Larson's in Mobridge, SD

Larson Furniture & Undertaking 1908 — 1916

Homesteader starts new business

It was 1908. The founders of Mobridge, South Dakota platted the future town in preparation for building the Milwaukee Road railroad bridge across the Missouri River. Since the railroad crew building the bridge sent telegraph messages that ended with "M.O. bridge," they named the town after the new bridge.

Lars Larson purchased two lots and opened Larson Furniture and Undertaking, a new career for this Norwegian homesteader who arrived in the Mobridge area with his wife Hannah in 1889. That year they rode the train from Denver to the end of the tracks and joined many other Norwegian immigrants homesteading on the Dakota prairie. Apparently, he was a successful homesteader because he purchased additional land, raised eight children, and then started his retail and service businesses.

Furniture and funeral business

Many people wonder why furniture and funeral businesses often went hand-in-hand. Until quite recently, it was a logical combination since the companies that manufactured furniture also manufactured caskets. The horses and wagons used to deliver furniture could also be used for funerals, and Lars took pride in his matched black horses and shiny hearse coach. Since his store sold cribs, he was able to advertise, We serve you from cradle to grave, in Norwegian, of course.

Construction of M.O. Bridge
Midwest Milwaukee Road Historical Society



Larson's expands

Lars died in 1916, leaving the business to his oldest sons, Lenny and Martin. Eventually, four Larson brothers ran the furniture/mortuary business: Martin in Mobridge, John in Rapid City, South Dakota, Lenny in Glenwood, Minnesota, and Edwin in Kenyon, Minnesota.

Molbridge Store
Martin and Lenny, the oldest sons of Lars, pose in this 1918 picture