Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Side Trip: Little Norway

On our way home from our camping trip a little wanderlust came over me and I instinctively exited when I saw a sign for Little Norway. When you have a Leif and a car full of Elsmos you pretty much have to stop at Little Norway! Heck Finnr was even wearing his Norway shirt! It seemed like our outing was meant to be and it was.
In 1865, the Haugen family arrived in southeastern Wisconsin and settled into an area Norwegians called Niessedahle (valley of they elves) and began to build a life for their family. Today, their farm is part of an attraction called Little Norway where tourists can enjoy a glimpse into a bit of American history. We learned a great deal on our tour and Finn discovered 27 elves hiding on the property!
Interestingly enough we learned a great deal about spoons. The first thing Norwegians learned to carve was their own spoon and once it was finished they carried it in their pocket everywhere. That way, if they happened to be a a neighbors house at meal time they could whip out their spoon and dig in. "Have spoon will travel" sounds like a good motto to me! We also learned about spring houses for cooling food, why Norwegian trunks have a rounded top, and the origin of the saying "pop goes the weasel!"

The highlight of the tour was most certainly the Norway House.
This spectacular house of worship was built in Norway in 1892 and transported for display at the Chicago World's fair in 1893. After the fair closed the Norway House was disassembed and moved to a Lake Geneva estate. In 1935, Isak Dahle, had the building moved for the third and final time to the grounds of Little Norway where it has been open to the public ever since.


The building and it's contents are beautiful and brought back many memories of Leif's dad, Thad. At every turn we were reminded of him especially when we found this piece tucked into a corner...
...all four of us stood there looking at Thad's boat and realized he was haunting us in the best possible way. It was a humbling full circle moment to find a little piece of the Heavenly Hunk immortalized in a Norwegian museum. It was pretty clear the Elsmo Four were supposed to end up at Little Norway and even though it didn't seem possible, we all appreciate Thad's boat a little more since being there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Melissa.. Serendipity for sure and I am so glad you found Little Norway because that is where we learned the Norwegian pronunciation of Leif's name which is Lafe long a vowel sound. A wonderful story to add to your prizewinning (in my estimation) blog. Nonna Nancy speaketh for Thad and this grand remembrance of him.

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