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Visitation at Lawrence Welk's North Dakota home increases

STRASBURG, N.D. -- Visitation to the childhood home of Lawrence Welk saw an increase this summer following the purchase and takeover of the historic site by the state on July 1.Officials with the North Dakota State Historical Society say the atte...

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The boyhood home of bandleader Lawrence Welk near Strasburg, N.D. Tom Linn / Welk Homestead

STRASBURG, N.D. -- Visitation to the childhood home of Lawrence Welk saw an increase this summer following the purchase and takeover of the historic site by the state on July 1.

Officials with the North Dakota State Historical Society say the attention the site received during negotiations for the purchase of the homestead likely contributed to the uptick in visitors.

“Between July 1 and Oct. 16, we had 853 people. I thought it was quite good,” said Diane Rogness, historic sites manager for the State Historical Society, who compared those numbers to a 2014 count of about 650 people.

The North Dakota State Historical Society board approved the purchase of the six-acre Strasburg homestead and its artifacts, in early 2014. Along with the sod home and a barn, the site contains a granary, blacksmith shop and other structures.

The Welk homestead drew national attention in the early 1990s, when a congressional appropriation was made for a museum and local economic development in the town for $500,000. It was later withdrawn and derided as an example of wasteful government spending.

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