Volume 122, Number
Former Oberon mansion serves as church leader’s home
BY LEASA A. LURA
Foster County Independent Carrington, ND
One of North Dakota’s most spectacular turn-of-the-century homes is located just outside Carrington in Barlow.
Abram’s House, owned by Jim and Leslie Kraemer, has been loved and cared for by all its inhabitants, but the Kraemers say that unlike the former occupants of the home, they aren’t planning on leaving it anytime soon.
Jim Kraemer holds the title of district superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene, which as Jim says, "is something like a Bishop."
With offices in the basement of the house, the Kraemers mostly work out of their home, although there is some traveling involved with his job.
Having just recently received their bed and breakfast license, the Kraemers’ goal is to turn Abram’s house into a retreat center for pastors and their families.
"Eventually we may open the bed and breakfast up to the public, but right now we still have children at home and we don’t want to subject them to people we don’t really know," the Kraemers said.
However, the Kraemers are opening their home to serve small informal luncheons, teas, small business meetings, church meetings, quilting groups and other various men’s or women’s groups.
The Kraemers said that most of the information they received on the history of their home came from former owner Rhonda March and also from the Oberon Centennial Book by Eugene Nielsen.
In 1909 Abram Baldwin, a homesteader and businessman commissioned the Grand Rapids, Mich. architectural firm of J.H. Daverman & Son to build a home for himself, his wife and their four children.
Since this house has been in existence for almost 100 years it has been home to seven different families: The Baldwins from 1909 to 1951, the Hilding Carlsons from 1952 to 1977, the Kents from 1978 to 1981, Wayne and Rhonda March from 1982 to 1994, the Muschas from 1994 to 2000, the Smiths from 2000 to 2004 and the Kraemers from 2004 to the present.
In 1982 Wayne and Rhonda March purchased the home and had Carrington House Moving relocate it from its original site in Oberon to its present location.
At the time of moving, the home was too large to cross the major bridges and highway, so it was moved during the winter in order to cross over frozen rivers.
After being situated on its new land for a few years it was painted in 1988 by Rev. Wesley Glennen and his son Dwight Glennen. It took them nearly six weeks to complete and 55 gallons of paint.
All of the restoration of the woodwork was done by the Marches and much of the wallpaper was hung by the Muschas.
The Muschas and the Smiths worked hard on finishing the basement and the landscaping.
"It’s neat because each family which has lived there has contributed to bringing the house back to its original glory," said the Kraemers.
The only remodeling done to the house was done in the kitchen, butler’s pantry and basement.
All the floors in the house are hardwood, either oak or maple, and all the wood in the home was shipped from Pennsylvania.
In the living loom there’s an original light fixture and a mirror that belonged to the Baldwins hangs in the first floor bathroom.
Along with the floor tile in the first floor bathroom, the tile on the living room fireplace was imported from Italy.
In the receiving room or parlor there stands a circa 1810 Steinway & Sons grand piano. "It came with the house because no one can get it out without ruining it," said the Kraemers.
Upon ascending the grand staircase the second floor awaits. On the second floor of the house are two bathrooms and five bedrooms.
In the main second floor bathroom the original clawfoot bathtub is still keeping the occupants of the home clean.
At the end of the hallway on the second floor are the maid’s quarters and a back staircase that descends into the kitchen.
Through another door and up another flight of stairs is the 1600 square foot third floor, which consists of one big loft. "When we finish it up here we want to keep it as a loft and have a few beds and a couch and tables for a sitting area, as well as have a children’s play area set up for smaller children," said the Kraemers.
Off the kitchen are the basement stairs. The basement is the only modernized part of the house other than the kitchen. At the bottom of the basement stairs is the Kraemers’ office where they spend a lot of their time.
Another room in the basement holds an antique pool table that Wayne March bought at a yard sale for $5. It still displays the original Brunswick name plate.
Past the pool table is yet another room the Kraemers call the media room.
This room boasts a projection television that shines the picture onto a whole wall. It’s almost like being at the movie theater and if that isn’t enough, just past the media room is a six-person hot tub, a sauna, a weight room and another bathroom.
Back at the front of the house is a wrap-around porch that’s a perfect place to catch up on some reading.
Out behind the house is the original carriage house which is now a garage for the Kraemers’ cars, but it also has a big loft above it and the Kraemers would like to turn that loft into a lodge some day.
While they still have a lot of work to do to the house the Kraemers are sure that when finished Abram’s House will be a perfect place for people to come and relax.
For more information contact Jim and Leslie Kraemer at 6430 11th St. NE, Carrington, ND 58421 or log on to www.abramshouse.com.
This large home once stood in Oberon where it was built in 1900 by Abram Baldwin who came to Oberon in 1884 with virtually nothing. He started a small store and went into the buffalo bones business before he became one of the largest landowners in the area.
This grand piano welcomes guests to the home. The 1810 Steinway & Sons piano stayed with the house because it’s too large to remove without damaging it.
