Take Naturally to Fruit Raising and Diversified Farming.
“Junction City, Ore., Nov. 9  – Junction City people did not need the demonstration train in order to start the small farm idea. Several years ago one of the largest farms adjoining this town was cut up into tracts of from 10 to 30 acres and settled by farmers direct from Denmark. They are all prosperous and more are coming. About four years ago. A.C. Neilsen, a real estate dealer, here bethought himself of the many families in his native land who were struggling along on the worn out farms, eking out a poor living in the cold regions of northern Europe. At the same time Mr. Nielsen thought of the large farms about this town and decided that a score of families could live and make money where one was then working. Mr. Neilsen purchased the 800-acre farm from G.C. Millett this property being located between this town and the river. Mr. Millett purchased another large farm near here and Neilsen went to Europe. In a few weeks he returned with 20 or 30 families who were located on tracts of from 10 to 20 acres. They at once began fruit raising and since that time this section of the state has been very much on the apple map of Oregon. Of course it has not received the advertising that some other parts of the commonwealth have been given but it is expected that thousands of boxes of fruit from Junction City farms will be eaten in the rich homes of Denmark. There is a plan on foot to ship annually several boxes of the choicest apples grown here to the president of the United States and to the Danish royal family. Plans have been completed for the building of a Danish High School early next spring it to be conducted along lines that have been followed for some time in the old country. Already the thrifty newly made Americans have erected a handsome church edifice here and their lodge is in a most flourishing condition. A representative of every family living near here visited the Southern Pacific demonstration train when it was here last Saturday afternoon, and many cases whole families drove in to see and hear what the professors of the Oregon Agricultural college had for their benefit. The men and women of this part of Lane County believe in the Roosevelt policy insofar as it related to families and there was not a farm wagon driven to this point Saturday that contained less than four children, some having as many as nine youths in back seats or with their legs hanging over the end gates. While the Danes are known throughout the world as great dairymen and dairywomen, if you please they have taken to fruit-growing here as naturally as a bird takes to the early worm. Still some of them are in the dairy business here, while all keep a few cows. A dozen or so are making money in the poultry business and this industry is growing in favor very rapidly as the Portland market keeps enlarging. Small tracts of improved land with in a few miles of town cannot be purchased for less than $ 100 an acre, while unimproved valley land does not go one cent below $ 50 an acre.” Eugene Morning Register, Nov. 12, 1908, pg. 3.
Today many descendants of these early Danish immigrants still live in the Junction City area. For four days each August, Junction City celebrates the Scandinavian history with a Festival. The downtown area is transformed. There are flowers and flags of each of the four Scandinavian countries. Food and craft booths line the streets. There is singing, dancing and a local pageant. The admission is free – just be ready to sample the many delicious food offerings throughout. I have special weakness for “Dottie’s Fri-Jos” – a Swedish pastry deep-fried and rolled in sugar and cinnamon! To learn more about the Scandinavian Festival please click this link.