The North Dakota Taxpayers Now Own Lawrence Welk’s Home

welk2_000

According to reports, the State Historical Society Board narrowly approved the purchase of Lawrence Welk’s homestead.


Last year the state legislature approved $100,000 for the purchase. Since then an assessment by state officials indicated some $580,000 worth of repairs needing to be made.

Here’s the language from the legislation:

SECTION 5. LAWRENCE WELK HOMESTEAD HISTORIC SITE PURCHASE – REPAIRS. The project pool line item in section 1 of this Act includes funding that may be used to purchase the Lawrence Welk homestead. If the homestead is purchased, the state historical society shall determine repairs that must be completed by the property owners and negotiate with the property owners to have those repairs made prior to the state’s purchase of the Lawrence Welk homestead, during the biennium beginning July 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2015.

No word on what arrangements have been made with the current property owners for repairs to be done before the sale takes place, but I’m guessing the taxpayers are going to be stuck with the bulk of the repair bill. Just taking into account the $100,000 appropriation, and not the repairs, North Dakota taxpayers will be paying about $200 per visitor for this place. Just 500 people visited the farmstead last year, no doubt a testament to Welk’s aging fan base.

Here’s the make-up of the board, which includes Secretary of State Al Jaeger (who moved for the vote) and Treasurer Kelly Schmidt (who voted against the purchase).

Update: This quote from Treasurer Schmidt via the AP report is priceless:

Board member Kelly Schmidt, who also is the state treasurer, said she was troubled by locking the state into the purchase of the Welk farmstead when so many of the details remained unknown. She also wondered if it might set a precedent, mentioning University of North Dakota alumnus and NBA legend Phil Jackson as an example.

“Heck, maybe we should be buying the dorm room for Phil Jackson.”

Indeed.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • kevindf

    Once ND owns all of the land, who will be left to tax?

    • Guest

      So now you want taxation?

      • Onslaught1066

        So now you don’t?

    • tomorrowclear

      Why, you Kev. Don’t you already pay all the taxes for everything?

      • kevindf

        I’m happy to report my feet still work and I may use them to vote if things don’t change in this welfare state.

        • meh

          Perfect example of economic freedom, Tiebout Model.

  • Onslaught1066

    Bulldoze it and put up low information cost housing.

    • sbark

      ….a man camp—-there are a couple of test wells to be drilled east of there

  • JoeMN

    I never understood the affinity to these “historic sites” where one must clear the dust before signing in on the visitors guest book.
    I say if they find Welk’s first accordion buried in the back yard, clean it up and display it in the Capital building, and call it a day

    • tomorrowclear

      I know you don’t get it, Joe. People like you, ironically, never understand the value in conserving and preserving things.

      • JoeMN

        I am all for preserving things
        Such as the principles America was founded upon
        Such as individual rights
        Limited government
        Free markets

    • awfulorv

      If I understand you correctly then, you and I should have no trouble, at all, reaching a purchase price, satisfactory to me, on that 1934 Maytag automobile, that rests under an inch of dust in your barn? Ya sure, you betcha…

  • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

    Finally something to be proud of as a North Dakotan. Not!

    • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

      Actually, having heard Lawrence Welk’s band play at the Palladium in L.A., I can say that the kind of thing Welk did on TV was for TV consumption. Otherwise the band played good traditional Big Band music.

      • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

        I’m not knocking him as an entertainer. I just think it’s silly to treat his house as a shrine.

        • Onslaught1066

          But he paved the way for the cast of FARGO with that accent.

      • ec99

        From the 1980s on, the tv show went into the toilet.

        • awfulorv

          I noticed they were still showing it on a channel last night. But, of course, they often do that, for entertainers that no one watches anymore, for old times sake…

          • ec99

            It’s been running on PBS for years. Trouble is, they show the same shows every season.

          • awfulorv

            There you have it… you dislike the show, deeming it not worthy of the toilet, and yet you complain of the lack of variety on the shows. Admit it Ec, you’ve got a crush on Bobby…

          • ec99

            Notice I specifically said from the 80s on…the earlier shows were ok. Actually it was Tom Netherton who had a crush on Bobby.

