Sverdrup Lodge History
The founders of Sons of Norway were Americans who had crossed the wide Atlantic in search of greater opportunities for themselves and their families. A majority of those European immigrants who left Europe left a poverty which had taught them that life could be harsh. When the founder chose the name Sons of Norway they wished to give voice to their gratitude to the land of their birth, but the name signified much more. It identified the hopes which they had for their American society with the Norwegian tradition and freedom and adventure which had sustained their forefathers since the days of the Vikings.
This fraternal benefits organization was founded on the principals of creating and preserving interest in the Norwegian language by its members, insofar as compatible with the loyalty the owe the USA; to labor for the development, enlightenment and progress that conduce to honest citizenship in order that the Norwegian people in this country may be properly recognized and respected; to aid its members and their families in case of sickness and death, by according them financial assistance of such magnitude, and upon such conditions as may be determined by its bylaws.
On March 31, 1910, Sverdrup Sons of Norway Lodge 4-107 of Bismarck was organized by thirty-five charter members. The name Sverdrup was established, officers were elected, and bylaws adopted.
Their first celebration was the Syttende Mai in May of 1910. In July of 1910 a delegate from Sverdrup was sent to the "head lodge convention" in Grand Forks. District IV was not established until September 15, 1914 at Devils Lake. The members of Sverdrup were advancing the ideals of the order.
The organization grew, interest in Norwegian culture grew, and many activities and small groups were established. Annual events such as Midsummer´s Eve, June 23, are celebrated in addition to Syttende Mai. We had our first Lutefisk Dinner in 1971 and this event has been an annual fundraiser, serving around 1,000 people each year.
The Sons of Norway Park was established and dedicated in 1982. This 7 acre park on Bismarck Expressway has two stabburs, two shelters, a waterfall, playground equipment, a tennis court, a skateboard park, horseshoes, and many other items. Trees have been planted each year and are dedicated to specific Sons of Norway members, a practice which started in 1989 as a state centennial project.
Individual cultural groups include Hardanger, Rosemaling, Knitting, Bok Møte, Singing and Folk Dancing now meets regularly. We have a youth group, and members who participate in the District Family Camps. Business meetings and social events are held regularly. Our lodge has grown to a membership of over 400.
The Sons of Norway Park is located on 13th and Expressway in Bismarck, ND.
Past Sverdrup Presidents
Picture taken - February 19, 2010. Click to enlarge.
Back Row: Ralph Leet, Eugene Weekes, Al Schultz, Vern Monger, Al Steinke, Dennis Wang, LeRoy Nayes
Front Row: Bob Johnson, Erling Olson, Audrey Solheim, Jeannette Radig, Cathy Bergan