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Simple Beauty

Zoar Moravian Church in rural Carver County near Chaska, Minnesota. Shot at sunset, pretty poor lighting. It was a beautiful sight, though!


The church was built in 1863 by a group of German immigrants from Hopedale, Pennsylvania who came to the new Territory of Minnesota to homestead in 1853. The Moravian Church is one of the few Protestant groups that predate Martin Luther's 1517 revolt against the Catholic Church. Moravians and Bohemians, then known as the Hussites, were persecuted for many years.


The oldest grave in the cemetery here is that of Mrs. Fritz Ruediger, who died in 1856, and whose family gave two acres of land for the building of the church and cemetery. The congregation, established in 1858, chose its name from the Bible as Zoar was the name of the city where Lot and his daughters sought refuge after fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah.


Church records were kept only in German until the early 1900's. In 1908, the steeple was moved forward to form a bell tower. The church was used regularly until the 1930's, and the congregation finally disbanded in the 1940's. It is still maintained and used by the Waconia Moravian Church congregation, mainly for Easter Sunday worship. The Waconia Moravian Church congregation celebrated the Zoar Church's 150th Anniversary in August 2013.


This church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 4, 1980 (NRHP Reference # 80001985) as a part of the Carver County MRA. Per the Minnesota Historical Society, it reflects the Greek Revival style of architecture typical of many early public buildings in Minnesota.

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Taken on May 29, 2009