Falls has long been a center of Iowa's Danish heritage.
In the late 19th century, about 40 percent of the local
population was Danish, and the Dannervirke newspaper was
an important source of news and information.
Founded in Elk
Horn the Dannervirke was and published there for a brief
time. It moved in 1882 to Cedar Falls, where the picturesque
building on State Street was its best-known headquarters.
The paper published domestic news, features, discussion
and local stories, and came to be regarded as the voice
of the Danish Lutheran Church in the United States.
The first editor
of the Dannervirke was Jensen Maylund, pastor of Nazareth
Lutheran Church. His assistant editor, Martin Holst, who
formed a partnership with the business manager, N. U. Christiansen,
succeeded him. Three of Holst's sons -- Thorwald, Hans and
Aksel -- later joined the paper and eventually took over
to the Dannervirke never exceeded 3,000, its influence was
widespread. It had subscribers throughout the northern United
States and Canada, and it was a helpful aid to Danish immigrants
during their first years in America.
The decline in
the number of Danish immigrants, and the assimilation of
those immigrants into an English- speaking culture, brought
the decline of the Dannervirke. Attempts to sustain the
newspaper failed, and its subscription list was sold to
the Decorah Posten in 1932.
collection of back issues of the paper is available at the
Cedar Falls Historical Society Museum.