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Pioneer Village Museum
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This is a contributing entry for Pioneer Village Museum and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

From humble beginnings as the 1908 home of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Ebenezer Congregation of Poskin to a centerpiece of the Pioneer Village Museum and still-functioning church, the Ebenezer Lutheran Church is a must-see stop for visitors to the Barron County Historical Society. A carefully-maintained building and preserved artifacts provide both historical context and a rich background for anyone wanting to learn more about this aspect of Northwestern Wisconsin history or have it as the backdrop for a contemporary church event.

  • Contemporary Photo of the Ebenezer Lutheran Church on the Pioneer Village Museum grounds.
  • Ebenezer Lutheran Church interior.
  • Detail of Church Bible in the Ebenezer Lutheran Church.
  • Photo of the silver communion cup in the Ebenezer Lutheran Church.
  • Detail of church organ keys.
  • Men in winter clothing observing as the church is moved along a steep hill on a snowy road.
  • Caravan of vehicles leading the machinery carrying the church along a snowy road.

The Ebenezer Lutheran Church was established and built between Poskin and Almena on the Rabbit Trail Road in 1908 as the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Ebenezer Congregation of Poskin. The frame building, including the altar, altar rail, pulpit, and pews, was built by the congregation. 

When the church closed in the 1960s, the congregation decided to donate it to the Barron County Historical Society. Moving the building was no small feat, and the entire process took almost a year. A fund drive was organized by Betty Christianson to begin raising money for the move. Donations came from private individuals, Jaycees, Lions, Kiwanis, American Legion, VFW, Lodges, and other organizations including banks, business, churches and church organizations, and dance proceeds throughout the county. This monumental effort raised $5000 (~$33,040 in 2020 dollars) for the church move.

In the fall of 1971, the concrete footing was poured at the Barron County Historical Society’s museum for the Ebenezer Church. Mel Jensen and Art Knutson, of Barron, Alfred Koser of Almena, Bob Adkins and Roy Brusen of Chetek, Jess Everson of Cameron, and Orville Eliason of Ridgeland did the work.

The church was moved to the museum on March 10th, 1972. Barron County saw an abundance of snow that winter, and the county plows were called to the museum to clear the area of snow. Telephone, telegraph, and electrical wires had to be cut to allow the building to pass from its founding site to its new home at the museum. When it arrived, it was temporarily shored up on wooden cribbing until early summer, when Ray Arnevik and Arnevik Moving Services of Rice Lake arrived and were able to move it over the footing area. Ray Feidt was hired to lay the cement block foundation; his volunteer assistants were Alfred Koser of Almena, Bob Adkins and Roy Brusen of Chetek, and Mel Jensen of Barron.

During placement of the building, workers discovered a red squirrel had gotten into the church and damaged the ceiling, making it necessary to replace some tile and give new paint to the ceiling. The building was fumigated in May to dispose of the squirrel.

There were outdoor toilets at the Ebenezer site north of Poskin and these were also donated to the society. Two pews, a hymn board, communion service pieces, and two velveteen collection pouches on long poles from the original church’s furnishings remain in the church; a hole in the floor by the altar of unknown origin has developed a folk tale that of being where the church mouse lives. Today, only Ebenezer Cemetery remains at the original site of the church.

The first museum wedding performed in Ebenezer Lutheran Church was when Diane Benson and Steve Williams were married in 1975, and it has been used consistently since then for wedding and renewal of vow services. The church has also hosted Sunday church services during Heritage Days and Rendezvous events.