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Bigler, Brian J.; Mudrey, Lynn Martinson / The Norway Building of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair : a building's journey from Norway to America : an architectural legacy

A monument to Norwegians in America,   pp. 60-71 PDF (3.3 MB)

Page 61

A statement in Isak's will clearly reflects his personal desires for Little
Norway. It was his wish that the museum should be "kept alive as
a monument to the Dahle family." He named his brother-in-law, Pro-
fessor Asher Hobson, as one of two trustees to "maintain and operate Little
Norway until it is disposed of." Professor Hobson, a University of Wis-
consin agricultural economist and husband of Isak's sister Thea, looked
for an appropriate institution to take over the museum as Isak had wished,
but no such institution was found.
Isak's mother Anne, who had spent her summers at ittle Norway, was
endowed with a modest trust fund which enabled her to continue as matri-
arch at the farm. During the summer months, Isak's brother and sisters
brought their children to spend their weekends here. Gardens were
planted to provide vegetables for canning and summer eating. Family
papers and letters contain many references to Anne's cooking skills and
hospitality, which extended to a wide circle of family and friends. Little
Norway, with Anne at the center, continued to be the family focus during
these years, just as Isak had wanted.
The family's growing attachment to the project was nurtured by Pro-
fessor Hobson's agricultural interest-he devoted many free hours to the
gardens and grounds. The women of the family found in Little Norway
an opportunity to extend their hospitality to the public.
Isak's mother Anne died in 1951. Professor Hobson retired from his
university position in 1953, at which time he took on the full-time man-
agement of Little Norway, hiring additional guides and maintenance
people to handle the growing attendance. A modern, year-round home

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