A very neat and historic find in Strasburg, ND. The Welks were Catholic Russian-Germans who had to leave Russia in the late 1800s due to political persecution from the pure-blood Russians. The Welks homesteaded their 160 acres near Strasburg, farmed, raised a family, and thrived.
Lawrence was one of six children. He was somewhat sickly, never wanted to farm, and loved his mother’s and father’s accordions. His parents encouraged him to pursue his musical gift, helped him buy an expensive $400 (what it cost to operate the farm for one year!) accordion of his own, and he left home – with no more than a 4th grade education, very little English, and no formal musical education – at 21 years old.
In his time, he not only became the second most wealthy man in CA due to his musical skills and talent, but he also went on to create his own iconic and unique Welk sound, look, and feel. His shows are still in syndication.
I was given my own private tour of the Welk farm by Cecilia. She knew most of the family members when she was a little girl. She, too, was born and raised in Strasburg.
Cecilia is in the black shirt and blue pants on the right in the photo. This photo with Cecilia in it was taken in the Welk’s summer kitchen which is separate from the main house kitchen and dining room. The photo with Lawrence in it is the main non-summer dining room in the main house.