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Swedesburg, Iowa

          You could take a 110 mile road trip west to Swedesburg, Iowa which has only about 90 inhabitants today but any visitor to the small community will have no doubts about their roots. There are Swedish flags on car antennas and dala horses on the front porches. The largest Dala horse welcomes visitors to the Swedesburg Museum where coffee is served from kurbits-painted pots with the inscription kaffetdren den bdsta är. Exhibits include portraits of the early pioneers and the history of the settlement.

          Swedes started arriving in Iowa around 1840. Their original intention had been to follow the Illinois or Rock River to Minnesota, but with their limited command of English they ended up following the Des Moines River. Many settled around the "Swedish Highway" in New Sweden, near Lockridge. Swedesburg was called Freeport before the Swedes took over in 1870. Four years earlier the 40 acres that constitute Swedesburg had been sold at a tax sale for $7.59 but never redeemed. 

          The Swedesburg Museum and the nearby stuga is the work of the Swedish Heritage Society that also celebrates Midsummer and Lucia. The legendary Christmas Table in the Community Hall has been a tradition since the1930s with meatballs and other goodies.

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