2521 10th Street South
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
The History of Elvedal 556
With Joe Thompson, Field Staff Representative from Black River Falls having done the recruiting, Elvedal Lodge 556 was ready to become a Sons of Norway Lodge by the fall of 1975. On December 11, 1975 Fifth District President Richard Haugness presented the charter. The name chosen for the new lodge was Elvedal, meaning river valley.
Elvedal meets the third Thursday of the month September through December and March through May. In January and February it meets the third Saturday morning. The lodge rents a large community space in a senior apartment building for their meetings. During the summer months we schedule a family picnic and a bus trip. Our chartered bus trips have included Ten Chimneys and Stoughton, Norskedalen (Coon Valley), Vesterheim, Door County, Mount Horeb and Little Norway, Old World Wisconsin, Folklore Village, Trempleau County Norwegian Historical Tour, and the Swedish-American Museum in MN.
Lodge gatherings typically include a brief business meeting, a program ranging from cultural/heritage interest, local cultural diversity, lodge member trips to youth camper experiences, and end with social coffee time. December Julefest includes a social hour, catered dinner, traditional Saint Lucia processional, nisse visit, and holiday musical program. At the Syttende Mai celebration we host area high school foreign exchange students at our catered meal social event.
Elvedal has a youth group (Barne Norsk Klubb) for ages 5-12, sponsors youth heritage campers (Masse Moro) and a lodge member is the camp rosemaling instructor. Special interest mini-groups form as interest dictates such as reader and knitters. We have a library of Scandinavian reference books, novels by Norwegian authors, and Norwegian themed novels housed on a custom member-made roll-out bookshelf housed in our storage closet.
Elvedal publishes a bi-monthly newsletter and an annual directory to keep members informed and aid in recruitment. The lodge directory is invaluable as a planning tool for the year. It includes a list of officers, committees, S/N fact page, membership directory, calendar of events, past-presidents page, field staff contact, and contact information page for S/N headquarters and 5th District officers.
For fundraisers we currently hold an annual garage sale, brat fry, and silent auction. This allows us to pay the rent, provide programs, support appropriate causes, and support our youth campers and convention delegates.
In 2015 Elvedal is looking forward to celebrating its 40th Anniversary of supporting the Norwegian Heritage of its members and the fraternal goals of Sons of Norway.