The Lodalen Disasters



The Lodalen Disasters

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The Flood of 1905

The Bødal farm community consisted of a small community of 7 small family farms residing at the bottom of a steep mountainous valley named Lodalen. This area is subject to rockslides, snowdrifts, and avalanches, so the homes were built near the shore of Lovatnet (Loen Lake), away from the dangerous mountain slopes.

Nesdal farm was similarly arranged, and located across the lake from Bødal, just around the corner from a large headland on the Bødal side of the lake. Nesdal consisted of two groups of small farms call Indre (inner) and Ytre (outer) Nesdal.

Bødal and Nesdal have both been devastated by several natural disasters during the last century. The first of two great slides occurred on the stormy winter Sunday night of January 15, 1905. At about 11:00 or 12:00 at night two loud reports were heard coming from the mountain Ramnefjellet. A piece of Ramnefjellet (located across the lake from Bødal, see map) of about 50,000 cubic meters had fallen about 500 meters (about 1600 feet) into the lake below. This landslide created a flood wave that reached 40 meters (about 133 feet) high. The wave was split in two by the Bødal headland and flooded Bødal and Ytre (Outer) Nesdal.

The resulting flood killed all 34 people living in Ytre Nesdal. When people in Indre Nesdal awoke and saw that water was running into the houses, their first thought was that the river had flooded, but they soon discovered that Outer Nesdal had been completely washed away.

In Bødal, only the two farms of Gjerstun (farm No. 4) and Raudi (farm No. 7) were built high enough away from the lake to be spared by the flood. That night 24 people died at Bødal, while another 3 died in the next few days due to their injuries.

Elling Samuelsen's family lived at Bødal in farm number 3. Elling, his wife Elisabet, 7-year old son Samuel, 4-year old Daughter Eli, stepmother Brite, sister Gjertrud, and a servant, Anders Olsen, all died in the flood; no trace of them was ever found.

The sole survivor from Elling Samuelsen's family was five-year old Oskar. Rescuers found him uninjured and up to his knees in the snow and ice covered lake. They pulled him out of the debris and he was saved. Later, his only explanation for surviving was, "I was on a board."

There were 121 people living in Bødal and Nesdal before the flood. Of those people, 61 were killed, and only 9 of those were ever found.

The Flood of 1936

In the years following the flood, the farms in Bødal and Nesdal were rebuilt. This time, however, they were built higher up, and further away from the water's edge. Eventually young Oskar Ellingsen grew up, married, and took over the family farm at Bødal.

Unfortunately the disaster of 1905 was repeated on September 13, 1936, when, at about 4:30 AM on a Sunday morning, the people again heard a loud report from Ramnefjellet. This time an even larger section of the mountain, about one million cubic meters in size, fell 800 meters (about 2600 feet) into the lake, and caused another tremendous flood wave.

The resulting wave was not split by the headland between Bødal and Nesdal, and therefore reached a height of 70 meters (230 feet). The wave was so large that it washed right over Bødal. All the homes in Bødal were destroyed, including the two of Gjerstun and Raudi that had been spared by the 1905 flood. A total of 44 people died there.

Oskar Bødal, who was only five years old when he survived the 1905 flood, was on the farm with his three sons when the disaster occurred. This time Oskar was not so lucky, and he and his three sons were all killed. His wife Brite Andersdatter was up in the hills above Bødal at the summer farm, Bødalseter. She received word there that her entire family had been lost.

After the 1905 flood a memorial to those who died was erected on the highest point of the headland at Bødal, about 145 feet above the lake. This monument was a large stone slab set on 6 foot square concrete foundation that was bolted into the mountain rock. The 1936 flood wave was so large that it reached to this monument and tore it completely away, foundation and all. Nothing was left but the twisted steel bolts, still set into the mountain.

In Nesdal, Ytre Nesdal was spared this time, but three farms in Indre Nesdal were swept away, killing 25 people. Further down the lake, another 4 people died as a result of the flood.

Ramnefjellet Scar from rockslides
(Click on pictures to see full size)

Ramnefjellet Rockslide

Ramnefjellet Rockslide Scar
Loen Info.

After the last flood, those that survived moved away from that dangerous but beautiful area, and Bødal and Nesdal were deserted. Today, there is one occupied farm in Bødal, and none in Nesdal.

For further reading about the Lodalen disasters see the books by Sigurd Nesdal, Lodalen - Picturesque but perilous / Schön aber Gefährlich / Praai en Gevaarlijk (56 pages with many pictures; in English, German, and Dutch), and Lodalen - Fager og Fårleg (152 pages with pictures; in Norwegian).

Also see the Bygdebøker (family history book) Nordfjord frå gamle dagar til no, Volume 2: Dei einskilde bygder, part 3: Innvik - Stryn, by Jacob Aaland (see Rootsweb for how to obtain Bygdebøker).


