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Dannervirke Newspaper


Cedar Falls
315 State Street

Cedar 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 its operation.

Although subscriptions 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.

An extensive collection of back issues of the paper is available at the Cedar Falls Historical Society Museum.

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Last updated Wednesday, June 16, 2004

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