Film Chronicles Stories of Maine's Swedish Immigrants. Listen to the interview with Dan Olson and Brenda Jepson from MPBN radio 4/15/11
116 Station Road
PO Box 33
New Sweden, ME, 04762
Carolyn Hildebrand email@example.com
280 Main Street
Stockholm, ME 04783
John & Rosemary Hede
1149 New Sweden Rd.
Woodland, ME 04736
One finds in New Sweden today many of the strong institutions and historic buildings of years gone by. Prominent are the Capitolium, the 1974 replica of the original 1870 public building which became the New Sweden Museum in 1926 when a new town hall was built, but which burned along with the town hall in 1971 (the townsfolk turned out to save all the artifacts!); the Lindsten Stuga (c.1894), a restored typical immigrant log cabin from Westmanland moved next to Capitolium; the Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church, organized in 1871, dedicated in 1880 and now on the National Register of Historic Places; the First Baptist Church, organized in 1871 and dedicated in 1892; and the Evangelical Covenant Church, organized as the Free Christian Gospel Mission Church in 1886, later as Congregational, and dedicated in 1891 with its present affiliation. Other historic sites are the Noak Larsson/George Ostlund Log Home (the only such full two-story log home in Maine from that era, c.1871); the Lars Noak(sson) Blacksmith and Woodworking Shop (c.1900), across the street on Station Road; next to Capitolium is the Capitol School (c.1926), the last remaining of nine local one-room schools in New Sweden. Retaining its original character it is now used as The Scandinavian Gift Shop. The latter three sites are in the care of Maine's Swedish Colony, Inc., organized in 1989 as a restoration and preservation society, to work co-operatively with the New Sweden Historical Society (organized in 1925) which maintains the Capitolium, Lindsten Stuga, the monuments and the old cemetery behind Capitolium. The adjoining cemetery is in the care of the New Sweden Cemetery Association, while W.W. Thomas Park (with its music shell and picnic area) is on land donated to the town by the Thomas family. The present Post Office building was opened January 11, 1970, when Hartley Nelson was postmaster.
In 1950, a Consolidated School was opened to replace all of the former one-room schools. When even that proved too small for public purposes, a Community Center was built next door (behind the present Northstar Variety). Then even that proved inadequate, so a new Consolidated School was built further out on West Road in 1994-95. The 1950 Consolidated School was later torn down, and the Community Center was sold. After the town hall burned in 1971, business was conducted out of the town officer's homes and voting took place in the former Capitol School (also used as a Grange Hall) or at the Community Center. The new town office opened 1992-93 next to the town garage.
Maine's Swedish Colony, Inc. (MSC) took the lead in organizing the 125th Anniversary Celebration in 1995 and the 130th in 2000, with a reenactment of "The Coming of the Swedes" from the Canadian border to New Sweden. An earlier reenactment was conducted in 1989 as part of Aroostook County's 150th Anniversary.
In 2000 MSC also helped arrange for the placement of highway Gateway signs announcing entry to "Maine's Historic 1870 Swedish Colony, Where Cultures Meet".
Since the New Sweden Historical Society was formed in 1925 it has played a leading role in historic and cultural preservation, such as the observance of New Sweden Founders Day on July 23, and more recently the celebration of Midsommar (near June 21) along with the Lutheran Church, which carried on the tradition for many years. The Historical Society is now engaged in outfitting a surplus garage from Loring AFB to hold farm equipment and other artifacts which have been stored in the Ostlund potato cellar. A visit to Capitolium, and to the Capitol School Museum and Gift Shop, will reward the visitor with a trip into the historic past, information on enjoyment of the present, and a glimpse into the future for this historic Swedish Colony.