The Friendly Fifth

History of Lodges

Skjold 100
Palatine, Illinois

Skjold Lodge 100 was organized on February 25,1910 with 30 charter members. Hans Home and Kristian Ludvigsen drove around Evanston, IL with horse and sled signing up members for the new lodge. Thor Loberg became the first president, with Christian Golee as secretary. The name Skjold ... which means shield ... seemed an appropriate one for a group organized to help each other.

In the beginning Sons of Norway would admit only men, so in 1911 the Skjold wives organized their own group, Nomen Lodge 41, D of N. Then in 1914, Skjold Lodge and Nomen joined together to form a building Society which in 1924 purchased a church building. This building was sold in 1928 and Skjold then met for many years at Swedish Hall in Evanston. In 1949 the Daughters of Norway united with the Sons of Norway.

Ten years later Skjold Lodge purchased a building with two acres of wooded grounds on Wagner Road in Glenview. In April 1970, Skjold celebrated its 60th anniversary by burning the mortgage. On September 21, 1971, the lodge hall was completely gutted by fire, its contents a total loss. Skjold sold the two acres of property and began looking for a new home. In the meantime, most of our meetings and social affairs were held in Wilmette, IL.

In 1979 the Skjold Building Society joined with Normennenes Singing Society, the Danish American Athletic Club, and Dania Society to form the Scandinavian American Cultural Society (SACS) with the purpose of purchasing a home for the four clubs.

In October 1980, SACS purchased the present property on Wilke Road in Arlington Heights, IL, remodeled it, and named it the Scandinavian Club. Skjold Lodge has more than tripled its membership since then. We have ample facilities now for classes in Norwegian Language, rosemaling, Hardanger stitchery, for the Chicago Sons of Norway Drill Team practices, etc. In 1981 Saga Lodge, with its 80 members, merged with Skjold.

Through the years Skjold Lodge has provided a number of dedicated workers to the higher offices of Sons of Norway and has received many honors from the Order. Eight Skjold members have been elected to the District Five Board of Directors, three to the presidency: Barney Jacobson, Richard Haugness, and Cy Wittrock. The others to serve were: Christian Golee, Einar Holden, Ralph Burch, Gene Kaczmarek, Lester Amack, and Mary Beth Haugen. Brothers Jacobson and Wittrock went on to serve on the International Board.

At the 5th District Convention in LaCrosse, WI in June 1984, Skjold Lodge was named District Lodge of the Year and received Certificates of Recognition for an outstanding membership drive and for its newspaper, the Skjold News. In September of the same year, Skjold was chosen International Lodge of the Year and received a beautiful plaque and a trophy. In 1988 Skjold broke with tradition and elected Judy Torgersen as President.

All this adds up to one thing: we are so very proud to be Skjold members.

.... Kari Kaczmarek


Updated January 2010



1910   Thore H. Loberg
1911-13 Christ Golee
1914   Sam Berg
1915   Niles Jule
1916-17 Jurgen Gorden
1918   Hans Horn
1919   Otto Mathiesen
1920   Marius Rodley
1921   Christ Olsen
1922   Christ Kjelsoe
1923   Marius Rodley
1924   Christ Olsen
1925   Halmar Hansen
1926   Theodore H. Boe
1927   Christ Olsen
1928   John S. Johansen
1929   John Stene
1930   Halmar Hansen
1931   Christ Olsen
1932   Theodore H. Boe
1933   Eluf Magnussen
1934-36 Marius Rodley
1937-43 Einar Holden
1944-45 Theodore H.Boe
1946   David Svendsen
1947-50 Bernard Jacobson
1951-52 Richard Haugsness
1953-54 Ralph Burch?1955-56 John Arndt
1957-58 Bernard Jacobson
1959-60 Irvin Trinrud
1961-62 James Bohlin
1963-64 Louis Chouinard
1965   Lester Amack
1966   Wallace Johnson
1967-68 Richard Haugsness
1969-70 Arthur Freier
1970-73 Cyril Wittrock
1974   Bernard Jacobson
1975   Sy Katz
1976-78 Cyril Wittrock
1979-81 Gene Kaczmarek
1982-84 Lester Amack
1985-87 Jostein Bakken
1988-89 Judith Torgersen
1990   Gene Kaczmarek
1991-92 Louis Chouinard
1993-94 Judith Torgersen
1995-96 Jostein Bakken
1997-98 Don Hoganson
1999   Jostein Bakken
2000-01 Judith Torgersen
2002-04 Jostein Bakken
2005-06 Carol Ann Carlsen
2006-07 Gregg LeDuc
2008-09 Wendell Brenner
2010   Michael Hanson

Skjold Lodge became Sons of Norway’s 100th lodge in February of 1910 in Evanston, IL with 30 charter members. Thore Loberg served as the first President.  Meetings were held at Connor Hall in Evanston.  In the early days, Sons of Norway membership was just for men.  In 1911, women associated with Skjold organized and formed Nornen Lodge 41, Daughters of Norway.  The two lodges hoped to have a lodge home, but fraternal groups in Illinois are not permitted to own real estate.  So, in 1914, Skjold and Nornen formed the Sons and Daughters of Norway Building Society, organized to hold property for the two organizations to share.  The Building Society was chartered as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, with membership restricted to the members of the two lodges.
Within ten years the building fund had raised over $1,600 and on 12/22/1924, the lodge bought the old First Presbyterian Church building at 1625 Emerson St. in Evanston on contract for $10,000.  They rented it out to St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church.  In 1934, the property was sold to Dr. Thomas for $6,500.  Meetings were then held for the next 20 years at the Swedish Fraternal Hall, 1415 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL.
In 1949, Sons of Norway voted to allow women membership and the Daughters of Norway were united with Sons of Norway.  The name of the Building Society was changed to the Skjold Building Society and all male and female members were given membership.
1956 and 1958 were special years; with Skjold Lodge hosting the 1956 5th District Convention in Evanston and, along with seven other lodges, hosting the 1958 Sons of Norway Supreme Convention in Chicago.  And, in 1957 Ralph Burch began printing and distributing the Skjold News.
In 1959 the Skjold Building Society purchased a building with two acres of wooded grounds at 1537 Wagner Road in Glenview, IL, for $26,500 with a mortgage of $19,500 from the Supreme Lodge.  As a home for the lodge during the following years, members enjoyed many special events and dinners.  In June 1966 Skjold again hosted the 5th District Convention in Highland Park.
 Skjold received the original official Sons of Norway flag on January 16, 1970, in honor of Skjold member Conrad Okerwall, who submitted the winning design in the Sons of Norway flag contest.  In April 1970, at Skjold’s 60th anniversary, a ceremony was held at which the mortgage on the hall was burned.  Unfortunately, on September 21, 1971, the hall was completely gutted by fire; its contents were a total loss. Zoning laws at that time did not permit rebuilding a lodge hall, so the lodge once again had to look for a rental hall for its monthly meetings.  The two acres of land were sold on June 8, 1977.  Meetings and social events were then held at Highcrest Center, Wilmette, IL
In 1979 the Skjold Building Society joined with Normennenes Singing Society, the Danish American Athletic Club, and Dania Society to form the Scandinavian American Cultural Society (SACS) for the purpose of purchasing a home for the four organizations. In October 1980 the four organizations purchased a large Elks Club and six acres on Wilke Road in Arlington Heights and named it the “Scandinavian Club”.  During the years that followed the four organizations enjoyed working together, planning programs and special events.  Members and guests also enjoyed the fine Scandinavian food served in the dining
room.  Skjold membership tripled at this time.  In 1981, Saga Lodge merged with Skjold. 
In June 1984, at the 5th District Convention in LaCrosse, WI, Skjold was named District Lodge of the Year and received a Certificate of Recognition for an outstanding membership drive and Skjold News received a Certificate of Recognition.   In Sept. 1984, in Vancouver, BC, Skjold was awarded International Lodge of the Year and received a plaque and trophy and our president, Les Amack, received the International President of the Year Award.  In June, 1986, Skjold hosted the 38th Biennial 5th District Convention in Arlington Heights.
After many years working together, the four organizations decided the financial burden of operating the Scandinavian Club was too great. In the fall of 2000 the club closed and the property was sold. The four organizations separated, and Skjold formed a search committee to once again look for rental space in which to hold its meetings.
In January 2001, the lodge began to meet at the American Legion Post in Arlington Heights. The hall was fine for meetings and some other activities, but the lodge needed to rent larger facilities for special events throughout the year.
In November 2003, the lodge moved to a meeting hall at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Mt. Prospect, Illinois.  On July 28, 2006 the members had their first meeting at the Bethel Lutheran Church on West Frontage Road in Palatine, Illinois.
Through the years Skjold has supported many activities dedicated to preserving Norwegian culture and heritage such as the Norwegian National League.  For 60 years we have participated in the Syttende Mai parade in the Chicago area, many times with a float; we have supplied volunteers and cookies for the annual Barnebirkie ski tournament for children held in northern Wisconsin; for the past thirty years we have been a vendor at the annual Scandinavian Day in South Elgin; and many other activities too numerous to mention.
 Many of our members have served as officers of the Fifth District Board (Einar Holden, Ralph Burch, Barney Jacobson, Richard Haugsness, Cyril Wittrock, Irvin Trinrud, Lester Amack, Mary Beth Haugen, Eugene Kaczmarek, Judith Torgersen, and Jostein Bakken.  Cyril Wittrock is the only Skjold member to be elected president of the Sons of Norway International Board (this took place in 1992 at the International Convention in Lillehammer, Norway).  Those who have also served on the International Board of Sons of Norway are Barney Jacobson and Jostein Bakken.
In 1988, Judith Torgersen became the first woman president of Skjold.  In 2004, Jostein Bakken was elected president of Skjold Lodge for the 9th time, more than anyone previously. 
The lodge has received special recognition at District and International conventions and several of Skjold’s presidents have received the District President of the Year Award.  In addition, the lodge newsletter has received special recognition during ceremonies at Sons of Norway conventions. Skjold is healthy and strong and will continue its proud tradition in future years.
            Fraternally, Gene and Tordis Kaczmarek, Historians

