Norwegian artifacts found in Petersburg

PETERSBURG — Artifacts left behind by Norwegian settlers are on display at one of Petersburg’s oldest buildings.

Carpenters working on the 103-year-old Sons of Norway hall found beer bottles in a wall and a leather notebook and a knife holder beneath the floor of an upstairs men’s restroom, KFSK-FM reported.

Rainier was printed on one beer bottle label, and the other read Olympia, both dated in 1906. Jill Williams, a lodge member for over 40 years, says she lightly dusted off the glass because she didn’t want to take all the grim off.

“They were in the walls, inside the wall, like they had just drank their beer and then dropped it down in the walls and closed up the wall,” she said.

She said this could mean the hall houses more artifacts.

“I’m thinking there’s probably more treasures in the walls that haven’t been found,” she said. “And I told the carpenters, ‘you know before you close up these walls you guys probably need to drop a few things in there for the next hundred years.”

A board with a message in Norwegian was also found, and an ink well and several other items were discovered behind the upstairs women’s restroom.

Williams said the board’s message was written by Hans Wick, who settled in the area in 1908 and became the town marshal, fire chief, health officer and superintendent of public works.

“Well, everybody will have to interpret this as they see fit,” Williams said. “So this is what old Hans wrote. Written in Norwegian translated into English: ‘As you mess around in a couple of bunks, you’ll get the answer says the old Hans.’”

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