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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]

Addendum 1
Box 16
Folder 19: Meeting Minutes, November 2004-November 2008
Box 17
Folder 1-2: Valhall Nyheter Newsletters, Fall 2004-January 2009
Folder 3: Membership Directory, 2007-2008
Folder 4: Membership Drive Postcards, no date
Folder 5: Correspondence, September 2004-2009
Folder 6: Thank You Cards and Notes, 2006-2008
Folder 7: Budgets, 2005-2008
Folder 8-10: Publicity, 1990, 2005-2008
Folder 11: Schedule of Events, October 2005-December 2007
Folder 12: Highlights and Initiatives, 2005-2006, 2008
Folder 13: Rockford Association of Clubs, no date
Folder 14: Daughters of Valhall:  Meeting Minutes, November 2002-February 2008
Folder 15: Daughters of Valhall: Library Donations, 2007
Folder 16: Valhall Venner Klubb, September 2005-January 2008
Box 18
Folder 1-2: Programs: Adopt-A-School, 2006-2008
Folder 3: Programs: Baking: Family Baking Days, 2007
Folder 4: Programs: Baking: Kransekake Baking, May 12, 2007
Folder 5: Programs: Baking: Lefse Baking, March 24, 2007
Folder 6: Programs: Baking: Norwegian Recipes, 2007
Folder 7: Programs:Bunad, 2007
Folder 8: Programs: Discovering the Secrets of Scandinavian Well-Being, 2007
Folder 9: Programs: Donations for Pass Road Elementary, December 15, 2006
Folder 10: Programs: Family History Fair, 2005-2006
Folder 11: Programs: Family History Workshop, 2006
Folder 12: Programs: Film Festivals Featuring Norwegian Films, 2006
Folder 13: Programs: Golf Tournament, 2001-2007
Folder 14: Programs: Images, 2006-2007
Folder 15-19: Programs: Christmas: Juletre Fest, 2003-2008
Folder 20: Programs: Christmas: Norwegian Christmas Traditions, no date
Folder 21: Programs: Norse Fiddle, no date
Folder 22: Programs: Norwegian Folk Dancers, 2004, 2006
Folder 23: Programs: Norwegian Dance Development and Teacher Training, no date
Box 19
Folder 1: Programs: Nordic Nights Jazz, January 28, 2006
Folder 2: Programs: Of Trolls and the Three Billy Goats Gruff, 2006
Folder 3: Programs: Programs Sponsored by Valhall Lodge, no date
Folder 4: Programs: Riffles and Eddies Boone County Conservation District Newsletter, Fall 2005-Fall 2007
Folder 5: Programs: Sarah Longwing, 2005-2007
Folder 6: Programs: Special Events, 2001-2007
Folder 7: Norwegian Heritage Notebook: Autumn Pioneer Festival, 2005-2007
Folder 8: Norwegian Heritage Notebook: Norwegian Heritage Garden, 2007-2008
Folder 9: Norwegian Heritage Notebook: Immigration and Heritage Stories
Folder 10: Norwegian Heritage Notebook: Norsk Museum, no date
Folder 11: Norwegian Heritage Notebook: Norwegian American Weekly, June 20, 2008
Folder 12: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Camp Valhall, 1989-1995
Folder 13: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Charter Members, December 19, 1915
Folder 14: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Midway Village Museum, February 24, 2009
Folder 15: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Historic Items in Storage at A-American, no date
Folder 16: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Traditional Norwegian Clothing, no date
Folder 17: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Norse Game-Hnefatafl Game Board Set Up, January 31, 2008
Folder 18: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Application for Use of YMCA Facilities, 2008
Folder 19: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Mission Statement, 2008
Folder 20: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: 60th Biennial International Convention, 2008
Folder 21: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: The Norwegian National League, 2005
Folder 22: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Norwegian American, no date
Folder 23: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Scandinavian Cultural Hour, 2005
Folder 24: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum, no date
Folder 25: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Sporting Events:  Sporting Events, 2008
Folder 26: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Sporting Events:  Arny Johnson Classic 10 Mile and 5K Run, November 2007-April 2008
Folder 27: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Sporting Events:  Nordic Walking, no date
Folder 28: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Sporting Events:  Sports and Fitness Medal Programs, no date
Folder 29: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Sporting Events:  Ski-For-Light, January 18-20 2008
Folder 30: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Scholarships, 2008
Folder 31: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Viking Information, no date
Folder 32: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Oral History Project, January-February 2007
Folder 33: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Swedish Historical Society, 2007
Folder 34: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Cultural Skills Program, no date
Folder 35: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Nordic Nights Bluegrass, 2007
Folder 36: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Henrik Ibsen, 2007
Folder 37: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Ancestry in Winnebago County, 2000
Folder 38: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: New Membership Breakfast, 2008
Folder 39: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Benefits of Membership, no date
Folder 40: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Membership Surveys, no date
Box 20
Folder 1: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Friends of the Viking Ship, March 5, 2009
Folder 2: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Resources for Family Histories, no date
Folder 3: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Grants, 2008
Folder 4: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Newhouse Cabin, 2005-2007
Folder 5: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Sons of Norway Foundation, 2006
Folder 6: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Letters, 1934-1938
Folder 7: Norwegian Heritage and Sons of Norway History Notebook: Planning and Producing and Event, no date
Folder 8: Awards: Awards, 2004-2008
Folder 9: Awards: Lodge of the Year Rating Form, 2003-2007
Folder 10: Awards: Publicity Contest, August 2006
Folder 11: Roscoe Area Chamber of Commerce Membership, 2006-2007
Folder 12: District Lodge: Ellida Lodge 100th Anniversary Program Booklet Order Form, 2006
Folder 13-14: District Lodge: Barnebirkie, 2006-2007
Folder 15: District Lodge: Biennial Convention, 1984, 2006, 2008
Folder 16: District Lodge: District Lodge Five 75th Anniversary, 1989
Folder 17: District Lodge: Ole Bull Newsletter, December 2005- December 2006
Folder 18: District Lodge: Ski Club, 2006-2007
Folder 19: National: Norway Centennial, 2005
Folder 20: National: Norway Times, December 12, 2006
Folder 21: National: Sons of Norway Brochure, no date
Folder 22: National: Sons of Norway Foundation Annual Report, 2006
Folder 23: Viking, April 2004
Volume 5: Tunes From the Amerika Trunk, Traditional Norwegian-American Music From Wisconsin Volume II (1 album)

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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