BLUE MOUNDS, WI - Citing financial constraints, the owners of the Little Norway Norwegian homestead-turned-tourist attraction have closed the facility, put in on the market, and are donating or selling its artifacts.
The historic site just outside of Mount Horeb was also closed last season.
On its website, owner Scott Winner detailed his decision to shut down the facility.
"For 75 years, four generations of my family have had the good fortune to share this charming valley with travelers from around the world," he wrote. "My mother said to me 'Weren't we fortunate all these years to have Little Norway in our lives? When you close that gate for the last time, you do so knowing that three generations have their hands on yours.'"
"They didn't come to that decision lightly. There was a lot of tears shed, including myself," Mt. Horeb Historical Society President Brian Bigler said.
In May, Winner donated 80 items to the Mount Horeb Area Museum. Similar gifts have also been given across southern Wisconsin to the Stoughton Norwegian Heritage Center and the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend.
Thanks to a $35,000 donation, the Mount Horeb museum staff also plans on purchasing some more Little Norway artifacts from Winner.
"We will never, ever replace the specialness of Little Norway, but we certainly can preserve its memory," Bigler said.
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