In 1905 Steensland donated a new
over the Yahara River in honor of his 50 years as a resident of Madison. Steensland was the
first person to cross the new bridge, driving across in his buggy.
second, on horseback.
A goatherd when young, he came to Madison in 1855 to work as a grocery clerk; his ability to
speak German, Norwegian and English made him invaluable. He started a crockery and grocery
business in 1859, and in 1871 was a founder of the Hekla Fire Insurance Company, serving as
secretary-treasurer and later president. He also founded the Savings, Loan and Trust Company.
In 1863 he purchased 175 acres in what is now Maple Bluff.
Maple Bluff house
, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was later owned by the
La Follettes. He was one of the organizers of the Bethel Lutheran Church, and was a member of
the city council.
Steensland was vice consul in Wisconsin for Norway and Sweden for 33 years, and King Haakon
of Norway made him a Knight First Class of the Royal Order of St. Olaf. Halle donated the
library at St. Olaf’s College in Northfield, Minnesota. He was on the board of the
at 315 North Carroll Street
is a Madison landmark.
Interred at Forest Hill