Those Killed Jan 15, 1905

Those Killed Sept 13, 1936

In Nesdal, Farm Nr. 79     In Nesdal, Farm Nr. 78    
Subfarm Nr. 1:     Subfarm Nr. 1:    
1. Peder Salveson Nesdal b. 1870 Farmer 1. Mons Olson Nesdal b. 1901 Farmer
2. Oline Monsdotter Nesdal b. 1872 Wife 2. * Katrine Bertelsdotter Nesdal b. 1899 Wife
3. Sivert Johan Nesdal b. 1897 Son 3. Olav Nesdal b. 1926 Son
4. Johanne Samueline Nesdal b. 1900 Daughter 4. * Agnes Nesdal b. 1929 Daughter
5. Brite Ingeborg Kamilla Nesdal b. 1902 Daughter 5. * Bjarne Nesdal b. 1931 Son
6. Unbaptized Son b. 1-15-1905   6. * Solveig Nesdal b. 1934 Daughter
7. Dorthe Elisabeth Monsdotter Nesdal b. 1880 Wife's Sister 7. Unbaptized Son b. 8/25/1936  
8. Lea Karoline Bentsdotter Langeset b. 1886 Servant Girl 8. * Odny Olsdotter Grov b. 1916 Servant Girl
9. Salve Pederson Nesdal b. 1836 Farmer's Father 9. Samueline Otterdal b. 1916 Servant Girl
10. Anders Nesdal b. 1874 Farmer's Brother      
      Subfarm Nr. 3:    
Subfarm Nr. 2:     10. Anders Olson Nesdal b. 1875 Farmer
11. Oline Nesdal b. 1890 Daughter 11. * Eli Hansdotter Nesdal b. 1884 Wife
12. Olaf Nesdal b. 1892 Son 12. * Audun Nesdal b. 1909 Son (from 1st Marriage)
13. Eline Nesdal b. 1895 Daughter 13. * Møyfrid Nesdal b 1908 Daughter (from 1st Marriage)
14. Anna Bertine Nesdal b. 1897 Daughter 14. Svanhild Kelfrid Nesdal b. 1920 Daughter
15. Jenny Nesdal b. 1900 Daughter 15. Oddrun Nesdal b. 1924 Daughter
16. Rasmus Nesdal b. 1902 Son 16. * Arnbjørn Andersson Nesdal b. 1906 Son (from 1st Marriage)
17. Rasmus Rasmusson (Langeset) Nesdal b. 1844 Farmer's Step-Father 17. Gunvor Ivarsdotter Nesdal b. 1906 Wife (of Arnbjørn)
18. Johanne Rasmusdotter Helset b. 1864 Visiting the farm 18. * Anders Arnbjørnson Nesdal b. 1936 Son (of Arnbjørn and Gunvor)
      19. Nikoline Oddny Korneliusdotter Os b. 1914 Cheesemaker
Subfarm Nr. 3:     20. * Arnfinn Knutson Slagnes b. 1909 Servant Boy
19. Abraham Jakobson Nesdal b. 1875 Farmer 21. Sivert Matias Martinussen Sylte b. 1882 Carpenter
20. * Anne Larsdotter (Aaning) Nesdal b. 1866 Wife 22. * Trygve Arnfrid Paulsen b. 1913 Carpenter
21. Johannes Andreas Elias Nesdal b. 1895 Son      
22. Lars Nesdal b. 1896 Son Subfarm Nr. 4:    
23. Martin Nesdal b. 1899 Son 23. Bernt Davidson Fredsvoll b. 1887 Farmer
24. Dagfinn Nesdal b. 1902 Son 24. Anna Ellingsdotter Fredsvoll b. 1883 Wife
25. Jacob Abrahamson Nesdal b. 1851 Farmer's Father 25. Aslaug Berntsdotter Fredsvoll b. 1919 Adopted Daughter
26. Mari Andersdotter Nesdal b. 1841 Farmer's Mother      
      In Bødal, Farm Nr. 77    
From the two tenant farms at Nesdal; Skortene:     Subfarm Nr. 1:    
27. Aamund Anderson Nesdal b. 1829 Farmer 26. Malmfrid Rasmusdotter Bødal b. 1899 Widow of Farmer
28. Marthe Jonsdotter Nesdal b. 1847 Wife 27. * Gudny Larsdotter Bødal b. 1921 Daughter
29. Johanne Andrine Nesdal b. 1887 Daughter 28. * Rasmus Rasmusson Sætre b. 1902 Malmfrid's Brother
      29. * Oline Rasmusdotter Sætre b. 1892 Malmfrid's Visiting Sister
30. Anders Kolbeinson Bødal b. 1861 Farmer      
31. Sigrid Knudsdotter Bødal b. 1867 Wife Subfarm Nr. 2:    
32. Karl Johan Bødal b. 1892 Son 30. * Bent Davidson Skarstein b. 1882 Farmer
33. Knut Bødal b. 1886 Son 31. * Rakel Sivertsdotter Skarstein b. 1903 Wife
34. Eilert Bødal b. 1900 Son 32. * Synnøve Skarstein b. 1915 Daughter (from 1st Marriage)
      33. * Dagfinn Skarstein b. 1923 Son
