"Theodore and Katherine Thoreson built the Thoreson House in 1892. In 1881 Theodore had brought his family to Westby, a new Norwegian settlement, growing rapidly due to the presence of the railroad lines. He and his father, Ole, started a lumber business. One recognizes their trade when seeing the beautiful use of wood in the interior, especially downstairs. Bird's eye maple and oak are used throughout the house. Wooden pocket doors between the living and dining rooms are in their original condition. Now owned by the Westby Area Historical Society, it serves as a central site for local history and lore. Membership is open to all interested in preserving Westby area history." (Taken from the 2001 Westby Area Historical Society Calendar).
Westby Co-op Creamery
On October 31, 1903, Articles of Incorporation were drawn and 300 Vernon Countyfarmers each purchased a $10 capital stock certificate to form the Westby Cooperative Creamery. By pooling their money, resources and product, they hoped to build a future for themselves and their families. They did not know they would be forming a business entity that would become the anchor of their community, and continue to be a part of their great great great great great grandchildren's lives. They just thought they would make butter. And they have...for 100 years.
Ben Logan Mill
The Cargill family completed construction of the La Crosse & Southeastern Railroad (see Railroad page for complete details on this very short lived but extremely interesting railroad) which ran from La Crosse to Viroqua, going through 5 Vernon County villages. The Cargill family, then as now, were heavily invested in the agri-business of grain trading so besides building the railroad they built a grain elevator in each of the 5 villages, including the one at the corner of Second and Bekkedal in Westby. Above you see a postcard with a photo which shows that the tracks and the grain elevator had been completed. Unfortunately the elevator was torn down in the 1970s. The 50 ft x 28 ft mill warehouse that was built on the east side of the Cargill grain elevator, probably not built until about 1910, still stand today at the corner of Bekkedal & Second. It has stood the test of time, withstanding storms which destroyed several neighboring buildings!Norskedalen Heritage Center
If you're a history buff or really like historic buildings, you may also visit Norskedalen's Skumsrud Heritage Farm located 3 ½ miles from the main center. This site features a dozen restored historic buildings each representing a different architectural style and floor plan. Buildings include the 1853 Skumsrud cabin on the National Register of Historic Places; the one-room Erickson School; the Heiren-Wold house complete with faux painting on floors and walls; and much more. This site also has a gift shop and is such a picturesque rural setting.
Norskedalen Nature and Heritage Center is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, interpret and educate the area¹s cultural and natural history to visitors, school children, and group tours alike. Norskedalen is a special blend of history, culture, nature, and everyday life. If you need a refreshing, rejuvenating hiatus Norskedalen will provide a special break for you, and your family.