Reaching into Rural America's Past

AJ Levorsen Memorial Building

Without question, this is the most used building on the LIRPF grounds. The concept and the planning for its erection began in the summer of 1996, when Lorren and Sal Levorsen visited the grounds to look at the restored engine which his father Albert Levorsen had used to power his sawmill which was located to the west of Long Lost Lake (some 10 miles west of the LIRPF grounds) from 1932-1957. After spending some time in visting and looking around on the grounds that afternoon, Levorsen informed Bob A. Bilden that he planned to endow a building to be erected in memory of his father and his crew, and also logging-related families from around the area. Following Levorsen's declaration: "I'll furnish the blueprints (he was a graduate civil engineer) and the money; you get the building put up!" A handshake between the two men formed the contract for the building's construction. In mid-summer of the following year, the building site was cleared and leveled, and in early 1998, the excavation for footings was dug; the foundation poured; plumbing and wiring for floor heat installed; and by early June, the contractors were ready to begin building. The building went up at a steady pace; yet the two men (with a third for rafter elevation and placing) doing the work exhibited extreme dedication and thoroughness in their workmanship. The building was completely erected, insulated and sheet-rocked by showtime in August. During one telephone conversation, Levorsen remarked to Bilden that he had seen a building in which the interior walls were divided into various sized sections, with the sections being sold to individuals/families who would pay for the finishing material and installation labor and then be the owners of that area for the lifetime of the building. This idea was agreed upon and then Levorsen added: "And they used different species of locally produced and milled lumber for each display section!" This too, was added to the plan, so that when the interior was completed there were twelve sections, with eight different species of lumber (ash, aspen, basswood, birch, cedar, pine, red oak and spruce) being used. Several of these display areas were in place; the ceiling had been textured; and bathrooms and a kitchenette installed when he building was dedicated in 1999, when Lorren and Sal Levorsen and his sister Barbara and her husband Tom Quinn and their family present for the occasion. The final stage of the building came in the early part of 2000 when a fieldstone was constructed; also a part of Levorsen's specifications for the building.

The building is totally all-weather, so that events may be held inside year-around. It has been used for, but not limited to the following events over the now more than 17 years since its interior was finished: music shows (once-a-month for past 15 years); wedding and graduation receptions; birthday and anniversary parties; family and school alumni reunions; civic meetings; LIRPF annual shows and various gatherings, including annual Christmas Parties; and other organizational events. It is very safe to say that the building has been used somewhere nearly 1,000 times since 1998. This was another of Levorsen's stipulations that the building was to be used!

Lorren Levorsen passed away in 2010, but a tribute to his generosity will live on in the character of the building which he and his wife Sal endowed, along with the legend of his father, Albert J. Levorsen.

(from the LIRPF 35th Anniversary Booklet)

Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers

16914 N Entrance Dr, Lake Itasca, Minnesota 56470

218-266-3971

 

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