Víðivellir Homestead

Historic Víðivellir

In the summer of 2009, the historVíðivellir from the Icelandic Riveric homestead of Víðivellir (Riverlot 2-23-4E) was purchased by Icelandic River heritage Sites member Nelson Gerrard, adding this riverlot to two adjacent properties administered by IRHS: Nes (Riverlot 1), site of the Nes Pioneer Cemetery, and Engimýri (Riverlot 3), which IRHS acquired in 2010.

Pioneer Jón Guttormsson of Víðivellir with sons Vigfús (right) and Guttormur c 1890Originally homesteaded in 1877 by pioneers Jón Guttormsson and Pálína Ketilsdóttir, from the East of Iceland, Víðivellir remained in the Guttormsson family for 132 years and is best known as the birthplace and home of Icelandic Canadian poet Guttormur J. Guttormsson. This unique property between the the Icelandic River and the Vatnsnes Marsh, once heavily wooded with Boreal forest and rich in flora and fauna, was  the inspiration for many of Guttormur's poems.

Guttormur's writing also included many philosophical poems and historical reminiscences spiced with wit and humour, which earned him prominence both in Iceland and North America.  The poet's home at Víðivellir, just north of Riverton, therefore attracted numerous visitors from far and wide who were entertained by Guttormur and his wife, Jensína.

Clean-up at GuttormslundurRegular maintenance of the former site of the poet's home on the riverbank has now being started, and the grove of trees here has been named Guttormslundur (Guttormur's Grove).  Future plans include restoration of the flowing well, which is now caving in, site enhancement,  a commemorative marker and interpretive panel, walking paths, and possible reconstruction of the 1890 era log houses as guest accommodation.

This site is still under development and is not yet open to the public  except by prior arrangement with the owner (204-378-2758 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or through contact with Icelandic River Heritage Sites.

The Víðivellir homestead also includes two other significant sites of historical interest.  One of these is Neskíll, a large creek that formerly extended inland for more than a mile but is now truncated by a large dike constructed during the 1970's.  Immediately north of this creek is a point of land on the riverbank that is the site of the Nes Cemetery, dating from 1876.

Like other riverside properties in this area, Víðivellir is a riverlot extending a full mile east from the riverbank.  Much of this land is marsh, but at the east end is a ridge running in a northwesterly direction and surrounded by marshland.  This ridge, which features numerous large oak trees, was once the site of a homestead named Ás (Ridge) and is was therefore known as Ásalda (Ás Ridge).  The hay meadow to the west of this ridge was called Ásengi, while the marsh along its east side was called Ásmýri.  The original settler of this ridge was Thorsteinn Antoníusson from the East Fjords of Iceland.