History Culture Lawrence Welk
Step Back in a Time with a Visit
to the Childhood Home of Lawrence Welk (1903 - 1992)
The historic Ludwig Welk Homestead brings the
In 1989 Pioneer Heritage, Inc. (a non-profit organization)
was formed. The Welk Home was placed on the National Register
as a Centennial project and restoration began in 1990.
The six acre site was leased from the Schwab family
for 99 years. The site is typical of the early German-Russian
settler’s farms. In May 1991 the Welk Homestead was opened
to the public.
Many of the original furnishings have been placed
in the sod house along with other antiques from the 1920’s
Out Buildings that have been restored are the summer kitchen,
carriage house, blacksmith shop, barn and privy. These are very
much like they were when the renowned band leader Lawrence Welk
was born and grew up on this farm.
Restoration of the Welk Homestead has been entirely
paid for by private donations. No federal funds have been received.
As you step back in time at the Welk Homestead located
near Strasburg, North Dakota, you will be welcomed by the beautiful
countryside and clean air. You are in store for a wunnerful, wunnerful
and Christina (Schwahn) emigrated to the United States in 1893
from Catholic Black Sea German villages near Odessa, Russia.
They arrived in New York in April of 1893 and traveled by train
to Eureka, South Dakota. There they purchased a team of oxen
and a cart and traveled 50 miles overland to their homestead
northwest of what is now Strasburg, North Dakota. The city was
established 10 years later.
After the family lived briefly in a temporary claim shack,
Ludwig built the present sod home. The construction technique
– mud and clay bricks – was taught to his forefathers
on the steppe of Russia.
Having lost a child (Anton) before emigrating, the Welk’s
second child, John, was born soon after they arrived in North
Dakota. Their other seven children, Barbara, Anna Mary, Louie,
Lawrence (March 11, 1903), Agatha, Michael and Eva were born
in the wood sided sod house that still stands.
Ludwig and Christina retired and moved into Strasburg in the
late 1920’s He died in 1937 and she in 1940; both are
buried at St. Peter & Paul Cemetery at Strasburg.
Lawrence left home on his birthday in 1924 to pursue his musical
career. On July 2, 1955, he made his debut on national television.
The Lawrence Welk Show was produced for 26 years and today reruns
of the popular program air weekly throughout the United States.
Lawrence and his wife Fern (Renner) had three children, Larry,
Jr., Shirley, and Donna. Lawrence died in 1992 and Fern did
in 2002. Both are buried in California.
Welk Homestead is open daily.
May 15 to September 15
Hours 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Guided tours, videos & gift shop
Open by appointment during off-season
to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested
by contacting Michael