THE NORMAN CABIN
The Norwegian Emigrant Museum /
Norsk Utvandrermuseum, Ottestad 14/09/2014 --- Foto: Jonny Isaksen
THE NORMAN CABIN
This small cabin has a long and interesting history. It originally stood in one of the very first Norwegian-American settlements in North Dakota, the Norman settlement on the Sheyenne River, founded in 1871. Recent research based on the church records from that time, indicates that it was built for or by Johannes Hellestvedt, the settlement's first pastor, in 1873 or 1874. The cabin served for several years as the new settlement's church and school house, church meeting house and probably its parsonage. The community's first cemetery was laid out next to it.
In 1883 the congregation sold it to the Perhus family in Richland County, who used it as a dwelling until 1928. In 1929, it was moved back to Norman, and used as a local museum. By the early 1950s, however, the park in which it stood was no longer in use, and the cabin was slowly disappearing behind a curtain of vines and new trees.
Then everything changed. It happened that between 1950 and 1954, The Norseman's Federation and the Norwegian Folk Museum were searching Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota for a log cabin built by Norwegian settlers in the United States. They wanted it as the nucleus of a Norwegian museum dedicated to the nearly 1 million Norwegians who since 1825, had emigrated to overseas destinations.
Their representatives found exactly what they wanted in this cabin. It was donated by the community of Kindred, North Dakota, to "The Norseman's Federation's Emigrant Museum" and "The Norwegian Folk Museum" on August 7, 1954. On November 5 that same year, it was taken to pieces by 21 men from the Norman/Kindred area, and shipped to Norway, on the M/S Oris, Fjell Line, by way of Milwaukee, the Great Lakes, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. It was reassembled at the Norwegian Folk Museum at Bygdøy near Oslo, and dedicated at the founding of The Norwegian Emigrant Museum on June 22, 1955.
Some 17 years later, the cabin was moved to Hamar. Today it stands at the entrance to the Norwegian Emigrant Museum in Ottestad.