Lindsborg is a city in McPherson County, Kansas. The population was 3,321 at the 2000 census. Much of the history of Lindsborg is associated with Swedish settlers and the town reflects this heritage. The city is the home to Bethany College. Lindsborg is located along Highway 4 / 81b about 14 miles North of McPherson.


Lindsborg is known as "Little Sweden" because of the Swedish immigrants who founded the town. Much of the architecture and decor in the town has a distinctly Swedish style, and holiday customs reflect Swedish heritage. In the fall of odd-numbered years, Lindsborg celebrates its Swedish heritage with food, crafts, and dancing in a festival known as Svensk Hyllningsfest.

The parade scene from the 1985 movie American Flyers was filmed in Lindsborg. North of Lindsborg is Coronado Heights, which is believed by some to be where Francisco Vasquez de Coronado gave up his search for the seven cities of gold, and turned back to return to Mexico. The town possesses the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery for Birger Sandzén.

The Early History of Lindsbirg
by William G. Cutler (1883)
As has been previously stated, the town of Lindsborg was located by the Chicago Swedish colony in 1868. Among the one hundred members who composed the colony the leading spirits were John Ferne, afterwards County Commissioner, C. Carlson and J. O. Lindh. N. P. Swenson was the first settler in the township, locating just west of the present town, where he started in a blacksmith shop. The first building erected upon the town site was the company's house, in which religious services were held and the county's business transacted.

Some time before the colony had erected a small stone building, about four miles north of Lindsborg, in Saline County. Here John Ferne lived before he came to this county, and kept the company's books. In 1870 he located about two and a half miles northeast of town. But the first house erected on the town site was built by Neils Olson, now of New Gottland, in 1869. The same year J. H. Johnson opened the first store, about a mile west of Lindsborg, where he kept a postoffice. The Swedish Merchant's Association bought out Mr. Johnson, removed the building to Lindsborg, and established the first store and postoffice here in the spring of 1870.

In May, 1871, C. Carlson, agent for the First Swedish Agricultural Society, surveyed the town site. The Lindsborg of to-day is situated in the northern part of McPherson County, on the Salina & Southwestern Railroad. It is located in the valley of the Smoky Hill River, twenty miles south of Salina, on Section 17, Township 17, Range 3 west. Next to McPherson, it is the most flourishing point in the county, and is growing quite rapidly. The postoffice in Lindsborg was established in 1869, J. H. Johnson being the first Postmaster. He was succeeded by John Ferne. W. J. Henry, the present incumbent, was appointed in 1873.

Lindsborg was incorporated as a city July 8, 1879, John A. Swensson being its first Mayor. The officials for 1882 are as follows: Mayor, W. J. Henry; Council, D. Johnson, J. Christian, Wm. Schwensen, C. P. Gunnerson and A. Lincoln. The city has no fire department.

Lindsborg is situated on the Salina and Southwestern road in the northern part of the county and in the midst of a splendid farming region. The Smoky Hill River passes through the city and furnishes good water power. The population of the place is now about 600. It contains a water power and a steam flour mill, three elevators, one bank, two hotels, three newspapers, and a number of the largest general stores in the county. It has also one of the best district schools in this section of the State. District No. 3 completed the fine two-story brick structure, which is now occupied, in the fall of 1882, at a cost of about $6,000. The dimensions of the building on the ground are 32X54 feet. E. C. Minton, who has been principal of the school for three years, is assisted by Miss Emma Johnson and Miss M. Milam. The attendance is about 150. Although the school is now divided in to but three departments - the primary, intermediate and grammar - it is intended soon to establish a high school.

Another educational element which is working for the good of Lindsborg is the Bethany Academy, which is controlled by the Smoky Hill District of the Swedish Lutheran Kansas Conference. It was first opened in October, 1881, with thirty pupils; it now has eighty. The land upon which the school building stands was donated by the Swedish Lutheran Bethany Church of Lindsborg. The instruction is mostly in English, one aim, besides that of general educational development, being to fit students for the Swedish College at Rock Island, Ill. Board of Directors: Rev. C. A. Swensson (president), J. Seleen, A. W. Dahlsten, P. MN. Sannquist, John A. Swensson, A. Lincoln, C. J. Stormquist and J. Thorstenberg. Faculty: Rev. C. A. Swensson, J. A. Udden, E. Nelander, C. G. Norrman; J. Hasselquist, instructor of gymnastics; Luther Swensson, instructor of instrumental music.

Lindsborg is an important grain point, as witness its three elevators and two mills. The steam mill was erected in the winter of 1881-2. The size of the main building is 26X36 feet, exclusive of the engine and boiler house, and a 20X40 feet (sic) warehouse. The mill, which is owned and operated by S. P. Carlton, is doing a large business, the entire value of the property being about $12,000. The water power mill of Bergsten & Johnson went into operation in the summer of 1882. The size of the main building is 36X40 feet. This, with outbuilding and land, is valued at $8,000. The firm confine themselves to custom work.

Wickham & Co.'s elevator was erected in the summer of 1879, at a cost of $6,000, and has a capacity of 12,000 bushels. The headquarters of the firm are in Salina. In the summer of 1880 was erected the Farmer's Shipping Elevator, at a cost of $3,000. It has a capacity of 6,000 bushels. Anderson & Ferlin, who operate the largest of the three elevators, erected their building in 1879 at a cost of $6,000. It has a capacity of 30,000 bushels, dimensions of the building 48X48 feet.

