Category Archives: History

Help identify this farm near Caledonia

Zoom right in to a high-resolution view into a panorama of life on the family farm.  This photo dates from around 1910 and was printed as a postcard, however there is no information to identify the exact farm pictured. Circumstantial … Continue reading

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Log cabin simplicity: recrafting pioneer tiny homes in corn Iowa

Local preservationist Paul Cutting reviews his work on pioneer log cabins.

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Panoramic photo of Spring Grove, 1908

The “Model T” went into production in 1908, but no trace of cars is yet evident in this view of Spring Grove, Minnesota, that year.

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Halloween special: Belle Gunness, Norwegian-American Serial Killer

Hell’s Belle, as she became known after her quiet hobby of murder was discovered, is reported to have murdered more than 40 people between 1884 and 1908 before disappearing without a trace. Belle was a lonely-hearts killer in pursuit of … Continue reading

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Highlandville Farmer’s Telephone Company organized in 1902

In 1886, the Iowa and Minnesota Telephone Company ran telephone lines through Decorah, connecting the region to long lines to the east, and Decorah became the central station for Winneshiek county lines in 1895. Farmers were slower to connect their … Continue reading

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Panoramas of Highland, Big Canoe, Hauge & Iowa River Lutheran Churches

On a recent sunny afternoon I took some panoramic photos at some local cemeteries. Some are pretty quiet but thanks to everyone in the community they are all well-maintained. Click and drag in the windows to change your view, and … Continue reading

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1966: ‘Ghost town’ of Quandahl auctioned for $15,330

A once-thriving village nestled into the Bear Creek valley, Quandahl’s history followed the path of so many other small country towns in the mid 20th century, except for how it ended: On an early October morning in 1966, the entire village … Continue reading

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Panoramic photo of Decorah c1908

Brunt & Parman, a wholesale and retail pharmacy in Decorah, commissioned this panoramic photo around 1908.  The pharmacy produced and sold postcards and other photographic products. Founded by Isaac W. Brunt and E. J. Parman in 1893, the pharmacy operated … Continue reading

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Bear Creek Woolen Mill and Highland grave mystery revealed

Reader Randy Freese asked about a lonely tombstone on a scenic bluff over North Bear Creek. The grave site provides a broad view over Bear Creek valley and the site of the former Bear Creek Woolen Mill, which was founded … Continue reading

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Hauge Lutheran Church: World War II Service Roll

This Memorial Day, NorwegianRidge.com will honor the WWII service members from Hauge Lutheran Church; fortunately, it seems that all came home from the war. The list below has been transcribed from a framed poster in the basement of the church. … Continue reading

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Twister strikes Canoe & Highland in June 1906

On the night of Wednesday, June 6, 1906, a tornado ripped across Winneshiek and Houston counties, and extended its range of destruction into La Crosse and western Wisconsin. Two were killed near Caledonia. A spate of storms causing unprecedented damage … Continue reading

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Slideshow: Hauge Lutheran Church, Canoe Township

Slideshow: Hauge Lutheran Church, Canoe Township Continue reading

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Ole Rynning’s True Account of America, 1838

Based upon his travels in America in June of 1838, Ole Rynning’s True Account of America (Sandfærdig Beretning om Amerika) gave practical information and courage to thousands of Norwegian peasants who were curious about their chances in another country. It was the … Continue reading

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Must-read social history of pre-emigration life in Norway

Between Rocks and Hard Places by Ann Urness Gesme is a social history of the Norwegian farmers who made up the bulk of emigrants to America. Focusing on the Norwegian period of their lives makes this book uniquely informative and … Continue reading

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Diaries of early preachers reveal frontier life in the 1850s

A number of preachers from Norway (and other Scandinavian countries) were among the first settlers in the Norwegian Ridge area. They were making rounds to settlers before congregations were officially organized and a pastor was funded and “called” from Norway … Continue reading

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