South New Hope Church placed on National Register
For the Gazette
NELSONVILLE – South New Hope Church has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The South New Hope Board of Trustees announced earlier this year that the Wisconsin Historical Society placed the church on the Wisconsin Register of Historic Places. In September, the church was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The church was built in 1889 in the town of New Hope by Norwegian immigrants, at the corner of what is now known as County Road T and Trout Creek Road. The basement was added to the building in 1927.
The old church building has been under restoration since 2012, with significant work completed to address structural issues that have developed since the congregation disbanded and the church closed in 1967.
Former board of trustees member, Marc Wolding, secured a grant that would allow for the hiring of Gail Kline, Stoughton, to do necessary research, photography, development, and presentation to the Wisconsin Historical Society.
“The New Hope Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church is in very good condition and retains a high degree of both interior and exterior integrity,” Kline said. “The church has undergone no substantial alterations outside of the historic period. The building retains all of its original character-defining features as well as its associated historic resources. As such the church is a fine representative of the type of rural ecclesiastical architecture common in Wisconsin‘s rural communities throughout the nineteenth and early 20th centuries.”
Ardie Stoltenberg, a member of the South New Hope Cemetery Association, said that the old church building was not much different from many other rural church buildings built during the mid-1800s, but what make it unique is that it has seen little change or alterations since it was built.
Stoltenberg added that Gary and Elaine Anderson of Nelsonville have been the driving force of restoring South New Hope since the beginning by developing a foundation of financial support for the restoration phases of construction and gain public recognition for the church.
Local architectural historian, Wendell Nelson, summed up the significant aspects of the church, “South New Hope Lutheran Church is important both historically and architecturally.Overall, South New Hope Lutheran Church is remarkably whole and unspoiled after 130 years of wind, rain, fire and the other hazards that destroyed so many 19th-century buildings in America. So it will be a worthy and welcome addition to the Wisconsin Historic Sites list of important state buildings, and will (along with its founders and builders) get the respect it deserves.”
The board of trustees plans to continue renovation efforts, seek out new grants and donations, increase board membership, and extend volunteer support.
For more information, visit www.southnewhope.org.