  • kevindf

    Is Angie Dickinson’s childhood home a museum, too?

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      Don’t give them any ideas. After Angie it’ll be that Josh dude and after the Josh dude I think it’s Rob’s childhood home.

      • ec99

        You forgot Eric Sevareid.

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          Peggy Lee as well.

          • ec99

            And Dorgan’s and Conrad’s apartments.

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            Do they still have 20 years of junk mail piled up waiting for Conradwide and Dorganoff to get home and sort through it?

        • camsaure

          And Lynn Anderson

      • Onslaught1066

        I thought Robs childhood home was somewhere in I’ll ask ya’.

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          You might want to keep that quiet as there are a number of tours signing people up for the trip.

          • camsaure

            Think that may get a couple of trolls out of their mothers basement for a couple of hours?

      • awfulorv

        I’ve heard that Rob is having a statue of Craig Bohl, former NDSU coach, secretly sculpted in his back yard…

        • ec99

          Probably out of butter, which he will then proceed to spread on his toast. Followed by a dose of Lipitor.

        • borborygmi45

          I think that is for watering the dog. If he has one.

    • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

      My mother remembered Angie from when Angie was a toddler in Kulm. It was a huge scandal when she appeared nude (seated, from the back) in “The Bramble Bush” (1960).

      • ec99

        Well, she had a great bod, even though they used a double in all her nude scenes.

        • awfulorv

          That’s how Marjorie Main got her start…

          • ec99

            Not Ma Kettle! For shame!

          • borborygmi45

            Ma Kettle nude……..hubba hubba

          • schreib

            Marjorie Main was a lesbian. Who would have figured

          • Drain52

            “Easy stomach, don’t turn over now.” Ma Kettle gay? Well, I guess she was homely enough.

    • schreib

      Angies best movie was “The sins of Rachel Cade”

  • MrSkeptic

    Welk’s home is the prize of ND. Big tourist draw that Lawrence Welk home. lol

  • awfulorv

    Even if North Dakota never made a dime from the purchase of Welk’s home it would still be the right thing to do, to preserve it.
    If nothing else it will show your young people what can be accomplished with perserverance, fortitude, and sheer will, done in a jovial manner.
    I’ve said many times that this proves once again what a great country we have, for if Lawrence could make it, and he did, big time, anybody can make it.
    But I think it will be a hit among the older folks.
    I’d double down, and build a Motel, curio shop/gas station also.
    And I’d advertise that it was open to enclaves of elderly around the country, and see what happens.
    Your problem is you think people will associate his accent, with his being a hick, which he certainly was not, and your state…In other words you’re a bunch of snobs…

    • ec99

      The problem is the North Dakota mindset that if the private sector won’t do it, the government (i.e., taxpayer) will get stuck with it.

    • tony_o2

      If Lawrence could make it, anybody can make it. So why don’t you purchase his home and preserve it? Why don’t you pay to build a Motel and a shop? Why should the taxpayers have to pay for any of it?

      And what does this government purchase teach our young people? That with enough perseverance and fortitude, tax money can be taken and spent on pet-projects? I fail to see how spending tax dollars, to purchase the homesteads of famous people, does anything to teach young people anything beneficial.

      • awfulorv

        Because, were I to make a substantial profit from the venture, or any profit at all, pipsqueaks like you would take to blogs like this, and deplore that I was reaping undue rewards from the states “Crown Jewel” of tourism, that’s why…

        • tony_o2

          I would rather you make a profit from the private purchase of this homestead, than for the state to spend tax dollars on pet projects that have little value to us.

          Is Lawrence Welks’ home of any importance? I suppose some may see a nostalgic value in it. But why is it the taxpayer’s responsibility to pay for its preservation?

  • awfulorv

    I’ll bet Obama learned his teleprompting skills from watching Lawrence.
    Welk once said, reading from the prompter “And now a song from World War I” , which he pronounced EYE. Funny guy…

    • ec99

      One always took a chance with LW on camera. Let’s not forget his comment on an Arthur Duncan routine:

      “The boy can really dance!”

