In 1877, Nils Magnus Jonasson Elmqvist, a watchmaker originally from Gothenburg, hired Swedish immigrant stonemasons to build a two-story home for his growing family. Large blocks of dark Dakota sandstone were carefully placed and mortared, creating 20-inch-thick walls with 10 tall windows, each capped with a stone lintel.
As a man of faith who encouraged these stonemasons’ artistic expression, three Bible verses in Old Swedish were carved into lintels above the front door and side windows. Swedes today speak Standard or High Swedish, but often in their regional dialects.
Six other lintels display sinuous vines with small blooms. One included the year “1877,” confirming that this building is the oldest house still standing in Lindsborg.
Subsequent owners expanded onto the structure in the 1910s and again in the 1960s, spreading plaster, inside and out, over the original stone. After these non-historic additions and plaster were carefully removed, the original stone structure with its one-of-a-kind lintels was revealed.
Know Before You Go
Stenhuset is located just a couple of blocks southwest of downtown Lindsborg, on the northwest corner of West Grant Street and South Washington Street. The house is available as a vacation rental.