This is the Lars Rudi home. Lars was the son of a farmer in Uvdal, Numedal, Norway, and was one of seven Rudi children who grew to adulthood. All but one of the Rudi siblings immigrated to America hoping to make a better life for themselves. Family and friends frequently settled in clusters because of familiar customs and language.The Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway
Lars and his new wife Vighild (Sunde) immigrated to the United States in 1866, where they lived and worked on the Lien Farm in Clayton County, Iowa that first summer. After harvest season, they set out for Rushford, Minnesota and lived with relatives for the winter. The next spring they came to Renville County where they settled near their neighbors and family from Norway. Across the river, Lars' only sister, Turi, settled with her husband, Tov and their four children. The Rudis lived with Thor Helgeson until the summer of 1869 when their tiny log home was built.
Lars became a lay religious leader for the cluster of Norwegian families. Religious services and parochial school were held in the Rudi home. Pioneer pastors stayed here while conducting services in the area.
Vighild's sister, Ingeborg, stayed with them to help with daily chores. Though Lars and Vighild had no children of their own, they helped raise many children and were loved by many people. The Rudis lived in this cozy home until Lars died in 1913. Vighild and Ingeborg then went to live with a nephew southeast of Sacred Heart until they passed away. The Rudis are buried in the Opdal Church Cemetery, southeast of Sacred Heart.
Lars, Vighild and Ingeborg. Over the years, the building gained a lean-to on the north side. This was stripped away by Ole Enestvedt when he began restoring the place in the 1920s to become an area museum. In 1986, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Building of the House
· Trees for the Rudi house were felled in winter.
· In spring they floated the trees down the river about three miles to the Rudi Homestead.
· Lars had a lime kiln similar to this to make his own plaster.
· The house was constructed with dovetail notching.
· In 1869, Lars hired Thor Helgeson to build their new log home here in the beautiful Minnesota River Valley. Thor Helgeson was to build a 15 foot by 18 foot home, constructed of oak logs that had been felled the winter before, stripped of bark, dovetail notched in the Scandinavian way and then lifted to make the walls. The spaces between the logs were chinked with lime plaster and the logs themselves regularly whitewashed with lime. Lime was commonly made from stones containing lime, picked in the field and burned to a powder in a kiln.
Struggles for a Home
The Minnesota River Valley has a story to tell about indigenous people struggling to make a home amid a changing environment. The Minnesota River Valley also has a story to tell about the struggles of the pioneering immigrant families who eventually created one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world.
logos of: Renville County; America's Byways Federal Highway Administration; Scenic Byway Minnesota River Valley