Tegning av Aulestad, ca 1890

The history of Aulestad

The Bjørnson family bought the farm Aulestad in Gausdal in 1875, while they were living in Italy.

Some years earlier the family had visited Aulestad, during a visit to friends at the Folk High School in Follebu.

There were several reasons for this purchase. One reason was that during this time Bjørnson was very preoccupied by Grundtvig and the Folk High School, and he also wanted to be close to his friends Christoffer Brun and Kristoffer Janson who had founded the Folk High School Vonheim in the neighbourhood.

Another reason was that the author of the farm tales wanted to own a farm in the country, cultivate it and live amongst farmers. He was convinced that the new national feeling and understanding had to emanate from them, and he looked upon farmers and peasants as the real link to the heroes of time of the sagas. 


“This is what Aulestad looked like when we arrived.  K.R.B." The drawing by Ludwig Willemstad has been given this inscription by Karoline Reamers Bjørnson (K.R.B.) It shows the farm with many smaller outhouses before the large farm building was built during the 1890s.


Bjørnson bought Aulestad from Otto Jørstad, and this photograph shows Aulestad during Jørstad’s time. It shows that Ludvig Skramstad had left out a window on the ground floor in his drawing, (the later music room) and that the farmhands’ cottage (Drengestua) and the store house (stabbur) both had half hipped roofs like the main building. The Stabbur clock disappeared when Bjørnson built a coach house replacing the Stabbur (store house) in 1881. Drengestua ( the farmhands’ cottage) must also have been altered.

THE 1890s

Karoline’s large and embracing veranda was completed during Bjørnsons’s stay in America in the winter of 1880-81. The coach house was completed in the spring of 1881. Drengestua (the farmhands’ cottage) has also been altered. The photograph must have been taken after 1889 as the extension of the veranda was completed that year. The photograph must have been taken prior to 1899/1900 as the protruding roof was altered during that year. The stable below Drengestua is also present, but this was dismantled and moved after 1901/02.

Bjørnson wanted to make Aulestad into a model farm and succeeded  little by little. But the farm was not just for work. It should also look good and be a comfortable place for the residents and visitors. 

Erling Bjørnson sitter på høyriva i 1889. Vi ser at stallen nedenfor drengestua ennå ligger på sin vante plass. 

 Aulestad 1891

Den engelske komponisten Delius på besøk på Aulestad i 1891. Fra venstre: Anna Finsen, Dagny Sautreau, Mia Hedlund, Frederick Delius og Nulle Finsen.


The wintry picture shows that the large farm building with a common cowshed and barn has been built, but the stable is still present below the farmhands’ cottage. This means the photograph dates between 1894 and 1899.

Tid for kjelke. Stallen er på plass. Stabburet ligger i skillet mellom Øvre og Nedre Aulestad.

1900 - 1908

Bjørnson during a walk outside the main building in 1900. The major repair work undertaken at the start of the century has not yet been completed. The wall facing the courtyard does not have any skirting, meaning no horizontal panelling and water boards at a hight of one metre.

The overview image shows Øvre and Nedre (upper and lower) Aulestad with the tenant farmer cottage and the store house situated at Nedre Aulestad. The flags at Øvre Aulestad bear witness to a welcoming house for visitors from the whole of the world, not least the Nordic countries.

Bjørnson utenfor hovedbygningen

Fotografiet er tatt etter 1903, men før 1905. Folkestua eller forpakterboligen er oppført, men glassverandaen mangler på vestveggen av hovedhuset.

Det er vår. Gjesteværelset i andre etasje har fått vindu mot øst. Stallen nedenfor drengestua er flyttet.

Postkortet er fra etter 1900 da gjesteværelset fikk vindu.

H.H. Lies fotografi fra 1903 viser gården med slåtten liggende klar for hesjing. Stallen er flyttet.


In the outdoor shower by the stream of Neveråa, the so-called Styrten, Bjørnson enjoyed cold showers to strengthen his health. He also invited guests along for a reviving experience.

Nedre Aulestad

The next door property Solbakken was purchased for 4,000 kroner by Bjørnson from Kristoffer Janson in 1888. It was listed as the main building and home for Erling Bjørnson at Nedre Aulestad. Bjørnstjerne and Karoline wanted to keep the old main building themselves after the farm was transferred to their son Erling in 1890. In the photograph we can see that the stabbur (store house) and the stable have been moved. The stable has been rebuilt as a combined stable and tenant farmer cottage. This was completed in 1903.

Tunet på Nedre Aulestad med stallen, stabburet og hovedbygningen.