The Wangen House
(Norwegian version) From its very beginning in the 1890s the building had housed a shop, later on a café, and in more recent times more specialized activities.
Text: Per Erling Bakke
Adapted and translated into English by Ivar Teigum The Wangen building – Wangenhuset – stands at the west side of the railway line, on the Main Street. Its name in the local phrase connects the building with Jakob Wangen, who settled at Otta in 1903 as a shopkeeper, and who bought this building in 1913. The photo dates from 1917.
The Wangen building in 1917.
Jakob Wangen behind the counter in the late 1940s.
Jakob Wangen (1874–1957) was born and raised in the local area. Before becoming a shopkeeper himself, he started his career freighting goods by horse and carriage from Lillehammer to the local shops.
After settling in the Wangen building Jakob specialized more and more in clothes and textiles. Being close to the railway station, his café became popular among railway personnel and car drivers. On the adjoining storehouse wall posters for all kinds of local events were fastened. This was the popular meeting point.
During the Second World War the café was turned into a classroom for the primary school.
The Wangen building in the late 1930s, the café entrance to the left. Jakob Wangen’s car in the photo is an Olsmobile, model 1923.
Klara Wangen, Jakob’s wife, was in charge of the café. Before Christmas the café was usually closed because everyone was busy serving customers in the shop.