Mountain Lake (Minnesota, USA)

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Mountain Lake, Minnesota, a village of about 2,000 in 1957, 2,082 in 2000, located in the southwestern part of the state in Cottonwood County. In 1873, when the first Mennonites came to this area, it was a little village; by 1880 about 295 Mennonite families had settled in the Mountain Lake community. At the turn of the century the population of the village was 595. Most of these Mennonites came from the Molotschna settlement in Russia. However, a number of Manitoba Mennonite families joined the settlement, who were of Chortitza background. Most of the inhabitants of Mountain Lake in the 1950s were Mennonites. They also predominated in the surrounding farming area.

In the early days the Mennonites of Mountain Lake had progressive leadership in the realm of education. I. I. Bargen started the Mountain Lake Preparatory School in 1886. This school still exists, although its purpose and name have changed, as the Mountain Lake Bible School (later Mountain Lake Christian School). In 1956 there were three Mennonite groups represented in the Mountain Lake community. The General Conference Mennonite Church had a membership of 1,394 (1956) in three congregations-Bethel Mennonite Church, First Mennonite Church, and Gospel Mennonite Church. Three additional General Conference Mennonite churches were located in the communities of Butterfield and Delft. The Mennonite Brethren Church had 452 (1956) members in two churches, Mountain Lake and Carson. The Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church of Mountain Lake consisted of 255 members. Of these nine churches four were located within the city limits—three General Conference and one Mennonite Brethren.

Mountain Lake in 1956 had a hospital (see Bethel Deaconess Hospital), nurses' home, Basinger Clinic, Mennonite Aid Society, and the Eventide Home. The hospital and the old people's home had served the community over many decades. The present building of the hospital was opened for service in 1921 and the Eventide Home in 1950. The Mountain Lake Observer, published locally since 1894, has at times been in Mennonite hands.

Great changes have taken place in the community. The High German language has been replaced by English. Low German was still spoken among older people. Sixty-three per cent (in 1956) went to Mennonite colleges. Only 35 per cent of the young men were conscientious objectors during World War II. In only 19 of the 34 marriages in 1950, were both partners Mennonites.

When Saskatchewan invited settlers in its pioneer days, 157 families from Mountain Lake accepted the invitation. Many other families and young people have gone to other states and to the cities. On the other hand, non-Mennonites have moved into the city.


Brosamen aus Erfahrungen der Mennoniten in und um Mountain Lake, Minnesota. n.p., n.d.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 171 f.

Jubilaeumsfeier, Mountain Lake, Minnesota, 1875-1925. n.p., n.d.

Redekop, Calvin. "A Changing Mountain Lake." Mennonite Life 11, no. 3 (July 1956).

Schultz, F. P. A History of the Settlement of German Mennonites from Russia at Mountain Lake, Minnesota. Author, 1938.

Seventy-five years in Minnesota, 1874-1949. Mennonite Churches in Mountain Lake Community. n.p. n.d. Available in full electronic text at:

Author(s) J. John Friesen
Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Friesen, J. John and Cornelius Krahn. "Mountain Lake (Minnesota, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 16 Jul 2024.,_USA)&oldid=170388.

APA style

Friesen, J. John and Cornelius Krahn. (1957). Mountain Lake (Minnesota, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 July 2024, from,_USA)&oldid=170388.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 760-761. All rights reserved.

©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.