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Sons of Norway, Valhall Lodge No. 168 Records (Rockford)

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Valhall Lodge Number 168

Valhall Building Association

Daughters of Valhall

Convention

Other Norwegian Organizations/District/National/International

Addendum 1



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Sons of Norway, Valhall Lodge No. 168 Records (Rockford), 1907-2004 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Sons of Norway, Valhall Lodge No. 168 Records (Rockford), 1907-2004

ID: RHC/RC/265

Extent: 12.0 Linear Feet. More info below.

Date Acquired: 12/09/2004. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Ethnic groups., Norwegian Americans, Norwegian Americans--Illinois--Rockford, Rockford (Ill.), Sons of Norway (U.S.), Valhall Lodge No. 168

Languages: English, Norwegian

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The records for the Sons of Norway, Valhall Lodge No. 168 consists of five series: Valhall Lodge No. 168, Valhall Building Association, Daughter of Valhall, Convention, and Other Norwegian Organizations/District/National/International.  The records date from 1907 to 2004.

The Valhall Lodge No. 168 series consists of meeting minutes, financial records, membership records, and other information pertaining to the Lodge.  The early records are written in Norwegian. The secretary and assistant secretary books include meeting minutes, financial records, correspondence, and program information. The meeting minutes for the years 1996 through 1997 are missing. The Vall Hall Newsletters since 2013 are in electronic form and may be accessed in the Center's reading room.

Valhall Building Association series consists of meeting minutes, financial records, Lodge rental, and insurance information.  The Building Association was responsible for the sale of the first Lodge locate on Kishwaukee Road in Rockford and the purchase and sale of the second Lodge located at 9936 Norman Avenue in Machesney Park.

The third series, Daughter of Valhall includes meeting minutes, a photograph album, and a VHS tape of their luncheon and program on September 18, 1996.

A majority of the records found in Series IV pertain to the Biennial Convention held in Rockford in June 2002.

Series V consists of information from other Norwegian groups, the District, the National, and the International Son of Norway organizations.

Collection Historical Note

In 1907 a group of Norwegian immigrants organized the Norge Society of Rockford, Illinois.  This social organization sought “to unite men and women of Norwegian heritage and to uphold all that is good in the Norwegian tradition and to help out fellow countrymen.”  The Society decided to join the fraternal benefit society of Sons of Norway on the recommendation of Christian Ludvigsen of Bjornstjerne Bjornson Lodge in Chicago.  With the help of District President Finn Moen and others the charter for Valhall Lodge #168, Sons of Norway, was signed on December 12, 1915.

Up to this time women were not accepted as members but could join a sister organization called Daughters of Norway.  At the Fifth District meeting in Ashland, Wisconsin in 1916, one of our charter members, Christian O. Danielsen, first proposed that women be allowed to join the Order.  In January 1918 women were admitted as social members.

Hoping to attract more members, Valhall leased property on the banks of the Kishwaukee River in 1920, built a small cottage and used the place for “utflykter” (outings).  The site of Perryville, however, was not available for renewal or purchase, so the Lodge was forced to abandon it.  It was not until 1938 that the Lodge purchased a four acre tract on the Rock River where a Norwegian style “hytte” was built.  Camp Valhall has been an important asset, and the center around which most Lodge activities have been planned.

As the oldest Norwegian organization in Rockford, Valhall Lodge has been the focal point for many Norwegian activities in the community.  During the Depression we sponsored the first Junior Lodge, a Dramatic Club, and a dance team.  We participated in many civic and cultural events, such as our collaboration with Mendelssohn Club to present programs on Grieg and Ibsen.  We raised money for the Norwegian flyers at Camp Little Norway in Canada during World War II and collected clothing after the War under the auspices of Norwegian Relief.  Valhall Lodge has hosted five Fifth District Conventions in 1930, 1946, 1960, 1980 and 1994.

In more recent years we have become more visible in the community through bake sales, Heritage Days, speakers in the schools, and booths at local festivals.  For four years we displayed a Norwegian table setting at Rockford Museum Center’s Table Walk.

Ivar “Tuffy” Dahlgren and Stan Hanson inspired the first Fifth District Golf Tournament, and Valhall has hosted one each year since the mid-Sixties.  Traveling trophies have since been named in their honor.  Added to the annual events has been the “Fish Boil” in October, assisted in the beginning by Cliff Feggestad from Mandt Lodge in Stoughton, Wisconsin.  It has become one of our most popular functions.

In 1986 the Daughters of Valhall was organized to be the philanthropic arm of Valhall Lodge.  The group has held three successful style shows, three Spring luncheons, and sponsored a Norwegian style reception following the presentation of “Kingdom Come” at a local community theater.

