdom of the Lord. Those
of us who were a part of this church have many fond
memories of the happy occasions which characterized
this sincere and happy congregation.
The Iowa River Church Ladies Aid was organized in
about 1910. The Young Peoples Society remained very
active as a result of the enthusiasm of the youths of
On July 3, 1937, this impressive little church,
was s truck by lightening at about 6:30 pm, and was
totally destroyed by fire. Some contents were saved,
including the church organ, dishes, trays, a few
pews, and the communion set. For a while the members
considered rebuilding the church, but after much
deliberation it was decided not to rebuild because
the membership had diminished considerably.
The Iowa River Cemetery Association has been
active since the fire. On the second Sunday of July
each year the Association sponsors a picnic at the
Cemetery to pay respects to the forefathers buried
In the process of filling in the basement hole
following the destruction of the church, the corner
stone, dated 1910, was pushed aside and left bottom
side up. In July 1974 a large hole was found in the
side of the stone. It is not known if the cavity
containing the cornerstone documents had been
accidentally broken open in the process of moving the
stone. When the hole was discovered, it was found the
contents had been destroyed by water and rodents.
Parts of a bible and a Waukon Republican Newspaper
placed therein in 1910 were identified. It is assumed
that other documents had also been placed therein but
to our grave disappointment such could not be
A permanent flagpole was erected at the graveyard
for the July 14, 1974 Cemetery Association picnic.
This was accomplished through the urging of Irving
Thompson and with help from his son Frederick, and
former Iowa River Church members Milton and Orville
Iverson, and Edgar Nelson.
The fence surrounding the grounds was repainted by
former member Lester Ellingson who would accept only
a thank you for his services.
On October 14, 1974, the original cornerstone was
restored and placed on the exact location of the
corner of the church which burned. New documents were
sealed in the cavity of the cornerstone.
Pastor Reuben K. Youngdahl in his devotion book,
Live Today, for October 14 states, I
quoteIf any of you lacks wisdom, let him
ask God who gives to all men generously and without
reproaching, and it will be given him, but let him
ask in Faith. James 1:5,6.
Prayer Thought: Merciful God, we turn our hearts to
Thee, Seeking Thy wisdom.