The similarities of Swede House to Lindsborg's Founder's Pastor Olof Olsson's stone house are striking.
Their 1873 Swede House
As of 2011, the year I sold the farm, these were the ruins of Emil's and Lydia's Swedish Farmstead, which they purchased in 1936.
Today, I am told, it is grown over again. Below is how it looked when we first took ownership after the death of our mother, Lois Fry Cochran, in May of 1996.
Like his father, Charles Deere, Emil would be a gentleman farmer who would hire another farmer to work the land. His first two years of college in 1897 and 1898 were at the Kansas State Agricultural College in Manhattan, Kansas. Farming was on his mind throughout his life as in 1916, the year of his marriage to Lydia, when Emil was reading The Country Gentleman, the oldest agricultural journal in the world, published by The Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia.
The most interesting and historic part of the Swedish Farmstead, of course, were its buildings in the ruins. Here shown in 2009 is the best example of the ruins of possibly the last Swedish stone house of this era in the Smoky Valley as two historians, writer and former teacher Bill Carlson of Lindsborg, and Director of the Mitchell County Historical Society Kyle Peterson, have concluded.
Who the builder of Swede House was has not yet been determined, but he may be the same builder of Dr. Rev. Olof Olsson's home who was the founder of Lindsborg and the Bethany Lutheran Church. I read in some Lindsborg literature that there was a real effort in Lindsborg to move the Olsson stone house to the McPherson County Old Mill Museum in the 1990s, but in the process the structure crumbled, and, with it, a crucial piece of Swedish Lindsborg Kansas Smoky Valley history was lost forever!
The drawing is from page 9 of Anna Olsson's book, "En Prärieunges Funderingar -- "A CHILD OF THE PRAIRIE," translated by Martha Winblad, edited by Elizabeth Jaderborg, 1978. Anna was the daughter of the founder of Lindsborg, Pastor Olof Olsson, and lived in this stone house. Note that there are other drawings and paintings of Pastor Olsson's house showing on the front of the house three (3) windows on the second story.
Swedish Stone House Research by Mrs. Elizabeth Jaderborg
Captivated by the Swedish history of the Smoky Valley, the late (2016) Mrs. Elizabeth Jaderborg of English descent, originally from Maine, who married Swede Einer Jaderborg writes the following from her 1981 TWO REPRINTS: Swedish Architectural Influence in the Kansas Smoky Valley Community found on page 68 in the essay, Stone Houses found in the Smoky Valley: “The stone masons who came to the Smoky Valley from Sweden were skilled. They brought not only their know-how, but their tools as well,” such as a chisel and large wooden mallet...A house of stone in the Smoky Valley lent an air of distinction to the homestead, for the country manor houses of the aristocracy in Sweden were often fashioned after the then-current French style, in stone, which the Swedish farmers sought to imitate."
More specific to the Lindsborg founder Pastor Olof Olsson's stone house, Mrs. Jaderborg continues on page 72 in her essay, A Stone Parhus, The Olof Olsson Homestead, "The house is made of huge, reddish-brown sandstone blocks and was covered with a layer of stucco around the turn of the century. Typically, there are two large rooms, separated by the front entrance, stairwell and walk-through closet to a rear chamber."
Further from a description from retired director of the Dialect and Folklore Institute in Uppsala, Folke Hedblom, she quotes him, "I remember particularly the chimney. I think there were two chimney “pipes” leading from the ground floor through two storys. In the attic they were unified to one chimney putting through the roof. The arrangement was genuine Swedish." ... "Hedblom was referring to the 'wishbone chimney' where two chimneys originate astraddle the staircase and are exposed in the downstairs rooms for added heat. Typically, the front entrance opens directly to the staircase... Upstairs there are two large rooms, Dr. Olsson’s study and a large bedroom... “The staircase was placed exactly in the Swedish way and so was the construction of the inner walls [partitions].14 The exterior walls of the home are at least a foot thick. They are hand hewn and chinked with smaller stones and mortar. The inside is of lath and plaster construction,.."
As the fourth and last Sohlberg Deere owner of this Swedish Farmstead, I have come to know the ruins of Swede House well as well as the grounds that surround it, so I can say as an authority on Swede House that the above descriptions were very true of this structure.
Drawings below which were to be used for the restoration of Swede House which did not occur due to the 2011 sale of the homestead.
In Mitchell County Kansas, however, there are over a dozen of these houses of this Swedish design as I learned from the Mitchell County Museum director Kyle Peterson. A restoration project is at hand for one of them, the design of which looks almost identical to Swede House. When completed, it will become the home for the Mitchell County Museum.
To find this particular stone house, go here HERE.
To find this particular stone house, go here HERE.
Under the Kansas Sun