Anton Magnus Hopen Oral History Interview, 1981

Overview of the Collection

Hopen, Anton Magnus
Anton Magnus Hopen Oral History Interview
1981 (inclusive)
3 file folders.
9 photographs
1 sound cassette
Collection Number
An oral history interview with Anton Magnus Hopen, a Norwegian immigrant.
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington
Telephone: 2535357586
Fax: 2535357315
Access Restrictions

The oral history collection is open to all users.

Additional Reference Guides

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Anton Magnus Hopen was born on January 6, 1902 in Eikefjord, Norway, which is twenty-five miles north of Bergen. His parents are Salamon Mathias Hopen and Dorthea Svardal, and he had two brothers and two sisters. They lived in Svardal for a few years and then moved to Eikefjord because his father was in the fishing industry and had to move to follow it. Anton was confirmed in 1916 and attended school until he was 15. He left home when he was 16 and worked on the telephone lines; he was foreman for one year. He left Norway on April 11, 1923, landed at St. John's in Canada, and took a train through Montreal, Winnipeg on to Blaine and Tacoma, Washington. He worked at a logging camp near Enumclaw, Washingotn for a year and then for the railroad building track into the logging camps. He went to see an uncle in Alaska and got a job with Vermont Marble Co. in Tokeen, Alaska working in the marble quarries. He visited Norway for six months in 1926 and came back and worked in the marble quarry until it shut down in 1932. He then fished for many small companies in Alaska and went to Tacoma in the winter.

He met his wife, Anna Tweiten, during a snowball fight at 13th and Market in Tacoma, and they married in 1936 in Cordova, AK. Anton became a citizen on September 20, 1937 and received his papers in Cordova. In the 1940s, he worked for Oceanic Fisheries out of Seattle and built his own boat in 1948. He then fished on the Puget Sound during the fall and Alaska in the spring, fishing for himself, and he quit fishing in 1973. He was a member of the Moose Lodge in Alaska for many years and took trips to Norway in 1970, 1975, and 1979.


Full Name: Anton Magnus Hopen. Father: Salamon Mathias Hopen. Mother: Dorthea Svardal. Paternal Grandfather: Samson Hopen. Paternal Grandmother: Ellen Maren Lovise Hopen. Maternal Grandfather: Johan Antoni.. Maternal Grandmother: Inger Olsdatter Høvik. Brothers and Sisters: Borghild Susanne Hopen, Samson Kristoffer Hopen, Johan Ingolf Hopen, Magna Bolette Hopen. Spouse: Anna Malena Tweiten. Children: Sigvald Dagfin Hopen, Phillip Obed Hopen, Alf Magnus Hopen, Ruben Harald Hopen, Bruce Leon Hopen.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The interview was conducted with Anton Hopen on November 2, 1981 in Tacoma, Washington. This interview provides information on family history, fishing and farming in Norway, childhood, school, work in Norway, reason for emigrating, voyage to America, train trip to Tacoma, work in U.S., Great Depression, fishing in U.S., citizenship, Norwegian organizations in Alaska, visits to Norway, and changes in Norwegian farming. The interview also contains photographs of Anton Hopen in Tokeen, Alaska, the marble quarry in Tokeen, Anton cutting marble, Anton and other quarry employees, Brunwald (the boat Anton fished on in Alaska), Anton's home in Svardal, Norway, and Anton and his wife Anna at the time of the interview. The interview was conducted in English. Also see Anna Hopen, T113.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on use.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Custodial History

The Oral History collection project was started during an experimental course on Scandinavian Women in the Pacific Northwest. Students in the course were encouraged to interview women and learn about their experiences as immigrants to the United States. The project was continued and expanded with support from the president's office and by grants from the L.J. Skaggs and Mary C. Skaggs Foundation, from the Joel E. Ferris Foundation and the Norwegian Emigration Fund of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project was directed by Dr. Janet E. Rasmussen. The collection was transferred to the Archives and Special Collections Department.

Acquisition Information

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Processing Note

The interview was conducted by Inger Nygaard Carr using a cassette recorder. A research copy was also prepared from the original. To further preserve the content of the interview, it is now being transferred to compact disc. We deliberately did not transcribe the entire interview because we want the researchers to listen to the interviewee's own voice. The transcription index highlights important aspects of the interview and the tape counter numbers noted on the Partial Interview Transcription are meant as approximate finding guides and refer to the location of a subject on the cassette/CD. The recording quality is good

The collection was transcribed by Mary Sue Gee, Julie Peterson and Becky Husby.


