Thursday, January 31, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 76

 Old Police Station, Nytorvet, Kristiania, Norway


This postcard dated 1922 was sent to the Lees by their friend, Edward Olsen.  Olsen traveled all over the world and often sent them cards from the places he visited.  Pictured on the card is the old Police Station in Kristiania, now Oslo, Norway that was designed by Jacob Wilhelm Nordan and built in 1866.  The square was called Nytorv (Nytorvet) or New Square from 1852 to 1951 when the name was changed to Youngstorget after the merchant Jørgen Young (1784-1837) who owned the street.   Young was listed as the richest man in Norway for the years 1833 and 1834.  The photograph below from Wikipedia shows a modern color view of the Station.

I.C. Lee was a police sergeant with the Seattle Police Department so I am guessing that is why Olsen sent this particular postcard to him.  It probably would have been an interesting thing for Lee to receive. 

There was an outdoor market or bazaar around the square and under the station.  It is a little hard to see due to the dark coloration on the postcard but in the foreground there are several people in the picture, both men and women, and many, many carts with goods piled up in them.  It was also interesting to find out that the labor union organizations are headquartered in this same area of the city.  Although the name of the square was not officially changed until 1951 the local population always referred to it by its current name of Youngstorget. 

The architect, Jacob Wilhelm Nordan (1824-1892), was born in Denmark but worked in Norway.  He designed many buildings in addition to the Police Station and over 100 churches during his career.  He also taught at the Royal School in Kristiania/Oslo. 

For more:

The stamps found on the card are called “post horn stamps” and first appeared in 1871.  When the postman arrived with the mail he would blow his horn to let the people know the mail had come.  He also blew the horn when he left to go to the next stop.  With the passage of time the horn came to symbolize mail service.  Today red mailboxes with a gold post horn design are quite common and can even be found in the United States where Scandinavian Americans have chosen to advertize their ancestry by using them for their home mail collection in place of the rather boring plain mailboxes that are the norm here.  In addition to the horn the stamp is decorated with the Royal Crown and the corners have small wheels with wings to indicate speedy delivery of the mail.  With just minor coloration differences this design is still being used today on Norwegian postage stamps. 

Close up of the post horn stamps, 1922

For more information about the stamps see:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What happened to Ingeborg?

Ingeborg & Torkjel Hornnes, ca 1907
[photo:  courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

The wedding photograph above was taken in 1907 when Torkjel Mikalsen Hornnes wed Ingeborg Gundersdatter Tveit.  This was his second marriage and her first.  They had six children but the first child died so she had five children at home when Torkjel passed away.  I wondered what happened to Ingeborg after Torkjel Mikalsen Hornnes died in 1924.  The family had been living in Rødbyen, the company housing for the aluminum factory, Vigeland Brug.  Rune Jensen had sent pictures and told me about a family reunion that was held.  The story of what happened to Ingeborg as told by Lillemor’s daughter, Evelyn, was published in the Vennesla Historielag 2012.  

[photo: Vennesla Historielag cover, 2012]

Rune was kind enough to send me a copy and also translate the article.  I am posting it here mostly for the extended family members who migrated to America and elsewhere and would have no reasonable way to read it in English unless I did so.  Here follows the rest of the story . . .

In order for Ingeborg to remain in her home in Rødbyen after Torkjel died it was necessary for her to go to work for the company.  The job she found was sewing burlap sacks.  The two youngest children would have to be alone while the older ones were in school and Ingeborg would hurry home at lunchtime to tend the fire and make sure the children were fine.  The youngest child was only 2 or 3 years old at that time.  I have read of other accounts where a mother had to leave small children like this home alone when husbands were dead or not at home and she had to go to work so this situation must have happened every once and awhile.  Even though the work place was nearby it must have been a rather dreadful thing for a mother to have to do.

Meanwhile, there were two brothers, Olav and Knut Dalen, who jointly took ownership of their father’s (Jens Hansen Dalen) farm Dallen after he died in 1910.  They both also worked at the aluminum factory.   Olav was aware of the widow Ingeborg and her five children whose ages ranged from 3 to 13 years. 

