The Ephraim Historical Foundation (EHF) begins a new chapter May 16, with the opening of the Svalhus Research Library. Located at 3060 Anderson Lane in Ephraim, this historic building has served a variety of functions in its more than 120-year history.
The Svalhus, Norwegian for “cooling house,” was built around 1890 and owned by Peter Peterson, a prominent Ephraim businessman. The building served as the first home of Doris Heise Miller’s gift shop, Cabin Craft, and later as a summer cottage for an Ephraim hotel. In 1995, Nedd and Natalie Neddersen, owners of the Eagle Harbor Inn, donated the Svalhus to the EHF.
In 2017, work began to transform the Svalhus into a research library, making both the building and the EHF’s archival resources more accessible to visitors. The project was spearheaded by the family of Anne M. West, the first female president of the EHF Board and a longtime supporter of the organization.
With the library, the EHF will expand its abilities to: maintain the Foundation’s collection of books, periodicals and selected papers; provide user-friendly access to archival items catalogued in the Foundation’s database; inventory and provide access to recorded oral histories and History Speaks programs; and conduct genealogical and historical research projects on site.
The Svalhus Research Library will be open 11 am to 2 pm, Wednesday through Friday, May 16 through Oct. 12, or by appointment. An open house will be held June 15, 11 am to 4 pm.