    • ec99

      Forgot to mention, LW never let his singers use a teleprompter, which was particularly stressful for Tanya, who always forgot the lyrics.

  • borborygmi45

    Awful expensive practice burn house….

    • awfulorv

      I can’t put my finger on it but, a thought is forming within my brain.
      Let’s see now, if burning the property is in the offing , and there are Nazi’s in Leith, perhaps, with some books, by Jewish authors.
      Give me a moment to contemplate, it will come to me…

  • devilschild

    “Lawrence Welk is arguably the most celebrated individual ever from the rolling hills and punishing climates of North Dakota. And he hated every single aspect of the state that remembers him so fondly.” …..money well spent North Dakota.

    • ec99

      I’d venture to guess ten of thousands born in ND, then to leave, have felt the same way.

      • awfulorv

        I was contemplating that very thing yesterday, as I sat on my patio playing with my dog, on a gorgeous afternoon here in Phoenix.
        It also occured to me that, if the weather was like this year round, there would be 50-60 million people living around here.
        And, as they say, who needs that…

        • ec99

          I once drove through Phoenix in June at midnight, and it was 112 degrees.

          • awfulorv

            Seven months of beautiful weather, five months of hellish weather. The exact opposite of North Dakota, but without the misquitoes, of course.

          • two_amber_lamps

            But even during the 5 months of alleged hellish summer, you can go outside after the sun goes down.

            Only idiots and those who have to wander around in the middle of the day outside in the blast furnace.

          • awfulorv

            You spelled liberals wrong…

          • two_amber_lamps

            idiots, liberals, street people… all under the same heading in the thesaurus.

        • ec99

          Does the Mafia still run Phoenix?

          • awfulorv

            Sheriff Joe, and his Posse, put the run on them, years ago.

    • awfulorv

      I was there the day he was honored by his state during halftime at UND’s football stadium.
      I detected nothing but gracious humility, and thankfulness, emanating from him during that ceremony.
      He didn’t say much, it was a cold, rainy day, and I wish I could remember the words he spoke but, I can assure you they were sincere words of thanks, that he was being remembered by his state.
      As I recall he was your number one booster whenever he had the opportunity to do so when, nearly everyone else was taking a dig at you.
      North Dakotans I’m sure he’d be tickled pink knowing he was being honored in this manner…

      • ec99

        ” I wish I could remember the words he spoke”

        “Wunnerful, wunnerful! Thank you, Myron Floren-a.”

        • awfulorv

          You’re attempting to belittle me for not remembering exact words spoken decades ago? Perhaps it’s something I’ve picked up watching Obama, or the new / very old wonderwoman, Hillary, who can’t remember what they said as recently as last election cycle.

          • ec99

            No belittling intended. Just the expression most often said by the Maestro.

    • awfulorv

      It is considered proper to identify quotations. For all we know that quote might have come from a disgruntled Minnesota football coach, after his team had, once again been throttled by NDSU.

      • devilschild

        There…I fixed it. But you could’ve very easily found the article if you had taken the time to look for it. And this isn’t the only article that states your hero despised ND.

  • NDMADMAN

    No one under the age of 30 even knows who he was. Now we get to pay for that home,when that money could of stayed in my pocket to do what I wanted,Who runs this state, a bunch of dems or what?

    • ec99

      This typical of North Dakota. Various and sundry boards, commissions, councils who habitually spend money on boondoggles: events centers, ice rinks, libraries, unneeded schools, jails, tax abatements, development funds, etc. It ain’t their money so why should they care?

      • ec99

        Check out the GF Herald today. They are already planting the seeds of not only a new library at the south end, but a museum and performing arts building. Guess who will trouping to the city council to get money for this, and whether Hal Gershman will be the first on board? Typical m.o.: have a whim? Get the taxpayers to foot the bill.

        • ec99

          One good piece of news: Gershman is not seeking reelection to the city council. Now if only Christiansen would be disbarred and kicked off, maybe city expenditures would go down.

