ANDOVER—One of the highlights of village history was the royal visit in September 1996.
Editor’s note: This story appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 19, 1996, issue of the Orion Gazette.
Doris Brodd put in a request for perfect weather on Saturday, September 14, and her request was granted.
The weather was fit for a king—warm, sunny, just enough breeze to lift the Swedish and American flags at Jenny Lind Chapel, Andover.
Village residents had been preparing for the visit of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden since last spring.
When the morning finally dawned, little seemed different about Andover until visitors neared the chapel. Illinois National Guardsmen provided security and traffic control at intersections.
Visitors began arriving before 7:30 a.m. Many carried lawn chairs in one hand and Swedish flags in the other hand, although Andover’s Judy (Bergstrom) Rehder had Swedish, American and German flags.
Mrs. Redher is Swedish by birth, but her husband Jens is the son of German immigrants and wanted to recognize Queen Silvia’s German heritage. Mr. Rehder had to miss the royal visit to coach Orion High School’s varsity soccer team at a tournament.
Secret Service agents made final checks of the chapel and grounds, and the program began shortly after 8:35 a.m.
Ron Peterson of Andover Tourism Council introduced those participating in the program, including Henry County Board Chairman Tom Nicholson and Andover Village President Don Olson and his wife, Judy. The Rev. Ted Granquist and his wife, Barb, represented Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, Andover.
Mr. Nicholson proclaimed Saturday “Andover Swedish Royalty Day” in recognition of the king and queen’s visit, which commemorated the 150th anniversary of the beginning of mass emigration from Sweden to the United States.
Thousands of Swedes settled in the Andover area from the 1840s to the 1870s, the county board chairman noted.
Joyce and Ansley Carlson of rural Andover were introduced. When the king visited 20 years ago, he noticed the Swedish flag flying on their farm as his motorcade passed by en route to Bishop Hill. Someone remembered his comment and put a tour of the farm on the royal couple’s schedule this year.
Time pressures forced officials to cancel the visit, so the Carlsons moved the farm into town. They parked a freshly washed and waxed John Deere combine behind the chapel and set up a table of refreshments in the basement.
Also taking part were their son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Julie Carlson of rural Andover, and Mark and Julie’s children, Aaron, Brook and Jessica.
Mr. Peterson also introduced Jim Lambrecht, director of the 80-member concert band from Augustana College, Rock Island. Although the college’s choirs and oratorio society have performed in the village, the band was making its first appearance.
Augustana Church’s bells began ringing about 9:15 a.m. to signal the approach of the royal motorcade.
Dan Urton, director of cultural events at Augustana College, positioned himself so he could motion to Dr. Lambrecht when the king and queen’s car pulled up. As the royal couple stepped onto the sidewalk and approached the chapel, the band played a fanfare.
King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia stood on the chapel porch while the Augustana musicians played “The King’s Song.” According to Dr. Lambrecht, it is one of the king’s favorites.
The band then played the Swedish and American national anthems. Earlier this summer, the Swedish Army Band visited Augustana College and met with Dr. Lambrecht, according to Mr. Urton. When the college band was invited to play for the king and queen, the director had the army band fax its arrangements of “The King’s Song” and the Swedish national anthem.
Although King Carl XVI was expected to greet the public, he did not speak.
Mr. Nicholson presented the king with a key to Henry County, the first time a key has ever been presented. He said it symbolized a desire to have the royal couple consider Henry County their home away from home.
Velma Wilkerson, Henry County tourism director, and Dick Erickson, Henry County administrator, were responsible for having the key made.
On behalf of Andover, the Olsons presented the king with a color photo of the chapel and an afghan featuring Henry County tourist attractions. The gave the queen a Christmas ornament showing the chapel.
From the Granquists, the royal couple received two items handmade by members of Augustana Church. Herb Johnson of Cambridge made a walnut scrolled cross, while Terri (Gritton) Werkheiser of Enchanted Florist arranged a bouquet of iris, snapdragons and other flowers.
“We thank you for honoring our community with your presence,” Mr. Granquist said.
The queen, their entourage, the participants in the program, and photographers then went into the chapel.
After Mr. Granquist explained the history of the chapel, everyone proceeded downstairs.
The Carlsons gave the king and queen a crocheted piece handmade by Joyce Carlson’s sister. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia did not take any refreshments, but Mrs. Carlson said the press did.
On the table were brownies, coffee cake, galletas crackers, cheese cubes, a Swedish tea ring, candy corn, coffee and a John Deere toy tractor.
Joyce Carlson invited the king to come to the farm on his next visit.
The work done preparing farm buildings and yard was not wasted, since the Swedish national broadcasting company spent a day filming there, Mr. Peterson said. Even if the king did not visit, the farm was important because he had wanted to visit it.
Half an hour after arriving, the king and queen left the chapel. They spoke to several of those who waited along the sidewalk.
Those who helped finance the arrangements for the visit included Andover Banking Facility, Andover Tourism Council, Andover Village Board, Augustana College, Augustana Church, Casey’s General Store and Jenny Lind Branch of Lutheran Brotherhood.