I love Norway, and I don’t get to do nearly enough Norwegian history on this blog. But since I’m going to the country next month I have it on the brain. I did a double-take when I found this stunning color photo of the historic Fossestuen Hotel, a historic property in Trondheim, Norway. This is actually a photolithograph, a sort of roundabout way in which color photography was done in the early days. This was probably taken shortly after the Fossestuen was built in 1892. With its raw planking and sod roof, it very much evokes the Norwegian folk style that was characteristic of rural buildings in Norway for centuries.

The beautiful hotel originally opened as a restaurant and catered to travelers visiting the Lower Leirfoss waterfalls. At the time it was built Norway was still ruled by Sweden, and it was a very different country than it is today–essentially a poor backwater. Indeed even after Norway achieved its independence in 1905 it was one of the poorest countries in Europe until the discovery of oil in the 1950s. Nevertheless, its incredibly rich cultural heritage, expressed in art, literature and (as you can see here) architecture, marked it as a very unique and fascinating country.

The Fossesteun as shown here burned down in 1930 but was rebuilt in a different style. It still exists, though in 2007 it was converted to luxury apartments.