| The proposed design was a vernacular response to the Gothic. A.R. Hanson's plans fell victim to the Depression, scrapped in favor a simpler design. The building was erected after the Second World War. Also called the Swedish Lutheran Vasa Church.
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For more information, consult:
Shand Tucci, Douglass. The Gothic Churches of Dorchester. Issued by the Dorchester Savings Bank. Boston: Tribune Publishing Company, 1972.
From: Pamela C Mehl, June 2007
My mother Marjorie E. Johnson was born in Dorchester in 1919, 18 Harvard Street of Swedish immigrants: Hilda Christina Ostman -Johnson and Carl Edwin Johnson. She may have been christened at your church. Hilda was born in Gotland and Carl in Southern Sweden circa 1880-1886 and both came separately to the US through Ellis Island when they were in their early twenties, choosing a new frontier over farm life in Sweden. They met in Boston and married. Hilda had my mother very late, at age 34.
My grandparents were very involved in the Swedish community and church activities. My mor mor had a nice Swedish boy all picked out for my mother when my New Yorker Irish German cavalry officer father came along in 1941 and swept her off her feet. My Swedish grandmother always growled a bit over that one....She became a naturalized citizen, but I never could really understand her speech. We communicated very well anyway and her cooking was divine.
However, when Mom would try to speak Swedish at home, my grandmother would say, "Speak English! You are an American girl!" Such a different attitude then!
I have an old tithe postcard of Hilda's from Vasa Lutheran that included a picture of Christ for creating a home altar and for returning a tithe the following Sunday at services.
I believe both my grandparents had memorial services at their deaths at Vasa Lutheran. My grandfather, "Bop," died of stomach cancer circa mid 50's and my grandmother, "Moo-moo," who was living with us in Maryland at the time, had a stroke in the mid 60's.
My grandparents were cremated and their remains interred with you with a perpetual fee paid, if I remember my parent's information correctly.
Can you help me locate their remains so I might visit one time in my life? I am 55 now and they are all gone...grandparents, parents, cousins Nordahl in Middleborough (descendants of Emily Ostman Nordahl).
I have remained in touch with my Swedish cousins, the Ostmans, of Stockholm and Falun, and visited Hilda's nephew and nieces and their families several times from the 60's to the 90's in Stockholm and Falun. Then those elders of that clan finally all passed away. Now it is just the young very distant cousins who have their own lives over there and are not too interested in American branches of cousins. Hilda's grandniece, Viveka Ostman Sjoo, and I still keep in touch once a year and her son looks exactly like Sune Ostman, Hilda's nephew.
Ah, well, it was a fine 100 year run!
I have no information whatsoever on my grandfather's family or lineage. I have his steamer trunk in my bedroom with original stamps and writing on it; looks like he borrowed it from a family member and that he used to spell Johnson: Johnsson.
However, only in America could two non-English speaking Swedes with little formal education from farms come here, carve out work as a housekeeper and carpenter, buy rental property, raise a lovely child who graduated from high school and then had a 32 year marriage and exciting life as a career army officer's wife, owning a thoroughbred farm in Hingham, Mass.
(I have a fine collection today of silver, china, crystal and crocheted linens from my grandmother and the best recipe for cinnamon buns and spritz cookies you could imagine....)
Then, their granddaughter graduates from the University of Maryland as an English teacher in 1974 and buys her own houses and owns her own business, sells it, and now lives on her own horse ranch in Austin, Texas, named after her parent's farm in Hingham long ago.
Quite a journey made by these three generations of women! It all began in Gotland, Sweden over 100 years ago when a young twenty year old Hilda, along with her twenty two year old sister Emily Ostman, packed a steamer trunk with all their earthly possessions (that trunk also still sits in my bedroom next to her husband's under my Gotland poster), and made their way to America.
Hope you can help! Thank you
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Created: September 28, 2003 Modified: August 26, 2007