In 1965 Valhall elected Anne Ferling as its first women president.  Anne was the daughter of one of Valhall’s founders.  A number of our members have served on the District Board: Hans Johnsen, Gerry Connell, Conrad Garmager, Harry “Bill” Christiansen and Eric Ferling, all deceased.  Others who have served on the Board are Margaret Dahlgren, Tom Cullen, Reuben Bahr and Clare Almquist.  Conrad Garmager, Gerry Connell and Clare Almquist each served a number of terms as District Secretary with Conrad and Clare moving on to become the District President.  Conrad was International President for one term.  In 1990 Margaret Dahlgren was named Fifth District Fraternalist of the Year.  Currently two of our members are on the Fifth District Board, Constance Rew as Youth Director and Ray Knutson as Recreation Director.

At the present time Valhall has a Norwegian Language Class and a Reading Club (Norwegian and Norwegian/American authors) which meet on a regular basis.  A workshop in Hardanger was held in the fall of 1994 and it is hoped more workshops will be held in the near future.

In February 1993 a notice was received from the Rockford Airport Authority informing the Lodge that our property was needed for airport expansion.  Less than six months previously Fred Ford had assured us it would be at least five years before such a plan would be put in force.  As a meeting with airport officials in July of 1993 a deadline was set, with the end of 1994 as the target date.

A search began in earnest for a suitable home within our price range.  Empty school buildings and churches were explored and vacant pieces of land were examined.  Finally in late summer of 1994 the Jehovah’s Witness Temple in Machesney Park was put up for sale.  A first visit brought immediate interest.  Being threatened by a lawsuit and being advised against that route by our lawyer and our appraiser, we agreed to sell Camp Valhall.  On November 18, 1994, it was sold for $174,350.  An agreement was made to purchase the property on Norman Avenue for $120,000 on January 3, 1995. With that accomplished, trees have been moved.  The flagpoles and the gate will soon be moved along with other personal property.

After today, January 8, 1995, Camp Valhall will no longer be our home.  Valhall Lodge will be 4906 [9936] Norman Avenue in Machesney Park, Illinois.  The motto of Sons of Norway is “Freedom, Fraternity and Progress.”  Valhall Lodge was consistently upheld all that is good in the Norwegian-American tradition.  As we consider our proud history, we look to carry that same fraternal spirit into our new lodge home and into the next century.

Subject/Index Terms

Ethnic groups.
Norwegian Americans
Norwegian Americans--Illinois--Rockford
Rockford (Ill.)
Sons of Norway (U.S.)
Valhall Lodge No. 168

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Accruals: Additional records were donated at later dates.

Alternate Extent Statement: 9 digital files (9.25 MB)

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Sheryl Almquist Hall

Acquisition Method: Sheryl Almquist Hall, President of the Sons of Norway, Valhall Lodge No. 168, donated the records for the organization to the Regional History Center on December 9, 2004.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Valhall Lodge Number 168],
[Series II.: Valhall Building Association],
[Series III.: Daughters of Valhall],
[Series IV.: Convention],
[Series V.: Other Norwegian Organizations/District/National/International],
[Addendum 1],
[All]

