Swedish Heritage Center
Oakland, Nebraska; Burt County
Since the founding of the Swedish colony on the Delaware in April, 1638, Swedes have been migrating to America, though the number of immigrants was insignificant until the middle of the nineteenth century. In the latter part of the forties immigration of Swedes in America increased, and families came in search of free land. To find such land it was necessary to continue the journey from New York westward.
In 1864 immigrants from Dalsland, Sweden, settled on homesteads along Logan Creek in Burt County. The town of Oakland was named for John Oak, not of Swedish descent, who had previously settled there. In 1867 another party arrived. Andrew Beckman, an early pioneer, was so charmed by the country that he hastened back to Illinois to induce his friends to come to Nebraska. Other ministers visited the area and recommended to many people that they establish homes there.
In 1985, the First Covenant Church closed it’s doors, and the building stood empty for several years. With it’s beautiful architecture and stained glass windows, something had to be done to protect it. A group of community members formed a board and decided to transform the building into a museum — the Swedish Heritage Center. On June 1, 1989, the revisions were finished and we opened the doors to the public. The center has two areas dedicated for gift shops. One area carries Oakland memorabilia and items like t-shirts, cups, hand-made craft items, paper roses made out of old Swedish books, and the upstairs area contains items from Sweden – dala horses, books, candles, glassware, and kitchen items.
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