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Vasa Children's Home is the oldest children's home in Minnesota. It was founded by Eric Norelius in 1865 and evolved into what is now Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.[1]


Historical eraEdit

The Vasa Children’s Home began in the basement of Vasa Lutheran Church in Welch, Minnesota by Reverend Eric Norelius in 1865 with four orphans.[1] The home's first orphans were recent Swedish immigrants whose parents, Mikola and Anna Erikson, had died.[2] Norelius soon purchased ten acres near the church for the home's eventual expansion. A small building dedicated to the care of orphans was built, and the remaining land was used for farming.[1] In 1876, Norelius transferred supervision of the home to the Board of the Society of Mercy, part of the Minnesota Conference of the Augustana Synod.[3] The home was entirely rebuilt after a tornado demolished it in 1872 and again after a fire in 1899.

The home relocated to its present site, six miles west of Red Wing, Minnesota, in 1926.[1] Between sixty and seventy children were housed at the Vasa Children’s Home during the early 1900s.[3] In 1954, the home’s focus shifted from housing orphaned or neglected children to caring for children with disabilities.[1]

The fourth building of the Vasa Children's Home near Red Wing, Minnesota, 1907

Modern eraEdit

The fifth and current building, built in 1973, houses children and young adults with disabilities between the ages of 7 and 22.[4] The families of the residents remain their legal guardians.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Historic Vasa Children's Home". Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  2. ^ "History of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota". Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b Johnson, Emeroy (1958). God Gave the Growth: The Story of the Lutheran Minnesota Conference 1876-1958. Minneapoilis: T.S. Denison & Company. p. 234.
  4. ^ a b "LSS Vasa Children's Home". Retrieved 13 January 2012.

External linksEdit