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Nils H. Lovin

By | Last Modified: September 11, 2017
Nils Lovin (Center)

Nils Lovin (Center) stands in front of a Standard Oil he constructed. Son Carl is seen on his right.

Nils Lovin was one of Bismarck’s leading local builders from 1893 until his death in 1932. Post-mortem, his sons continued in the contracting business until the 1940s.

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 his death, he remained one of the city’s leading builders, constructing numerous residential, commercial, and government buildings of the era.

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 long after his death.

Among the most noted buildings constructed by Lovin were Saint Mary’s Church, the Wards Building, most regional Standard Oil stations, and many buildings at Fort Lincoln (now UTTC). 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 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. 


  1. Gw

    March 23, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Do you have a list of properties he may have built? I just bought a home on rosser that was built in 1921. Doing some research. Have not seem the abstract yet. Thanks

    • Randy Hoffman (admin)

      March 23, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Sorry, but I don’t have a list of all of the properties. The era certainly makes it possible.

  2. Bo Andersson

    September 10, 2017 at 10:34 am

    I read this article about Nils Lovin. I am living in Sweden and are doing some research about my ancestors. Nils (his surname was Hansson before he toke the name Lovin) is my grandmothers (on my fathers side) fathers brother. He was born in Southern Sweden (Löderup) and was the youngest son. He had three brothers and one sister. The two oldest sons stayed in Sweden and the rest emigrated to America. I think his sister Marry Carlsson also settled in Bismarck ND. His brother Ola also moved to America but have not been able to trace him. I would like to get in touch with his relatives so I may learn more about him and his family. I may also share information about his origin in Sweden.
    Looking forward to learn some news.

    • Randy Hoffman (admin)

      September 11, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Nils Lovin was my Great-Great Grandfather. I was always told that Nils, my ancestor, was born in Ystad, Sweden. That’s also what was listed in his obit. But, it looks like Ystad is very close to Löderup.

      Despite the slight difference in birth city, I do believe it’s the same Nils Lovin who was my ancestor. There are just too many connections not to be.

      First, the Hansson mentioning is interesting. Nils was quite a prolific artist and signed his earlier drawings as either Nils Hansson or Nils Hanson. Prior to relocating to Bismarck, Annie, his eventual wife, worked for James Jerome Hill – a famous railroad executive in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Many of Nils’ early drawings are of Hill’s house, while he waited for Annie to get off from work.

      Second, the Carlsson connection: Nils had a sister, Mrs. John Carlson, who lived in Tacoma, Washington. She may have relocated to Bismarck at some point after his death, as my grandmother remembers Nil’s sister living next door to her as a child. Nils also named one of his sons “Carl.”

      Nils had one other son, Oscar, who was my Grandmother’s grandfather.

      Nils was a local city commissioner, planning commissioner, and one of the leading building contractors of his time. Many iconic local buildings he built still stand today.

      I don’t know much more about his personal history other than that what I have in the article or mentions here. Reach out to me direct at randy394@msn.com if you have more questions or comments.

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