From Shop to Hotel and Municipal Centre

(Norwegian version) A characteristic building in Ola Dahls Gate 8 west of the railway line belongs to Viggo Didriksen, who runs a physiotherapy clinic in the premises. The building itself belongs to the very identity of Otta.

Text: Per Erling Bakke and Ivar Teigum

Dette er et bilde av det gamle kommunehuset pÃ¥ Otta.The one time Otta Hotel, in 1920–1922 with the photographer H. H. Lie’s studio on the ground floor.

Børre N. Aasen came from Biri in 1910, and started his career as shopkeeper at Selsverket before he moved to Otta. In 1919 he bought from Ottekren a parcel of land across the main road which turned out to be too large for his purpose. He sold the house to become its next neighbour, and carried on his business there for several decades.

Anne og Ingeborg ForbergThe two Forberg sisters who bought a parcel of land from Loftsgard, and built their own hotel in 1899, Bjørkheim Hotel, today Thon Hotel.

The house Aasen sold, was bought by a carpenter from the fiord district who converted it into a hotel, which he ran himself for a time without much success.

Again the building was sold in an auction in 1924 to two sisters from Skjåk, who restarted the hotel business. Across the road they already had another business which they started in 1899, Bjørkheim Hotel, today Thon Hotel.

Sel Municipality Takes over the Building

Sel municipality bought the house in 1937 and moved in with its administration and premises for the local council. The manager of public finances with his assistant was the first to move in. The mayor had a fulltime occupation to take care of along with his function.

The War Years

During the war the house got additional functions, the police office and the provisional authority. A prison was established in the basement, scribblings on the walls are still visible. For a time a veterinary had his clinic in the house. In the early postwar years a private commercial school and later the secondary school had their premises in the local council room.

More space needed

The postwar years witnessed the growth of public administration with additional functions, and in the mid-1960s Sel and Heidal local authorities were merged. In 1978 the slaughterhouse at Otta was bought and converted into a modern administrative unit for the municipality. And the old Aasen house could be disposed of for new purposes.

Det gamle kommunehuset i Sel.The present day façade as restored by the owner, the physiotherapist Viggo Didriksen.

The house was renovated whereas the original façade was kept intact. As it stands today it is recommended for protection by the county authority. Since 1978 tenants have been a local newspaper, the physiotherapist, and in later years private flats.