Your hostess, Diane, was born to a Swedish-American father and a Norwegian-American mother. All of Diane's grandparents were immigrants from Norway and Sweden during the second wave of immigration from the Scandinavian countries in the 1890's through early 1900's. Diane's maternal grandmother, Petra Fatland Knutsen, from Halsnoy Island, Norway, honored and kept her heritage which inspired a pride of that heritage within her family. Through Normarke Farm, Diane preserves her Scandinavian heritage and brings to others an awareness of and appreciation for the hospitality, hard work, ingenuity and joy of life of the Scandinavian people.
Your host, Jon, also has a Scandinavian connection. His grandmother, Maybelle, was of Norwegian heritage who was a park ranger in Yosemite National Park in the 1920's.
Normarke Farm Bed and Breakfast sits on 87 acres of wooded hills and wild flower filled meadows. Diane's dream of a bed and breakfast was already ten years in the making when she purchased the land in 1992. It was her culmination of a two year search for just the right property. Construction started in the fall of 2001 with Normarke Farm Bed and Breakfast open for business on January 15, 2003.
The farmlands have a rich history starting back during the gold rush days when General George Armstrong Custer camped in the meadow between he present log cabin lodge and the lake on August 8, 1874. In the late 1800's, the property also played host to a railroad station and a country school. When this property came off the roles of public lands, the order was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. The first private owners, the Reausaws, deeded the small lake on their property to Lawrence County and later to the state of South Dakota so long as it was taken care of for public use. To this day it is a popular fishing lake, stocked with pan sized trout at least three times a year.
Jon and Diane have a number of relics from the 1800's and early 1900's that have been found in the meadow including oxen shoes, an unfired army issue rifle shell, and iron wagon parts.