Little Norway in Blue Mounds up for sale; artifacts donated or b - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Little Norway in Blue Mounds up for sale; artifacts donated or being sold

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BLUE MOUNDS (WKOW) -- A once popular tourist attraction featuring this area's rich Norwegian heritage is up for sale.

The owner of "Little Norway" in Blue Mounds had hoped to open it again one day, but now says that's not possible. "My hope and goal was to keep the attraction viable and hopefully reopen, and that's not the case," Scott Winner says.

The last time 27 News visited "Little Norway," the buildings were filled with Norwegian artifacts, some 7,000 of them. Now, the buildings are mostly empty. Just a few things are left inside. Winner says it was just too hard financially for a single family to keep it going as a museum. "The desire always every day was always someone telling you how worthy it was and how worthwhile or to stop to me while I was doing maintenance and to say, 'I realize this is your family.'"

Most of the artifacts will be sold at auction. But Winner was able to donate or sell a lot of them to places right here in south central Wisconsin, like the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the Stoughton Norwegian Heritage Center and the Mt. Horeb Area Historical Society. Someone who wanted to remain anonymous bought $45,000 worth of artifacts historic to the area so they could remain in Mt. Horeb as part of the historical society's collection. Winner says he put up the money without question and now the historical society is fundraising to restore the pieces.

So, now there are little pieces of "Little Norway" all over southern Wisconsin for people to still enjoy. But Winner hopes at least one piece stays on that piece of property in Blue Mounds: the Norway Building. The entire property is up for sale, including that building and all of it is on the National Register of Historic Places. Winner says the building can be taken apart and moved, but he'd hate to see that happen. "It'll cost the same to move the building as to buy the property and one guy said, 'I'm putting it in a parking lot,' and I said, 'Well you don't get it.' Cause that's not where it should be."

Winner says he's been keeping up with maintenance on the building and it's in good shape.

Being a private owner of the property, he and his family do get to choose what happens with it. He says he'll make a decision that's right for everyone in the area, and what's right for the Norway Building. The 40-acre property is zoned "business," but the family does live there, so they'll eventually have to move. They've had people interested in doing weddings, church retreats, business retreats, even movie shoots, but nothing has worked out so far.

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