Havnstad – later the Pillarguri Café

(Norwegian version) Havnstad, a café and rooms to let, the beginnings date back to the year 1900. The parcel was bought from the Loftsgard farm like many others.

Text: Per Erling Bakke

Adapted and translated into English by Ivar Teigum

Pillarguri Café in 1912, outside the entrance the first owners.

We are on the Main Street east of the railway line. The café served coffee and cakes at 25 øre. When the savings bank Sell sparebank moved in in 1909, they paid 20 kroner per year for the premises they rented. The bank’s opening hours were 14-18 on Saturdays. Soon the name Havnstad was replaced by Pillarguri.

In 1612 a mercenary company from Scotland crossed Norway on their way to Sweden. At Kringen near Otta they were assaulted and massacred by a band of local peasants. A popular myth has it that a girl Pillarguri stood on a mountain top signalling to the peasants on seeing the mercenaries approach. The Pillarguri part of the story became popular during the 19. century. It gave the future railway centre welcome publicity for the heroic action in a dark period of our history.

The name Havnstad was soon replaced by the more spectacular name Pillarguri.

For a century and more people have met at Pillarguri for their morning coffee, local shopkeepers before starting work, football pals, car dealers, driving instructors, people working in the slaughterhouse, the sawmill, and in the slate industry. Keen bridge players would meet to discuss their latest move. Today’s retired people meet in the early afternoon for a cup of coffee and discussions on the state of the world, near and far. An outdoor terrace caters for the needs of the still remaining smokers.

Pillarguri in 2006.