Ingeborg Solberg

Ingeborg Solberg (1876-1962) was not a city person. She would only go to Trondheim on exceptional occasions, most often only once a year. The city people, however, came to her, and "everybody" knew Ingeborg Solberg; Ingeborg from Grønlia [a small café in the woods close to Trondheim].
Ingeborg came from Gelleintrøa in Leinstrand, where she grew up with her parents and five brothers. She took the great liberating step in her life in 1906 when she signed a lease with Trondheim local authority for Grønlia in Bymarka [the forests on the west side of Trondheim]. Grønlia is an old dairy farm on the north bank of Skjelbreia lake, and was a central location for hikers in the forest. Ingeborg was able to have cows at Grønlia, but the special aspect of the contract was that she agreed to cater to "the strolling public".
Initially the traffic was sparse, dominated by men and there were few working-class people. Eventually, as the hiking and open-air tradition grew, Ingeborg and Grønlia became a key institution in Bymarka. The number of visitors was particularly high on weekends, and the use of the forest in winter developed rapidly in step with the rise in material affluence.
Ingeborg lived permanently at Grønlia. She never had electricity, and did not have running water until the 1950s. The quality of hospitality and meals was never in question, and the word was that her coffee was the best to be had in Bymarka. Outside rush hours Grønlia also became a well-loved place to meet for the more regular hikers. They would often play whist with the hostess in a key position at the table, and perhaps also share "a glass in all contentment". There was close interaction between the public and the private sphere at Grønlia.
Ingeborg died at her post in 1962, 86 years of age. By then she had served coffee and food to the visitors hiking in the forest for more than 50 years. Grønlia continues to be a popular destination for forest walks in Bymarka. In the meadow by Grønlia a stone has been placed in memory of Ingeborg.
Recommended reading: Trondhjems skiklubs årbok 1967 [Trondhjem Ski Club Yearbook 1967], p. 7-16 (by Kristen Mo).

Author: Einar Rædergård