By Les Amack
Skjold Lodge is 100 years old and Skjold News is 53.  Skjold News was begun in March 1957 by Ralph Burch who served as the first Editor.  He and his wife Ann did most of the reporting and writing for the first few years.  In 1958 they held the first Skjold News Benefit to offset costs of printing and mailing.  It was a “Parcel Post Auction” just as it remains today.  In the fifty years since then, the annual benefits have probably raised $100,000 for the paper.  Through the years, the Skjold News has received many awards at Conventions, and the lodge certainly owes a great deal to the many editors, printers, stampers, folders, and mailers who have kept the paper going.
In 1965 Ralph, “Ye Editor”, turned the Editor’s task over to his wife’s brother, Conrad Okerwall, and the Burch family moved to Oregon.  Some time later, while Mary Beth Haugen was editor, Les Amack wrote a song “Skjold News” for the benefit.  The member who worked on the paper the longest, Lorraine Cummings, was in charge of all the folding and mailing for about twenty years.
Other members who have served as Editor include Dick Haugsness, Marion Haugsness and Evelyn Carlsen as co-editors, Laurence Nelson, Fay Finn, Muriel Flubacker and Alice Freier as co-Editors, Mary Beth Haugen, Bob Bolstad, Art Kleven, and Krista Bachman.  Jon Satrum, current Editor, and Ron Grand, Assistant Editor, now edit and print the Skjold News.  Jon also does a great job maintaining the Skjold Lodge website.

