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Ole Rolvaag married Jennie Berdahl when she was living in this house with her parents, who homesteaded near Garretson. Photos by Justine Lueth of Augustana College. Click to enlarge photos.
Ole Rolvaag married Jennie Berdahl when she was living in this house with her parents, who homesteaded near Garretson. Photos by Justine Lueth of Augustana College. Click to enlarge photos.
The Rolvaag Writing Cabin, where <i>Giants in the Earth</i> was penned, was originally located on Big Island Lake in northern Minnesota.
The Rolvaag Writing Cabin, where Giants in the Earth was penned, was originally located on Big Island Lake in northern Minnesota.
The Eggers School House was in operation from 1909-1957.
The Eggers School House was in operation from 1909-1957.
One of the oldest churches established in Lincoln County, Beaver Creek Lutheran Church was built in 1892 in the Vernacular Gothic Revival style.
One of the oldest churches established in Lincoln County, Beaver Creek Lutheran Church was built in 1892 in the Vernacular Gothic Revival style.

Plains Heritage Restored at Augustana

Jun 7, 2012

Fans of Giants in the Earth, Ole Rolvaag’s classic novel of the Norwegian immigrant experience in Dakota Territory, or of South Dakota history will want to hitch up their wagons and strike out for Sioux Falls this Sunday, June 10. For the first time in three years, the cabin in which Rolvaag wrote his pioneer masterpiece will be open to the public. Visitors to Heritage Park, located on the Augustana College campus, can also tour the childhood home of Rolvaag’s bride, Jennie Berdahl, as well as Beaver Creek Lutheran Church and the Eggers School House, originally located near Renner Corner. 

The Nordland Heritage Foundation, an organization devoted to preserving these structures, is celebrating the completion of their three year-painting, repair and landscaping project at Heritage Park with a 10:30 a.m. worship service at the church, followed by brunch. After the meal, Ole Rolvaag’s grandson Paul will speak at the foundation’s annual meeting. If you’d like to attend, please call 605-338-6372 or 605-359-0123 to reserve a spot for brunch and the meeting. The cost is $10.

The park and its historic buildings will be open for visits every Sunday from 2-4 p.m. from June 10 through August 26. Heritage Park is located at 33rd Street and Prairie Avenue in Sioux Falls. For tour information, call 605-274-4007. New features at the complex inlude Jennie Berdahl’s wedding dress in the Berdahl-Rolvaag House and a newly-restored 6 foot tall painting of Christ located behind the altar at Beaver Creek Lutheran Church.

Comments

09:03 pm - Sat, October 13 2012
Giants in the Earth is a wonderful read. Discovered it in a Women of the Westward Migration class in undergrad & very grateful for the preservation work. Hoping I can visit the site on my next summertime trek to South Dakota.
11:38 am - Thu, January 22 2015
I visited the heritage park last week (Jan 2015) and enjoyed looking in the windows, though we were not able to enter. I wish and hope Augustana will do some landscaping around the Rolvaag cabin - for visitors, the barren setting makes it seem like Rolvaag wrote and spent time with his family in a prairie atmosphere - when this cabin was actually deep in the northwoods, overlooking a wild lake. I knew the cabin well, in its original setting. Will some birch, aspens and pines be planted around it - we hope?

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