Sunday, 12 August 2018

Old Farmhouse at Duvemåla

Road Trip 2018, Part 7



Our next stop between Växjö and Kalmar involved a little detour that took us off the main roads and out into the rural countryside – to an old farmhouse which has been kept as a museum, and also offers a charming garden café.

It was here, at Duvemåla, that the author Vilhelm Moberg got much of his inspiration for his Emigrant Novels (previously introduced in the post including our visit to the House of Emigrants in Växjö).

Moberg’s grandmother Johanna was born in Duvemåla in 1833. At the age of 43, Johanna was left a widow with seven children. She never emigrated to America, but six of her children did (and she never saw them again). The only one who remained in Sweden was her daughter Ida; who in turn also had seven children.  One of those was Vilhelm Moberg - 13 years old when his grandmother died in 1912. Later in life, he paid tribute to her in his novels by letting the main female character in the Emigrants series, Kristina, come from Duvemåla (and when Kristina and Karl-Oskar emigrated to Minnesota, they called their new home over there New Duvemåla).

The house where Johanna was born was torn down in the 1930s. But another farmhouse in the little village still stands pretty much as it would have been in the mid 1800s. The people who used to live here were four siblings born in the early 1900s – two sisters and two brothers. Neither of them ever got married, and they kept running the farm just as it had been done in their parents’ day. They never introduced electricity or running water or any kind of modern machinery. No telephone, no TV, etc. They let the forest grow; and saved their money. They did all the farmwork the old-fashioned way (using horses etc), and they were the last farm in the village to keep livestock. The last of the four siblings died in 1989. And as there was no will and no immediate heir, the whole estate then went to the Swedish Inheritance Fund*, which in this case granted an application from the municipality to take over the property and keep it as a cultural heritage.

*[Allmänna arvsfonden - When a person in Sweden dies without a written will and no living spouse or close family, his or her property is transferred to this fund, which in turn supports various charities etc.]

2018-07-17-3 Duvemåla

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2018-07-17-3 Duvemåla7

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We finished off our visit with delicious home-made apple cake and vanilla custard out in the garden, under an apple tree… (In Moberg’s books, Kristina brings apple seeds from Sweden and plants them – eventually –  at their new home in Minnesota…)

Through My Lens


  1. awesome buildings and love all the things inside to... I like the little blue dresser mirror and the sheer curtains made me think of your kitchen. I have not seen the cover for the old singer sewing machine. that is really cool. very different fireplace, love it to

    1. A lot of villages and towns have some kind of old homestead museum much like this, but far from all have the original buildings in their original location. (Like our museum park here in Borås - I think all of the buildings there were moved from other places in the area.) Here it is the authentic farm where it was built; although not all the original furniture (as that had been sold before the municipality took over the place).

  2. A fascinating place, I like such glimpses into the not so distant past. The four siblings refusing all technological progress and their house being preserved like in a time capsule after their death reminds me of Brodsworth Hall in Yorkshire (I blogged about it in 2011 or so).

    1. Meike, when visiting this place a lot of things "spoke" to me because I was reminded of my own (paternal) grandmother's family story. She was born in 1900 and grew up on a farm with primarily her mum, two or three older half-siblings and one younger brother. The father died when my grandma was 7. Two older half-siblings emigrated to America in 1901-2 but returned to Sweden some ten years later. The farm was kept in the family until 1930 when my grandmother, her half-sister from their mum's first marriage and their younger brother all got married all within a year or so. My grandfather built a house in another location in the same village (the original house on the property that my brother and I sold four years ago) At first, not only my grandparents lived there (and my dad, born one year later) but also my grandma's sister+husband, and their mother. (The original house back then had 1 kitchen + 1 room downstairs and the same upstairs. No bathroom - just an "outhouse".)

  3. The fund has kept the place up beautifully! I love the thoughtful little touches inside, too. The shoes, little bench of tools, and colorful mirror. They knew just what to fix up and what to leave alone.

  4. Ginny, it is the municipality that is responsible for the place now, but I agree that whoever is doing the job, they seem to be taking good care of the place :)

  5. Great post. Very interesting.

  6. Can you please visit my blog and tell something about my captures.

  7. That's both an interesting and unusual story.


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