Sunday, April 22, 2012

How Swede it is: Greetings from Swedesburg, Iowa

Swedesburg welcomes you.

The Swedish American Museum

 John Alvine and David Johanson (not The New York Dolls-Buster Poindexter David Johanson, another David Johanson) were Swedeburg's last Swedish immigrants.

David emigrated as a child and before he left Sweden, his mother knitted him these socks, which he kept under his pillow.

Downtown Swedesburg

They have a handsome goat made out of hay bales to beckon the passersby to stop and visit.

One of our favorite things to do when driving through an area we haven't visited before is to get off the main roads and into some tiny little place we couldn't have imagined visiting back home. We looked up Swedesburg, Iowa, since Sherry is of Swedish heritage and I have a Swedish first name. It's a very small, unincorporated community in southeastern Iowa and the great travel website mentioned they have a giant straw goat there, so what more did we need? As you would expect, there are lots of farms in this region, but the Swedes who came here over 100 years ago had to do some swamp-draining to make this place livable, and swamp-drain they did. Reminded me a little of Swamp Castle in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Today Swedesburg's Swedish American Museum pays tribute to those rugged Scandinavians with pictures, books, documents, exhibits, and living, breathing people who will gladly tell you all about it. You'll see so many references to lutefisk, St. Lucia and dala horses that you won't mind the lack of Ingmar Bergman, Volvos or ABBA.

Swedesburg, vi älskar er!

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