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By Caitlin Wolfe
The home at 506 North Gaskin Avenue in Douglas has a history that most would say started when the lot of land was bought in 1930 by Carl Jensen. However, this story begins long before that. To be exact, the history of this home actually starts in 1891 in Denmark.
16 year old Carl Jensen and his father traveled to the port in Copenhagen in 1891. This is where Carl, just a teenage boy at the time, would board a ship that was headed to the United States. His father was sending him to America after his oldest son, Andrew, had already been drafted into the German Army. Carl’s father knew the clock was ticking, and he would soon be enlisted into the army if he didn’t leave Denmark. Having one son in the German Army was already too much for Carl’s father, let alone two.
According to the book From Graveyard Road to Silk Stocking Row, Carl was once quoted as saying, “When I stood on the deck of the ship and waved goodbye to my father, I knew that was the last time I would ever see him.” Not only was Carl leaving behind his father, but also his mother and older brother, Andrew.
Carl stepped foot in the United States for the first time on May 15, 1891. He made his way to Ransom County, North Dakota where he lived with a couple named Christena Austad and his wife, Christine, for the next 8 or 9 years. It is said the couple treated Carl as their own son, as they had no children of their own.
On January 28, 1898, at 23 years old, Carl Jensen became a citizen of the United States. Sometime after becoming a citizen, Carl and a friend decided they wanted to get away from the cold weather and move farther south, so they did just that.
After working his way down to Cordele, Georgia, Carl eventually met his future wife, Minnie Eugenia Dorminey. After their marriage in 1909, they moved to Nicholls where other members of Minnie’s family were already living at the time. It was here that they welcomed their first and only child into the world, Christine Jensen. It is believed by some that their daughter was named after Christine Austad, the woman who had treated Carl like her own son back in North Dakota when he first came to the United States.
Unfortunately, the Jensens’ home in Nicholls burned down when their daughter was only a young child. After this unforeseen event, Carl, Minnie, and a young Christine relocated to Waycross where Carl took a job with the Atlantic Coastline Railroad. 20 long years of railroad service later, and around the same time Christine graduated from Waycross High School, Carl bought the lot of land on Gaskin Avenue in 1930. His hopes were to build a beautiful home back in Douglas for his wife and daughter, and that is exactly what he did.
Now, here we are, full circle to the seen beginning of the life of 506 North Gaskin Avenue. The home was finished in February of 1931. It has a pretty white frame and a sweet family style design, along with a history of perseverance and dreams from a young 16 year old boy from Denmark. The home sits on the east side of North Gaskin between Franklin and Gordon streets. It remains occupied to this day.
Note: The book From Graveyard Road to Silk Stocking Row, which chronicles the families and homes of Gaskin Avenue, provided the information contained in this story.
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