Created By: North Dakota State University
The Ludwig and Christina Welk Homestead, located in rural Strasburg, is more than just an ode to the career of Polka bandleader, Lawrence Welk, who grew up on the farm. The Homestead, run by the State Historical Society of North Dakota, interprets agriculture in the early 20th century, and German-Russian culture, music, and architecture.
Ludwig and Christina Welk immigrated from Odessa, Russia in 1893. They built their home on the site in 1899 of a material called batsa. Batsa is a dried mud brick and was a construction material commonly used in the Russian motherland. The Welk family grew wheat and other grain crops, raised poultry and tended dairy cows. Ludwig and Christina Welk retired to Strasburg in 1928 and left their youngest son Michael, and his family to run the farm. The Michael Welk family tended the homestead until 1965. Shortly after, the farm fell into disrepair. In 2014, the Welk family sold the site to the State Historical Society of North Dakota. The SHSND worked with local volunteers to restore the site to what you see today.
Lawrence Welk, sixth child to Ludwig and Christina, was born on March 11, 1903. His father taught him to play the accordion. Welk decided on a career in music and convinced his father to loan him money to purchase a mail-order accordion for $400. Welk continued to work on the family farm until he was 21, in repayment for the accordion. The money he made performing during this time went to his family. Lawrence eventually left the farm in 1924 to pursue his musical career. He made his debut on national television in 1955. The Lawrence Welk Show was produced for twenty-six years and reruns on public television stations still play.
Sunday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
I. "Ludwig and Christina (Schwahn) Welk Farmstead near Strasburg, North Dakota." Germans from Russia Heritage Collection. Accessed July 30, 2017. https://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/history_culture/lawrence_welk/pioneer.html.
II. "Welk Farmstead State Historic Site." Welk Farmstead State Historic Site | Official North Dakota Travel & Tourism Guide. Accessed July 30, 2017. http://www.ndtourism.com/strasburg/local-legends/welk-farmstead-state-historic-site.
III. "Welk Homestead State Historic Site." Welk Homestead State Historic Site - State Historical Society of North Dakota. Accessed July 30, 2017. http://history.nd.gov/historicsites/welk/.
IV. Woods, Ellen, and Euvagh Wenzel. Emmons County history : compiled for the bicentennial, 1976. Linton, ND: Emmons County Historical Society, 1976.
This point of interest is part of the tour: German Russian Country Driving Tour