We camped outside of Stoughton, Wisconsin last weekend, at the Viking Village, which was The Martin Luther Orphan’s Home before becoming a campground in 1979. The orphanage was established in 1889 by the Norwegian Lutheran Church on 52 acres of land donated by Gjermund & Rebecca Skaalen.
Fire destroyed the original home on Palm Sunday 1925, gratefully, no one was hurt. The photo below is the new home built in 1935.
The orphanage was completely self-sufficient raising their own livestock and crops, along with having their own schoolhouse.
I’m guessing that the campground’s office on the right was the mess hall & the building on the left is the incinerator.
Saturday morning was surprisingly crisp and the chimney swifts were skimming the ground for insects (and bats worked the twilight hours). We got a quick dog walk in, but it soon started to storm. After a couple of hours of rain and no clear sign when it would end, we decided to head-off to the city of Stoughton to browse main strip.
A non-Norwegian, Luke Stoughton, the city’s namesake, discovered the city of Stoughton, Wisconsin. However, the town quickly became predominately Norwegian because of Targe G. Mandt (aka T.G. Mandt), a Norwegian-born businessman that opened The Mandt Wagon Works in 1865. As his business grew to one of the largest wagon companies in the area, more Norwegian immigrants came to live in Stoughton, making it one of the most predominately Norwegian towns in the country.
We found this town to be friendly & a great place to walk around for a bit. There are many boutique type shops, bakeries, antique stores, artists, a cheese house (Get the cheese curds!!) and many well maintained historical homes with many beautiful gardens.
We happened upon a well-maintained garden with many stunning flowers.
The campground is right across the street from Viking Park, a trail and dog park. The dog park is an island, too cool. We walked the outer trail and found a geocache on way.
This place is supposed to put on quite a Syttende Mai Celebration, which is the Norwegian Independence Day, May 17th. We’ll have to pencil that in for next year!