A short story from
Västanvik, Leksand 109 (21) 1916 - 1961,
Kyrkbyn, Tjärna, Gagnef 29:51 1978 - 1981.

Winter Anders Matsson was born November 26, 1878. He was the owner, or master, of "Wintergården". On the estate, or farm, were the main farmhouse, some barns and five small log cabins.

The father of Winter Anders, Winter Mats Matsson, lived with his son. He was born in a neighboring village, Grytnäs. Probably the main farmhouse was moved from that village?

Winter Mats, the father, was part owner of a saw, about one mile from Västanvik. His wife, Anna Ersdotter, died in 1933. Apparently the family was not very stable. There were illegitimate children and the general economic status of the family was poor. Winter Mats Matsson died in June of 1944 at the age of 95. In the accounting of his estate, liabilities were $314.00 greater than the assets.

Winters Anders Matsson died at age 70 in l948. He left $813, which included the premises valued at $600. 00. (Furthermore a denied unsure demand on $215.00). Winter Anders was an alcoholic. It was assumed that his alcoholism contributed to his wife's poor mental health. Thus, at the time of his death his widow, Bond Anna, was declared mentally incompetent by the court and was unable to handle the estate inventory. She and her daughter Maria continued to live in Wintergården during the spring of 1944. Bond Anna died in 1972. Her daughter, Maria, was remembered as a lady with long black hair. She died before her mother.

During World War II, a Jewish refuge family lived in one of the small cabins hidden in a ravine near one of the cowbarns. The state authorities did not know about this family; it was a "secret" shared by the people of the village. The good people in the village took it upon themselves to help this family survive.

Although there are no records of ownership, a number of "aristocratic" people lived on the farm.

There is a record that Hans Kristian Hallström, a sea captain, born August 9, 1920, in Hallingeberg; Kalmar County lived on the place.

Then Laura Lail (Laurie Lyle) who was an opera singer lived on the estate. She was born February 20, 1904 in Oslo and died August 17, 1978 in Kulladal near Malmö. She worked in Germany from 1935 to 1940. After WWII she lived in the USA and England. She made a number of recordings, which still exist on long playing records. Ms. Lail lived in the farmhouse. She was well known in the community because she played and sang for the children in the Västanviks schools.

Lars Backman, a merchant from Stockholm, lived on the estate for a time. He was born June 30, 1941 in Katarina parish.

A book entitled "Västanvik, village of Siljan" provided the following information. The Dean and Court Chaplain, Karl Gustav Ekman and his wife Edit owned the farm until 196 1. There is no record when they bought the property. It is know that they lived in one of the log cabins during the summer months. The cabin has a white round "Roman pillar" which was designed and built by Edit. She had an "aristocratic" lineage.

In 1961 the regional Association for the Deaf from Dalarna purchased the farm. Some years later the national Association for the Deaf from Stockholm built a residential college for adult education. It is still in existence on the farm property. The building was constructed in the area of the small log cabins. However, Eckman's cottage was not disturbed in the construction and it still stands intact.

On June 16, 1978, Anna-Greta and Robert Samuelsson bought the remaining older buildings on the estate at an auction. They intended to remove the buildings from the property. The boundaries and remains of a large, grand garden were still distinctly present. The garden area also had a small pond; it contained a distinctive fountain that was the center of attention.

The lot and building site in Gagnef had to be made ready for the Wintergården buildings. So the lumber and timber on the estate property was covered with tarpaulins until midsummer of 1979. It took two years of hard labor by Robert and his crew to move and reconstruct the Wintergården buildings. They were finally habitable in late summer 1981.

Click on image for magnification and explanation !

Farmhouse 1978 Inside of house Our kitchen 1978 The first logs After 9 months

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