First Purpose-Built Mosque
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Time Period
1929
Description
Though there were earlier mosques in America, converted from existing buildings, the first purpose-built mosque was erected in 1929, by Syrian-Lebanese immigrants in the tiny town (population 79) of Ross, N.D. It was built as a sub-basement, to handle the harsh prairie winters.

The North Dakota mosque measured just under 1,200 square feet, was heated with a coal stove and staffed by visiting Muslim leaders who’d come from Minnesota or Canada and stay with local families. There were plans to expand it, but they were scuttled by the Depression.

After many adherents either moved away or died, the building eventually fell into disrepair. However, a new mosque was built on the site in 2005, funded by Muslim and non-Muslim donations, and serves largely as a memorial to these pioneers. So does a nearby cemetery, where many of these pioneers are buried.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Prominent Religious Events and People in American History
Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Prominent Religious Events and People in American History
Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
Religious Groups
Timeline Entries for the same religious group Islamic

Photographs

Ross, North Dakota memorial mosque- Ross, North Dakota mosque- photo courtesy 30mosques.com, via U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia, Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Lippy, Charles, and Peter Williams, 2010. Encyclopedia of Religion in America. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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