Filed Under Bridger

Forsman Residence

Swedish stonemason Erick Forsman, his Norwegian wife Marie, and two grown daughters emigrated from Norway to Bridger in 1906. Erick’s brother John had arrived in the U.S. in 1891, and in 1899 he opened Bridger’s first general store. In 1907, Erick built this vernacular (builder designed) Dutch-gambrel roof house. The home’s distinctive local sandstone walls display Erick’s stonemasonry skills and remain the only example of residential sandstone construction in Bridger. Erick also built the Bridger Coal and Improvement Co. warehouse, sidewalks downtown, and the foundation of the Methodist Church parsonage. While Erick pursued his craft, Marie managed the home and took in boarders. Daughters Olga and Bertina operated the Forsman Sisters Millinery shop from 1908 until about 1923. One of the Forsmans’ first boarders was Swedish carpenter and mercantile owner Mauritz G. Levander. He and Bertina were married in the home in 1911. Sixty guests attended the Swedish-language wedding ceremony, led by Rev. Hedberg of Billings. In 1918, Olga married photographer Ole P. Overby, who was Mauritz’s partner in the mercantile business. After Olga and Ole married, Erick and Marie moved to Billings where Erick helped build Billings Polytechnic Institute (later Rocky Mountain College). Ole and Olga remained in residence on the second floor and rented the first floor to tenants until 1923 when Erick and Marie returned home. Erick died in 1929 and Marie in 1933. When Ole and Olga left Bridger for Seattle in 1938 their cousin Bertha and family bought the home. Forsman family members remained in residence until the early 2000s.

Images

Forsman Residence
Forsman Residence View of facade Source: Digital photo Creator: Amy Kraft, photographer Date: Fall 2022

Metadata

Montana Historical Society, “Forsman Residence,” Historic Montana, accessed February 21, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/3512.