The Westby House has a long history, beginning with the original 2 story 8-room house built by Westby’s first pharmacist, Erling Ramsland, who immigrated from Stavanger, Norway, and his wife Regina in 1886. In 1891, Mr. Ramsland died from heart complications at a very young age, leaving his wife and two small children struggling with the house and pharmacy. In 1892, the pharmacy was sold to O.E Unseth and the house to Martin H. Bekkedal.
Mr. Bekkedal, who emigrated from Norway at age 21, was a keen entrepreneur. He married Amanda Anderson in 1890. With Mr. Bekkedal’s adventures in the lumber, banking and tobacco business he became one of Wisconsin’s first millionaires by the early 1920′s. Because of his wealth and the growing family of eight children, the original structure saw three major vernacular architectural expansions to reflect the grandeur it is today.
The great depression of 1929-1930 depleted the Bekkedal fortune. Martin died in 1948 and Amanda in 1932. Over the years the house was occupied by various Bekkedal children and their families. In 1946 the house was sold to Art Mockrud. From 1948-1973 boarders occupied the second floor rooms. Occupants were known to be teachers, barbers, chauffeurs, and housekeepers. Upon the death of Art in 1971 ownership of the house was willed to his brother Paul. Paul lived in the house with his family for a few years, then moved as the house was of costly upkeep and needed many repairs. For the next decade the house was mostly unoccupied due to poor living conditions. In 1983 the house was purchased by Patricia Benjamin Smith to be renovated into a Wisconsin Inn and Restaurant. Smith opened for business in 1984 and operated until 1997 when she sold to Glenn and Rose Wegner who owned the Inn for a short time before selling to the current owners Mike and Marie Cimino who have been the owners and innkeepers since 1998.
The rich history behind our Westby inn is just one of the reasons that Westby House Inn is the best place to stay in the area!