a Pecan Shell
New Sweden dates
from 1876 when the community of Knight's Ranch took its name from
Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church. New Sweden has a dignified
ring to it and we should all be glad they didn't choose "Little Sweden"
like they have with "Little Mexico," "Little Havana," and "Little
Saigon." New Sweden's population never went higher than 104 souls
according to the Handbook of Texas.
It lost its post office in 1902 when they started receiving their
mail through Manor. Even the sign
in front of the church
lists the church's
address as Manor. Later, school consolidation helped hasten New Sweden's
demise as a distinct community.
The Church is quite striking with its unusually steep steeple, and
it is certainly worth the short drive north from Manor,
or even the drive south from Taylor.
Photo by Randy Green, courtesy TXDoT
Most Photographed Church in Texas":
From Austin: Take
highway 290 East for until you come to FM-973. Turn left (watching
traffic) and drive 4 and 8/10ths to New Sweden Church Road. Here youíll
see the cemetery and a historical marker. (This was the site of the
first church.) Turn right and follow the road for the remaining 2
miles. Just keep the steeple in sight. At 104 feet tall, itís easy
From Elgin: Take
highway 290 W and turn right onto FM1100. After 5 miles, turn left
onto Manda Road and drive for about a mile until you see Manda Carlson
Road. Turn right and drive 6 /10ths of a mile to New Sweden Church
Road and drive the remaining mile and one tenth. Donít forget to take
with a distant view of the New Sweden church
TE Photo, 2000
Nearby - about two miles East, you'll find the Kimbro
Cemetery - all that's now left of that Swedish community.
fields near New Sweden
rolling terrain allows one to see for miles in any direction and the
cattle and tilled fields make it easy to imagine what life was like
here. Don't let the openness fool you. Without a good county map,
you can still get lost.
Swedish family in Texas by Mike Cox
"... Swedish immigration to Texas had begun in 1848 and gathered
momentum following the Civil War. As word of Texas and its agricultural
opportunities spread in Sweden, the pace picked up in the 1870s.
By the time of the first world war, some 11,000 Swedes made their
home in the Lone Star State, many of them in Williamson
County and northeastern Travis
William Smith came to Texas first. Liking what he saw, he paid for
his brother's passage to the U.S. in the late summer of 1878....
of mine was unfamiliar with the New Sweden church and this article
described and illustrated it very nicely. About the Readers Comments
additions at the bottom of the page, a reader described the Manda
school building near Kimbro, an old 2 room school. My father
also attended classes there as a boy. I think it was used in a movie
in the 1980ís, the Robert Redford, Waldo Pepper, or something like
that. Very nice website, really enjoyed it. - Mark Thompson, January
Subject: New Sweden Church
... As my name
suggests I have some German background. My dad came to the US with
his family in 1956 from Hamburg, Germany. The first town in America
they lived in was New Sweden. They attended the New Sweden Lutheran
Church, which we visited again a few years ago. This is where my
dad and his family got used to living in America. My grandparents
are buried at the Kimbro Cemetery, my grandmother died in 1965 and
my grandfather in 1983.
Did you ever see the "Manda" school
building? This is a little 2 room school house which was used for
students in New Sweden. My dad attended class at this school. It's
in ruins sadly now, when we went back to New Sweden we went inside
and walked around the building. That was a unique experience to
see where my dad went to school for the first time ever in America.
I'm enjoying your web site! - Kevin Lehnhardt, Austin, Texas. January
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact