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History of the Swenson Family & Home

 

Dan and Greta Swenson were Swedish immigrants who arrived in Logan in 1912 toward the end of the great Mormon Scandinavian migration to Utah. They raised ten children, with May being the oldest. Greta was known for her church service and sinfully delicious Swedish cinnamon rolls. Dan taught at Utah State University for 40 years. He was also a carpenter, a horticulturist, a poet, a bee keeper, and a bishop.

Around 1917, Dan purchased a lot for their family's future home. A historical record mentions that Dan sent away for plans and specifications for a house they liked very much. Kit homes were a common, affordable way to build in the early 20th century. Homes were ordered from a catalog and shipped by rail. Kits came with a set of plans and pre-cut materials to build the entire home. The Swenson home was a classic six-room bungalow with a full basement. 

In 1922, Dan, Greta and their children moved into the house, interiors unfinished. Dan continued to finish the home while also making furniture for each room. They had a vast garden and orchard, harvesting most of their own food to feed their growing family. Overtime, the house evolved and expanded to 16 rooms. Along with that, Dan also built an aparment complex for university students on the site. This complex became known as "Swensonville" and housed hundreds of students through the years, including Swenson children and neighboring Caine and Eccles children, along with other university students. 

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences seeks to build a facility that retains key architectural features of the original home, honors famious poet May Swenson and her family, while providing a new generation of writers.

Original Swenson House

Swenson Family

Swensonville Apartment Complex

 

Original Swenson House with Lights

 

 “It was the best-looking house in all the neighborhood. The first door to the left was May’s room. We called this the reading room.” –May’s sister, Margaret Woodbury

 

The site was once the home of a famous poet, but also a hardworking and loving family. It will be a place for new ideas and experiences, firmly rooted in the tradition of Utah State University and Cache Valley.