A BRIEF BACKGROUND ON THE HISTORIC BUILDINGS IN OUR VILLAGE
Trausti Vigfusson House
Around 1900, TraustiVigfusson built the modest log house in the village of "Lundi" (Riverton) where, he lived with his wife Rosa and an infant daughter. In 1902 he dismantled the house, identifying each hewn log with Roman Numerals and moved it on a horse-drawn wagon to the homestead he, had taken the Geysir District. He named the land Vatnsdalur (
Trausti Vigfusson was born at Reykjakot in the Biskupstungur district of Southern Iceland on June 19, 1869, the son of VigfusGudmundsson and his wife, AudbjorgThorsteinsdottir. On October 27,1894,Trausti married in
Trausti and Rosa Vigfusson were kind, gentle, cultured people who struggled to adapt to this land amidst poverty and hardship. Besides farming on a small scale, Trausti plied his trade, in the area, building many homes and at least local churches, as well as fashioning beautiful furniture with hand tools and his homemade treadle lathe. Both Trausti and Rosa were steeped in the traditions of their homeland and their home was a place where supernatural phenomena, such as dreams and visions, were discussed as a matter-of-fact. In the summer of 1908, Trausti had an unusually vivid dream in which a tall stranger emerged from the bush and approached him from across the home field. This proud looking man shook hands with Trausti and introduced himself as John Ramsay. Trausti had heard of Ramsay from the old settlers and knew of his helpfulness toward the Icelandic pioneers. He also knew of the tragedy Ramsay had suffered in losing his wife, Betsey, and four young children in the small pox epidemic, in 1876. Ramsay had mourned his wife and children deeply, and during the winter after this tragedy, he had brought a fine marble headstone to the gravesite at
In Trausti's dream, Ramsay recalled trapping beaver nearby and predicted a good future for the settlement. He seemed to know Trausti was a carpenter, and saddened by the neglected estate of Betsey's grave, he asked Trausti to rebuild the old picket fence on the site. Trausti, in spite of a heavy workload and the distance, involved, promised we would tend to the matter, and Ramsay and he parted company on good terms. Over coffee the next morning, Trausti told the dream to his wife, mother, and daughter, who all agreed that this had been a meaningful vision. Trausti was a man of his work, and despite various unavoidable delays, he eventually crafted a beautiful new picket fence with ornate corner posts and transported it to the gravesite at Sandy Bar on an ox-drawn wagon--thus, fulfilling the promise he had made to John Ramsay.
St. Nicholas Parish Hall
St. Nicholas Parish Hall, a designated
By the late 1970's and early 1950's, because of declining rural population, the hall was infrequently used, except for the weekly bingo night that went on for a number of years. By 1983, the hall had been permanently closed and its contents auctioned off.
The St. Nicholas Parish Hall was gifted to the
The Sigvaldason House
The house was built sometime before the railroad come to Arborg, which was in 1911. The man who built is was a
The Sigvaldason children were in awe of the beautiful big house with a veranda across the front. They had lived in a shanty house in Vidir. They had moved from Vidir to Arborg on a hayrack which was piled high with their belongings.
The house gradually filled up, as the children became sixteen in number. Lara always mad the rounds at night 'counting heads' to make sure all were at home and safe.
The veranda became a favorite sleeping place on hot summer nights.
Lara had a large garden and soon flowers and shrubs adorned the yard on this hospitable home.
Though Bjorn had had the misfortune to lose an arm when he was thirteen years old, he farmed actively and later established a dairy, shipping milk by train to a processing plant in
The house was a lively, but orderly place as Bjorn and Lara brought up their large family. Lara baked 24 loaves of bread every other day on a wood stove. She was a good cook and meals served were nutritious and tasty. Lara sewed all the clothes for the children until they went out on their own to work. The windows were adorned with simple, but attractive white curtains made out of sheeting. Sugar and flour bags became pillowcases and tea towels.
After Bjorn's death, Lara carried on the dairy with her son, Bjossi (Bjorn). When Bjossi married, he and his wife Lillo (Kristin) took over the home and the farm and lived in the house from 1947 until Bjossi's death in 1961. Lillo later sold the house to the Koblun family, who remained there for many years.
Lara spent her retirement years at the Betel Home in Gimli, passing away on January 31, 1986 at the age of 95.
Bjorn and Lara's children are carrying on their tradition of faith, love, and respect for their country and ancestors
The Sigvaldason house was built sometime before the railroad came to Arborg, which was in 1911. The man who built it was a Mr. Cooper and he was a land agent for the government. He sold it to the Oblate Fathers and it became the priests' home. In fact, what is now the parlor area became, a chapel. In 1920, Bjorn and Lara Sigvaldason purchased the home and moved their family from Vidir to Arborg. In 1932 or '33, the shanty part at the back of the house was torn down, the house lifted and a basement put under it with a two story addition added to the back end. This gave the house a large kitchen, a washroom and a back landing plus two more bedrooms.
Copyrighted March, 2006-Arborg & District Multicultural Heritage Association. All rights reserved.