Chresten - “Denmark’s Chicago”

”I could always be certain that I would get back the dollars that were mine”

“There is one thing, I will always remember and often think of. You could always trust the people you came to know in America.
When the foreman borrowed 100 dollars from me, I received no receipt and this was also the case in the hotel when I handed over my money to the landlady.”


Chresten was born in Opsneum at Tjæreborg in 1867.
After becoming a skilled black smith, he left for America in the 1880ties. Chresten became one of the 17 mio.
Europeans who left for America between 1880-1910.

However, he had promised his parents to return after five years and upon his return, he tried his luck in “Denmark’s Chicago” – Esbjerg.
He bought a property in Esbjerg, perhaps with the money he had saved in America. He bought Borgergade 15 and built a smithy. In 1913 he bought Englandsgade 13, which still exists, and continued his business with his son. 

In the beginning, it was hard to settle and he kept longing for America. But good friends and his family caused him to stay and settle down in Esbjerg.

You can read Chrestens full story in Danish via the link at the web site of Esbjerg Town Archives.

Meet more emigrants who settled in Esbjerg in the exhibition PIONÉR - our story.


Top picture: To Chresten the dollar represented something particular about America. This particular gold dollar belongs to Museum of South West Jutland and it was circulated after Chresten had moved to Esbjerg.

Drawing of Chresten: Lisbeth K. Nordberg



Lulu Anne Hansen
  1. Overinspektør, Hist. & Form.
  2. Ph.d. Historie
  3. 40 12 25 41