“The Swede from North Dakota”


Having spent a year working, the Svede decides to visit Minnesota's State Fair. He meets a Salvation Army group (refusing to work for Jesus when he learns "Yesus don't pay nothing"), winds up drunk, and returns home


It can at least be said that this song is well supplied with local color. The Minnesota State Fair claims (I'm not sure on what basis) to be the largest in America. (If nothing else, it produces huge traffic jams.)

Both Minneapolis and Saint Paul have areas known as "Seven Corners" (though changes in traffic patterns have reduced the number of streets and intersections); it's likely but not certain that the Minneapolis site is referred to.

The Minneapolis site, probably better known, is near Washington Avenue (which runs from the University of Minnesota to the north side of downtown Minneapolis, and is mentioned in the song). It's not the best area; bars and nightclubs are not hard to find.

Saint Paul's Seven Corners, on the west side of downtown (and so called because two street grids overlapped there, producing some very strange intersections in the 1880s), is on the same side of the Mississippi river as the State Fair, and is near a Salvation Army mission (though I've never seen a band play there). It's also an old area, but perhaps in somewhat better shape. Though some of that is the result of urban renewal; it's said to have been a pretty rough area in the 1920s. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Ohrlin-HBT 8, "The Swede from North Dakota" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #9845
  3. BI, Ohr008


Alternate titles: “The Svede from Nort Dakota”; “I'm a Swede from Minnesota”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1968
Found in: US