The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 30, 2013

Just call him Gov

Home's builder saw his name, fortunes change


In 1883, the family moved to Nebraska. Olsson stayed with them for eight years, farming and only sporadically having an opportunity to attend school. At age 21, he headed back to Minnesota to attend Gustavus, graduating at the top of his class in 1895 despite his limited schooling prior to attending college.

"While at Gustavus Adolphus College, he gave himself a new name, Eberhart, so he would not be confused with the many other Olsons on campus," the Historical Society reports.

No word on why he picked Eberhart, a Germanic name meaning "strong boar," or why he switched his first and middle names from "Olaf Adolf" to "Adolph Olson." He primarily used "A.O. Eberhart" during his political career, serving as Mankato's state senator before being elected lieutenant governor and then governor. After he lost his third re-election attempt in 1914 and failed to win the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in 1916, he moved to Chicago to work in real estate and insurance, returning to Minnesota only upon retirement.

He died on Dec. 6, 1944, at a rest home in Savage.

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