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Lindsborg, KS – If you happen to be a fan of all things Scandinavian, well, actually, Swedish, you’re going to love our small town of the day. Today we though we’d tell you about a place that calls itself Little Sweden, USA. And rightfully so, Lindsborg, Kansas, is a small town that offers a lot of bang for your buck. A genuine oasis located at the very heart of the country, Lindsborg is definitely worth experiencing if you have the time. And if not, we suggest you make some, because not visiting this place means you’ll be missing out on some incredible stuff big time.
A Small Town That Has It All
The first settlers to Lindsborg came from the Swedish province of Värmland in the spring of 1869. Led by Pastor Olof Olson, their dream was to establish a community rich in religion, learning, culture, farming and business. This initial vision is alive and well even today, as evidenced by a city that boasts all of these values, though, in a more modern sense. Lindsborg is home to Bethany College and the Smoky Valley School District, for one. Methodist, Lutheran, Covenant, Catholic and Baptist churches also thrive here. On the other hand, agriculture, business, industry and retail all play an important role in the community, as well.
Nestled on the rolling hills of the fertile Smoky Valley, this small town can be found some 20 miles south of the crossroads of Interstate 135 and Interstate 70. Due to the fact that it’s situated in McPherson County, Kansas, Lindsborg’s surroundings are abundant in both pastureland and cropland. This makes it an exceptionally appealing location for a wide variety of economic, but also tourist industries. And indeed – we found Lindsborg’s surroundings to be one of those places perfect for anything from vacation photos and poetry inspiration to daydreaming and songwriting. (An acoustic guitar, glass of wine and light drizzle of rain on a field outside of town was ideal for blowing off steam while writing this very article.)
What To Do When In Lindsborg, KS?
Speaking of inspiration, checking out one of the numerous festivals while in town is always a good idea. You’ve got the biennial Svensk Hyllningsfest, for starters – occurring in October of odd-numbered years, this shindig is a tribute to the Swedish pioneers and heritage of the town. It offers various types of entertainment, including a parade, folk dancing, ethnic music, special foods, arts and crafts and so on. The Millfest takes place each spring and celebrates the history of the mill, whereas Midsummers Day is on the third Saturday of June and boasts Swedish music and folk dancing. Another option is the Lucia Fest, which takes place each December, and has baked goods, music and dancing, a procession and the crowning of Lindsborg’s Lucia. These activities are scattered virtually all over town, so make sure to nose around!
The Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery is also among the favorite tourist hotspots in Lindsborg. A member of the faculty of Bethany College from 1894 to 1946, Birger Sandzén was a Swedish-born writer, musician and artist. He absolutely loved “little Lindsborg,” and preferred to stay in it. As an artist he was extremely prolific and turned out thousands of oil paintings alone. A visit to his gallery is definitely something we highly recommend.
Home To Both Civilization And Wilderness
For those who aim to visit Lindsborg for its unmistakable combination of Swedish small town charm and Kansas hospitality, the colorful downtown offers ample opportunity to browse around. It features colorful craft stores, gift shops, restaurants and art galleries. In fact, most of the time the entire street is treated like a huge outdoor exhibition space, complete with flags, flowerpots and public artworks all adding to the spectacle. Things get especially buzzing when there’s a coach tour in town, so definitely be on the lookout for that.
Coronado Heights is another gem of Lindsborg, especially since it was named after the Spanish conquistador Coronado. According to legend, more than 500 years ago the conquistador reached what is now Coronado Heights in search of the fabled Seven Golden Cities of Cibola. Having only seen more wilderness from the hilltop, he killed his guide for leading him on an apparent wild goose chase and turned back to Mexico. Today this is a fabulous picnic spot with barbecues and benches adorning the hilltop. It offers remarkable views of the surrounding area disturbed only by the sounds of the breeze and occasional birdsong.
Those Swedes Sure Know What They’re Doing
Lastly, the Swedish Pavilion and Smokey Valley Roller Mill are also two of our favorites in this interesting historical small town. The former was a gift to the town of Lindsborg from the people of Sweden. It was actually part of Sweden’s exhibit at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904 and was given to the town afterwards. The latter is an imposing 1898 mill, which was in operation until 1955 and today stands as a museum. This four-story mill is filled with wooden machines and belts that get turned on once each year. Seeing them in operation and admiring this marvel of engineering is a cool way to gain an insight into the past.
Lodging in town can be scarce, but we were quite happy with the C&W Ranch Bed and Breakfast, which is a great place for a getaway, and especially so for groups. The staff is very friendly and forthcoming, and a free breakfast served in quarters is a frequent occurrence here. As for the restaurants, we definitely recommend The Cookery on North Main and its Swedish-style ham loaf. Exquisite pastries are available at the Courtyard Bakery, located on Main Street. Lastly, the Swedish Crown (also on North Main) should not be missed. We loved the pork medallions with new potatoes and springs of fresh dill here. Other than that, Lindsborg is definitely a place where you won’t waste any time.