In 1834, Cleng Peerson from Norway founded -- Norway. In Illinois. Later called "The Mother Settlement," it was the first permanent camp of Norwegians in the Midwest, and a future departure point for subsequent Norsemen and -women -- the great great great great grandsons and granddaughters of Vikings -- who would go on to conquer land in far-away places like Iowa.
On the 100th anniversary of America's Norway, five commemorative plaques were mounted on rocks and slabs outside the Peerson family cemetery. They're still there, like Viking runestones, offering mute testimony to the countless Olafs and Astrids that passed through on their way to someplace else. During our visit we noted that someone had spray painted on the back of one slab: "Odin Lives."