The Friendly Fifth

History of Lodges

Nordland 544
Janesville, Wisconsin

Nordland Lodge 544, Sons of Norway, was organized on November 10, 1974. There were 187 charter members, with 92 charter members still with the lodge. Our membership is now a little over 300.

The name for our lodge was chosen in a contest, with "Nordland" (north land) being selected.

The lodge has met in several places through the years: Odd Fellows Hall, Salvation Army, Moose Lodge, Rock School, and where we now meet - Hillcrest School west of Janesville.

Hundreds of school children have enjoyed the Heritage Programs put on by members of our lodge, and have tasted Norwegian goodies prepared while they watch. The Nordland Kor sings at nursing homes, church meetings, at schools and other functions, sometimes combined with a Bunad Show.

Norwegian language classes have been held, as have cooking classes and sewing instruction in making bunads. Our lodge has sponsored Heritage Days in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin, inviting participants from northern Illinois as well as southern Wisconsin.

Nordland has been active in sending children to the Heritage Camp and officers to seminars. One of the first seminars was hosted by our lodge. Each summer we participate in several parades in southern Wisconsin with a float designed and decorated by lodge members.

Other community participation has included booths at the Rock County 4-H Fair and the Beloit Saderfest to promote our heritage. Each fall we have a Smørgasbord open to the public, with a raffle as part of the festivities. For several years a group of women have worked together to make a quilt for the main prize.

Card parties are held regularly every month, with euchre a favorite. Nordland members participate in a euchre tournament with other area lodges. In 1980 we worked with Idun, Mandt, and Vennelag to host the International Convention in Madison.

John Stokke of Nordland was the first Cultural Director on the Fifth District Board. Since then Earl Atlderson and Hjalmer Hanson have served as directors.

Our lodge is active and growing. We will continue to do what we can to learn about and preserve the Norwegian culture.