History & Facts

Click to view largerThe Emigrant Story
The American Swedish Institute
Swedish Immigration Jubilee

Visit the Swedish Circle© Sites

The Emigrant Story
Erik Norberg from the Bishop Hill Colony in Illinois arrived in Taylors Falls in 1850. He spent the fall/winter in what is now Center City. Per (Joris-Pelle) Andersson's party from Hassela, Sweden (Hälsingland) was one of the first four families who arrived at Taylors Falls landing on April 23, 1851, and was met by Norberg, whose letters had enticed them to come by steamboat from Moline, IL. Shelter was found for the women and children in the sparse settlement of Taylors Falls. The men with Norberg showing the way, headed West cutting a path through the woods to Norberg's promised land by the "Big Lake." After 10 days of hard work the way was open for families, wagon loads and provisions. At the lake the men built a 10 foot square cabin in one day which sheltered the entire party of 16 the first winter. Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Chisago Lake, was organized on May 12, 1854 in Per Berg's barn, 1/4 mile east of the current church in Center City. By 1855, the colony had grown to almost 500.

The history of this first immigration comes alive in Moberg's novels. They introduce us to his fictitious characters, Karl Oskar Nilsson & wife Kristina, who are based on the real-life Per (Joris Pelle) Andersson party from Hassela, Sweden and many others that settled in the Kichi-Saga area in the mid 1800s. In 1948, Moberg visited the Kichi-Saga area to do research for his novels. Moberg would ride bicycle from town-to-town and interview Swedish families in local restaurants and homes.

Moberg's daughters, Marianne Forssell and Birgitta Råd took part in the dedication of the Vilhelm Moberg statue in Chisago City on September 7, 1996. Sculptor: Ian Dudley, Lindström, MN. Moberg has come full circle and rides forever in "The Swedish Circle©" of Kichi-saga, Minnesota.

The American Swedish Institute
The American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave., Mpls. The largest museum of Swedish-American history and culture in the United States. Founded, 1929 by Swan J. Turnblad. ASI is within the 1904 mansion and the new NCC (Nelson Cultural Center). Grand opening: June 30, 2012. Dedication on Oct. 6, 2012, with Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden. On the National Register of Historic Places.
Phone: 612-871-4907 or website: www.americanswedishinst.org

Swedish Immigration Jubilee
Click to view largerThe Greater Chisago Lakes Area was highlighted during the 1996 Swedish Immigration Jubilee because of its direct ties to the Swedish emigrants. Over a million Swedes emigrated, many of whom came to this area because of the 1837 Indian Treaty which made these lands available to the immigrants. Click to view largerOn September 13,1996, the Chisago Lakes area was honored with a Royal Visit from Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden. Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former ABBA members also visited the Chisago Lakes area on October 13, 1996, and presented a concert version of their hit Swedish
musical, “Kristina från Duvemåla” at the Chisago Lakes High School, Lindström.

Visit the Swedish Circle© Sites
The Swedish Circle© became a reality in 1997. Designed and developed by Sally Barott, Shafer, and Barbara Young, Taylors Falls. The brochure and website features the Swedish sites from the 1996 Swedish Immigration Jubilee celebration. The Swedish Circle© is the name given to the 8 towns of Chisago City, Lindström, Center City, Shafer, Scandia, Taylors Falls, Almelund, and North Branch. These communities share a rich Swedish heritage. Note the "Moberg Trail" signs and the Sister- City signs on US Hwy. 8. Ride bicycle on the Swedish Immigrant Bike Trail (partial completion-website link at www.co.chisago.mn.us/481/Swedish-Immigrant-Trail). Check all locations for open times. Private tours, please make prior arrangements. Area Chamber phones/websites are listed in this brochure. Step into the shoes of Vilhelm Moberg and enjoy the Swedish Circle Tour.