STRASBURG, N.D. — The farm where Lawrence Welk learned to play the accordion became center stage today for a project to create a museum honoring the king of champagne music.
Gov. George Sinner and other state officials attended a groundbreaking ceremony at the farm where Welk lived until he was 21. The bandleader himself, now 87 and living in Los Angeles, did not attend but sent a letter of thanks.
"Little did I dream when I was growing up on the farm so many, many years ago that someday it would be restored and people would come and marvel at how life was lived in the early 1920s," Welk wrote.
"Looking back, I would say that life on the farm was very hard and I didn't always like it--especially when I had to help butcher the hogs. But they were really happy days, too, because there was always love."
The farm has been vacant since 1966. But folks in this town of 600--about 75 miles south of Bismarck--decided to refurbish the farm to chronicle Welk's achievements and the history of his German-Russian ancestors.