17 BUILDINGS HAVE STORIES TO TELL
Ole Olsen Stokke was the last member of the Stokke family that owned the farm. He carved his initials O. O. S and the year 1772 on the soapstone fireplace in “drengestua” where he stayed. “Drengestua” is historically a place where servants, typically, working on the farm rested and slept. The lower part of the “drengestua” and the little storehouse is still here today. “Drengestua” would later also be used as woodshed, workshop and storeroom. Low buildings were suitable for the population at the time, since the average height for men around this time was about 165 cm (about 5’5’’). The average age was 35 years. Ole Olsen Stokke became 56 years old.
Lars Brøcher, who owned the farm from 1793, built the main house in 1809. The house was constructed with a core made of timber, and has a long tradition of housing residents and being a place for social gatherings. Today, the house is furnished with old fashioned furniture, and a great deal of the furniture from the past has been preserved. The old wallpaper on the walls in the dining hall on the second floor is presumably from when the house was built.
The oldest part of the barn is from the 1870s. The barn had to be restored following an accident in 1937, and the renovation lasted until 1939. Martha Stensrud, a milkmaid at the farm from 1939 to 1951, explained that along with the renovation came a new and modern milking machine, which considerably eased the work of milking the cows. Strong fists were a necessity for milking nearly 30 litres of milk per cow every day by hand. Stokke Nedre had 30 cows when the renovation was complete.
The biggest store house, from the 1800s, has mainly been used to store grain. The bell tower of the store house has had an important function throughout the ages, both as a bell to notify the workers when the meals were ready, and as a warning bell in case of fire or other important incidents or events. In 2001, the store house was moved closer to the yard using cranes and trailers. It was later rebuilt as a guest house, and the renovation process was finally done in 2006.
The biggest cabin down by Mjøsa was originally inhabited by guards supervising the timber floating, as well as the workers who had the dangerous job of leading the timber along the waterway southwards (see the other poster about the history of timber floating). Along the lakefront, you can see the house that was used as smithy during the same period, as well as a boat house from 1850 which is worthy of protection.
Crisis at the farm
A dramatic event in the mid 1930s left deep traces among the people living at Stokke Nedre. Parts of the floor in the cow shed collapsed, and rumour has it that some cows were left hanging by the chain over the manure cellar. This must have been a horrible sight for the milkmaid and another woman that fortunately were standing on the part of the floor that did not collapse. Both of them were able to make it out of the shed without harm, but this was unfortunately not the case for the animals. The accident brought a huge economic loss for the farm, but also an opportunity to modernise as renovating the the cow shed was very well needed.
Did you know that…
You can easily create your own, long-lasting paint for the outdoors. “Komposisjonsmaling”, or “slamfärg” in Swedish, is a type of paint made out of a combination of rye or wheat flour, water, iron vitrol and pigment powder. This was often used to paint and maintain the outside of the buildings at the farm, typically the barn and cow shed.
We still create our own “komposisjonsmaling” at Stokke Nedre.