The Friendly Fifth

History of Lodges

Dovre 353
Barron, Wisconsin

The Dovre Lodge #353 was started on July 28, 1928 with 23 members. The first president was Andrew Wold and the meetings were held in the Odd Fellows Hall in Chetek. The membership grew rapidly, but in the hard times of the depression, many dropped out. In 1940, they started meeting in homes.

The Norwegian language was used in the meetings until December of 1941 when the members voted to hold business meetings in English. Then in the late 1960's more and more people came into the lodge. Meetings were held in the Sioux: Creek Town Hall during that period, but in April of 1969 they were moved to the Court House in Barron.

By 1973 there were about 270 members, with an average attendance at the meetings of 85 to 100. In 1978 the 50th anniversary of Dovre Lodge was celebrated at the picnic held near Sand Creek.

In the 1970's several floats were built and shown in parades, each year one larger than the one before. Then in 1973, the Viking ship was made that is still in use. It is 20 feet long and has a dragon head and tail, built by members and finished just in time for Barron Better Days in 1973. Manned by 16 to 20 members in costume, it appears in as many as a dozen parades each year, always a crowd favorite.

The Dovre Singers group was started in 1971 by Mrs. Richard Rasmussen. Programs have been presented at Rest Homes, Church Fellowship meetings, Senior Citizen Centers, and special events such as the Sons of Norway Convention in Eau Claire in 1976 and Scandinavia Day in 1977. Dressed in Norwegian costumes, singing songs such as "Kan Du Glemme Gamle Norge" they are in demand for programs.

The Lodge has helped several young people attend the Norwegian Language Camp at Eau Claire, starting with Michael Weise, Randy and Rhonda Engness the first year. Each year since then several have attended camp, learning about Norwegian customs and the language. Mitchell Bitney also attended Camp Norway and became a counselor at Heritage Camp the next year.

Through the years we have sponsored the Javnaker Dancers from Norway, elected King and Queen to honor those who have contributed special services to the lodge. In the last three years we have elected a Princess to go to the Fyr Ball celebration at Blair, WI.

Two of our members, Orvin Hanson and Inez Anderson, have recently served on the District Board. In 1981 Orvin presented the lodge with a King Olav medal to be passed on to each president. This medal is to be worn for meetings and other lodge functions.

In 1983 we began what has become an annual event, serving coffee and Norwegian goodies to the public in the Barron Bank at Christmas time.