The Friendly Fifth

History of Lodges

Sognefjord 523
Muskegon, Michigan

With the organizational work having been done by Archie Larson, the lodge in Muskegon was ready to be instituted on December 10, 1972. Presiding over that meeting was Clarence Marzolf, District President. Elected to serve as the first president was Henry Moen.

The organizational meeting was held at the American Legion Hall, and a month later a meeting was called to choose a name for the new lodge. "Sognefjord" was chosen, taken from the largest fjord in Norway. In May of that year the first Syttende Mai fest was held in the Slovak Hall in Muskegon.

By the time the charter was presented in September there were eighty charter members. Wanting to raise money for a lodge home, they rented a place to hold Bingo Games, while meetings were held in the Immanuel Lutheran Church.

In 1975 the lodge started looking for a home, and purchased their present building. Much renovation had to be done by volunteer labor, and a large banquet room was added, where they could continue to hold Bingo Games. Because of this profitable venture, the lodge has been able to donate more than $4500 each year to charitable causes, part of which has been three $500 scholarships to eligible young people.

A Ladies Auxiliary had been organized, and they have contributed to many projects within the building, completely redecorating every room in the building.

Sognefjord Lodge has been host to several groups from Norway, the Fanna Mannskor from Bergen one of them.

In 1982 the lodge was host to the Fifth District Convention, during which Sognefjord was named District Lodge of the Year. Two months later in Madison another honor was earned, when the International Lodge of the Year was announced as Sognefjord.

The Heritage Folk Dancers, sponsored by the lodge, are branching out as they are called more and more often to perform in the area. Another dimension was added in 1987 when Sognefjord became the owner of a Viking Warship, a replica of boats from about 1200 A.D. It was once a lifeboat aboard a car ferry, rebuilt and decorated by true Norwegians from Wisconsin. This Viking ship, bought from Norse Valley 491 in Appleton, has given members from Sognefjord much enjoyment as they participate in parades, dressed in costumes of the Viking age.

The first president of Sognefjord has served eight years on the District Board, the last four as Publicity Director. The lodge has sent young people to Heritage Camp, and several members have attended the Adult Heritage Camp. Sognefjord will continue to do its part to preserve the Norwegian heritage and culture.