back in time with a visit to the childhood home of Lawrence Welk
The historic Ludwig Welk Homestead brings the past
In 1989 Pioneer Heritage, Inc. (a non-profit organization)
was formed. The Welk Home was placed on the National Register
as a Centennial project and restoration began in 1990.
The six acre site was leased from the Schwab family
for 99 years. The site is typical of the early German-Russian
settlers' farms. In May 1991 the Welk site was open to the public.
Many of the original furnishings have been placed
in the sod house along with other antiques from the 1920s. Out
buildings that have been restored are the summer kitchen, carriage
house, blacksmith shop, barn and privy. These are very much like
they were when
the renowned band leader Lawrence Welk was born and grew up on
Restoration of the Welk Homestead has been entirely paid for by
private donations. No federal funds have been received.
As you step back in time at the Welk Site in Strasburg,
North Dakota, you will be welcomed by the beautiful countryside
and clean air. You are in store for a wunnerful, wunnerful time.
Special thanks to the volunteers and contributors
who have made the restoration and preservation of the Welk Homestead
Ludwig and Christina (Schwahn) emigrated to the
United States in 1893 from Odessa, Russia. They arrived in New
York in April of 1893 and traveled by train to Eureka, South Dakota.
There they purchased a team of oxen and a cart and traveled 50
miles overland to their homestead northwest of what is now Strasburg,
North Dakota. The city was established 10 years later.
After the family lived briefly in a temporary claim shack, Ludwig
built the present sod house. The construction technique-mud and
clay bricks-was taught to his forefathers on the steppes of Russia
by Russian Soldiers.
Having lost a child (Anton) before emigrating, the Welk's second
child, John, was born soon after they arrived in North Dakota.
Their other seven children, Barbara, Anna Mary, Louie, Lawrence
(March 11, 1903) Agatha, Micheal and Eva were born in the wood
sided sod house that still stands.
Ludwig and Christina retired and moved into Strasburg
in the late 1920's. He died in 1937 and she in 1940; both are
buried at St. Peter & Paul Cemetery at Strasburg.
Lawrence left home on his birthday in 1924 to pursue
his musical career. On July 2, 1955, he made his debut on national
television. The Lawrence Welk Show was produced for 26 years and
today reruns of the popular program air weekly throughout the
United States and foreign countries.
Lawrence and his wife Fern (Renner) have three
children, Larry, Jr., Shirley and Donna. Lawrence died in 1992
and Fern lives in retirement in the Los Angeles, California area.
The Welk Site is open daily for guided tours and
videos: May 15 to September 15 Hours 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Open
by appointment during off-season Admission $3.00
Pioneer Heritage, Inc.
P.O. Box 52, Strasburg, ND 58573