The Lodalen Disasters
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
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|
|70. Simon Hansson Sanden||b. 1924|
|71. Anders Hansson Sanden||b. 1926|
|72. * Kristen Johannesson Sande||b. 1871|
|73. Ingeborg Jensdotter Sæten||b. 1918|
|* Those who were found and buried.|
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