in Olivia Haterius Park
History in a
The town has a similar beginning to nearby Danevang.
Both we started as Lutheran Colonies within two years of one another (Danevang
1894 and Olivia 1892). The primary difference was Danevang
was Danish while Olivia was made up of Swedes.
C.J.E. Haterious brought the settlers to the area and then named the town
after his wife, Olivia Olson Haterious.
was the primary crop and after taking their cotton all the way to Edna
for ginning in 1893; they soon bought a small gin to use right where they were.
The town had only 50 residents in 1927, but improvements like a highway
and electricity brought the population back during the 1930s. The school was consolidated
in the wave of statewide school consolidations during the early 1950s. Today it
has about the same number of people as it did in 1914.
Historical Marker >
park on Kellers Bay|
view from the park|
TE photo, 2001
|Today the park at
the end of the road (Hwy 172) is a quiet and spacious place to have a picnic or
go crabbing. It's relatively isolated location almost guarantees a quiet visit.
"The town is off 172 to the right
(west) on an unmarked turn." - Ken
1892, the Rev. Carl J. E. Haterius of Galesburg, Illinois, acquired land at this
site with the intention of establishing a community for Swedish settlers. He named
the settlement for his wife, Olivia. When the townsite was laid out in 1893, land
was set aside for this burial ground in association with the Swedish Lutheran
Eden Church. The earliest marked grave is that of Anna Bernardino Wilson, who
died in 1902. Swedes and non-Swedes together contributed to the early development
of Olivia, and the community cemetery serves as a reminder of their contributions.
Correction: The oldest marked grave in the Olivia Cemetery is that
of Christina B. Cavallin, who died in 1897.