          • devilschild

            Mike Jacobs retiring and Hal Gershman not seeking reelection? I don’t know if my heart can take this much excitement at one time.

          • ec99

            I’ll believe the Jacobs story when it happens. Last time they brought a bimbo up from Fargo to replace him. But he never left and she disappeared.

          • devilschild

            She’s now the Director at Forum News Service and the mother of twins so apparently being a bimbo has paid off quite well for her.

          • ec99

            Well, they made such a big deal about it…front page, no less, where all stories about the Herald go. And Jacobs was going to cover the oil patch, from Grand Forks, of course, which I believe got a thread here. Then, poof! Jacobs is still around as publisher, and she disappeared. Based on her picture, I concluded she wasn’t named to the post due to her experience.

  • sbark

    580,000 in repairs………..just add it to the property tax in Emmons Co—-don’t even need a stinking citizens vote on the issue………use a Gov Exec order like Obama would do.

  • Drain52

    An a-one-a an a-two-a…let’s ask the accordion player how a small, modest home requires nearly six-tenths of a million dollars to refurbish.

    • awfulorv

      Matter of fact $600.000 seems a popular number these days.
      It’s the price Homeland Security paid for building homes near Ajo,Az. for the new border patrol agents.
      Homes that could have, should have, been built for between $60.000-$100.000, each.
      But you’d never have heard of this boondoggle through the MSM, you’d have to Google the story, as they’re too interested in telling us where we might buy Marijuana, or relaying this administration’s lies regarding the number of unemployed, last month.

      • ec99

        “Ajo, Az”
        “Ajo” means garlic in Spanish. They grow a lot of that there?

      • two_amber_lamps

        I wonder how much of that $600k was environmental impact studies….

        Ajo… what a God-forsaken place….

        • ec99

          “Ajo”
          It the way my two-year old daughter pronounced a word I’d exclaim for lousy drivers, much to the chagrin of my wife.

    • tony_o2

      Im guessing its the cost of the memorabilia to furnish it. Do you suppose they’ll disclose who they’re buying it from and whether that person(s) had any influence on the decision to spend money on this endeavor?

  • awfulorv

    How is it the Marquis DeMores home in Medora is immune from criticism regarding it’s upkeep then?
    He wasn’t even a North Dakota native, but it does involve the wonderful history of the region.
    And it should be kept on display, so future generations can marvel at the history of the state, and the people who attempted to tame it.
    And, believe it or not , an accordian requires a lot of taming before it can be properly used.

    • ec99

      Probably because the Medora show actually makes money. Some people attend every year. No one is going to detour to Strassbourg to see LW’s house. They’d rather go to Deadwood, SD and see Wild Bill’s and Calamity’s grave.

      • awfulorv

        Now there’s a fairy tale, if I’ve ever heard one.
        Wild Bill was a deadeye shooter, and anyone who’s seen a picture of Calamity would have to surmise, a person would have to be blind, to have any truck, whatsoever, to do with her.

        • ec99

          Uh, they’d go to see the graves. They’ve both been dead forever. As for Calamity, granted, she was no Doris Day, but in her youth she was fairly attractive. I think you’re referring to the dried-up prune of old age.

          • awfulorv

            Ec why are you so intent on stepping on my attempts at humor?

          • ec99

            Moi? Never.

          • devilschild

            How do you know that they’re really dead? It could be a hoax…like the death of Elvis and MJ.

          • ec99

            “Elvis isn’t dead, he just went home.” J

      • awfulorv

        But, you see, it’s on the route, with a bit of a detour, from Fargo to Rapid City.
        If a couple of signs were put up, and you gave the oldsters a chit for a cup of java at Wall Drug, who knows how many would take that detour.
        BTW, ask the Wall Drug people how they would do it, hell they might throw in a piece of shellaced Buffalo Dung, with the coffee.
        Jeez! do I have to teach you guys the tourist business, too?

        • ec99

          They’d rather go to the Corn Palace.

