Set in Stone: Hanson House

hansonBy Cynthia Scheer Telescope News
www.thebellevilletelescope.com

Hidden off the road – and the beaten path – behind trees and crop fields is the Hanson House, a three-room stone house that has been handed down through family for four generations. It is unknown when the house, which is located north of Kackley, was built, but Frank Hanson received a homestead deed on May 20, 1872. It has been empty since the 1940s but has hosted family picnics for decades. The driveway to the stone house is gone. The path to the house now begins at a crop field entrance and continues through corn stubble along the fi eld’s edge to the homestead.

The homestead is covered in thick grass and trees. The road is barely visible from the house. Tall corn would conceal the road completely. The small two-story stone house has two rooms downstairs: the main room and a small kitchen.

There are holes in the floor of the main room. A hole in the wall of the kitchen shows where stove pipe once went. The upstairs is one large room and was the family’s bedroom. The narrow opening to the stairway is located directly behind the back door. The home is now owned by sisters Mary Larson, of Scandia; Catherine Ekerberg, of Courtland; and Beverly Hosford, of California.

They are the great-grandchildren of Frank Hanson. A home in stone The stone house was built by Frank Hanson, who was born Fredrick Johansson in Skovde, Sweden, and came to America in 1869. He moved to Republic County in 1872 and changed his name, Mary Larson said, because there were too many Johanssons. In 1875 Frank Hanson sent to Sweden for his wife, Cajsa, whom he married nearly a decade before.

“I have always been proud of the fact that my family came from Sweden,” Ekerberg said. Frank and Cajsa Hanson raised their fi ve children in the home. Frank Hanson died in 1910; his wife died in 1926. The home sat empty until 1934 when the late Hansons’ grandson Everett Hanson moved from western Kansas to the stone home with his new bride, Eleanor.

The couple lived in the house until 1939 when Mary Larson, who is Everett Hanson’s daughter, said the family outgrew the small home and moved down the road. Larson, who was only three years old when the family left the stone house, said she remembers snippets of living there, including sleeping on the porch in the summer.

Everett and Eleanor Hanson returned to the farmstead often, Larson said, because the garden and cattle were kept there. The house was lived in briefl y by bachelors, Catherine Ekerberg said, but has been empty since the 1940s. Everett Hanson enjoyed hosting picnics at the stone house, the sisters said, and pickup tailgates often served as tables at mealtime. His daughters continue the picnics.

In 1985 the daughters hired someone to do repair work on the stones and mortar. A new roof was also put on the house and the windows were boarded up. The family plans to fi ll in the basement in the near future to keep the home from settling as much.

“The house meant so much to my father,” Ekerberg said. “And it’s just a part of me, too, I guess.”

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