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Celebrate Swedish Heritage Day at Neely Mansion on Saturday, Aug. 19


By Karen Meador

Swedish Heritage Day at Neely Mansion will be Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, from Noon – 4 p.m.


In addition to its heritage and architectural attributes, the 1894 Neely Mansion is a retrospective of West Coast immigration history. The Neelys lived at the Mansion until the early 1900s, when they leased the property to a number of tenant farmers, most of whom had emigrated to the U.S. from Europe and Asia. Among them were Hannah Simu Galli, an immigrant from Sweden who, along with her Swiss-born husband, Ernst, leased the property from 1908 to 1914. The Gallis operated a dairy farm at the Neely estate where their two sons, Theodore “Teddy,” and Arnold “Arnie,” were born.

The family later purchased a farm in north Auburn where their daughter, Florence, was born. Arnie Galli later worked for the Auburn School District as a bus driver and Driver’s Education instructor at Auburn High School. He was well-liked by his students, many of whom have fond memories of their former teacher.

In tribute to Hannah Simu Galli and the Galli family, the public is invited to attend Swedish Heritage Day at Neely Mansion on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, from Noon to 4 p.m. This celebration of Scandinavian heritage and culture will include live music from the Scandinavian Winter Band, performances from the Skandia Folkdance Society Dancers & Fiddlers and a vintage lur horn presentation and performance by musician Sheila Bartanen.

  • Scandinavian folk art will be on display with vendors who include rosemaling artist and instructor Marilyn Hansen and Swedish dalmalning artist Pat Smaaladen.
  • The Swedish-Finn Historical Society will be on hand to discuss their genealogical research and snack items will be available for purchase from Green Valley Meats.
  • Children’s activities and more will be part of the festivities.

Visit for further information.


Lur horn musician Sheila Bartanen will perform and deliver a presentation on this ancient instrument.
Hannah Simu Galli with her two sons, Baby Arnold and Theodore, on the side porch at Neely Mansion, 1911.

Neely Mansion is located at 12303 SE Auburn-Black Diamond Rd, Auburn, WA 98002:


Karen Meador realized at a tender age she had a serious obsession with history when the idea of visiting the San Juan Capistrano Mission was more appealing than a trip to Disneyland. Since then, she’s researched and embraced the heritage of each place she’s lived from Northern Norway to South Mississippi. As Community Outreach Director for Neely Mansion, she shares our rich local history with The Auburn Examiner.

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