301 Riverside Dr. - First Church 1912-1978 - Second Church 1978-Current
In 1906, when Bethany was established, the Yahara River was still more of a wetland than a river,
Norwegian was spoken by many of the city’s residents, and the Free Church Movement was in a phase
of vigorous outreach. A congregation was established August 27, 1906 after tent revival meetings
held by Evangelists T. T. Hansen and Ingvald Loe. Rev. C. T. Dyrness, Pastor of Salem Evangelical
Free Church in Chicago, presided at the meeting where 18 founding members signed the charter. The
first meeting place of “Betania”, as it was called, was in a home at 1352 Williamson St. The
church home from 1908 to 1912 was a chapel built at 416 S. Baldwin St. Meetings were held for two
years in the basement of the church built at Winnebago and Riverside, until 1914 when the
upstairs portion was completed. Mr. Randolph Rosten was the first infant baptized in the new
church in 1910.
At that time, Bethany was on the edge of town, as the river had been straightened in 1910.
Services were held in Norwegian. As the community developed with residences all around and
shopping centered on Schenks Corners and Atwood Avenue, Bethany’s members came from and
ministered to that community.
A Christian Eduacation wing was added in 1953.
Bethany extended it’s reach even further by starting a branch church (Door Creek Church) on
Buckeye Road. Ground breaking for that church building was held in October of 1963. At the same
time a group was forming on the West side which came to be Blackhawk E.F.C. in May of 1965.
The old church building was torn down and replaced by the current structure in 1978.
T. T. Hansen (1906-1910)
K. P. Wufflestad (1911-1918)
B. A. Erickson (1918-1924)
Bernhard Rom (1924-1957)
Rev. Bob Fallt (1958-1965)
Rev. Howard Lanphear (1965-1978)
Rev. Russell Hamilton (1979-1984)
Rev. Pete VanderHook (1985-1994)
Pastor David Carlson (1994-Current – as of 2007)