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Bosque County, Texas

The Old Rock Church

Our Savior's Lutheran Church

 Norse, Texas - Old Rock Church
The Old Rock Church
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
National Register of Historic Places
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2005

The Old Rock Church

Norse, Bosque County, Texas

31 47' 31" N, 97 46' 26" W (31.791944, -97.773889)

Near Cranfills Gap & Clifton

Historical Marker: (from Cranfills Gap, take CR 4145 about 4 miles east to the church and cemetery)

The Rock Church
St. Olaf Lutheran Congregation

Built in 1886 of native stone by architect Andrew Mickelson and his brothers, Christian and Ole Mickelson. It originally had a dirt floor and planks laid on wooden kegs for pews. The bell was acquired in 1897. The church served the Norwegian settlers of this area, who were members of Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Norse (6 miles east). In 1902, the growth of the community necessitated separation from the Norse church, and the St. Olaf congregation was organized. A new edifice was erected in Cranfills Gap (4 miles west) in 1917, and this church has since been used only for special services.

Incise on back:
In Memory of Otto H. Reesing 1890-1974

Old Rock Church interior
Old Rock Church interior
Photo Courtesy Lou Ann Herda

Our Savior's Lutheran Church Norse Texas
Our Savior's Lutheran Church
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark

Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2003

Our Savior's Lutheran Church

Norse, Bosque County, Texas

31 46' 21" N, 97 40' 43" W (31.7725, -97.678611)

Near Cranfills Gap & Clifton

Historical Marker:( from Clifton take FM 219 W about 6.8 miles; take FM 182 2.8 miles N to church

Our Savior's Lutheran Church

Mother church, former Evangelical Lutheran Church in Texas. Organized June 14, 1869, by Norwegian settlers of Bosque County. Building erected 1875-1885. Cleng Peerson, pioneer of Norwegian emigration to U.S. (landed 1821) is buried here.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1965

Supplemental plate:
Centennial 1869-1969 Church built by Norwegian pioneers, 1875; contractor Gunerius Shefstad. Dedicated in 1885; enlarged, veneered with brick in 1907; veneer work redone, 1956; memorial windows given in 1958. This church has been served by eight pastors. (1970)

Our Savior's Lutheran Church is much older than the Old Rock Church and is a very active church in the old Norse area.

Following is a bit of history on these churchs:

"Although Our Savior's Lutheran Church wasn't formally organized until 1869, the first Norwegian Lutheran services were held in the Jens Ringness home in 1867 (a house that has gotten a lot of attention lately, as efforts are underway to get enough monies to do a major restoration on the home). It wasn't until 1871 that they finally managed to obtain a building site for the church, and it would be another 4 years--1876--before the church was actually built.

During the time between 1876 and 1886, the church was variously referred to as, "The Lutheran Church", "The Norse Church", and "The Norwegian Church".

Then, in 1886, when it was decided to build a second church to serve the settlers in the upper part of the settlement, it was decided to name the old church "Our Savior's Lutheran Church" (or "Vor Frelsers Kirke") and name the new one, which they desired be built of rock, "St. Olaf Kirke". The new church was to be built 4 miles east of Cranfills Gap.

In 1917, St Olaf's decided to build another church in the town of Cranfills Gap, naming it St. Olaf's, and the old rock church was then just referred to as, simply, "the Old Rock Church" .

Today, Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Norse and St. Olaf's Lutheran Church are very active, but the Old Rock Church only has occasional services." - Doris Werner - Norse area, June 07, 2002

Our Savior's Lutheran Church and Cemetery, Norse Texas
Our Savior's Lutheran Church and Cemetery
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2003

Norse TX Cemetery Bosque County original Noarwegian settlers marker
The Marker commemorating the first settlers
On the grounds of Our Savior's Lutheran Church

Photo Courtesy Lou Ann Herda, July 2001


  • Subject: Norse Church
    My wife and I went to try to photograph the new church listing at Norse. Your web site said it was 10 miles west of Norse, near Cranfils Gap. That is INCORRECT. It is at the community of Norse, about 10 miles east of Cranfills Gap - William L. Early, May 02, 2006

  • "The picture you have IS the Rock Church, which is located near Cranfills Gap. (Cranfills Gap is 19 miles west of Clifton, and the church is about 10 miles west of Norse.)

    There is a church at Norse, where Cleng Peerson is buried, and where the marker you show is situated. The church is Our Savior's Lutheran Church, still an active congregation, and it is an historic site as well. The church is red brick. ..." - Betty Tindall, President, Bosque County Norwegian Society of Texas, June 10, 2002

    Webmaster's note: We appreciate Betty Tindall and Doris Werner's identification of the Old Rock Church and for sending us the historical information on the churches.

    See Norse, Texas

    More Texas Churches
    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact us.












































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