Carl Ben Eielson was born in Hatton and learned to fly in the U.S. Army Air Service in 1917, just fourteen years after the Wright brothers’ first flight. Eielson’s flying skills were legendary, climaxed by his epic twenty-two-hundred-mile flight in 1928 over the Arctic Ocean from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Spitsbergen in arctic Norway. After he was killed in a crash on a 1929 rescue mission in Siberia, North Dakotans considered Eielson a hero and a sort of Nordic martyr. Eielson grew up in a house built by Hatton general store owner T. E. Nelson, probably from a pattern-book design. In 1908 the house was purchased by Ole Eielson, merchant, banker, and Carl Ben’s father. The Queen Anne house is dominated by a polygonal turret atop the front porch and is ornamented with carved panels and has prominent brackets supporting a flared domed roof. The house’s hipped roof is interrupted by several gables with bracketed cornice returns and Palladian windows. A small corner balcony with a latticework soffit screen is supported by Doric columns. In 1973, the house opened as a historical museum, featuring artifacts shared by Eielson’s heirs. A new split-cedar shingle roof completed restoration of the exterior in 1982.
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Carl Ben Eielson House
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