It does not sound like a particularly romantic proposal but according to the story one day Olav said:  “You cannot sit here and sew, marry me and move up to Dallen.”

 [photo source:  Vennesla Historielag, 2012]

Ingeborg accepted the offer.  Knut and Olav set about to build a new house in Dallen.  In 1927 the house was finished, Olav and Ingeborg married and Ingeborg moved up with all her children.  In addition to her own five children she also had four step-daughters that were children of Torkjel and his first wife, Gunhild Olsdatter Engestøl.  

The children of Ingeborg and Torkjel:

1.    Mikal, born 25 May 1911 married to Olaug Johnsen from Drammen
2.    Gunnar, born 3 October 1913 married to Borghild Pettersen from Klepp
3.    Olga, born 18 June 1916 married to Thorvald Aabel from Vennesla
4.    Anna (Lillemor), born 19 March 1919 married to Knute Molde from Oslo
5.    Alf, born 4 October 1921 married to Sylvia Grundekjøn from Kristiansand

The step-daughters:

1.  Anna, emigrated to America
2.   Ellen married Høydal from Vennesla
1.    Mally, married Høydal in Vennsela
2.    Karen, married Løland from Birkeland

The step-daughters often came to visit Dallen.  Ingeborg and the children did well in Dallen.  Olav was a kind stepfather who was called “far” (grandfather) by everyone.  Knut was a good uncle.  They were patient and the children thrived.

In the winter Olav shoveled the way down to the village before he was to be at work at 6 am.  There was a narrow path, one shovel width, where the edges could reach one and two meter’s high.  The faces are not clear enough but since the photo was included in the story I think the people must be Ingeborg and Olav standing there in the trench.  Thinking about this makes me realize that Olav had to get up probably around 4 am in order to dig his way out and be to work on time. 

[photo source:  Vennesla Historielag, 2012]

Olav was said to have been a very strong man.  One incident involved an iron beam that needed to be moved.  The beam was so heavy that someone went to get help but by the time he came back the beam had been moved.  The weight was estimated to 300 to 400 kilos or about 700 lbs.  There were no horses at Dallen so Olav carried most everything on his back.  It was said that he carried a bale weighing 104 kilos or about 220 lbs from the Vikeland train station up to Dallen just by holding a wire. 

Evelyn provided some descriptive comments about Dallen also.  There was a long shed approximately where two small buildings stand today.  There was a toilet with two large and one small hole.  There was an attic, two stalls, barn and woodshed.  There was only room for one cow and one calf.  In addition they had chickens and cats.  There was a lot of fruit and berries in Dallen.  The garden and the soil were tended well.  There were many different varieties of apples, “warrior” plums and a variety of cherry trees.  In the cherry season there were many who went to Dallen to eat and pick.

As the children grew up and were married the grandchildren came visiting Dallen.  There were 16 grandchildren and they were always welcome.   Often they stayed overnight and Olav was “far (father or grandfather) in Dallen” for everyone.  On Christmas Eve the entire family gathered.  The best parlor was opened and gifts were under the sofa.  Santa Claus (or Julenisse) came and read out who was to get which gift and the gifts were sent down the long table to the recipients.  The Christmas tree had candles, cakes and candy in the baskets.  There was quite a lot of trouble with the candles when the family walked or danced around the tree singing.

World War II broke out in Norway on 9 April 1940.  Ingeborg and Lillemor were washing clothes by the washing pot just below the stairs.  They heard the planes as they went over and suddenly they saw a long track of people down the road.  There were families from the barracks in Vikeland who escaped and would seek shelter in Dallen.  They told of the war that had broken out.  There were also people from Kristiansand who were on the rise.   Later that day Thorvald Aabel came with a truck and drove his wife, children, mother-in-law and several others of the family up to Tveit in Vegusdal to Ingeborg’s childhood home.  There were about 30 people gathered.  They were there for two weeks then went home again in Trygve’s cab.  Knut and Olav were just at home and several families were to be in Dallen for a while.  Mrs. Vatne prepared food for everyone.

