Thingvalla Icelandic Lutheran Church and Cemetery
People arrived from Iceland in 1885 to a district north east of Churchbridge, which they named Thingvalla. Thingvalla is named after Thingvellis, the place in Iceland where the parliament "Allthing" met in the open air for many centuries after 930 AD.
In 1888, a congregation was formed called Thingvalla Icelandic Lutheran Church of America. It was also called the East District of the Icelandic Community.
In 1891, they built a hall out of logs on the NE corner of SE 34-22-32, just east of Clark's barn. This hall was 24 x 40 feet with four windows on each side. At the opening, there were no benches, tables, or floor in the building. These were added some time later. This hall was used for church services until 1910 when a church was built on the cemetery site. Services were held there until 1963 when Thingvalla congregation joined Concordia.
The cemetery was started in 1887 located in the middle of NE 22-22-32. Narfi Halldorsson donated one acre from his homestead to bury the wife of Helgi Sigurdsons and a child of Einar Sugfjord. Both the child and the woman were buried in the same grave.
This burial was at the east end of the cemetery. When the church was built, it was built over the grave. The church is still standing on this graveyard, and the cemetery is still used for burials. The only cemetery records that are available indicate that, from the year 1887 to 1914, 82 burials took place.
Finding the Cemetery
GPS: 50.91531,-101.84071 (cemetery)
GPS: 50.917777,-101.788312 (original hall site)
To find the cemetery: From the northern outskirts of the town of Churchbridge, beginning at Highway 80, drive east for 1.5 miles on Thingvalla Road. Turn north, and drive for 1 mile. Turn east and drive for 3/4 mile. The cemetery is on the south side of the road, accessed by a trail through a field.
To find the original hall site: From the cemetery, continue east 2 1/4 miles. There is a monument on the south side of the road.