Nils H. Lovin
Nils Lovin was one of Bismarck’s leading local builders from 1893 until his death in 1932. Lovin also served on various commissions, including the city commission and planning commission. Postmortem, his sons continued in the contracting business until, at least, the 1950s.
Lovin was born in Ystad, Sweden in 1866. At age 21, he immigrated to the United States and settled in Saint Paul, where he first entered into the construction and contracting business.
Lovin moved to Bismarck in 1893, the same year he married wife Annie Lindhal. Lovin had moved to Bismarck upon winning a construction bid.
Until 1901, Nils was partnered with Matt Glineburg and jointly operated under the name “Glineburg & Lovin.” His sons, Carl and Oscar, later joined Nils in the business and continued until at least the 1950s.
He – and later his sons – were one of the city’s leading builders, constructing numerous residential, commercial, and government buildings of the era.
His sister and her husband, Mary and Johannes (John) Carlson, joined Nils in Bismarck upon immigrating from Sweden in 1901. They were not involved in the contracting business. John was a dairy farmer.
Among the most noted buildings constructed by Lovin were Saint Mary’s Church, the Wards Building, and ongoing projects at the state penitentiary and Fort Lincoln (now UTTC). For some time, the Lovins held an exclusive contract for all Standard Oil stations in the region (as seen in the picture). Lovin was also often employed for maintenance and repairs at the State Penitentiary. A master at decorative crown-molding and wood carving, Lovin often lent his talents to other local builders.
Lovin also held contracts outside of Bismarck. In addition to the Standard Oil stations, one specific example includes a bank and P.C. Remington drug store in Wilton. He also held the contract for a bridge near Sterling.
During the Great Depression, Lovin maintained his entire workforce even when there was no work to be had, paying with his personal finances.
Lovin died in January 1932 of a cerebral hemorrhage from complications of a stroke that had paralyzed his right side. He was survived by his wife and their two sons.
On a personal note, I am proud to say that Nils Lovin was my Great-Great Grandfather. He is one of the biggest reasons I am so passionate about the city.