Tracking Down Places from the Past: The Cottage

When I was in Denmark and Sweden I went off with my cousins to try and track down some the places mentioned in my dad’s stories of his life.

In Nordenbro we tried to find the cottage of Rasmus and Mathilda, who lived just a little ways from us in a small 300-year-old farmhouse“. Dad's painting of the farm in Denmark, 1928On occasion there was some difficulty in determining the exact spot he was talking about but this thatched cottage in Nordenbro looks eerily like the one in Dad’s painting, right down to the blue trim and hollyhocks, despite that fact that his memory dates back 90 years ago! There is even a ‘hat hill’ behind it. This thatched cottage in Nordenbro looks eerily like the one in Dad's painting“They had an adopted son, Frede, who was apprenticed to become a blacksmith.” This is the kicker: the blacksmith shop was just across the road!Nordenbro Blacksmith with orange wallsThis little thatched cottage had a lot of contenders; there were so many cute places that we wanted to be THE place. But when we found this one we knew.This thatched cottage in Nordenbro looks eerily like the one in Dad's paintingIs this it? Actually it isn’t.

In this case there was no one home so we left a print of my dad’s painting in the mailbox and the owner phoned my cousin who wrote me,

“I talked to Flemming who owns the house we saw. And I enclose the summary of what he told me.

The house we saw and thought was the house of Rasmus and Mathilde is owned by Flemming today, and was not the house of Rasmus and Mathilde.

In 1930 there was no window in the roof. It was done in the 1960s when the house was redone.

The house of Rasmus and Mathilde is no longer exists. It was situated at Søndergade, further down the road from the dairy and situated on the same side. It was at ‘Matrikel 14D’. The farmer Hans Peter Pihl owns the land where it once was.

Rasmus: 1861-1933
Mathilde: 1862-1938

They had a daughter, but nothing is known about her.

Frede Hansen Christensen, the adopted son: 1911-?”

And I wrote back:

“Well, at least we had a lot of fun trying to track the places down. I’m still convinced we had the right place. Is Flemming sure????”

Actually, in Dad’s painting the cottage faced the road. And this was one of the ones when we had to go into the yard to get a photo of it; no wonder the neighbours were wondering what we were up to! Also the upstairs window was square, and while looking at my photos I saw that many of the cottages had hollyhocks out front. (And these actually might be climbing roses…)

So a good story – and one of many to come out of this trip!

Lens Artists Photo Challenge: History

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9 responses to “Tracking Down Places from the Past: The Cottage

  1. Great story and images! I love the fact that your dad painted this place from childhood and you’re tracking it down. I love this bit of family history too.

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