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This 2-story log cabin was built by Norwegian immigrants in 1846, two years before Wisconsin became a state. The surrounding area had about 25 Norwegian families of settlers and was called the Skoponong Settlement. A second preserved log cabin from the settlement is location on Young Road. It was common for immigrants to settle among others who spoke the same language. Additionally, the scenery of the area reminded them of Norway. After clearing their land, the farmers discovered that the sandy soil of the area was not the perfect farmland. By 1850 there were almost 1000 people living in the Palmyra Township.

The restored cabin as it looks now.

Plant, Building, Sky, Window

Ole Olesons Probate records show the lands and values he owned at the time of his death in 1874.

Handwriting, Font, Writing, Monochrome

When purchased by the DNR, the cabin is concelled inside the left half of this house.

Car, Sky, Building, Wheel

Ole and Anlang (Ellen) Oleson were born and married in Norway and traveled to the United States with their infant daughter, Julia, in the mid 1840’s. They came by ship to New York and then took another ship through the Great Lakes to Milwaukee. They came to the Skoponong area where two of Ole’s brothers, Svegung and Mathias, had already settled. A fourth brother, the oldest, would inherit the family property in Norway so there was motivation for the other brothers to purchase their own land in Wisconsin for $1.25 per acre. Ole purchased 80 acres upon arriving and eventually owned 200 acres when he died in 1874. 

Ole and Anglang had 11 children total, but 3 of them did not live past childhood. According to family stories passed down through Ole’s eldest daughter, Julia Oleson Tice, the first son Ole was killed by lightening while whittling next to the wood stove. Another son, born that year was also named Ole. 

The cabin was built in 1846 and is made primarily of tamarack logs. There are oak logs at the base of the building at the north and south sides. The door and holes along the middle of the front side of the house indicates that there may have originally been a porch and outside entrance to the upstairs. When first settling land, it is difficult to build both a house and barn in the first year so some farming equipment and feed may have been stored upstairs.

After the Oleson’s all passed away or left the area, the house was eventually covered up with newer building methods and added on to. When purchased by the State of Wisconsin, the previous owners were unaware of the fact that there was a log cabin sealed inside the walls. It was discovered when the building was being removed to restore the area to a natural setting within the State Forest. Funding to restore was provided the Kettle Moraine Natural History Association, Fern Young, Donald Reed, Herbert H. Kohl Charities, Inc. and Anna Holton.

The cabin and surrounding property is part of the Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit.

LaGrange Pioneers. LaGrange, WI. LaGrange Ladies Aid Society, 1935.

Kurowski, Ron. Log Cabins of the Kettle Moraine, UW Digital Collection. April 1st 1995. Accessed May 19th 2021.

Schroeder, John. "A Treasure, Restored log home open for viewing." Waukesha Freeman (Waukesha) August 6th 1992. , Sports sec.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

DNR file

DNR file