Lyle men grow beards, but can't touch Larson's

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Publication Date: 
Friday, July 17, 1970


Lyle men grow beards, but can't touch Larson's

LYLE, Minn. -- Since early spring, Lyle are men have been growing beards for the upcoming Centennial.

However, none of them will come close to the one which Gunder Larson possessed in his day.

Larson, who lived in the Lyle-Mona area, had perhaps the longest beard ever grown. Relatives state that Larson never shaved and that his beard dragged on the floor two feet when it was unbraided.

Because of its length, Larson kept the beard braided most of the time and kept it tucked in to a roll under his shirt. On Sundays when he attended church at Mona he would unbraid it and display the beautiful, curly beard.

Friends encouraged him to join the famous Ringling Bros. Circus. he was a member of the troupe for a short time, but spectators kept heckling him. They stated the beard was not real and kept pulling on it.

According to a story in a Chicago newspaper, Larson's beard totaled eight feet in length and was the longest on record. He lived to age 76 when the beard was finally shaved. Larson's death followed shortly.

The Larsons had four sons and descendants now live in the Lyle, Mona and Osage areas. A daughter-in-law, Mrs. Oscar (Della) Larson lives in St. Ansgar. Another relative, Sylvan Stromley, is growing a beard of the Centennial set for July 31-Aug. 1-2.

However, his beard isn't in the same league with the grand daddy of them all -- the beard of Gunder Larson. In fact there isn't a beard in the entire lot to compare.