Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Ronning Homestead is a two-and-one-half storey log house constructed in 1914, located on a quarter section near the community of Valhalla Centre in the Peace River district. A wood frame kitchen addition on the west side of the building is included in the designation.
The heritage value of the Ronning Homestead lies in its association with Halvar Ronning, a prominent member of the province's Norwegian Lutheran community, and his son Chester Ronning, a leading figure in provincial politics and international diplomacy in the period after World War Two.
Halvar Ronning homesteaded on this site near Beaverlodge in 1914 with the intention of founding a Lutheran colony which would attract Norwegian farmers from the Camrose district and emigrants from Norway. Chester Ronning, who was raised here, was variously a missionary in China (1922-27), principal of Camrose Lutheran College (1927-42), UFA Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta (1932-35), leader of the provincial CCF Party (1940-42), leader of an intelligence unit of the RCAF (1942-45), a diplomat in China (1945-51) and Ottawa (1951-54), Ambassador to Norway (1954-57), and Canadian High Commissioner to India (1957-64). Chester also participated in the international commissions on Korea (1954) and Laos (1961-62), and undertook special missions to Hanoi (1965-66) in an attempt to mediate the Vietnam war.
The Ronning Homestead also played a central role in the development of the Valhalla-Hythe district by serving as a meeting place as well as a home; incoming settlers were billeted until their own cabins were constructed and community meetings were held here. The building is a fine example of Scandinavian log architecture, in a typical Norwegian design using hewn logs held together with dovetailed corner notching (albeit now covered in stucco). It is one of the oldest houses left in Valhalla Centre and, together with the Valhalla Lutheran Church and the Melsness Mercantile Building, is part of the historical continuity of the community.
(Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, File Des 1990)
The heritage value of the Ronning Homestead is contained in character-defining elements such as:
- form, scale and massing;
- the chinkless or scribed-log construction, with logs shaved flat on two sides, natural round contours on top and lateral grooves hewn on the bottom, with dovetailed corner notching;
- a moderately pitched, gable roof with narrow eaves and a plain projecting verge at both gable-ends, supported by brackets above the front door;
- two brick chimneys;
- a fenestration pattern which includes single-hung sash windows and projecting square bay windows;
- a simple floor plan, including a central ogee arch opening in the wall dividing the living and dining rooms;
- an unfinished second floor with exposed log walls and planking on the ceiling beams; and
- a wood frame kitchen addition capped with a hip roof, slightly narrower than the main house, off-set to the west, and with an open verandah on the east side.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
- Governing Canada
- Canada and the World
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1990)
Cross-Reference to Collection