Road Dedicated to Lawrence Welk
Wetzel, Dale. "Road Dedicated to Lawrence Welk." Forum, 6 June 1995, sec.
BISMARCK, N.D. – Visitors to Lawrence Welk’s
boyhood home soon will be able to drive along a stretch of road
named for the bandleader.
On Monday, Gov. Ed Schafer signed a proclamation
that designates U.S. Highway 83 in Emmons County as the “Lawrence
The road runs through Welk’s hometown of Strasburg,
east of the farmstead where he was brought up.
It has been restored as a museum honoring Welk and
the heritage of the area; it was extensively settled by ethnic
Germans who emigrated from Russia, beginning in the late 1800’s.
The proclamation sets aside this week to honor the
bandleader, who died three years ago.
His daughter, Donna Welk Mack of Boise, Idaho, and
Jayne Walton Rosen, a former singer and dancer in Welk’s
band, attended Monday’s ceremony in the Capitol, along with
a number of Welk cousins.
Mack recalled her father’s early hurdles to
“He continues to work hard. Even though at
one time, his entire band walked out on him because they felt
he was too much of a high to ever make it in the music business,”
she said. “Yet that courage and perseverance kept his dream
Green-and-white signs displaying the road’s
new name will be posted soon at the north and south borders of
Emmons County, said Ray Zink, chief engineer for the Department
Emmons County is in south-central North Dakota,
southeast of Bismarck.
The Missouri River forms its western border.
The ceremony was scheduled to coincide with a Bismarck
reception Monday night hosted by the North Dakota State University
Libraries, where Welk’s papers are kept.
The school gave him an honorary doctorate in 1965.
Mack presented Schafer with a white conductor’s
baton, inscribed “Musically Yours, Lawrence Welk,”
and a boxed set of music.
Welk’s band became widely known through broadcasts
of a weekly television show.
Welk and his family “maintained a commitment
to the family values and wholesome entertainment that was so consistent
with his Germans from Russia heritage,” Schaefer said.
“Even though at one time, his entire band
walked out on him... Yet, that courage and perseverance kept his
Donna Welk Mack
Lawrence Welk’s Daughter