[PHOTO] Betty White’s Real Life Midwest Connection
One of Betty White's most beloved characters was the sweet and naive Minnesotan, Rose Nylund. We all loved the character's silly stories about her hometown, St. Olaf. While Betty White originally hailed from Illinois, her Midwest connection doesn't stop there!
Just short of her 100th birthday, television icon Betty White passed away from natural causes. The entire world mourned the death of the sweet and sassy 99-year-old woman.
Inarguably, one of her best-known and most beloved characters was Rose Nylund from the cult classic television show "The Golden Girls." Running from 1985 to 1992, the show achieved success in the ratings and from critics. One of the running jokes of the series is Betty White's character Rose and her stories about her home, St. Olaf Minnesota.
From herring circuses to tales of her nonsensical cousins, the hilarious "St. Olaf stories" are always a highlight during the half-hour sitcom. These stories about the fictional town in the Midwest have charmed audiences for decades, but is Rose's hometown a real place?
After doing a deep dive, it turns out that St. Olaf is a real town right here in the Hawkeye State. Located in Clayton County, St. Olaf, Iowa is known for having the "Biggest Tenderloin In Iowa." This one-pound tenderloin can be found at the St. Olaf Tap.
While the town of St. Olaf in Iowa would have been the perfect place for a young Rose to grow up; it turns out that there is a real-life Minnesotan connection to the "fictional" town.
There isn't an official town of St. Olaf in Minnesota, but there is a township. The real St. Olaf is a small college in Northfield. Described as offering, "a distinctive education grounded in academic rigor, residential learning, global engagement, and a vibrant Lutheran faith tradition."
White actually developed a relationship with the university. In 1989, college officials arranged for the St. Olaf Choir to visit the Golden Girls set in Hollywood. Just three years later the Midwest's favorite Golden Girl actually came out to Minnesota to visit the university.
In a letter written to a St. Olaf alum years later, White shared some of her intiial nerves about going to visit the college she technically made famous.
I remember my visit to St. Olaf very well. I was a little apprehensive, as I was afraid they would resent the fact that Rose wasn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but they couldn’t have been warmer and more welcoming.
The actress also shared that she had a love for the school's choir program, and how at the time of her letter she still had her, " Uff Da cup and shirt." At the end of her short two day visit to St. Olaf, White shared just how much she enjoyed her trip and how educational it was to students,
“It will make a whole difference in my Rose characterization, I can assure you. I won’t be as tentative. I will be surer-footed, because you really understand where Rose is coming from, and she really is coming from your values.” the actress said.
In a photo from the college, White can even be joining in with the school's choir in a rousing rendition of their fight song.