Knut Dalen died in 1950.  The following summer Alf and Sylvia got married.  Now that the attic was free the newly married couple moved in.  They lived there for a year.  Next came the family Skeggestad from Evje and they stayed there for two or three years.  They were very helpful to Ingeborg who had become sickly.

Olav was very fond of animals.  When he dug in the ground and saw an earthworm he lifted it carefully away.  One time a cow got a potato caught in the trachea.  A veterinarian was called but he did not know what to do so they massaged the cow until the potatoes came up.  It was horrible for Olav to do this and unfortunately the cow had to be put down anyway.

Alf got a great St. Bernhard’s dog while living at Dallen.   Olav was so fond of the dog that it remained in Dallen when Alf moved.  It was not a few meter’s of sausage that he bought from the butcher Fredriksen for the dog.  Olav was good at singing.  He had a deep voice.  He sang old songs, mostly folk songs and hymns.  He could recall many verses by heart.  He was also fond of reading.  When he was young he wanted to study medicine but he had no means to do so.  He bought some books and equipment and tried to study on his own.  Later he funded education for the son of an acquaintance who wanted to be a doctor.  It gave him a certain satisfaction. 

[photo source:  Vennesla Historielag, 2012]

Ingeborg got lung cancer in 1955 and became so ill that she needed extra care.  She then moved down to Lillemor and Knut Molde in Dalevein (the road up to Dallen).  Olav would not move from Dallen, but it was not long before he came down too.  He lived in Dalevein until his death in 1963.  He was 83 years old.

After Olav moved, Dallen was rented out to various families for several years.  Later around 1980 the daughter, Ellen Britt and Tor Husebø,  of Lillemor bought the property to make it into a resort.   Ellen Britt and Tor lived in Stavanger.  Today their son Roar and his wife Tao own the place.  Ellen Britt and Tor invited the family to Dallen several times for a reunion.  The current owner Roar and his sister Bente continue the tradition.  At these big family gatherings the main attraction is the baking in the big oven.  If all the descendants of Ingeborg in Dallen come to a reunion in 2013 there will be approximately 210 people.  

The photos and full story in Norwegian can be found in the Vennesla Historielag, 2012.  Thanks to Rune for sharing the article and the photos.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 75

Bergensbanen, Bulken, Fiske ved Flagefoss
[photo:  Normann]

I had to crop this postcard a little bit because it was in a “magnetic” photo album [note to self and others:  Never, never put photos and cards in magnetic albums] and it could not be removed without damaging it.  The picture shows fly-fishing in the Vosso River at Flagefoss, Hordaland, Norway.   The title says that this spot is located on Bergensbanen (the Bergen rail line) between Bergen on the west coast of Norway and Oslo the capital city to the east.   The card was found in the scrapbook collection of Dick Thompson that I was able to look through when I visited his daughter last summer.   It is probably dated from his trip to Norway in the 1950s.  The photographer is identified as Normann.

This map from Wikipedia shows the 308 mile (496 kilometer) route the train follows during the 7.5 hours it takes to get from Bergen to Oslo.  Originally in 1883 it was a narrow gauge rail from Bergen to Voss but in 1909 the route was extended over the mountains to Oslo and the entire line was converted to standard gauge.  Parts of the line are over 4,000 feet (1200 meters) above sea level making it the highest mainline railway in Northern Europe.  Flagefoss is located near Voss.

There is an excellent article by Arthur Oglesby that appeared in the May 1976 Field and Stream magazine that talks about salmon fishing in Norway, most particularly fishing along the Vosso River and this spot shown on the postcard called Bulken and Flagefoss.  The river has two main sources, is not glacier fed, but is dependent on winter snowfall and summer rain.  Voss is located near Bergen and is also not far from Stalheim.  (For more about Stalheim see Postcard Thursday #58, 27 September 2012.)  The river has a series of pools and rapids that end at the big waterfall called Flagefoss.   Looking at the falls pictured on the card one can almost hear the water rushing over the rocks and feel the spray.  The entire route along the rail line has gorgeous scenery.