In Bødal, Farm Nr. 77     34. * Solfrid Skarstein b. 1925 Daughter
Subfarm Nr. 1:     35. * Olav Skarstein b. 1926 Son
35. * Elling Kolbeinsen Bødal b. 1840 Farmer 36. Målfrid Skarstein b. 1929 Daughter
36. * Gjertrud Andersdotter Bødal b. 1850 Wife 37. Anders Olav Erikson Solheim b. 1915 Servant Boy
Subfarm Nr. 2:     Subfarm Nr. 3:    
37. Anders Knutson Bødal b. 1871 Farmer 38. Oskar Ellingson Bødal b. 1900 Farmer
38. Kristiane Jørgensdotter Bødal b. 1869 Wife 39. * Edvard Bødal b. 1926 Son
39. Eline Kristine Bødal b. 1894 Daughter 40. Asbjørn Bødal b. 1930 Son
40. Anna Jenny Bødal b. 1896 Daughter 41. Svein Bødal b. 1932 Son
41. Klara Louise Bødal b. 1898 Daughter 42. Egil Bødal b. 1934 Son
42. Knut Bødal b. 1900 Son 43. * Inga Jenny Ivarsdotter Seljeset b. 1915 Servant Girl
43. Jenny Bødal b. 1902 Daughter      
44. Alfhild Bergliot Bødal b. 1904 Daughter Subfarm Nr. 5:    
45. Mons Olai Jakobson b. 1864 Servant 44. * Elias Wilhelson Bødal b. 1876 Farmer
46. * Elisabeth Andersdotter Bødal b. 1842 Farmer's Mother 45. * Jonas Bødal b. 1913 Son
47. Anne Knutsdotter Bødal b. 1880 Farmer's Sister      
      Subfarm Nr. 6:    
Subfarm Nr. 3:     46. Lasse Samuelson Bødal b. 1882 Farmer
48. Elling Samuelson Bødal b. 1866 Farmer and Local Postmaster 47. Marie Steffensdotter Bødal b. 1889 Wife
49. Elisabeth Petrine Ottesdotter (Grodaas) Bødal b. 1872 Wife 48. Synnøve Bødal b. 1914 Daughter
50. Samuel Edvard Dagfinn Bødal b. 1897 Son 49. Steinar Bødal b. 1917 Son
51. Eli Bertanna Bødal b. 1900 Daughter 50. Signy Bødal b. 1920 Daughter
52. Anders Olsen b. 1890 Servant 51. Ivar Bødal b. 1929 Son
53. Brithe Sjursdotter Bødal b. 1830 Elling's Stepmother 52. Dortea Larsdotter Bødal b. 1912 Wife of Oldest Son
54. Gjertrud Samuelsdotter b. 1876 Elling's Sister      
      Subfarm Nr. 7:    
Subfarm Nr. 5:     53. * Simon Simonson Raudi, Sr. b. 1869 Father
55. Wilhelm Erikson Bødal b. 1835 Farmer 54. * Oleanna Ottosdotter Raudi b. 1864 Mother
56. * Ingeborg Olsdotter (Nesdal) Bødal b. 1853 Wife 55. Oskar Raudi b. 1905 Son
      56. Simon Simonson, Jr. b. 1897 Son of Farmer
Subfarm Nr. 6:     57. * Alfhild Knutsdotter Raudi b. 1906 Wife (of Simon Jr.)
57. * Samuel Lasseson Bødal b. 1839 Farmer 58. Oddny Raudi b. 1929 Daughter (of Simon Jr. and Alfhild)
58. * Brite Absalonsdotter (Aareim) Bødal b. 1849 Wife 59. * Målfrid Eliasdotter Loen b. 1919 Servant Girl
From the tenant farm at Bødal:     Subfarm Nr. 8:    
59. * Knut Kolbeinson Bødal b. 1852 Farmer 60. Rasmus Samuelson Myrhaug b. 1893 Farmer
60. Marthe Andersdotter Bødal b. 1858 Wife 61. Ingeborg Olsdotter Myrhaug b. 1895 Wife
61. * Andrine Johanne Bødal b. 1881 Daughter 62. Borgny Myrhaug b. 1923 Daughter
* Those who were found and buried. 63. Sverre Myrhaug b. 1925 Son
      64. Olav Myrhaug b. 1929 Son
      65. Peder Kolbeinson Nesdal b. 1917 Nephew (Sister's Son) of Rasmus
      Subfarm Nr. 9:    
      66. Rasmus Ellingson Bødal b. 1887 Farmer
      67. Arnodd Bødal b. 1927 Son
      68. Anne Marie Andersdotter Mardal b. 1899 Cheesemaker
      At the Schoolhouse:    
      69. * Thomas Sæle b. 1897 Teacher
      At Sanden:    
      70. Simon Hansson Sanden b. 1924  
      71. Anders Hansson Sanden b. 1926  
      At Vassenden:    
      72. * Kristen Johannesson Sande b. 1871  
      73. Ingeborg Jensdotter Sæten b. 1918  
      * Those who were found and buried.


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