This is an ornate fireplace in the home.
The living room of the home prior to Christmas is shown.
Pictured is one of the five second story bedrooms.
Lezlie and Jim Kraemer hope their home may be a retreat for pastors at a later time. They continue to work on the project. Presently they are finishing the third story of the home.
Puppies get a milk break
These 14-day-old Pomeranian puppies were taken outside into the sunshine to take a picture so their colors would show up better. While preparing to take a picture this mother cat named Diamond came along and decided the pups needed a milk break during the photo shoot. The puppies and cat are owned by Nikita and Natalia Wright of Maddock.
NESC governing board
The Northeast Education Services Cooperative (NESC) welcomed a new member at its July meeting. Dakota Prairie officially joined the cooperative with a signing ceremony July 13 at the Lake Region State College in Devils Lake.
The NESC, formed in January of 2002, has 16 school districts and two colleges as sponsoring partners. The cooperative permits coordination of education services and provides opportunities for shared and new services for school districts. School districts involved are Adams-Edmore, Bisbee-Egeland, Cando, Dakota Prairie, Devils Lake, Four Winds, Lakota, Langdon, Leeds, Minnewaukan, Munich, Rock Lake, Rolette, Starkweather, Warwick and Wolford. Governing board members of the NESC welcome Dakota Prairie to the cooperative. Left to right, back row, are Sue Best, Rolette; Sharon Humble, Wolford; Steven Peters, Bisbee-Egeland; David Ambers, Minnewaukan; Gail Wirth, Munich; and Kay Gravdahl, Warwick. Front row:
Denise Wolf, NESC executive director; Keith Arneson, Adams-Edmore; Clayton Quam, Dakota Prairie; and chairman Keith Neilson of Starkweather.
The Maddock Babe Ruth Baseball team played in the Quad-County Babe Ruth Tournament at New Rockford July 20-23. The team beat Harvey and New Rockford but lost to Carrington in the championship game. Left to right, front row, are assistant coach J.T. Rice, Dave Morgan, Andy Bergrud, Paul Rice and Jason Smith. Back row: coach Caleb Backstrom, Andy Backstrom, Levi Slater, Levi Griffin, Beau Buehler, John Sears, Jordan Smith and assistant coach Jordan Backstrom. Not pictured are Billy Morgan, Brett Kenner and Noah Engels.
Fossum reunion held in mid-July
The descendants of Engebret and Maren Fossum gathered at Lake Metigoshe the weekend of July 16 for their sixth reunion in 30 years. Seventy-two family members registered at Twin Oakes followed by a brunch. The afternoon was spent with a "Getting to Know You" mixer, pontoon rides and games. A family calendar with pictures of the first 3 generations was sold. In the evening a catered dinner was served, followed by a musical program, family history and a skit "The Life of Engebret and Maren." The next reunion will be in Canada in 2010.
In attendance from Canada were Gayle, Edith and Rolland Haugen, Glenn and Pearl Haugen, Lawrence and Belinda Haugen, Gilbert and Evelyn Haugen, Walter and Doreen Fossum, Leslie Fossum, Irene and Jason Lentendre, David Lester, Margret and Bill Leigh, Lynn Fossum, Karen Rogers and Henry, Gerry & Carrie Fossum, Myra Rud, Jim and Ann Fossum and Shane Fossum.
In attendance from North Dakota were Dennis and Helene Fossum, Lucas Iverson, Chad and Jen Kunz, Ron and Scott Fossum, Gloria and Lorace Hakanson, Sandy Hagen, Curtis and Diane Pellet, Bob and Deb Fossum, Cole and Ben, Tammi Fortney and Oliver, Paul and Janel Fortney, Carol Fossum and Galen Hakanson, Doris and James Fortney, Larry and Linda Summers, Christie and Gerald Jaeger, Amber, Seth and Zach, Joan and Bob Martin, Ryan Heintz, Gary and Laurene Heintz, Pat Fortney and Michelle Fike.
In attendance from South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Hawaii were Cara Martin, Morgan, Renate and Nicole Haugen, Twila and Dwight Palmer and Barb Fossum.
Engebret and Maren’s descendants include seven children, 26 grandchildren,
51 great-grandchildren, 122 great-great-grandchildren, 84 great-great-great-grandchildren and three great-great-great-great-grandchildren.
Three members of the A.S. Gibbens FFA Chapter of Maddock participated in the State FFA Land Judging Contest held in Dickinson August 4. J.T. Rice received a gold award and 12th high individual in the state contest. Anne Backstrom and Andy Backstrom received silver awards. The Maddock team received a silver award and was 8th high team in the contest. Land judging evaluation is based on land capability classes used by the USDA-NRCS.
Students participating in the land judging contest need to be competent in three skills: texturing of soil, estimating slope and determining the depth of surface and subsurface soil. Left to right are Andy Backstrom, J.T. Rice and Anne Backstrom evaluating texture of topsoil to determine land capability class.