St. Ansgar is known as “The Garden Spot of Iowa” because of the beautiful local gardens, large old trees and lush farmland surrounding the town.
St. Ansgar was founded in 1853 by a group of Norwegian immigrant farmers, led by the Reverend C.J. Clausen, a Danish minister. To honor a man whose influence had much to do in the shaping of his own life, Rev. C.J. Clausen gave to the town the name “Saint Ansgar” (“God’s Spear”), the only town of this name in the world.
On the National Registry of Historic Places is the First Lutheran Church, the oldest Lutheran church in continuous use west of the Mississippi. The historic elementary building has been preserved now known South Square, a place to learn, play, and create. Space is available to rent for special occasions and events.
St. Ansgar is full of charming shops, eateries, apple orchards, a B&B, a retreat center, a museum, parks, businesses and several agricultural industries. Recreation is abundant with a golf course, a walking path/bike trail, a stocked trout stream, a nature trail, and a bowling alley. An outdoor zero-entry aquatic center offers a water slide, lap pool, and other amenities.
Located nearby is the Cedar River, with opportunities for boating, fishing, waterskiing and other activities. Great for picnics and camping, Halvorson Park is located a mile south of town and includes a boat launching ramp, and Cedar River Sportsman’s Park overlooks the river, just two miles southeast of town.