In 1850, a group of Norwegian settlers from Koshkonong, the foremost Norwegian settlement colony in the United States at the time, left their southern Wisconsin home and migrated north, settling here in "Roch-a-Cree" or Roche-a-Cri. Imbued with pioneer spirit and a firm faith in Lutheranism, these settlers homesteaded and became successful farmers, growing potatoes as the their staple crop. In 1853, the Rev. H. A. Preus, a university-trained minister of the Norwegian state church, visited Roche-a-Cri and organized "The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Roche-a-Cri" with a membership of about thirty individuals who held services in their homes. By 1859, the community and congregation had outgrown these meeting places and built a log church at this site. This structure was destroyed by fire and in 1868 a frame church was erected one mile north of this location. The old church cemetery remains here, however, and is known as the South Arkdale Cemetery.