It is the size and quantity of the fish that are astonishing.  Wooden platforms were built to enable fishermen to use big 20-foot fly rods like the one in the picture.   Fish weighing 36 pounds or more are not uncommon and fish less than 20 pounds are sometimes referred to as “small fry.”  I am not sure when they first started weighing the fish but in 1902 a 58 ½ pound salmon was caught here.  There are some stories of fish that were lost that could have weighed as much as 70 to 90 pounds.  One such fish that was hooked and later broke free pulled the fisherman for three miles before it got away.  Although the fisherman had caught several other large fish when asked how he did that day he glowered and said “Very poorly.”  His friend had caught a 65 pounder and a 52 pounder. 

The full article titled:  Norway’s Trophy River by Arthur Oglesby can be found on Google books at this link:

See pages 163-169.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Walking in the Kubota Gardens

 One of several bridges in Gardens

I did not even know that these gardens existed until today.  The day was foggy and cold and since it is winter only a few things were decked out in bright colors but we did see many new buds starting on the various bushes. 

The Kubota Gardens are located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle.  Originally beginning in 1927 the gardens were part of the Kubota Gardening Company owned and operated by a Japanese immigrant, Fujitaro Kubota, and later included his two sons, Tak and Tom.  The gardens are described more as in a Japanese American style rather than the completely traditional Japanese style.  The core area is 4.5 acres with an additional 17 acres surrounding the park set aside to protect Mapes Creek, which runs through the park.  There are several bridges and waterfalls.  The gardens were used as a nursery for the landscape business and housed the office and as well the Kubota home.  Kubota was awarded the Fifth Class Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1972 by the Japanese government for his achievements and for introducing Japanese gardening in this area.  He died in 1973. 

In 1981 the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board declared the park to be a historical landmark and in 1987 the City bought the garden from the Kubota family.  The park is maintained by the Department of Parks and by the Kubota Garden Foundation. 

I very much want to go back in the spring and summer to see the gardens when the plants are in bloom.  It was beautiful, groomed and yet still wild. 

 Some of the standing stones in the gardens have inscriptions.

Entrance to the Kubota Gardens

Here are a couple of links for more information about the gardens:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 74

Lille, Flanders, France

The photograph of the city of Lille in Flanders on the postcard shown above looks as if it dates from the 1920s but the message on the reverse (see below) is dated 22 September 1954.  The title says it is “Le Thèâtre et la Nouvelle Bourse” with Louis Marie Cordonnier (1854-1940) listed as architect.  Les Arts Photomecaniques of Paris and Strasbourg published the card.  The stamp is very pretty and was issued in honor of Molière (1622-1673) the famous French playwright and actor. 


Close up of the stamp issued in honor of Molière

My friend who found the postcard and sent it to me also included some notes about the buildings and the city that I appreciate very much and was delighted to receive.  Lille is the largest city in northern France in the area identified as French Flanders and is the capital of the region known as Nord-Pas de Calais.  It is located on the Deûle River near the border with Belgium.   

The two buildings featured on the card are the Opera House and what are now the Chamber of Commerce and also a Post Office but was once the Stock Exchange.  Little has changed in the square, according to my friend, except that it is now a pedestrian only area with no cars allowed making it a pleasant place to take a stroll.  The Opera House was built between 1903 and 1914, however, my friend said that it has an 18th century feel with the interior more in the Italian style with red seats, golden decorations and beautiful paintings on the ceiling.  The Chamber of Commerce building was built 1910 to 1921 and is in the neo-Flemish style.  The photo on the card was probably taken shortly after the Chamber of Commerce building was completed.   Glimpses of 17th century houses can be seen on the right and left sides of the card.  These houses are still there today and are the entrance to the “old city.”

Chamber of Commerce Belfry
This photo from Wikipedia shows the belfry on the Chamber of Commerce building as well as the attractive use of colored bricks on the exterior.

There is much information available about the history of Lille and I have put some links at the bottom for those who might be interested.  According to the legend of Lydéric and Phinaert the city was founded in 640 but actual records date from 1066.  The name comes from “the island” (insula or l’Isla) because the area was at one time a marsh with a castle built on dry land in the middle.  As a person with Nordic roots I was interested to see that the Vikings penetrated this area between 830 and 910.  The Count of Flanders controlled Lille as well as other areas.  The city is rich in medieval history with wealth and poverty living side by side.  There were outbreaks of the plague, booms in the textile industry, and Protestant revolts.  In more modern times the city has been buffeted by the aftermath of the French Revolution, both World Wars, and the Great Depression.  Austrian cannonballs lodged in the façade of buildings during a siege following the Revolution were not removed and can still be seen. 

