A glimpse into our past reveals a small community east of Conrad called the Sollid Community.
This community is located 20.5 miles east on the Sollid Road, so named after the real estate agent, Sam Sollid who helped settlers find land there.
In the early part of the century, about 1909, most of this part of Montana was open for homesteaders to come in and settle on a piece of land of their choice.
After a set period of proving up the homesteaders would then take possession of the homes and land.
Most of the settlers in this area were of Norwegian descent. Finding themselves in a new land and starting a new life they saw need to start a church on the foundations of the strong religious beliefs they had brought with them.
On March 6, 1910 a group of settlers met in the house of Ella Dyrud and organized a Hauge Evangelical Congregation. There were 14 who signed the original resolution: Anton A Dyrud, Adolph Dyrud, Ella Dyrud, P.P. Krageland, Hjalmar Larson, Harry I. Elliot, Johannah Nelson, M.C. Ogard, Clara Ogard, Laura Ogard, Clarissa Lindberg, Charlotte E. Lingberg, Julia Ogard, and Lena Dyrud. These charter members were all single at the time.
Reverend S.A. Knutson served as their pastor. The meetings were held in homes and they arranged their meetings so the pastor could be present. This small congregation paid $25 a year toward the pastor’s salary, which was supplemented by the other congregations in the parish. These were meager times for these early settlers and a pastor had to subsist on this very small salary.
As this small congregation grew there was becoming a need for a church or a chapel. Sam Sollid promised to donate the sum of $100 toward the building, provided it would be built near the post office location.
On March 5, 1911 the decision was made to build a church. The size of the building was to be 24x30 feet. At the same time a plot of ground for the cemetery was donated by A.A. Dyrud. The church had become named Golden West Evangelical Lutheran Congregation.
From this simple beginning many changes occurred through the years.
The first major one being the transition from the Norwegian language to English. In approximately 1927 English hymn books were purchased to replace the Norwegian Hymn books.
As the congregation continued to grow it was decided to build a new church. In 1937 the lumber from the old church was taken down and used in the new building. The new building was to be built at a new location two and a half miles further east.
By this time the town of Sollid was no longer in existence. It was decided to build in the new location to be close to the natural gas pipeline which ran from Shelby to Great Falls. This is the ground where the church still stands today.
In 100 years there have been numerous weddings, baptisms, funerals, confirmations, celebrations, Sunday school programs, pot lucks and pastors who have served this congregation.
June 26-27, we gather in celebration of those 100 years. We would like to extend an invitation to all brothers and sisters in Christ who have been part of, or have been touched in a positive way by this congregation to join us in our celebration.
Registration will begin at 1 p.m. on June 26, followed by an afternoon program and anniversary dinner to begin at 5 p.m.
On June 27 a special worship will begin at 10 a.m. followed by a luncheon.
For more information on times and events for the celebration as well as many articles and pictures of the church history, please visit us at www.goldenwestlutheranchurch.com.