September 6, 2019 Seeing the Past: New Images of the Norwegian Evangelical Church Discovered (50 Cedar Street)
The church built at the corner of Cedar St. and Hawthorne St. has been home to two major congregations since its construction in 1910: The Norwegian Evangelical Congregational Church (1910-1955) and The African Orthodox Church (1955-2010). Initially serving a Norwegian population, who had come to Boston due to the manufacturing and fishing industry, the Norwegian Evangelical Congregational Church was founded by David Didriksen and Olai Johansen, who were founded the church after facing pressure to convert to Lutheranism.
After the founding of the church and construction of the building, the congregation bought a second building, the Norwegian Mission Home of Boston, at 54 Cedar Street. The house had been built in 1854 for James Felt Osgood, a local “commission merchant”.
Between 1820 and 1920, nearly 1 million people had immigrated from Norway, many of whom has become rural pioneers and set up homesteads in the Midwest. However, by the early 20th century, many families had left their farm settlements in the Midwest to seek work in the rising industrial centers along the eastern seaboard. Smaller groups of Norwegian immigrants moved near urban centers in New England due to the robust manufacturing and the fishing industry.
“Visible evidence of ethnic community life appeared among the urban Norwegians—churches and their subsidiary charitable and social associations, fraternal and athletic clubs, singing societies, Norwegian-language newspapers, and ethnic business ventures. Smaller kolonis (settlements) sprang up in the port cities of Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.” – John R. Jenswold
A BIG thank you to Sandy Thoresen Whitman for sending us these amazing treasures! We are thrilled to see these views from the past. If you or your family have any more information or photographs of the church or the people who used to attend the church, please contact Gabrielle Chapman at Gabrielle@HistoricBoston.org.
For more reading about Norwegian immigration and settlement: