Swedish Circle Tours

Välkommen till Kichi-Saga, Minnesota, and the Chisago Lakes “Swedish Circle” area! 


Sally Barott (Shafer, MN) and Barbara Young (Taylors Falls, MN) originally designed and developed the Swedish Circle after the 1996 Swedish Immigration Jubilee. The Swedish Circle is the name they gave to the 8 towns in the greater Kichi-Saga area. This website features some sites that were included as part of the celebration and strives to tell the real-life stories of the Swedish emigrants who came to the area.

The Emigrant Story:
Erik Norberg from the Bishop Hill Colony in Illinois arrived in Taylors Falls in 1850. He spent the fall/winter in what is now Center City. Enticed by letters from Norberg, Per (Joris-Pelle) Andersson’s party from Hassela, Sweden (Hälsingland) traveled by steamboat from Moline, IL and was one of the first four families who arrived at the Taylors Falls landing on April 23, 1851. With Norberg showing the way, the men headed west, cutting a path through the woods to Norberg’s promised land by the “Big Lake.” After 10 days of hard work, the way was open for families, wagon loads, and provisions. At the lake, the men built a 10 foot square cabin in one day which sheltered the entire party of 16 during the first winter. By 1855, the colony had grown to almost 500.

The history of this first immigration comes alive in Moberg’s novels. They introduce us to his fictitious characters, Karl Oskar Nilsson & wife Kristina, who are based on the real-life Per (Joris-Pelle) Andersson party from Hassela, Sweden, and many others who settled in the Kichi-Saga area in the mid 1800s. In 1948, Moberg visited the Kichi-Saga area to do research for his novels. Moberg would ride bicycle from town-to-town and interview Swedish families in local restaurants and homes.

Swedish Immigration Jubilee:


The Greater Chisago Lakes Area was highlighted during the 1996 Swedish Immigration Jubilee because of its direct ties to the Swedish emigrants. Over a million Swedes emigrated, many of whom came to this area because of the 1837 Indian Treaty which made these lands available to the immigrants.

On September 13,1996, the Chisago Lakes area was honored with a Royal Visit from Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden. Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former ABBA members, also visited the Chisago Lakes area on October 13, 1996, and presented a concert of their hit Swedish musical, “Kristina från Duvemåla” at the Chisago Lakes High School, Lindström.


Swedish farming community founded in 1887-1888 by John Almquist.

Wild River State Park 

Early settlers lived along the Sunrise and St. Croix Rivers on land that would become part of the Park – including Ola & Judith Nelson (emigrated from Sweden 1869). The Nelsons’ great-grandchild Senator Jerald Anderson authored the Park bill in the 1970s.

Amador Heritage Center 

Pre-1880s Scandinavian log structures, 1910 Brick 2 room school with local history.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Congregation organized in 1887. Historic cemetery.

Almelund Mercantile & Antiques

Treasures and goodies!


Center City

Sister-City to Hassela, Sweden

Founded in 1851 on the shores of Kichi-Saga – The Big Lake. It is the oldest continuously settled Swedish community in Minnesota. Center City is the Chisago County Seat.

Founder’s Monument 

Erik Ulrik Norberg spent the winter of 1850 here before guiding the Per Andersson group to Chisago Lake (Kichi- Saga) to establish Center City.

Chisago Lake Ev. Lutheran Church 

Organized May 12, 1854. Current structure built 1889. In 2003, Eric Carlisle hand-painted Sanctuary for 150th Anniversary. See Heritage Room, Swedish Historical Tapestry, Pioneer Cemetery, Per Berg’s Monument marking the site of the log barn where the first 100 Swedes organized. 75th Anniversary obelisk on the West lawn


Chisago City

Sister-City to Algutsboda, Sweden

Farming community platted in 1857. Became a tourist resort destination after the 1880 railroad was built. The West “Gateway to the Chisago Lakes Area.”

Vilhelm Moberg Statue/Vilhelm Moberg Park 

Dedicated September 7, 1996. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia Royal Visit, September 13, 1996. Seasonal bathrooms.

Sculptor: Ian Dudley, Lindstöm, MN

Zion Ev. Lutheran Church 

Organized May, 1874



Sister-City to Tingsryd, Sweden

Founded in 1894. Named after Daniel Lindström from Hassela, Hälsingland, Sweden.

Karl Oskar and Kristina Statue 

Replica of the original statue in Karlshamn, Sweden. Karl Oskar Nilsson and his wife Kristina are ficticious characters in the Moberg novels. Kristina is looking back to her homeland of Sweden and Karl Oskar is looking forward to the new land, “Amerika!” Boulder from Duvemåla (Småland) Sweden.

Glader Cemetery 

Oldest Swedish pioneer cemetery in Minnesota. Karl Oskar Nilsson and Kristina are fictionally buried here. kar Nilsson and his wife Kristina are ficticious characters in the Moberg novels. Kristina is looking back to her homeland of Sweden and Karl Oskar is looking forward to the new land, “Amerika!” Boulder from Duvemåla (Småland) Sweden.

Per Andersson, Daniel Lindström, Erik Norelius and Nellie Gustafson Statues 

In 2013, sculptor, Ian Dudley, Lindström revealed four statues to honor Swedish pioneers. First, Nellie Gustafson, a mid-wife from Skåne, a courageous Swedish immigrant woman who came to the area. Her mid-wife kit is at the Chisago County Historical Society. Next, Per Andersson (Joris-Pelle Andersson), Per’s half-brother Daniel Lindström and Erik Norelius, all from Hassela, Sweden. Per Andersson arrived in Taylors Falls, MN with 16 of the 100 Swedes from Hassela on April 23, 1851. A real-life Karl Oskar Nilsson. Nellie’s statue is at the Chisago Lakes Library on U.S. Hwy. 8. The men are located on the north side of U.S. Hwy. 8 across from the Karl Oskar & Kristina Statue.

Swedish Coffee Pot Water Tower 

1908 water tower converted to a Swedish Coffee Pot in 1992, (cost of $18,650.00). Donated by Marlene Smith, Plastic Products Co. Inc.,

Marlene Smith Statue 

by Ian Dudley, 2016, across from Gustaf’s Gallery honoring Marlene Smith and her historic preservation of Chisago County. Tack Marlene!

Nya Duvemåla (New Dove’s Home) 

In 1948, Moberg was inspired by this old house and created Karl Oskar & Kristina’s fictitious home where they would live their final days. Kristina named it Nya Duvemåla after her home, Duvemåla, inSmåland. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia visited, Sept. 13, 1996.

The Karl Oskar House was moved from original site 1/4 mile West to Kichi-Saga Park in November of 1995. Dedicated June, 1996. The boulder is from Carl-Werner Pettersson, Åseda (Småland), Sweden, who transported it via Volvo.


North Branch

A railroad station town along the St. Paul-Duluth line, plated in Sunrise 1869 as the tracks and railroad bed were being constructed. Settled mostly by New Englanders, (who moved from Amador and Sunrise), and a few Germans and Scandinavians. By 1900, its dominating characteristic was Swedish, and it was the hub of the potato belt along the rail line.



First Swedish settlement in Minnesota starting the winter of 1849-1850.

Gammelgården Museum 

A collection of Swedish log buildings, the 1856 Lutheran Church, Butik, Visitor Center, Swedish Classes and more.

Elim Lutheran Church 

First known as Marine Mills Country Church. Organized May 19, 1854.



Sister-City to Nöbbele, Sweden

Farming community, once a potato hub. First organized under Taylors Falls. In 1853 the town was renamed after a transient farm worker, Jacob Shafer from Sweden who cut hay in sections 4 & 5.


Taylors Falls

First Settlements 1838. Early population from New England. A Major Gateway for Swedish Immigration. Located at the head of navigation on the St. Croix River. Known for the lumbering of white pine.

Minnesota Interstate State Park 

The lower boat landing used by immigrants, world famous glacial potholes, hiking trails, camping and Visitor Center.

W.H.C. Folsom House Museum 

On the National Register of Historic Places, a MN Historical Society site, the Folsom House sits among other homes in the Angel Hill District. Mr. Folsom was influential in the lumbering business, establishment of Taylors Falls and Chisago County. He helped to draft the Minnesota Constitution and served as a State Legislator. He owned a great deal of land which immigrants rented.

Taylors Falls Historical Society Visitor Center 

Located in the lower level of the Taylors Falls Memorial Community Center.