Tag Archive | Norwegian

McFarland Historical Museum


McFarland has  a very active Historical Society, and now owns two museums dedicated the history of the village.  The newest one, the Larson House, we visited on July 13 of 2014. This is the older one. The McFarland State Bank donated the lot that the museum was built on in 1971. It is located on 5814 Main Street, not far from the Larson House. Hours are Sundays from 1-4 PM, Memorial Day through September and by appointment. The museum hosts two events, the Memorial Day Bake Sale and Pioneer Days in the 3rd Sunday in September.

McFarland Historical Museum

This is the main museum building which we toured first.  Exhibits consist of items donated by past and current residents of the village.  The first displays you see are from  1964, when the McFarland Historic Society was granted it’s charter to aid in the development of the museum.

Sizties display at McFarland Museum

 Many of the early residents of McFarland came from Norway, and many artifacts reflect that.

Norwegian display at McFarland Museum


The Norwegian instrument Psalmodikon was also on display, a simple string instrument.

Also a display of McFarland residents’ service in the Armed Forces.

Wisconsin Civil War display McFarland Museum

The railroad was how McFarland came to be, the track is still active even now, though just for freight trains.  It goes right by the McFarland House, former home of William McFarland, founder of the village.

McFarland Museum railroad display


McFarland House Cafe


Here is a family photo taken outside of the house of William McFarland and his family.

McFarland family

We also saw a display of what a parlor might look like.

Parlor in Mcfarland museum

A 1920’s kitchen exhibit.

McFarland museum 1920's kitchen

Just beyond the kitchen is a Blacksmith Shop and woodworker tool display.

Blacksmith Shop and Woodworking tools at Mcfarland Museum


And the General Store.

General Store at McFarland MuseumInside General Store at McFarland Museum


Don’t forget a toy for the kids!

Toy Display at McFarland Museum

During the winter, McFarland residents harvested ice off of Lake Waubesa and some loaded onto the train to be used elsewhere.

Ice Harvesting display at McFarland Museum


In the summer, recreation on the lake abounded. Lots of boating, swimming, and fishing. Some people had cabins on the lake they might live elsewhere during the rest of the year.

Summer Waubesa Lake display in McFarland Museum

Shoemaker Shop exhibit. Shoes were custom-made for everyone a long time ago.

ShoeMaker Shop at McFarland Museum


Displays of a typical bedroom in the 1800’s.

Bedroom at McFarland Museum


And a Norwegian-style kitchen with native equipment.

Norwegian kitchen a McFarland Museum

The historic society also honors the first settlers of the area, the Native Americans

Native American display at McFarland Museum

McFarland Museum overall view

That takes us through the first building of our tour, there are two others behind this one.

Our next exhibit, the historic Skare Cabin. It was originally located at Hidden Valley Farm off Elvehjem Road. It was donated by Albert’s niece Margaret Greene Kennedy in 1969 and it was dismantled and moved to the new Museum lot in 1973 and rebuilt.

Albert Skare cabin at Mcfarland Museum

Skare Cabin inside McFarland Museum


The high chair was carved from a large log!

Rope bed in Skare cabin  at McFarland Museum

Bed in one corner, a loft upstairs for the other kids.  There were 11 people living in this cabin before the Skare family moved into a larger house in 1887 200 feet from this cabin.

Skare new house 1887 photo McFarland


One more building left to see behind us, The Annex. This building houses the agriculture exhibits.

McFarland Museum Annex

Annex dispays Mcfarland Museum

Annex displays 2 McFarland museumThis pretty much wraps up our tour of the McFarland Museum.  We were surprised McFarland has so to see and do.  Get off the beaten path of the “new downtown” and visit the old downtown of McFarland. The had some items or sale as well, I got the Historic Mcfarland Walking tour booklet to easily find the other points of interest.

McFarland publications

McFarland is worth a closer look, we are sure glad we did!

Train painting

Mount Horeb- The Troll Capitol of the World!


Mount Horeb is a friendly community founded in 1867.  It is southwest of Madison and its strong Norwegian roots are seen in the buildings throughout the city.  What really put this friendly community on the map are the adorable carved-wood trolls. The trolls became a fixture in Mt. Horeb in the mid-80’s  when a bypass was built to go around the city. The residents were worried less people would stop to visit, so the Trollway was created as an attraction to draw people off the bypass. It worked and the community sees plenty of visitors throughout the year coming to enjoy the many festivals and attractions offered. This downloadable map will help you find the trolls.  This friendly sign greets you as you enter town, having recently celebrated it’s 150th anniversary in 2011.

Mt. Horeb Roundabout sign

Stop by the visitor center first if open, they have publications from the area to with local information to help you enjoy your visit!

Mt. Horeb Welcome Center

Here are some of the many trolls, also Brutus the Dragon guarding the Visitor Center.

Troll Collage

Let’s go on a Troll Stroll.

Mount Horeb also has a beautiful historic downtown with many businesses for great shopping and eating. Learn more about it here.

Downtown Mt. Horeb

We have enjoyed lunch at Schubert’s Diner and Bakery. They even have lefse if the craving hits.


For a local brew in a friendly atmosphere, The Grumpy Troll is anything but!

The Grumpy Troll

Mt. Horeb is a community that likes the outdoors, and one of their popular attractions is the Military Ridge Trail that goes right through town, leading you to Ridgeway if you don’t stop. We had biked on this trail many times. Stop by the Visitor’s Center or self-register for a trail pass here.

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If you plan on staying a bit longer than a day, The Village Inn Motel is a nice place to stay. More choices here.

Village Inn Motel

Well, our visit is done. Wayne waves goodbye and hopes you come back soon!

Waving Wayne

Taking a Coffee Break in Stoughton

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We had not really spent time in Stoughton before, so it was time for a visit.  We stopped first at the Chamber of Commerce to gather information. It’s in the train depot. The historical museum is there also, we learned a lot here. The city is well-known for its strong Norwegian heritage, their cultural festivals reflect that. The Norwegian art form, Rosemaling, is prevalent here. We also learned the coffee break was invented here. They have a festival every August to celebrate.

Stoughton has four official Historic Districts,  we were in the Main Street Historic District. We explored here first.

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On the right is an antique store.

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You never know where you will find interesting people, just talk to them 🙂  We saw an open door in one of the buildings with a group of retired gentleman enjoying a relaxing morning. The invited us in to look around. They made birdhouses and were also making a large model airplane.  One of the men showed us a wood planer his grandfather had made around 100 years ago. They also GAVE us  bird house, wouldn’t accept payment. Here were a couple of cute items in the window.

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PlaneNorwegian Tax ShelterNorwegian 2 Holer

We soon arrived at the Stoughton Opera House,  Event coordinator Christina Dollhausen gave us a tour. We were so impressed, we were back Friday (June 14) to see “Honor Flight: The Movie” being show there one night only. The Opera House looked real beautiful at sunset.

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Other buildings up the street. We walk over the Yahara River that flows under the city.

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At the end of the street is the rather impressive Senior Center located by the river.  Across the way is the mural at the top of the page.

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Just off Main Street is the Sons of Norway lodge and the Stoughton Historical Museum.

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We had a great couple of visits so far. More later after exploring the other historic districts.

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