Changing times and the look of The Norway Building

Having travelled the world and been taken down and put up again 5 times(!), you would expect that the look of the building has changed through the ages. The accompanying sereis of pics present changes it has undergone. For the reconstruction we tried to bring it as close to the original as possible. Except for roof, floor and bottom wood, at least 90 percent of the building consists of original material.

We had no original drawings of the building, except some sketches. The high resolution photo by Fair photographer C. C. Arnold proved to be very useful for reconstruction purposes. The building is up on blocks, similar to the Norwegian ”stabbur” (storage house).

Handcolored postcard with rainbow roof, Lake Geneva. The rainbow colors signals an interesting twitch later in the building’s history.

Later owner William Wrigley of chewing gum fame used the building for showing films. For more convient access, he installed a roofed gangway from the main house. Walls were painted yellow(!).

Early postcard from Little Norway shows the Wrigley yellow is still in place. The largest dragons are on the lower roof, and ”angels” are topping off the tower.

When Isak Dahle rebuilt The Norway Building he did an interesting twist with the royal heads. Isak was gay, and we can figure that wasn’t easy in the thirties. As a silent signal/protest he made some of the viking couples of the same sex together. Isak’s prank is still present today and will be, to signal that The Norway Building welcomes all, regardless of sexual preference, race or faith.

This photo is taken 1987, some years before the restoration anhead of the building’s 100th anniversary. Still no dragons on top, and square tiles on the roof.

After 1993 new, rombic tiles on roof, and dragons on all rooftops

In Little Norway the building had a basement, with an entrance at the back of the building.

Down in the basement we could see the impressive logs under floorboards. No rot in these.

Only an old dragon from the thirties in the basement.

Today’s version of the building is very similar to the first pic in this series. Now it smells tar, like the old stave churches. One modification: Olav Kvåle’s angels above the entrance and at the very top.

Interesting to note that the very first wedding after the building returned home, was with two men. And above their heads two bearded kings observed the ceremony.

On your next visit, try to spot the pair of queens.

Quest for Norwegian Folk Art in America

Unique Norwegian Treasure With Nisse in Wisconsin

Norway Building from 1893 Chicago World’s Fair heads home