Series I.: Valhall Lodge Number 168
Box 1
Folder 1: Historical Information, 1941-1995
Folder 2-3: Safe Deposit Box Contents, Closed September 7, 2004, 1937- 1995
Folder 4: Deed to Valhall; Corporation Papers, 1937; 1941
Folder 5: By-laws, 1957-1995
Folder 6: Charter (photocopy), December 19, 1915
Folder 7: Annual Meeting, 2003-2004
Folder 8: Annual Report to the Secretary of State, 1969-1979
Folder 9-11: Secretary's Book (In Norwegian), August 10, 1907- January 1, 1934
Box 2
Folder 1: Secretary's Book (In Norwegian)(Brief English excerpts for April 7, 1934-December 26, 1937); (In English); Board Meeting, January 6, 1934- December 2, 1944 ;  January 6, 1945-December 1, 1945; Dece
Folder 2-3: Secretary's Book, January 5, 1946-September 6, 1972
Box 3
Folder 1-5: Secretary's Book, October 4, 1972-January 6, 1996
Folder 6: Meeting Minutes, January 4, 1998-December 1, 1999
Box 4
Folder 1: Secretary's Notebook, January 5, 2000-November 28, 2001
Folder 2-3: Assistant Secretary's Book, December 5, 2001- December 30, 2003
Folder 4: Agendas and Meeting Minutes, January 14, 2004- December 8, 2004
Folder 5: Financial Secretary's Records, January 1, 1934-July 6, 1938
Folder 6: Treasurer's Cash Book, July 1, 1956-December 2, 1964
Folder 7: Budget, 1970
Folder 8: Trust Deed Note, Larry Connell, June 12, 1979
Folder 9: Treasurer's Record of Bill, 1981-1988)
Folder 10: Expense and Income Ledger, 2000
Folder 11: Proposed Budget and Financial Reports, 2003-2004
Folder 12: Financial Report for Events and Programs, 1956-1971
Folder 13: Matching Fund Challenge, no date
Folder 14: Property Tax Receipts, 1959-1977
Volume 1: Financial Ledger (1 volume), 1922-1927
Volume 2-4: Roster and Ledgers (3 volumes), 1916-1933
Box 5
Folder 1: Membership Roster (In Norwegian - Incomplete)
Folder 2: Membership Roster, 1973-2000
Folder 3: Membership Directory, (includes some calendar of events), 1981-2003)
Folder 4: Membership List, 1996-2001)
Folder 5: Member Obituaries, 1999-2004
Folder 6: Membership Committee Booklet, no date
Folder 7: Membership Blanks, 1970, 1973
Folder 8: The Way It Was For Me, Growing Up On Locust Hill by Wilma Kleive Alilunas, 1986
Folder 9: "The Life of Jensine Amelia Kloppen", 1986
Folder 10: Val Nyheter Newsletter, 1978, 1982-1994)
Box 6
Folder 1: Val Nyheter Newsletter, 1995-2004)
Folder 2: Order of Ceremonies, 2001
Folder 3: Poplicy and Practices for Valhall Lodge Number 168, no date
Folder 4: Valhall Laws and Regulations and Norwegian Heritage Information, no date
Folder 5: Duties of Supreme Director, 1968
Folder 6: Committee Reports, 1987-2003
Folder 7: Old Sick Committee Minutes, 1947-1957
Folder 8: Correspondence, 1970-1978, 2000-2004, no date
Folder 9: Communications, 1995-1997
Folder 10: Programs, Banquets, Dinners, and Parties, 1960-2004)
Folder 11: Programs, Banquets, Dinners, and Parties: Communication with Norwegian Teacher and Information About Him, 1967-1968
Folder 12: Programs, Banquets, Dinners, and Parties:"Dance into Spring",Joint Monthly Meeting with Swedish Historical Society, April 18, 2004
Folder 13: Programs, Banquets, Dinners, and Parties: Drill Team Information, 1973-1977
Folder 14: Programs, Banquets, Dinners, and Parties: Golf Tournament, 1972
Folder 15: Programs, Banquets, Dinners, and Parties: Leadership Workshop, February 28, 1976
Folder 16: Programs, Banquets, Dinners, and Parties: Rockford Harmony Singing Society, 1960
Folder 17: Programs, Banquets, Dinners, and Parties:"Songs of Norway: A Celebration and Songfest,", 2002
Folder 18: Programs, Banquets, Dinners, and Parties: Program Song Sheets, no date
Folder 19: Programs, Banquets, Dinners, and Parties: Guest Book, 75th Anniversary; Open House, November 10, 1990; March 19, 1995
Box 7
Folder 1: Programs, Banquets, Dinners, and Parties: Guest Register, Heritage Days, 2001
Folder 2-5: Award Certificates, 1934-2004
Folder 6: Award:  Lodge of Year Rating Forms, 1967-1976
Folder 7: Award:  Award Plaques (photocopy), 1995-2000
Folder 8: Award:  Past President (photocopy from plaques), 1916-2001
Folder 9: Award:  In Memoriam (photocopy from plaque), no date
Folder 10: Valhall Card, no date
Folder 11: Newspaper Articles, 1976-2000, no date
Folder 12-14: Photographs, 1978-2004, no date
Folder 15: Scrapbook, 1939, 1975-2000
Box 8
Volume 1-3: Scrapbooks (3 volumes), 1929-1996
Box 9
Item 1: Artifacts: Canvas Bag, Sons of Norway Logo, no date
Item 2: Artifacts: Name Badges (2), no date
Item 3: Artifacts: Name Badges (1), no date
Item 4: Artifacts: Badges with Ribbons, President (2); Treasurer (1), no date
Item 5: Artifacts: Ribbons, Pecatonica Memorial Parade (3), 2001-2003
Item 6: Artifacts: Bumper Sticker, "Columbus Had a Norwegian Map", (1)
Item 7: Artifacts: Magnets, Valhall Building Association (2), no date
Item 8: Artifacts: Bidders Paddle, no date
Item 9: Artifacts: Pen, no date
Item 10: Artifacts: Seal, Valhall Building Association (1), no date
Item 11: Artifacts: Stamp, "Property of Sons of Norway, Valhall Lodge #168," (1), no date
Oversize Drawer 13
Folder 15
Item 1: Photographs: Ambulance Presented by Sons of Norway, 1918
Item 2: Photographs: Collage - Autumn Preview I, October 1986
Item 3: Photographs: Collage - Autumn Preview II, [1987]
Item 4: Photographs: Collage - "Kingdom Come", at New American Theater, April 28, 1987
Item 5: Posters: Walk-A-Thon, May 20, 1995
Item 6: Posters: Sons of Norway Bake Sale, no date
Item 7: Norwegian Table Prayer, no date
Folder 16
Item 1: Articles on Lodge Moving: Rockford Register Star, January 9, 1995
Item 2: Articles on Lodge Moving: Parks Journal, March 15, 1995

Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Valhall Lodge Number 168],
[Series II.: Valhall Building Association],
[Series III.: Daughters of Valhall],
[Series IV.: Convention],
[Series V.: Other Norwegian Organizations/District/National/International],
[Addendum 1],
[All]


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