Walsh County, North Dakota

Odalen Lutheran Church

CHURCH FOUNDED:  June 16, 1884

HERITAGE:  Norwegian

BUILT:  1897


REMODELED: Basement dug in 1916.

CLOSED:  The last service was held in June of 2000. There is a service held every Memorial Day. This church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as the last remaining community building in Tiber Township.

FIRE: The Odalen church was destroyed by fire on June 21, 2007, cause appears to be accidental.

DIRECTIONS:  On 123rd Ave North of County 9. The church is on the east side of the road.




“Walsh Heritage” Vol 2, pg 615-16

“The Odalen Lutheran Congregation was organized June 15, 1884, by the Rev. M.C. Holseth. Rev. Holseth was at that time a member of the Norwegian Synod, serving a congregation about 40 miles further south by Forest River. For a  year or more he had done some home mission work among the pioneers of Lutheran faith west and northwest of Park River, including the territory where Odalen congregation was organized. The church site and cemetery ground was donated by Jens Haug.

A meeting was called to organize the congregation June 15, 1884. The records show that 24 voting members took part. As quite a number of the first members were from Odalen parish in Norway, it was decided to name the new congregation Odalen Norwegian Lutheran Congregation.

The first congregation meeting was held at the Jens Haug home, with the following being elected as the first officers: Ole Spaberg, secretary; Palmer Spaberg, treasurer; and Jens Haug, Mikkel Foseide and Theodore Holt, trustees.

On April 10, 1885, a meeting of representatives from Pleasant Valley, South Park, and Odalen Congregations was held in the Garfield schoolhouse to consider forming a parish. It was decided to call Rev. Holseth as pastor. Rev. Holseth accepted the call to be pastor of the three congregations and continued to serve them until 1892. Rev. Thorvald Larsen was then called and he served the three congregations until 1897.

As Odalen congregation was a close neighbor to Zion and Trinity congregations, served by Ref. J.T. Langemo, it seemed more practical and more convenient for Odalen congregation to belong to the parish of these two congregations than to the Park River Parish. The connection with the Park River call was therefore dissolved and a call extended to Rev. Langemo to serve Odalen together with Trinity and Zion. Rev. Langemo accepted the call and served these congregations until he rescinded as pastor in 1934.

Other pastors serving the parish were: Pastor G.L. Halmrast, 1934-1942; Pastor H.O. Overgaard, 1943-1947; Pastor S.L. Tallaksson, 1948-1951; Pastor Robert Bergeson, 1951-1955; Pastor S.O. Kvaale, 1956-1963;  Pastor Anton Gerlach, 1963-1970. Our present pastor is Paul Guldseth. He came to serve our parish in 1970.

Odalen Church was built in 1896. The Ladies’ Aid bought the altar and other furniture for the church. Gilbert Rud, a Tiber Township pioneer, helped with the carpentry and also was instrumental in building the scaffolding for the huge church bell in the church tower.

Through the years many improvements have been made in the church due to love and devotion of the active members who are proud of their church which stands as a lighthouse in the Edinburg Community. Submitted by Denis Monson.”


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