Local tourism: Custom-made 1800s melodeon on display in Swedesburg

The Henry County Historical Preservation Commission encourages residents of Henry County to visit a little gem in Swedesburg.

The Swedish-American Museum has many unique items on display. Today?s featured item is the melodeon, an early instrument in immigrant churches and schools. The melodeon on exhibit in the museum was originally made for Magnus Munter (1841-1884), an organist at the New Sweden Lutheran Church.

Munter had only one flexible leg, the result of an injury he received while in the Swedish army. Most melodeons were made with two pedals, so he had this one made with just one pedal so he could play it. Most likely, Munter?s melodeon was custom made by John Magnus Levendahl, who, perhaps more famously, also built the church organ in New Sweden.