A musical piece of history returned to the Lindsborg area on Aug. 4 with the installation of a 125-year-old Dahlsten-Olson reed pump organ at Freemount Lutheran Church.
This organ was given to church member Clyde Olson's aunt, Hulda Olson Dahlsten, in 1893 as a present for her sixth birthday.
"It's been in the family all these years," said Esther Maria McGowan, daughter of Clyde and Belen Olson.
Hulda was the daughter of P.A. and Matilda Olson, who immigrated to the Marquette area from Sweden in the late 1880s.
The organ was passed down to various family members and was eventually moved to Minnesota with Beverly Cherry, Dahlsten's granddaughter.
"I remember the Reed parlor organ at Grandpa Arvid and Grandma Hulda’s home that was across the county road in Fremont from Ada and Amos Dahlsten's home, in the living room between the kitchen door and the porch door," Cherry recalled in a written memoir.
P.A. and Matilda Olson had six children and their oldest son, Seth, was Clyde Olson's father.
"P.A. owned a store in Marquette called the Home Mercantile Co and then the Peterson Grocery Store. It would seem likely that he had access to specialty items like the Reed Organ while ordering for the Mercantile store," Cherry added.
Cherry also noted that the organ has a gold label above the keyboard that reads “M Schultz Co. Chicago, IL, USA." The M Schultz company manufactured organs in Chicago from 1869 to the 1930s when the Great Depression halted production.
"The organs with M. Schultz label, which ours has, were their premier organs," Cherry said.
Sometime around 1980, the bellows in the organ were rebuilt, and the organ is still in good working order with a mirrored top and intact gold gilt lettering.
“It’s fitting that it has come back home,” McGowan said. “...It’s great because it’s kind of going back to where it originated.”
Clyde Olson is the last surviving member of his generation of Olson cousins and the oldest member of Freemount Lutheran Church, which also has a long history.
Started in 1869, the church’s first stone structure is the oldest public building still in its original location in McPherson County.
Freemount Lutheran Church’s second building, which started construction in 1881 after membership had grown to 265 people, featured an altar painting of the Ascension by G.N. Malm. That building’s 139-foot steeple was struck by lightning in 1926 and the church burned.
A third building was dedicated on Dec. 18, 1927, and included stained glass windows and an altar painting by Birger Sandzen.
Freemount Lutheran Church has a current membership of around 150 people.
The church’s annual Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at 2511 Eighth Ave., Lindsborg.
For a freewill donation — which will go to benefit The Omega Project this year — attendees can eat their fill of homemade ice cream and fruit crisps
Brenda Berggren, wife of Pastor Gerald Berggren, said the ice cream flavors will include vanilla, chocolate, peach and more.
“I always make coffee ice cream,” Berggren said.
For more information about Freemount Lutheran Church, call 785-227-3154 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at email@example.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.