The colourful history of Fru Haugans Hotel
On 13 December 1794, King Christian VII granted to Erik Sjursen a royal consent to operate an inn and a trading post. Sjursen, a farmer’s son and captain of a cargo ship, established a thriving trading post on land leased from his brother.
In 1823, the trading post was purchased by J. Heitmann, who four years later died while fishing off the Lofoten Islands. According to rumours, his wife Anne Christine Clausdotter and her lover, skipper O.H. Schrøder, had poisoned him by putting arsenic into his food supplies. Anyways, these two soon married and continue to operate the trading post, adding first a store and in 1866 an inn. These were the beginnings of Schrøders Hotel. By the time O.H. Scrøder died in 1871, the system of royal consent and monopolies had been abolished. Schrøder’s second wife ran the establishment until its bankruptcy in 1882.
The property was advertised as available for sale or rent.
Ellen Haugan, a married woman living in the town of Ålesund in Western Norway, decided to lease the hotel unseen. Accompanied only by her three young daughters, the 36-year-old moved to Mosjøen. In January of 1885 she registered the soon-to-be revitalised establishment under the name Fru Haugans Hotel. Four years later she purchased the hotel for the original asking price of 15,000 kroner – equivalent to two million kroner today.
The hotel was in a sorry state; the kitchen, for instance, had an open hearth and an earthen floor! However, the industrious Ellen Haugan soon acquired a reputation for good food, excellent service and a friendly atmosphere. The photo shows Ellen with her daughters in Restaurant Ellenstuen.
A royal visit!
The hotel’s first annex.
When Ellen Haugan died in 1914, her youngest daughter, Eli Haugan Jenssen-Hals, assumed command.
Forty rooms were added by building a Functionalistic brick annex adjoining the old wooden hotel. Here is Eli Jenssen-Hals inspecting the progress of the work.
The completed hotel annex.
When Eli died, her niece Eli Marie Jürgensen became the third-generation proprietor of the hotel. Like the skilful women preceding her, she continued the hotel’s strong focus on quality food, friendly service, and clean premises.
She also took a formal degree in hotel management. Eli Marie ran the hotel for many years with a firm hand, creating a solid financial foundation that allowed further development of her hotel and restaurant enterprise. This photo shows Eli Marie with some of her staff.
Bjørg Jürgensen Johannessen, niece of Eli Marie, moved to Mosjøen from Kristiansund, becoming the fourth-generation woman to lead the hotel. When her aunt died in 1997, she became the new owner. Bjørg had all the rooms renovated, built a new conference centre, added two restaurants and a bar, built a new reception, and installed an elevator. She also expanded upwards, adding another floor with 17 new rooms.
While making improvements to ensure modern amenities and comfort, Bjørg insisted on preserving the character and traditional style of Fru Haugans Hotel. In recognition of her efforts, the municipality gave her its Award for Building Design, as well as a Good Business Award.
When Bjørg Jürgensen Johannessen died after long illness, only 57 years old, her husband Alf Gilroy Johannes continued running the hotel, in close cooperation with its manager Bodil Fagerli. Alf commenced the building of a new hotel wing, on the banks of the Vefsna river. Completed after many years hard work, this new wing added 36 more rooms, a conference facility, and a spectacular terrace for outdoor tables, with stairs down to the river.
Ellen Løvold Strand became the fifth-generation proprietor of the hotel. This photo shows Ellen on a hike, with a fine view of Fru Haugans Hotel in the background.