It was here that the first Swedish church in the area was built in 1762. There had previously been a chapel at Strimasund, which belonged to Norway at that time.
Legend has it that Tärna church should really have been built at lake Tärnasjön (known in Sami as Derrnajaure) 20 km further to the north. But since suitable constructional timber did not grow there, the church was built in the last area of spruce forest instead, i.e. at lake Gäutajaure. Then when the church building had been completed it was not moved along winter trails to lake Tärnasjön as had been planned originally but was left where it had been built. In this way the name Tärna came to be attached to the site of the church at lake Gäutajaure as well.
A restored chapel at Gamla Kyrknäset was destroyed by fire in 1986 but has now been rebuilt.