Dane Town “is a Danish settlement that tells about the well known Danish ability as farmers.” This translation of the 1903 pamphlet Norwegian Settlements and Congregations, fails in modesty to describe a community now marked by only a cemetery.
Dane Town dates around 1872. Bernard Nelson noted his grandparents purchased 40 acres in Becker Township. This marks the beginning of Dane Town.
Although never incorporated in Sherburne County, Dane Town briefly maintained many of the institutions that hint towards permanence. A church had not been built, but a congregation of Danish Lutherans were well established. In the early history the congregation was led by a Pastor Ingebrigtsen.
In addition to the religious congregation, a school had been established and a Danish newspaper published. A newspaper, The Daylight was edited and printed at the Rasmus Jensen farm. Virginia Johnson, in a four page essay remembering her life in Dane Town described “school days like a little family. Our school was heated by wood. The wood shed was a favorite place to act out plays during recess. The bleachers were piled up wood.”
In all likelihood, transportation led to the demise of Dane Town. With improving roads, more farmers began to move into Becker, Palmer and Santiago. In the end, only the cemetery remained to mark Dane Town.
In her essay, Virginia Johnson summed it up, “I remember Dane Town as a safe place to live with neighbors who were honest and helpful.”
A few residents of Dane Town. Photos from the SHC collections 2007.040