Friday, September 16, 2011

Westby, Wisconsin

Westby, Wisconsin is in the 'driftless area' (that not affected by post-Flood glacier activity) of Wisconsin,  which covers most of the southwest quadrant of the state. With its ridges and coulees, it is a beautiful part of Wisconsin, and a small town in which I'd love to retire some day, because of the hilly beauty of the area and at least one growing zone warmer than where we live.

The Victorian 'Westby House' B&B

It's the kind of thing you see everywhere in Westby

Our ancestors - the Vikings

You can't help noticing that Westby is very much a Norwegian town. Each year on May 17, they celebrate Syttende Mai, Norwegian independence day. After my husband's ancestors left Norway, they settled in Vernon County, WI. Why? Because it reminded them of home. I guess they didn't realize that the South also had hills and valleys - and was a lot warmer!

Tobacco  Sheds, now presumably used for storage of other goods

In the first half of the previous century, many small farms raised tobacco as a cash crop. Tobacco sheds were found everywhere, and even my husband's great uncles worked in the tobacco fields.

Rosemaling, a colorful Norwegian folk art, as seen in Borgen's Cafe, Westby

Some of the huge boulders (and granddaughter) at the Westby Park
Our kids loved climbing on those rocks when they were young,
and I hated it when they did.

Westby Park boulders

Old Caboose

We were teased with the e-mail, 'Got ticket to ride.'  Hmmm. When we arrived in Westby, we were given a tour of the caboose. It seems that Kevin's cousin used to ride that particular caboose, free and often, from Westby to Viroqua when he was a kid. That kind of thing would never happen today. Oh for the good old days.

For the Bird Brains

(laundry adjacent)

I think Westby is where Ole and Lena jokes originated.

By the way, in the 1970s, the Norwegian government sponsored a contingent of Norwegian-language specialists to come to America and study the Norwegian as spoken by the older residents of the  Westby-Coon Prairie area of Wisconsin, for it was truer to the old Norwegian language that was dying out in Norway due to 'language pollution.'

Dregne's Hardware Store

I don't remember seeing any hardware, but the store is full of Norwegian gifts, books, and Christmas decorations -  lots of fun stuff to look at, if unaccompanied by small children.

Uff-da Mart
I think that's 'Dollar Store' in Norwegian

The granddaughter

Coon Prairie Church and Cemetery
just outside Westby
where several of the ancestors are buried

You can see it was a somber moment when we found my husband's great-great grandpa's grave

The old trolls and the motorcycle

The granddaughter and our favorite hippie

Aw, ain't it sweet!

Have a great weekend, everyone! :-)



Angela said...

I love Westby! And I loved climbing on those boulders in the park. :D

Heide at ApronHistory said...

I didn't know Westby was so Norwegian. Looks like a cute town. Very fun and cute pictures!
I didn't know Masrud was Norwegian. But I guess if you are from that part of Wisconsin what else would you be?

Terri @ A Creative Princess said...

Westby reminds me so much of Cole Camp, Mo where all my relatives settled when they came over from Germany. One of the cemetaries there (of course Cole Camp is overflowing with churches and cemetaries) is all of my relatives, including my mom and dad and both sets of grandparents.

You had me laughing out loud here all by myself when I read the part about the "old trolls"!

Have a great weekend, Judy!

laurie said...

I would love to visit Westby....looks like such a quaint town...full of charm!

Judy S. said...

Another WI town I'd not heard of; you can tell my folks didn't travel much.. Sounds like a fun place. Any yarn shops? You didn't publish your grandkid story?

Anonymous said...

Should I be worried that Lydia looks so gleeful while pointing at her brother's name on a gravestone? Sibling love....


Cranberry Morning said...

I received the following e-mail from Kevin's cousin (one of the trolls, remember?) who lives in Westby: 'Norwegians from Norway still come to Westby to study the Old Norse language and it was only a couple of years ago that the last group was here. Every two-three years someone comes here to study and to hear what the old Norwegian sounded like.' And now you know the rest of the story. :-)

Lydia Masrud said...

Yes. i loved Westby, it was perfectly lovely. I want to live there someday. (We can be neighbors.) I love you, Grandma. I hopee to visit again soon!

Tiffanee said...

WOW! Looks like a great place. Love that house. The sky is such a beautiful blue. Great pictures and what a cute grandaughter!!

J_on_tour said...

That's a stunning photo of the Westby B&B. I thought that there was something unusual about it's look that only became clear as I read on. It is unbelievable how most of the architecture looks Norwegian and that the Vikings were here long before Columbus made his name. The Prairie church looks like somewhere I would like to look around ... with the camera. Thanks for showing us all around.


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