and Anne moved to Binford in 1905. It was a new town, and there
were no houses to rent, so they lived in and managed the West hotel.
This meant long days for Anne. She made meals, cleaned rooms, and often
handled the front desk. She had small children who needed her
attention as well. In 1906 the family home was moved from McHenry
to Binford, and the family settled in on a large lot at the edge of
town. Their children remember that after finishing her work at the
hotel, Anne would return home and could usually be found, still up at
midnight, mending socks while bread rose or cakes were baking in the
Hans also found work as a painter and paperhanger. He worked on
most of the homes in Binford. The reality
was, however, that once they were built, most of the people in and around Binford handled
'interior maintenance' themselves.
The hotel was lost in a fire, and to make
ends meet he accepted a position as the janitor at the school, a job he
held until the year before he died. Although his children were
somewhat intimidated by his stern demeanor, he was interested and proud
of each of their accomplishments and loved them dearly. He had a good
singing voice and played the violin. He allowed no drink in his
house (perhaps because of his father's problems with alcohol) and was an
ardent Norwegian Lutheran.
Hans and Anne would start their mornings early, chatting quietly in
Norwegian in the kitchen before their children awoke. All of their
children began their lives speaking Norwegian as their primary language.
It wasn't until they went to school that they learned the fine art of
speaking English! Hans read both the Norwegian language paper (The
Decorah Posten) and the local English language paper each night.
After the hotel fire, Anne busied herself caring for her growing
family, her husband and her home. Anne's quilts are exquisite, her
crocheting absolute perfection. She tended a large vegetable
garden and spent much of the summer
canning the produce to feed her
family. Anne found the time to maintain beautiful flower gardens. For
many years the family had its own cow to provide dairy products. With so
many mouths to feed, Anne learned to stretch every dime of Hans'
Her children remember
their mother using her spinning wheel to "recycle"
socks, sweaters, and other worn garments into yarn she used to mend or create
new items. Ruby tells the story of how her oldest brother
Iver's worn out sweater became Helen's scarf and hat, finally (she
thought) "reincarnated" as a pair of Ruby's slippers. Many
years later, she recognized some of that same yarn in a set of
"everyday" potholders her mother had made while visiting her sister Julia!
Hans and Anne were joined in the family home by her daughter Helen and
son-in-law Manfred Knapp upon their return from Montana in 1930. Hans
had been made an invalid by a serious heart condition.
Hans died at home in
For a time the house was rented and Monnie, Helen, and Anne lived in an
upstairs apartment in Oscar's home in Binford. Anne paid regular and lengthy visits
to her daughter Julia's home outside Horace, ND. Eventually the Alm home
was moved across town to a lot just down the street from Oscar's.
There Anne lived out her days, under the watchful eye and tender care of
her daughter Helen.
Anne died at home in 1957.
Hans Alm Family from "Griggs
County History 1879-1976"