Created By: North Dakota State University
This stave church replica is a copy of the Hopperstad Stave Church in Vik, Norway, that was built around the year 1140 A.D., which is still standing today. This church was built in 1997 by Guy Paulson, a research scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Fargo, North Dakota, who had a passion for woodcarving. He decided to take an early retirement in order to build this replica to pay homage to his faith and heritage, as his family was from Norway. The church structure took about a year to complete, but all the carvings took until 2001 to finish.
Stave churches get their name from stavs, pillars that are part of the main structure of the church. A stav in Norwegian is any vertical, upright piece of wood. Stave churches combine traditional Norse wooden structures and a medieval basilca style church. Even though it is made of wood, it has all the elements of a Catholic church built in Italy or France from the same period. Construction of stave churches slowed after the twelfth century and none have been built since the Reformation came to Norway in 1535. Today, there are 28 stave churches left in the world and they are all in Norway. The Danish and the Swedish also built stave churches, but due to their tendency to either burn down or rot, the churches do not last long. While the Norwegians kept going with wooden churches, building them on stone platforms, the Danes and the Swedes switched to building their churches out of stone.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Moorhead Historic Preservation Walking Tour