Bethel Lutheran Church
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The Swedish pioneers who came to Portville settled on upper Brooklyn Street. During the 1890's Swedish Lutheran services were conducted in the homes of these people. Olean's Bethany Lutheran Church was being served by student pastors, and occasionally met with the Portville group.

In 1903 through the work of thirty nine dedicated men and women, the Bethel Lutheran Church became a reality. The family names of these founders confirms their Swedish background: Anderson, Larson, Samuelson, Bengtson, Carlson, Johnson, Martinson, Melrose, Peterson, Stohle, Swanson and Vanburg

The original cost of the building was Just under $2000. The cost of the pews were $160, and the windows were $72.

In 1907 an impressive additition was made to the church by the painting on the back wall of the alter. John Alven , who had came from Sweden painted "Christ In Gethsemane" on the wall. Later in the 1900's Alven also painted the interior and redecorated.

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Last Update February 2, 2020