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Ringness House

At the center of Bosque County lies the historic Ringness House Museum, which draws visitors from around the world. The City of Clifton is officially recognized as the Norwegian Capital of Texas. The towns of Clifton, Cranfills Gap, and Meridian combine to uphold Norwegian traditions beyond the county lines and to continue to honor our past and reach into the future as so many people discover this haven of Norwegian heritage.

Ringness House History

In 1854, Jens and Kari Ringness were one of eight Norwegian families who came to Bosque County, settling in the area which came to be known as the Norse Community. Jens claimed a farm along Neils Creek and built a two-room log cabin, bringing his family of three children in the fall. In 1859, in response to the need for more room for his growing family and for guest quarters for newly arriving immigrants from Norway, the six room dobblehus was built.

The house and farm is noteworthy to the Norwegian settlement for a number of reasons. First, it was the site of many worship services held by the early pioneers, who were mostly of the Lutheran faith. They gathered in the home to sing hymns, hear a reading from the Huspostel (a book of sermons for each Sunday of the year), and to pray together. The years of the Civil War prolonged the period when no church could be built, and it was rare that they had even a visiting pastor. But in January 1867, riders went from house to house to announce a special service to be held at the Ringness House with Pastor S. S. Reque presiding. Afterwards they voted to call a pastor and organize a church, thus creating the congregation of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Norse, which still operates today. On Highway 219, in front of the house, stands a monument erected by Our Savior’s Church which commemorates the Ringness House as “the site of the first Lutheran service in Bosque County.”

The Ringness House Museum