Olaf Stardig was born in Sweden in 1848. He married Marina Ostenson in 1875 in Dalarna Province Sweden (east of Stockholm). Olaf immigrated to America in 1882, leaving his wife and five children at home until he could send for them.
Olaf had heard from others who had moved to America about the availability of land in Minnesota. When he arrived, he stayed with the John Lind family by Union Lake. In 1883, the area opened for homesteading and Olaf filed for 160 acres in what would become Knute Township.
NOTE: Olaf was born Olaf Olson but when he entered the Swedish military, he changed his name to Stadig (meaning strong & stalwart). In America, an “R” was added to the name during the homestead transaction, becoming Stardig.
In 1884, Olaf had saved enough money to send for his family. His wife, children (Anna, Otto, Martin, Selmer, Anton) and his mother Anna Stadig arrived after a five-week journey by boat and train.
Olaf built the cabin for his family on the homestead. Four more children were added to the family (Ida, Albert, Minnie and Emily) and in time they built a large frame house on the homestead property.
The home was eventually owned by Lowell and Sue Ostenson. Lowell’s father, John Ostenson, was Marina Stardig’s brother. When Lowell and Sue made the decision to sell their home, they knew they wanted the original cabin to be preserved. In 2017, Lowell and his brother Don met with the East Polk Heritage Center Board of Directors to request its acceptance of their donation of the cabin. The Ostenson’s offered to pay for all expenses related to the move of the cabin from south of McIntosh to the heritage center grounds.
A foundation was poured, permits obtained, moving company secured and on (date), the Stardig Cabin was brought to the Heritage Center campus. Once there, work began on the refurbishing of the logs and a new roof, windows and door were installed. The 134-year-old cabin was dedicated at Heritage Days on September 8, 2018.