The Hopperstad Stave Church

Tours for the church are with guides only.

Norwegian Stave churches were built just after the close of the Viking Age in Scandinavia in the 1100 and 1200’s. The technique of using vertical posts-or staves- had been modified over time to become wooden architectural works of art. The church in Moorhead is a full-scale replica of the Hopperstad Church located in the town of Vik, Norway.

The replica church is a quintessential labor of love. Guy Paulson began carving for the church in January of 1997. “I have been carving for about 25 years, so a challenging project like this intrigued me,” Paulson says, “It’s something that honors my family’s Christian heritage.” It was dedicated in 1998 as a gift to the Center and the city of Moorhead from the Paulson family.

The carvings for the church began in January 1997, and on-site construction of the church started in August 1997. All carvings were done by Guy Paulson. The church is constructed of cedar, redwood, and pine.


Height: Full scale replica – 72ft
Staves: Eighteen 27ft pine columns
Wood: Pine, redwood and 24,000 cedar shingles
Apse: Conical structure rising 30ft
Portal: Carved area around the front door
Altar: Modeled after the altar currently in the Hopperstad Stave Church in Vik, Norway
Weather Vane: Copper rooster constructed by artist, Dr. Dean Bowman
Carvings: Reflect Viking Age and Christian motifs
Ambulatory: Covered walkway protects body of church and allowed lepers to participate in communion
Gateway: Roofed structure marks entrance to church grounds