Earlier this week I shared a story about a recent drive through Elmdale, MN where I stopped to take photos of an old Danish Lutheran church that had been drawing me in like a moth to a flame.

Not much was known about the church by local historians in Morrison County, but this is where the power of the internet shines through. So many people came out of the online woodwork to share stories about the church and information on the history of the building and cemetery.

One thing that really interested me on my stop was the old cemetery on the church grounds, mainly the stone wreaths that had been laid on top of multiple gravesites. I thought I would never find out what the story was behind these unique pieces, but once again the internet came through.

I received an email from Cheryl Seelen of Little Falls who let me know that it was her grandfather, James Christian Madsen, who made these gravemarkers.

He poured concrete in a mould around the grave and filled it with gravel.  He used a mold to form the wreaths and cover the concrete with decorative stone.
Great Grandfather Rasmus Madsen helped him with a few before he passed.  The stones were to cut down on the mantiance on the graves to keep them looking neat. The wreaths as far as I know were just to dress up the graves.
Cheryl was a huge resource for information, letting me know that the Madsen family was from Neastved Municipality Sjaelland Denmark. Which connects the dots of them belonging to a Danish Lutheran Church. Multiple gravesites were done in this fashion at the cemetery, and Ceryl confirmed that many of her relatives had been laid to rest there.
As for the church itself, Cheryl said that she was inside of it when she attended the funeral of her grandfather and uncle:
I attended the funerals of my Grandfather James and Uncle Russell at the church.  Its Scandinavian,  plain on the inside it feels warm and welcoming that is all I recall of it.
Thank you so much to everyone who has shared information with me regarding this cool old church and cemetery in Elmdale. I am truly blown away by the amazing outpouring of information that has come my way and I appreciate the stories and history that has been shared with me.
If you have information on the church or the town of Elmdale I would love to hear it, I'm learning so much and would love to keep learning! Email abbey@minnesotasnewcountry.com.
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