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Ole K. Boe's House in Valdres

submitted by Olav Boe, Porsgrunn, Norway

 

Ole Boe house in Valdres

 This “American-Norwegian” house was built in the area of Bøflaten in Vang, Valdres between 1920-25 by my grandfather Ole K. Boe. I am not an architect or expert in house styles but the National Building Museum in USA told me that this house is a modification of a Victorian Queen Anne style (that my grandfather learned to build in the US) . It is surely the only one of this type in Norway and Mr Jahnsen at Valdres Folkemuseum has showed some interest in it  . The stone on the roof is local skifer stone from Valdres but today's house ­ which still can be seen in Vang – is a bit modernized as far as the roof is concerned.  

Ole was a carpenter who emigrated to McKenzie County, North Dakota around 1911 and homesteaded a few miles south of Watford City. He owned 320 acres in the so-called badlands. A hill at the northern edge of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, north unit, bears his name: "Ole Boe Hill." Ole K. came back to Vang, Norway in 1919 and married Maren Ellingboe (from the Bøkko farm) She had patiently waited to marry him  through all the years he was in the US building houses and homesteading.  She was the sister of Gjertrud who married Sondrol and three of her sons Olaf, Ivar and Knut emigrated to the US. Today their children and grandchildren live in the Midwest and elsewhere in the US. 

 In 1937 Ole K. Boe's small farm was sold back to the Olsons because Ole K. Boe didn’t  want to pay the taxes needed to keep the ownership. In 1951 it was purchased by the Jorgenson family.  With great help from Alice Simonson of the local historical society in Watford City, in 2005 I was able to visit the place Ole K. Boe homesteaded in the wilderness and built his small cabin.  I was impressed by his (and the other homesteaders ) courage in this isolated area. There were still Indians around in 1911 although they had given up fighting by that time.

 

 

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Last updated: December 26, 2016

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