For more information:


As always my thanks for the postcard and the notes.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Trygve Landaas

Trygve Landaas, ca 1903

Trygve Landaas, born 26 September 1889 in Bergen, Norway, was the youngest of the nine surviving children born to Peder Johan Mikkelsen Landaas and Karen Olsdatter Kalvetræ.  He left Norway to journey to America with his mother and three of his sisters, Klara, Nora, and Sigrid in 1902.  They arrived in Canada coming across the continent by rail to arrive in Seattle where most of the rest of the family was already settled.  His older brother, Adolph, who had arrived in Seattle in 1897 had gone to Alaska prior to 1902 and was still living there at this time. 

Like most of his siblings Trygve only attended school until the 7th grade.  As the two oldest children, I think Maggie and Petra attended school through the 6th grade and then were required to go to work in the knitting factory to help support the family because of hard times.  But Cornelius and Harald both completed the 8th grade.  An 8th grade education was very common even during the time of Walter and Harry Lorig neither of whom attended high school but went to work following graduation from grammar school as it was called then (1913/1914). 

Cornelius and Harald were engravers. Trygve was a goldsmith and a jeweler and later a coppersmith at the Navy Yard during World War II.   He was a smallish man, slim and not very tall, had light brown haïr and blue eyes.  He was active in the Bergen Club where he met Dick Thompson.  That is how Dick became introduced to the family and eventually met and fell in love with Tryg ‘s niece, Clara Lorig.  Tryg was Dick’s best man when Dick and Clara married in 1917.  He was said to have been a very good jeweler but couldn’t keep steady work due to his problems with alcohol.  In almost all the pictures he is shown holding a cigar.  Since he looked so much like his brother Cornelius the addition of the cigar helps to identify him in the photos. 

Tryg, Ina and I.C. Lee, 1926

On 10 April 1926 Trygve, or Tryg, was married in Seattle to Christina Cree, born 5 May 1898 in Scotland.  They did not have any children.  Christina was often called Ina.  Tryg lived mainly with his mother, Karen, before he married and can be found in the city directories listed at her address although at least one entry has her name as Helen rather than Karen/Caren.  That could be explained by a clerical error or possibly since Karen didn’t speak much English the directory information taker may have misheard the name.   Ina and Tryg later divorced sometime between 1940 and 1942.  Ina married a 2nd time to Charles Madison Finfrock on 21 March 1943 in Seattle.  She died in Seattle in November 1971.

Tryg as a young man

Tryg died 29 September 1955 as the result of complications following an accident when he was struck by a car or bus while crossing the street.  He is buried at Evergreen Washelli cemetery in Seattle. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 73

Japanese government building, Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition 1909

It has been a while since I posted something from the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition held in Seattle in 1909.  The building shown on this postcard above was sponsored and funded by the Japanese government.  Another exhibition on the grounds was built with funds from local Japanese Americans.  There were many more Japanese Americans than Chinese Americans living in the area during this time.   As noted in a previous postcard Thursday the Chinese exhibit was funded entirely by the local population. 

One of the aims of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909 was to encourage trade with Asian countries.  It was hoped that Seattle would become a center for trade with these countries opening their markets to products made in the United States.

I did not realize how controversial this plan to promote trade was until I started investigating the exhibits at the 1909 Fair.  While the U.S. federal government was promoting the trade with Asian countries there was widespread prejudice against Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino people within the United States.  The West Coast states even proposed laws that included school and housing segregation, prohibitions of property and gun ownership as well as prohibition of Japanese directors of corporations.  These state laws would have caused considerable difficulties for the federal government if they were passed making a struggle between the desire for trade and the states that sought to pass anti-Japanese legislation.   One suggestion advocated the posting of bonds by visitors from Japan to ensure that they would return to Japan after the Fair.   That idea was quickly stopped.  There was an incident involving the Japanese boycotting American goods in response to these proposed laws.  Fortunately Japan decided the laws were not a reflection of the American people but of the legislatures so a diplomatic crisis was averted.

