Sunday, June 6, 2010

Otto Petersen - toymaking hobby reflects youthful memories

Otto William Petersen
1899 - 1977

A few weeks ago my father came across this issue of American Dane magazine from March 1974 featuring his father, Otto William Petersen, on the cover. He asked me if I wanted it for my family history records.

Would any genealogist ever say "no"?

The magazine features a reprint of an article about my grandfather's toymaking hobby that originally appeared in the Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska).

He got started crafting windmills, then wagons and dollhouses. The story even shares a little insight into family history.

The Waterloo, Iowa native, who spent his youth on a farm, recaptures some of his earliest remembrances of the rural scene in replicas of wagons, wells and hayracks.

The typical hayrack model comes complete with tongue, double trees and neck yokes. He's even put a spring on the tongue, an addition his dad made at corn-shucking time to relieve the horses of some of their burden.

Another touch from his past is the convertible hayrack-wagon "since my dad could not afford both."

The magazine identifies the little girl in the photograph as Debbie Nielsen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Nielsen.


  1. What a great family treasure! Of course none of us would say "no"!! Nice piece of history!