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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 IV.: Convention
Box 15
Folder 2: Twenty-fifth Biennial Program, Rockford, Illinois, June 9-11, 1960
Folder 3: Notes, 1976
Folder 4: Thirty-fourth Biennial Program and Minutes, Rosemont, Illinois, June 8-10, 1978
Folder 5: Forty-second Biennial Program, Rockford, Illinois, June 16-18, 1994
Folder 6: Forty-fourth Biennial Reports, Janesville, Wisconsin, June 18-20, 1998
Folder 7: International Convention Program, Washington, D.C., August 18-21, 2004
Folder 8: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Bank Statements, 2000-2002
Folder 9: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Correspondence, Schedule of Events, Tickets, 2000-2002
Folder 10: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Delegate List, June 6-9, 2002
Folder 11: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Dinner and Seating, June 7-8, 2002
Folder 12: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Minute Book, September 18, 2001-June 18, 2002
Folder 13: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Minutes and Finances Report Book, 2000-2002
Folder 14: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Name Tags, 2002
Folder 15: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Program Book, June 5-9, 2002
Folder 16: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Refunds and Invoices, 2002
Folder 17: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Registration Forms, 2002
Box 16
Folder 1: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Reports to District Lodge 5, June 6-9, 2002
Folder 2: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Reservation and Registration Lists, 2002
Folder 3: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Treasurer's Book, 2000-2002
Folder 4: Forty-sixth Biennial Convention, Rockford, June 5-9, 2002: Treasurer's Journal, 2000-2002

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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