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Vasa Children's Home

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


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, he transferred supervision of the home to the Board of the Society of Mercy, part of the Minnesota Conference of the Augustana Synod.[3] The Vasa Children’s home has been rebuilt twice after total destruction. Once in 1880, after a tornado demolished the home during 1872, and again after a fire that occurred in 1899. The institution relocated to their current 400 acre location 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 current building, standing just west of Red Wing, Minnesota, houses 7-22-year-old children and young adults with disabilities.[4] It is the fifth building used for the operation, built in 1973.[1] The families of the residents remain their legal guardians.[4] The Vasa Children’s Home is known for being the first children’s home in Minnesota and the origin of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "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