Remembrance in Stone

Hans Nielsen Hauge Monument

County: Clay, Minnesota

Location: Founders Court, near Old Main, Concordia College, Moorhead

Coordinates: N46o51.950' W96o46.156'

Hans Nilsen Hauge was the leader of a revivalist reform movement within the Norwegian state church in the early 19th Century. The son of a farmer, Hauge was arrested on several occasions for practicing and preaching the egalitarian gospel that anyone--not just appointed civil servants--could be a minister of the church. He also advocated self-help, cooperative action for rural community development. Challenging the political and religious orthodoxy of the state, Hauge ultimately served a decade-long prison sentence from which he never fully recovered, dying at the age of 53, ten years after his release.

Hauge is an ideal symbol of Concordia College's dual commitment to Norwegian Lutheran identity and to liberal education, and so he was commemorated with a Bautastein (a traditional Norse roughly-cut stone monument) in June of 1914. A 22-year-old Norwegian student named Peter Thoreson Reite holds much of the credit for the establishment of the Hans Nilsen Hauge monument. Having been recruited for the task by Dr. Herman Fjelde, who had dreamed of the Hauge Bautastein for more than a decade, Reite died in Norway the same year the statue was dedicated. Hauge's grandson and namesake, Reverend Hans Nilsen Hauge, was among the keynote speakers before a crowd estimated at 15,000 at the 1914 dedication.

As Concordia College's educational mission has evolved from one of instilling students with Norwegian Lutheran values to that of promoting respect for diversity, Hauge's memory has faded among the student body, despite an English translation of the plaque in 1971. A recent random survey of Concordia students found only one who could identify Hauge, while most were familiar with the nearby Ole and Lena statue. In 1979 Concordia moved the Hans Nilsen Hauge monument from its original location facing busy 8th Street to its present location in front of Old Main in the newly created Founders Court. Its prominent, previous location seemed to have been a statement to the world, "This is who we are!" The relocation suggests instead that Hauge is more of a reminder within the college than a statement to outsiders.--Research by Emily Eidsmoe, HIST 489, NDSU, Spring 2007.

Recommended Reading

Aarflot, Andreas. Hans Nielsen Hauge: His Life and Message. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1979.

Sherman, William C., Ed. Plains Folk: North Dakota's Ethnic History. Fargo: Institute for Regional Studies, 1988.

Norlie, O.M. History of the Norwegian People in America. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1925.

Norwegian-American Historical Association / Concordia College

Photo Gallery Photos by Emily Eidsmoe, 2 May 2007, and Tom Isern, 1 August 2007 Video
1 August 2007

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Remembrance in Stone / Center for Heritage Renewal