Some of the goods promoted at the Japanese Government exhibition included things like, tea, cultured pearls, enamel and cloisonné items, musical instruments and silks with manufacturing displays.  Japan Day at the Fair was September 4th and included two parades, the first held in the International District the second on the Fair grounds.  The parades included 14 decorated floats and 50,000 lanterns.   The parade on the Fair grounds also included evening fireworks. 

Tokio Café

This previously posted card shows the Tokio Café, one of the more popular places at the fair.  It was located at the end of the amusement area known as Pay Streak.

Yet another exhibit was housed in the Oriental Foreign Exhibit building located near the Cascades. 

Additional information is available at:,_Seattle_1909_-_Page_14.jpg
ExpoMuseum / 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle

Friday, January 4, 2013

Thursday postcard book

 Front cover

Back cover

As a Christmas gift Q had the first year of “If this is Thursday it must be postcards” privately published by Blurb.  Blurb is designed to publish directly from blog posts.  It was not proofread so there are a few errors.  I am not urging everyone to buy the book but since a few people have asked about getting a copy, the book is now available for purchase through Blurb by going to this link:

Q set up the “bookstore” to sell the books more or less at cost with just a small amount added to help defray expenses at this end.  The format and the number of pages determine the price per book with books printed on demand.  The cost is higher than I had hoped but because of the number of pages, the type of binding and paper plus all the illustrations there really was not much choice.  There are three different price levels, hardbound with shrink cover, hardbound with slipcover, and softcover (paperback).    I hope we can do a similar publication with the family history posts in the future.

It was a wonderful, thoughtful gift.  Digital media is great and allows the sharing of so much material but for a person who loves books to see the blog entries converted to a hardbound book was pure delight.   Thank you, Q (& Lou – I know you had some part in this too).

Thursday, January 3, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 72

Haleiwa Hotel, Waialua, Honolulu, T.H.

The New Year begins with me wishing I were in Hawaii and away from the cold and somewhat damp Pacific Northwest hence the selection of these two postcards for this week.  The cards published by Wall, Nichols & Company, one of the Haleiwa Hotel at Waialua, Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii and the other a Royal Palm Avenue also in Honolulu, both have undivided backs even though they were mailed in 1908.   As noted previously undivided postcards were printed between 1901 and 1907 in the United States.  Wall, Nichols & Co. published a variety of items from sheet music and playing cards to postcards between the years 1898 and 1912.  Souvenir cards or postcards were marketed mostly toward the sailors and soliders who passed through the Hawaiian Territories during the Spanish American War. 

The businessman, Benjamin Dillingham, built the Hotel pictured on the card above in 1898.  It is located on the North Shore of the island of Oahu.  In 1984 Haleiwa became a State Historic, Cultural and Scenic area.  The area is famous for its “Rainbow Bridge” that spans the Anahulu River and marks the north entrance to Haleiwa Town. 

A Royal Palm Avenue, Honolulu, T.H.

Both of these cards are addressed to I.C. Lee and postmarked 21 July 1908, Honolulu, Hawaii and have Series 1902 Benjamin Franklin 1 cent stamps.  Even though the stamp says it is Series 1902 it was actually issued in 1903.   After the huge success and popularity of the 1901 Pan American Games stamps the U.S. Post Office Department decided to issue new designs as ordinary stamps.  These stamps, commonly called “Series 1902” because that is printed on the stamps, have some of the most ornate and intricate designs ever found on U.S. stamps.  Some collectors have found the series to be the most beautiful ever made by the U.S. Post Office.


Englarged view of the Series 1902 Benjamin Franklin, 1 cent stamp

Oahu, Hawaii, 2008

Oahu, Hawaii, 2008

We were in Hawaii 100 years after these cards were mailed.  It looks a little different now.   There are, of course, many, many more resorts and hotels today with man-made lagoons, palm trees and white sandy beaches.  Aloha.

For more information, please see:,_Hawaii

Big Island, Hawaii, 2008