Standing Tall in Westby! Taken in 1972.
The Westby House has a long history, beginning with the original 2 stories 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 to 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. The Wegners sold the Inn to Mike and Marie Cimino, owners and innkeepers until 2021. Scott and Cyndi Leckey took over ownership in 2021, offering popular Saturday night pizza.
In February 2023, Garrick and Kassi Olerud purchased the Westby House and Guest Lodge. Garrick and Kassi, Westby natives, are very involved in the community and strive to play a progressive and positive role within the city. The two own and operate the Daily Brew, a coffee and gift shop on Westby's Main St. As a Broker Owner of NextHome Prime Real Estate, Garrick is deeply involved in local real estate and property management, while Kassi serves on the Chamber of Commerce.
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!