The word, Svalhus, roughly translates from Norwegian as “cooling house.” The buildings unique designs helps the building maintain a cooler interior temperature, which made it an ideal storehouse.
Like many of the historic buildings in Ephraim, the Svalhus has served many functions. It was built around 1890, and was owned by Peter Peterson, a prominent Ephraim businessman and good friend of the Anderson brothers. Later, the Svalhus served as a gift shop, and then a summer cottage for an Ephraim hotel.
In 1995 Nedd and Natalie Nedderson, the then-owners of Eagle Harbor Inn, donated the Svalhus to the EHF. The logs were carefully numbered and reassembled at the Anderson Barn History Center. The Svalhus served as meeting place for the EHF staff and board before becoming the offices for the Hardy Art Gallery for a time.
Currently, the EHF is working to convert the Svalhus into a research library to allow more access to our collections. Visitors will be able to conduct research on local history and genealogy using EHF archival resources, including books, newspapers, and other collections. Click here for Svalhus Research Library hours.
The Svalhus Research Library is funded by the Anne M. West Memorial Fund. In 1996, Anne West (as Past President of the EHF) was part of a committee that successfully acquired the iconic Svalhus for the Ephraim Historical Foundation. This historic building had been the original location of local artist Doris Heise Miller’s Cabin Craft Shop and, through a bequest from the Miller estate, the EHF was able to relocate the Svalhus to the EHF property and restore the building.