Den Norske Grenda (Little Norwegian Village) on Washington Island

As you travel down Main Road on Washington Island, you will notice a small grouping of buildings with some very distinct features. When you've reached the grassy roofs, notice the detailed carvings on the posts, and possibly a Gnome, you've reached Den Norske Grenda, or Little Norwegian Village at Mann's Mercantile Shops.


Brought over from Telemark, Norway in 1989, these log buildings were built and assembled with the help of three Norwegians, to establish a building complex that represented the heritage of Washington Island's Scandinavian immigrants.

The fine craftsmanship of the Norwegian carvers is shown in the intricate details of the posts and trim on these buildings. Wood carving has been a popular hobby and lifetime work of many Norwegians for centuries.


A stabbur traditionally consists of a main, cube shaped room for storing food, which was usually grain. On top of that is a slightly larger room used for more storage of food, usually fruits and vegetables as well as furniture, spare living quarters, or for smoking meat. It placed upon pedestals to deter pests.

Stabbur in Figjan, Numedal, Norway.

Stabbur in Figjan, Numedal, Norway.


Be on the lookout for Gnomes, the mythical creatures of Scandinavian folklore. Also known as Tomte, or Nisse, they are generally described as being no taller than three feet, having a long white beard, and wearing a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright color, according to Wikipedia. It is also said, the Tomte / Nisse live in the houses and barns of the farmstead, and secretly act as their guardian. If treated well, they protect the family and animals from evil and misfortune, and may also aid the chores and farm work. 

photo credit: Mann's Mercantile

photo credit: Mann's Mercantile

Don't forget to stop off and get a pic with your family and friends!

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