The following, titled “Remember When” by former Skjold president Irv Trinrud, is a history of the Building Society, another important Skjold organization.  Written in about 1972 after the fire that destroyed our lodge hall, it covers many of the details of the Society’s actions up to that time.
SKJOLD LODGE #100 BUILDING  SOCIETY – Formerly Sons & Daughters of Norway Building Society.
    Early in the 20th century a group of Norwegians decided not to be outdone, so to speak, by a Chicago group.  So Skjold Lodge #100 was chartered in 1910.  The ladies, perhaps one nucleus of ERA?, decided to organize Nornen Lodge in 1911.  They each had their monthly meetings on the same night, but in different quarters.  Why?  Both lodges had the same urge then as we have now.  Yes, they wanted a home of their own.  So, by law and mutual consent, the Sons & Daughters of Norway Building Society was incorporated as a NOT for profit organization and granted a charter by the State of Illinois in 1915.  The board of directors consisted of 4 members from Skjold and 4 members from Nornen, the ninth member was chosen by the eight elected directors. 
    When I joined Skjold in 1945, the big issue was; “We’ve GOT to get a new home”.  Prior to this they tried a joint venture with Roald Amundsen Lodge, buying a summer home just north of Cedar Lake, site of the present Sons of Norway Summer Home.  This venture did not go too well, so Skjold sold their share to Roald Amundsen.  Later the BIG deal was the purchase of a house on Emerson St. in Evanston.  We were victims of the great depression of 1929 and sold this property to a church group.  The only real contact I had with this transaction was the collection of the final payment, “cut in half” by a vote of the board of directors.  Clarence Alm, Halmer Hansen and yours truly collected the final payment from Mrs. Frye.  We had to grope our way through a labyrinth of old newspapers, magazines, etc., piled high in the rooms adjacent to the so-called office.  But we got the money and the legal matters settled.
    In 1952 I became a director and also its President for the next five years.  As usual we met at the homes of the members of the board.  We had around $8,600 in cash assets.  Why don’t you do something?  Then, as today, the stubborn Norwegians could not see eye-to-eye.  Our negotiations with the American Legion of Glenview on a $7,500 deal were finally voted down.  In 1958 several new members were elected directors, and with new “blood and guts” they came up with the property at 1537 Wagner Rd., Glenview, IL.  With a good and fair fight, we purchased this hall hidden in the tall grass and located on two acres of land.  Just prior to this, the Sons and Daughters of Norway Building Society had changed their name to Skjold Building Society - not an easy matter.
The Supreme Lodge took a first mortgage of $19,500 on the property.  We were to pay $206.85 monthly for ten years.  We nearly went broke at one time and had to have our payments reduced to $50.  After about a year on the reduced rates, we resumed our regular payments, and on Sept. 16, 1969 we made our final payment of $186.03.  We could breathe easier now, and on our 60th Anniversary in Feb. 1970 we burned the mortgage.  The scene was at the Orrington Hotel in Evanston.  I had the honor of setting fire to the mortgage while Barney Jacobson held the burning piece of paper in his hand for all to see.  I personally enjoyed this honor because, with the exception of a few of the first payments, I had written all the checks in this period.  Yes, I have been your Treasurer since 1959.
    I got a little ahead of myself, so I’ll have to backtrack and tell you a few of our trials and tribulations.  Our first hassle was our rentals.  Being sort of at odds with our neighbors, we had to placate them, and in order to live up to the zoning ordinance we had “baby sitters”.  “Strict conditions” and whatnot, in order to rent our hall out to bring in money for our payments.  Then came our water problem.  We had been getting our water through Willow Inn West; when they paved their parking lot the lines froze, and we were as dry as the Sahara Desert.  We sold bonds to members, to be redeemed in two years.  Some have never been repaid at their own request.  We borrowed $600 from Rasmus Larsen, since repaid., and we had our own “city water.”  Next we had our septic tank and sewage trouble.  We had just paid $2,115 for the new sewer when the BIG HAMMER fell on us.  It was our biggest blow - the fire that leveled our home on that Sept. night in 1971.  Cry if you must – many of us did.  Our building and all its contents.  Pictures, the Charter, the works.  But like Vikings of Old, we will rise again.  Let’s think of all the good times we had, the Skjold News Benefits.  Just a week before the fire we had our last one at Skjold Lodge.
    I have tried to take you through the years as I saw them.  Many names could be mentioned – who contributed so much money, manual labor, goods, but most of all their good will and sincere wishes for our “short, but sweet, success”.  Thank you all from us all.
    I can add one shining hope.  We are selling our lot for what we believe a fair price.  We can then take hope and plan for a new lodge home.  “Together we can move mountains”
Irv Trinrud