Rasmussen, Janet Elaine. New Land New Lives: Scandinavian Immigrants to the Pacific Northwest Tacoma, Washington University of Washington Press 1993

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The partial interview transcription highlights important aspects of the interview. Numbers may be used as guides to important subjects. Two numbers separated by a slash indicate that the first number is for cassette and the second for CD.

Container(s) Description
114, side 1 003:
Anton Magnus Hopen. Born in Eikefjord, Norway on January 6, 1902. Eikefjord is 25 miles north of Bergen.
114, side 1 010: PARENTS
Salamon Hopen and Dorthea Svardal. She was from Svardal. Hopen comes from great-grandfather.
114, side 1 027: FATHER
Father was in the fishing industry. He retired early because he was sick. They lived on a small farm. Father did most of his fishing in the winter. Fished for herring. Made a good living, nothing extraordinary.
114, side 1 048: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Borghild Susanne worked in Bergen. Her husband worked with shipping cod and other fish. Samson Kristoffer went through school and went to work for the Post Office as Postmaster in Ramsdalen, north of Bergen. He transferred to the office in Nesttun, outside of Stavanger during the war. Also transferred to Oslo. He had retired in Lillehammer. Johan Ingolf immigrated to the U.S. in 1924. He did fishing in Alaska. Magna Bolette is married to Einar Jacobsen. She lives in Norway. They have a little farm.
114, side 1 130: GRANDPARENTS
Paternal - Samson Hopen born 1818 and Ellen Maren Lovise. Maternal - Johan Antoni and Inger Olsdatter Hoevik. Lived in Svardal.
114, side 1 189: CHILDHOOD
Lived in Svardal a few years. Went fishing in the lakes, many mountains around.
114, side 1 205: FARMING IN SVARDAL
Small farms, 6-7- cows, potatoes, and barley. Enough for families to use. Caught trout and salmon in the lakes.
114, side 1 221:
Fishing rights to a lake close by were sold to doctors in Bergen so they could not fish in the lake anymore.
114, side 1 228:
Describes fishing in places where the fish jumped. Used a dip net to catch fish.
114, side 1 244:
Moved to Eikefjord because father had to move with the fishing industry.
114, side 1 268: SCHOOL
Went in Svardal. Shared a teacher with another school. Had three weeks on and three weeks off. One room schoolhouse 7-8 kids. Went until he was 15 years old.
114, side 1 287: CONFIRMATION
1916, Rowed across the lake and then walked to church. Had church once a month. Pastors rotated to 3-4 different churches.
114, side 1 310:
School in Eikefjord was bigger, one teacher.
114, side 1 317:
Left home when he was 16, worked on the telephone lines. Lived at the place he worked. Was a foreman for one year, 28 men under him. 1920 made 9 krones a day. Foreman job paid 18 krones a day.
Did not want to be in the service and it was time for him to go. It was compulsory and he did not like the idea.
114, side 1 376:
Put in an application for utvandring (emigration). He had to leave before April 14, 1923 or had to go in the service. Left April 11, 1923.
114, side 1 408: TRIP
Went to Bergen to Newcastle, England. Took boat here to Liverpool. Went to France and picked up more people.
114, side 1 418:
Across the Atlantic got into ice and fog around Newfoundland, stayed still for eight days on the ocean. There were Russians, Germans, and French people on the boat.
114, side 1 432: BOAT
"Old tub," not real nice, food was good. Many Scotchmen playing the bagpipes, people dancing. Took 16 days from Liverpool to St. John's in Canada.
114, side 1 463: TRAIN TRIP
Problem with river washing out the railroad tracks. Had to wait a while on the train. A loaf of bread and sardines were provided for them. Train went through Montreal, Winnipeg and landed in Blaine. Went through customs with no problems.
114, side 1 516:
No language problems. Could find people who would help with translations.
114, side 1 536:
Took the train from Blaine to Tacoma. Arrived in Tacoma at 11pm, slept on the benches in Union Station. Met a friend who sponsored Anton. Went to work for a logging camp by Enumclaw.
114, side 1 605:
Trip took 28 days from Bergen to Tacoma. Cost about 1500 krones. 5-6 krones to the U.S. dollar.
114, side 1 620:
Worked at the logging camp for a year. Fed really well.
