Danevang begins commemorating its 125th year with festivities on Saturday, Oct. 19 starting at 10 a.m.
This event, sponsored by the Danish Heritage Preservation Society, will be one of many to be held throughout the year to observe the founding of this small community on Highway 71 located south of El Campo.
The event on Oct. 19 will feature food and activities for all ages. Special entertainment will be provided by the Scandinavian dancers and a ceremony will be held at the Danevang cemetery to honor the founders of the Danish community. Nearby, the Danish museum will be open where there are many new exhibits to see as well.
A traditional Danish meal will be served at the Community Hall and cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids over the age of six. Tickets may be purchased at the door.
Beginning in 1894, approximately 100 Danish immigrant families who had settled in the Mid-west bought land and established the community of Danevang.
When they arrived, they discovered flat land covered with prairie grass and tried to raise the same crops they had grown in Denmark and in the mid-western states, such as wheat, oats and barley, but soon discovered the Texas climate was not suitable for these crops. Some of them sold out and moved away, but those who stayed soon learned that cotton was a better crop for the area. After the farmers all converted to raising cotton, the community began to prosper.
In the early years, the Danish language was spoken throughout the community and the Danish traditions were maintained in the observing of Danish holiday celebrations. Through the following years English gradually became the primary language and the citizens of Danevang become Americanized.
In 1993, a group of people with ties to Danevang, some still living there and some who had left the farms to make a living elsewhere, were discussing the history of the community and realized the Danish heritage of Danevang was being lost. Some of those people got together and formed the Danish Heritage Preservation Society for the purpose of restoring and preserving that heritage.
The society purchased three acres of land from the church for a museum site where a 6,100 square foot museum was built to resemble a Danish barn.
The Texas State Legislature in 1995 proclaimed Danevang to be the Danish Capital of Texas.