Brick Houses

Although brick was a favored building material for banks and other public buildings, it was seldom used for houses in this area.  It is safe to say that nearly all the brick houses in the country are located within five or six miles of each other.

When the immigrants left their mother country to come to America to own land and make their living, they had to build their houses.  As in the well-known story, some built houses of sod (straw).  Some built their houses of logs (sticks).  And some built their houses of bricks.  Why?

Charles Marson who was born in Derby, England, and was married to Sarah Halford who was born at Walton-on-the Wolds, Leicestershire, England, chose to build a house of bricks because all buildings are brick in England.  They came to Cooperstown, North Dakota in 1889.  Later they bought SE of Section 12-145-59 and in 1904 they constructed a large brick house on this land.  Here they made a home for their ten children.  In 1906 their son David bought SW of Section 7-145-58.  He built a brick house also.  He sold it later and moved away.  Both these two structures are still standing, although they are now vacant.

Another brick house of the same era was built in 1907 for Alfred E. Langford and his bride, Mary Jenkins.  Langford, who came from Cornwall, England, was also accustomed to brick houses.  That house, built on the SE of Section 6-145-58, had four bedrooms upstairs, four rooms and a large hall downstairs.  It is also vacant.

In 1909 Jorgen Soma built a brick house in Cooperstown on the corner of Eighth and Odegaard when he retired from farming.  Later he went back to farming again and built a brick house on land he bought which was the W of Section 13-145-59.  The bricklayers who were hired by Jorgen to do these houses were Arndt and John Ommundsen, cousins of Somas, also from Norway.  These men also built a brick house on Twelfth and Park for a man named Erickson.  When Jorgen Soma was finally ready to retire, the Erickson house was for sale.  Jorgen gave his wife her choice of which brick house she wanted to live in.  She chose the one on Twelfth and Park.  Their daughter Lise (Mrs. Carl Johnson) lives there today.  Why did Jorgen like brick houses? He said, "They are everlasting."

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 145

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