A 20th Century Pioneer Viking Tale

I visited several farms looking for the current owner of this homestead and finally found him living in a nearby town. With a fond twinkle in his eye, Roger explained that his wife – the person who knew the lion’s share of the farm’s history – had passed on, saying that she’d grown up in the house and always had much to say about it to anyone who would lend an ear.

The family arrived from Norway in 1903, and lived in a sod constructed home until they were able to build this one around 1905. The homesteader’s first names were Halvor and Ingeborg. I wasn’t able to find much about his wife, but Halvor passed away in 1947, having lived just shy of his 100th year. In the little bit of research I was able to do, I found a photo of good, ol’ Halvar chopping wood at 99 years of age. Imagine that – a 99 year-old axe-weilding, landlocked Norse Alberta settler! I think Halvor’s Viking ancestors would have been impressed.

Although we can only imagine what yarns Halvor would have spun (I bet he was a heckuva story teller), the sunbaked, weathered mansion he built still stands to whisper tales from the past on his behalf.


Mark Iocchelli is an Edmonton, Alberta, Canada fine art photographer specializing in images of the Canadian prairies, rural decay, homesteads, abandoned farm houses, barns, automobiles and machinery. Signed, limited edition prints of the images you see here are available upon request.

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