Did work with the timbers that were used to build the ties. Built track that went into the logging camps.
114, side 2 010: LEARNING LANGUAGE
People were patient with him.
114, side 2 016:
Worked on the 4th of July on RR and got double pay. Made good money.
114, side 2 025:
Went to see his uncle in Alaska. Got a job at Vermont Marble Co. He worked in the marble quarries. This was in Tokeen, Alaska. Made $100 a month, free room and board.
114, side 2 055:
Big bunkhouse. Camp right by bunkhouses. Food was good. Had an Englishman as a cook. More meat here than Norway. Worked here until 1926.
114, side 2 073: TOOK TRIP TO NORWAY
Stayed for six months. Took the Stavangerfjord. Went with a Swede. This was in 1926 so there were not many changes yet.
114, side 2 097:
Attended a wedding in Norway that lasted four days. They had fourteen barrels of homebrew. Saturday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon. Wore out two pairs of shoes from dancing. Came back to the U.S. and went back to work in the marble quarry.
114, side 2 120:
Used the hot springs in Alaska because he had rheumatism from wearing boots. Shut down the quarry in 1932.
114, side 2 137: FISHING IN ALASKA
Worked for many small companies, one was New England Fish Co. In the winter he came down to Tacoma.
114, side 2 150: DEPRESSION IN 1933
Did herring fishing in the Aleutian Islands, had a herring gill net. Set up their own company. Shipped herring to Seattle. The Norwegian Consulate was a broker, sold fish in Seattle. Good way to make money during the Depression.
114, side 2 180:
In 1940s he fished for herring for many years. Worked for Oceanic Fisheries out of Seattle.
114, side 2 186:
In 1948 he built his own boat, 36 feet long, a salmon fishing boat. Fished on the Sound during the fall, Alaska in the spring. Fished for himself. Quit fishing in 1973.
114, side 2 205:
Never had much difficulty in finding work. Some problem during the winter.
114, side 2 209:
Stole a job at a wheat shed. Wheat came in from the Midwest to the warehouse. Unloaded boxes and stored the wheat in warehouses.
114, side 2 240: MINORITY GROUPS
Not many around. Worked with other people besides Norwegians.
September 20, 1937 got paper in Cordova, Alaska. He was a resident in Alaska. Hard winter there, nice summers. Studied for citizenship. Problems with witness. They gave the wrong information to the judge. He had confused Anton with another friend.
He was a member of the Moose Lodge for many years. Not many activities going on. Way to meet people.
114, side 2 327:
There was not a Lutheran church in Alaska, more Russian Orthodox churches. Describes spending a night in one of these churches. Pictures of Russian monks.
114, side 2 375:
Married in 1936, they met during a snowball fight at 13th and Market in Tacoma.
114, side 2 387: TRIPS BACK TO NORWAY
1970, 1975, and 1979. Did not know many people. New farm owners, more modern farms. Talks about the cows. Things have hanged with feeding and milking them. They drive cows hard.
114, side 2 435:
Still speaks Norwegian. Speaks more Norwegian at home than English.
114, side 2 450: SPOKEN NORWEGIAN
Describes why he is glad to be a Norwegian in the Norwegian language.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Confirmation
  • Depressions--1929
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Family--Norway
  • Fishing
  • Naturalization
  • Norway--Social conditions--1945-
  • Norwegian language
  • Norwegian-Americans--Ethnic identity
  • Norwegian-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Norwegian-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Ocean travel
  • Railroad travel

Personal Names

  • Hopen, Alf Magnus
  • Hopen, Bruce Leon
  • Hopen, Ellen Maren Lovise
  • Hopen, Phillip Obed
  • Hopen, Ruben Harald
  • Hopen, Sigvald Dagfin
  • Hopen, Anton Magnus--Interviews (creator)
  • Hopen, Anna Malena
  • Hopen, Salamon Mathias
  • Hopen, Samson
  • Høvik, Inger Olsdatter
  • Svardal, Dorthea

Corporate Names

  • Moose Lodge (Alaska)

Family Names

  • Hopen family
  • Høvik family
  • Svardal family
  • Tweiten family

Geographical Names

  • Cordova (Alaska)
  • Eikefjord (Norway
  • Enumclaw (Wash.)
  • Svardal (Norway)
  • Tacoma (Wash.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Oral histories


  • Loggers
  • Railroads – Employees