The name was taken from the real-life St. Olaf Township in western Minnesota. St. Olaf may have been named after St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN by a writer who was from cross-town college rival Carleton College. On the series, St. Olaf was neighbors with St. Gustaf, and there was also a town called "Beaver Falls" nearby. There is also a real life Beaver Falls Township in Minnesota. The towns of St. Olaf and St. Gustaf were derived from the names of two Minnesota colleges, St. Olaf College and Gustavus Adolphus College. St. Olaf College is located in Northfield, MN, and Gustavus Adolphus College is located in St. Peter, MN. The two colleges are both in the MIAC conference and share a friendly rivalry.
According to Rose, St. Olaf is a Norwegian farming settlement in northern Minnesota, known on local license plates as "Big Statue Country". The town can be reached by train from Minneapolis to Tyler's Landing, changing at St. Gustav (St. Olaf's sister city and dubbed "The City that Never Naps") with the final leg completed by toboggan.
You may also fly to St. Gustav and transfer to a train and then donkey cart service that takes 2-3 days. Additionally, a "Yokel Service" is available for those who wish to be entertained by a family of first cousins playing banjos.
A Norwegian farming settlement in Minnesota, it was according to Rose, "founded by the man who came up with the idea of canning tuna in its own juices" named Heinrich von Andredunen who was celebrated every year with a parade of townsfolk dressed as cans of tuna and jars of mayonnaise. Its population, she related, could all be traced back to the same brother and sister, and are required by law to sign a pledge at the age of 15 to promise they will not do anything "wild, crazy and impetuous," principally to prevent people painting their houses strange colors.
Presence in The Golden GirlsEdit
During the show's seven-year run, St. Olaf was only seen twice in flashbacks and once when the girls visited during an episode in which Rose was nominated for St Olaf's Woman of the Year award, ultimately winning a gold trophy, or rather, a milk chocolate trophy wrapped in gold colored foil.
The town was nevertheless referred to in almost every episode through Rose's protracted and comic (yet almost entirely irrelevant) anecdotes about its eccentric inhabitants, bizarre customs, and peculiar history. The town appears to be quite traditional, with Rose being visited once by her cousin Sven who was due to be married in an arranged marriage to a St Olaf woman he never met before.
One of St. Olaf's chief attractions is a giant black hole, which the townspeople enjoyed standing around and looking at - which prompted Dorothy to refer to St. Olaf sarcastically as the real "entertainment capital of the world." St. Olafians also celebrate various oddly themed festivals, including; "Hay Day" (the day everyone in town celebrates hay),"The Crowning of the Princess Pig", "The Day of the Wheat" (where everyone goes to town dressed like sandwiches), "The Festival of the Dancing Sturgeons" (a festival where the townsfolk watch sturgeons flopping around on the dock), a "Butter Queen" competition (in which Rose almost won, however her churn jammed causing her to believe it had been tampered with), and a milk diving competition (Rose ranked in the "low fat" division), as well as many other events.
The local high school was taken over by the Nazi Party during World War II in order to teach Nazi propaganda to the youth at the school as an experiment, in preparation of an invasion of the United States; both Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun served as teachers at the school: Hitler, alias "Fritz Stickelmeyer," taught history, and Eva Braun taught physical education.
The townspeople built a statue dedicated to Blanche, after she returned to them a large surplus of war bonds she found in a box of junk she bought from Rose.
St. Olaf appears to be a bilingual town with a significant amount of unique vocabulary (that may be specific to the area and not appearing in standard Norwegian). Rose uses these phrases quite often, to the exasperation of her roommates. Examples include Gerkanenaken (when dog feces turn white), Tutenbobels (buttocks), Ugel and Flugel (a Hide and seek game for adults) and Vanskapkaka (a special "friendship" cake; this word, however, is based on the Swedish word "vänskapskaka", which holds the same meaning).
St. Olaf is still occasionally mentioned by Garrison Keillor as the neighboring town to Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, in his weekly public radio show, A Prairie Home Companion.
A list of St. Olafians and St. Olaf things Edit
- The Swinson Brothers: Two brothers who were almost neutered by a doctor/vet who started to drink hog liniment.
- Alice: Rose's family cow who was involved in a nasty plowing accident. The punishment for the kids in the farm if they have done something bad is to milk Alice, since she had to sit on a stool.
- Toby: Rose's family cow before Alice. He was too old, gotten a fever and gone deaf.
- Larry: Rose's one-eyed pig.
- Lars: A man with a prosthetic leg, who came in last in the Four Country Toboggan Race.
- Uncle Ben: Rose's uncle who lost Lars' prosthetic leg. To make it up to Lars, he decided to become his Viedenfrugen (personal servant). It turns out he used it to beat off the wolves when he was setting up the bleachers.
- Old Toby: A horse that got too sick, and the Lindstrom family ended up shooting it.
- Mean Old Lady Hickenlooper: An old lady who legally changed her name to Mean Old Lady Hickenlooper (because that's what everyone called her) and was born without any smiling muscles.
- Hans Christian Lukerhuven: St. Olaf's greatest author. He wrote the fable "Tudor the Tiger" and "Hansel and Hansel" , which Rose thought her parents had made up
- Genugenflurgen cake, a type of cake with an ancient Scandinavian recipe that Rose Americanized.
- Vertugenflurgen, a word used by Rose that is the St. Olaf equivalent of "I'm not one to blow my own horn.", with 'vertugenflurgen' replacing 'horn'.