The Friendly Fifth

History of Lodges

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson 97

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Lodge 97, Chicago IL, was organized on November 29, 1909 by Past President of the Supreme Lodge, John Bachke, with 72 charter members. With his permission, the lodge was named for the great writer and poet, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, author of the Norwegian national anthem,"Ja Vi Elsker". The first president, A. Abrahamsen, served from 1910-1913.

In 1923 the lodge purchased a German Methodist church at 2443-45 North Maplewood Avenue in Chicago. The remodeling was done by members in their spare time, supervised by Andrew Erie. Popularly known as B.B. Hall, the building was sold in October 1965. After the sale of the hall, the lodge met at 4022 West Armitage, home of Leif Erikson Lodge 189. At a special meeting ofthe Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Auxilliary Association on August 4, 1971, the Chicago Norske Klub property at 2350 North Kedzie was purchased, and was the lodge home for seventeen years.

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Lodge has hosted three Fifth District conventions over the years: in 1932 at the Maplewood Avenue building; in 1968 at the La Salle Hotel; and in 1978 co-hosted with LeifErikson Lodge 189. The 1942 Supreme Convention was held at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, hosted by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Lodge.

Numerous groups have been sponsored by the lodge, such as sports programs like softball and bowling. In 1924 a double quartet was started by Thomas Andersen, the beginning of Bjørnson Male Chorus. On August 29, 1925, the first lodge banner, made by August Nelson, was unveiled. The present banner was designed by his son Arnold. Then in 1926 twelve members organized the Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Orchestra, conducted by Karl Neeb.

The Sons of Norway Torske Klubb was organized in 1960 by Andrew Highland, Claus Nicoll and Aasmund Rosseland, with Irving Highland serving as "Boss" for many years. In 1978 Frances E. Gabino, Lynda Alsaker, Agnes Jupin, Carol Goff, and Nina Giske began the Sons of Norway Fiske Klubb. Over the years codfish dinners and the 17d. Mai Lapskaus dinners have been popular.

Classes in conversational Norwegian were conducted from 1972-1980 with Aasmund Rosseland as Director and Fran Gabino as Registrar. The fine artist, Reidar Rosenvinge, taught rosemaling. Smorgasbord dinners were served the third Sunday of each month until 1987 with Alfred Newgard as chairman, then E.J. Papalini.

After serving in several capacities on the Fifth District Board, Christian Ludvigsen became President. His daughter, Agnes Jupin, is still a very active member at the age of 82. Another member, Irving Highland, served on the Supreme Lodge Board for 16 years, four of them as President. He has been honored as a Knight of Saint Olav, first class, as is member Dr. Alf Altern. Several deceased members had received the same recognition: Marshall E. Pedersen, Dr. Rasmus J. Harr, Rex Sande, and Hans Torgersen. The Klaus Nicoll Bowling Trophy presented each year by the International Lodge is named for our former member who served as Supreme Sports Director. Aasmund Rosseland was a Home Office Field Staff representative for over 21 years.

In January, 1988 Agnes Jupin installed the officers of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Lodge and presented her own badge of office to President Imerio E.J. Papalini. The current officers have made a valiant effort to keep the organization afloat for the past few years, under Auxiliary President Ruth Altern and Lodge President Papalini. Although the building on North Kedzie Avenue has been sold, the lodge continues to be a very active one and will celebrate its 80th anniversary in November 1989. The lodge was saddened in January of this year when Irving Highland, long-time member of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and former Supreme President, passed away at eighty years of age.