Pioneer Log House - 1898

Pioneer Log House - 1898

The house was built by Thore Grue, who along with his wife and five children, moved to Alberta from Minnesota, after having left their home in Roros, Norway. They came to the area from where the new town of Wetaskiwin had just come to be, two years before. They stopped there and were taken to possible homestead sites. From the top of a hill, they decided to settle in the valley, for they believed that a railway would likely be built there. (NW 1/4 12-48-21 West of the 4th). Thore's father, who had accompanied them, homesteaded on the east side of the same section. Later the railway was built and the hamlet of Armena was formed, a half mile south of their homestead. They were the first settlers to arrive in the area. In the early days the log house was a common stopping place for travelers as the roads from Bardo and Roundhill branched off to Edmonton and Wetaskiwin, the closest town for supplies at that time, right by the house. This meant that many travelers spent the night in the cozy house. Thore Grue sold the house and homestead to Knut Lyseng in 1903 because he wanted to purchase more land in a block.

Knut Lyseng was born in Norway and moved his wife and family, six sons and two daughters to Alberta. He already owned land and was trying to buy up more to set up his sons for farming. The house stood vacant until 1910, when Knut's son Carl purchased the homestead and moved into the house. Carl and Ragna Lyseng made this their home until 1969. At that time, the house had 1 room upstairs and one room downstairs. They used curtains to divide the upstairs room into bedrooms. Over the years the Lysengs made renovations and additions to the small home. This included adding a kitchen and dining room (1915), bathroom, entrance and sun porch (1935), and finally put power in 1950.

This house has made two moves over the years. The first was done by Knut Lyseng in 1903. He moved it east because it was built too close to the road allowance. This was quite a feat at the time and was moved by using only two bob-sleds that were pulled by two teams of six horses, one team hooked to each sled. The difficulty of such a move was only fully understood when the house was being moved to the Camrose Museum. The first attempt in moving caused the standard iron beams to twist and special equipment then had to be used. The building was found to be remarkably square when it was being measured for its new foundation. This final move occurred in 1979. Once moved to the museum grounds, it was restored and furnished. The house was loaded and ready for the move 2 months before it was moved but heavy rains prevented the move. The money to fund the move was raised from raffling off a handmade grandfather clock made by Ambrose Ladell. It was officially opened on September 1, 1980. The furnishings for the house were donated by the community.