          • awfulorv

            Been there too.
            Ate breakfast next to Pat Boone, and his family, at the next table.
            Lovely group, exactly as you’d picture them.
            Had to leave though, when they began to harmonize about the strawberry pancakes.

          • ec99

            Ah yes, Pat Boone. Did he try to sell you acne medicine?

          • devilschild

            No…a reversible mortgage.

      • borborygmi45

        definitely not on my list.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      Is Demores’s home state owned? Medora was a private effort of Harold Schafer.

      • Thresherman

        I believe it is owned by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

  • schreib

    Lawrence Welk is a Son of North Dakota. He put on decent family entertainment and held high ND standards. I have no problem with it. The folks at the nursing home always have him on every Sunday night. I will be taking my kids there to see it.

  • schreib

    Lawrence Welk’s wife Fern Renner grew up in St Anthony ND and went to St Anthony Church here. I was told by an older lady that She even did cooking and housekeeping in the rectory here where we now live. She went to nursing school in Yankton SD and even though she grew up here, I was told by her nephew that she felt it was very backward here and loved California. I am surprised that the historical society does not want to preserve her home which is built of sandstone which is technology from Russia

    • ec99

      Talk about a woman who lived in the shadow of her husband. I think she showed up for the Christmas shows and the last one.

  • tomorrowclear

    How about a Gordon Kahl monument for all you Randrois who believe taxations i “legal theft?”

    • JoeMN

      How about a Tammi Kromenaker statue for those death cult worshipers who believe in collectivism ?

      http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/north-dakotas-last-abortion-facility-owner-accepts-award-from-revolutionary

      • ec99

        Anyone know what her salary is? Does she make as much as the GF head librarian?

      • tomorrowclear

        “Death cult?” That sounds more like your silly religion that constantly harp on death. And, of course, your religions don’t exemplify collectivism, do they?

        BTW, what precisely is wrong with collectivism? I’ve never been anywhere more collectivistic than ND, and I mean that as a compliment.

    • ec99

      How about a Quentin Burdick monument for those voters who believe a guy who will be dead in six months should still be elected to the Senate?

    • ec99

      Of course there is already a monument to Byron Dorgan: the new GF Airport terminal. Which his good buddy Hal Gershman got pushed through as chairman of the Airport Commission, without any feedback from anyone in the city.

      • ec99

        Just out of curiosity, this post first appeared as being subject to approval. Why would that be?

  • NNccWW

    I just finished “Wunnerful, Wunnerful,” Welk’s autobiography. I was surprised how good it is, a heartfelt account of his life from the homestead, to the first big dance at Hague, through his regional stardom and then on to national fame. Highly recommended.

    While not knowing the particulars of this deal, the idea doesn’t bother me. Think of the site not as the Welk homestead but rather as a museum of German from Russia pioneer culture — an essential part of North Dakota’s heritage. Carter

    • awfulorv

      There now, another good reason to honor North Dakotans.
      Include other Nationalities, and their artifacts, and stories of overcoming hardships, and it would make a must see museum.
      BTW, Valley City has a great pioneer museum, go visit it if you’re near there…

      • ec99

        And don’t forget the Hjelmkommst Center right across the river in Moorhead.

      • ec99

        “Valley City has a great pioneer museum”

        Carrington’s museum has the school house my mother went to, including the desk she sat in.

        • kevindf

          How much does that cost to “preserve?”

  • awfulorv

    Nothing would be lost and, perhaps, something gained, if Strassburg, itself, were re-named “Wunnerful, Wunnerful”. Where’s your sense of humor? After all, I’ve heard that South Dakota has re-named the 1/4 mile dirt track, outside Rapid City, after Bill Janklow .

    • ec99

      I thought they named a bar after him.

  • ec99

    Another press release on the GF Alerus in the Herald today written in typical fashion. Lots of talk about events, increased revenue, and expansion. What wasn’t treated was the kind of events. How many were simply meetings with catering vs. the concerts originally promised? Also, no mention of how much of the increased revenue came from taxpayer subsidies. In short, another Herald sacred cow getting good PR.

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