By September, 1882, the business of this place had grown so materially that O. Heggelund, of McPherson City, established a bank here, of which he is how president - John A. Swenson, cashier. The deposits average $25,000; subscribed capital, $50,000, and paid-up capital, $12,500. The press of Lindsborg is represented by the Localist, the Smoky Hill News, and Kansas Posten.

The Lindsborg Localist was established April 19, 1879, by Wm. McClintick. After operating it about three months the paper came into the possession of Walter Younger, and six months after Mr. Younger assumed control he was bought out by J. H. Hyde. In May, 1880, John McPhail, the present editor, bought the establishment. It is now being published by D. Sargent, under a lease. The Localist is a seven-column folio. Republican in politics.

The Smoky Valley News was established September 21, 1881, by A. Ringwald, its present editor and proprietor. In October, 1882, the form of the paper was changed from a seven-column folio to an eight-column folio, its present form. The News is Republican in politics. Mr. Ringwald came from Ottawa to this county, when a young boy, in 1867, and learned his trade in Lindsborg.

The Kansas Posten, the only Swedish paper published in the State, was established in October, 1882. Its editors are professors in the Bethany Academy, although the journal is not designed as a sectarian organ. J. A. Udden, E. Nelander and C. A. Swensson conduct the journal.

There are four religious organization in Lindsborg - the Swedish Lutheran, the Swedish Methodist, the Swedish Mission, and the Methodist Episcopal churches.

The Swedish Lutheran (Bethany Church) was organized in 1869, by Prof. O. Olsson, the first County Superintendent of Schools. In 1874, the first portion of the present commodious and imposing stone structure was erected, and an addition made in 1880-'81. As it stands, the building presents a fine appearance, being composed of brown sandstone quarried from the bluffs near the city. Its size is 100X41 feet, with a spire 118 feet high. A large and elegant parsonage has been built, also. The entire value of the church property is about $12,000. Prof. Olsson remained in charge of the church until 1877, when, after a vacancy of two years, he was succeeded by Rev. C. A. Swensson, the present pastor. The church has a membership of 800; communicants, 506. It is the largest organization of the kind in the State. In connection with the church, there is also maintained a flourishing Sunday and parochial schools, the latter being conducted in the summer months.

The Free Mount Lutheran was organized in 1869, by the Rev. A. W. Dahlsten. In 1881 a very fine brick church, one of the finest country churches in the State, was erected, at a cost of $18,000. It has a spire of 125 feet. The dimensions of the building are 84X44 feet. The society has a membership of 435; communicants 492. Rev. J. Seleen, pastor of the church, is also president of the conference.

The New Gottland Lutheran Church was organized in 1872, and a frame church erected in 1876. Present membership, 480; communicants, 250. The first and present pastor is Rev. P. M. Sonquest.

The Elmsborg Lutheran Church was organized in 1880. The society has no building. It has a membership of 109; communicants 54; pastor, Rev. N. Nordling.

The Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in Tatum schoolhouse, Saline County, November 1871, with nine members, all emigrants from the Eastern States. The organization was effected with Rev. S. B. Newman, presiding elder, and Rev. Nels Peterson, pastor. The first trustees were Isaka Agrilius, Takarias Gabrielson, John N. Anderson, J. Aldrin, David Blomberg. A church and good parsonage was built in Lindsborg in 1875, the first service in the new church being on Christmas morning, 1876. The church building was 26X32, and finely furnished and finished.

It was destroyed by fire, December 18, 1879, no insurance. The next day a subscription was started for a new church edifice, and on the 14th of August, 1881, a fine brick church was dedicated by Rev. Y. A. Gabrielson, presiding elder, O. J. Swan being the pastor. The new church is 30X42, neatly finished, with Gothic windows, carpets, etc. It is valued at $2,000 and is free of debt. The congregation numbers sixty-one members, and belongs to the Northwest Swedish Conference. The following pastors have had charge of the congregation: Rev. Nels Peterson, 1871 to 1875; Rev. Jonas Engstrom, 1875 to 1876; Rev. C. N. Wennersten, 1876 to 1877; Rev. A. G. Engstrom, 1877 to 1880; Rev. Oscar Svan, 1880 to 1881; Rev. P. J. Berg, 1881 to present time.

The Swedish Mission Church was organized in 1875, Rev. Mr. Blom being the first pastor. A building was erected the same year, about four miles northeast of town. In July, 1879, the large brick edifice in which the society worship in Lindsborg, was erected at a cost of $5,000. A parsonage was also built. Services are still held in the old church building. The membership of the Lindsborg organizations consists of one hundred families. Rev. K. Erixon, their last pastor, remained in charge of the society for two years.

Although itinerant services had been held for some time previous, the Methodist Episcopal Church was not organized until July, 1879, by the Rev. Mr. Matthews. He was succeeded by Rev. J. M. Archer, the present incumbent, in March, 1881. The congregation worship in the Swedish Methodist Church, having a membership of about twenty.

Lindsborg is located at 38°34'27N, 97°40'31W (38.574274, -97.675185). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.0 km² (1.5 mi²), all land.

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,321 people, 1,227 households, and 775 families residing in the city. The population density was 832.6/km² (2,155.5/mi²). There were 1,331 housing units at an average density of 333.7/km² (863.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.05% White, 1.11% African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.30% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.60% of the population.

There were 1,227 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.5% under the age of 18, 18.7% from 18 to 24, 21.0% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 20.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,500, and the median income for a family was $46,250. Males had a median income of $32,500 versus $25,145 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,415. About 4.9% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.0% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.

Bethany College
Smokey Valley USD 400

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