The Friendly Fifth

History of Lodges

Midnight Sun 419

On April 19, 1939 a Sons of Norway Lodge on Detroit's east side was founded by Mr. and Mrs. John Knudson. The name "Midnight Sun" was chosen for the lodge designated as No. 419. There were 45 charter members. At first they held their meetings at Pillar Temple on Kerchval Avenue in Grosse Pointe. Later they moved to the American Legion Alger Post at 17145 St. Paul, also in Grosse Pointe.

In April 1940 war came to Norway and later the long seige of occupation. Norwegian organizations were urged to join a Norwegian Red Cross Chapter. Midnight Sun joined with Nordkapp Lodge to sponsor many socials, the entire proceeds given to Norwegian Relief. Clothing drives were held with the two lodges working together for the benefit of their countrymen.

With the United States entering the war in December 1941, the two lodges directed their efforts to the purchase of war bonds. Donations of blood were made to the American Red Cross. Funds were raised for Camp "Little Norway" in Toronto, Canada, where young Norwegians who could escape from the occupation forces received flight training to help liberate their homeland.

Funds were also raised to help Norwegian Seamen, and in numerous other ways these two lodges made substantial contributions to the United States and their mother country far and above what they could have accomplished had they worked separately.

In 1962 Midnight Sun and Nordkapp Lodges joined together to sponsor the 26th Biennial Convention of the Fifth District in Detroit, with Marshall Fredericks, an internationally known sculptor as banquet speaker.

In 1971 we moved our meetings to Harper Avenue in Detroit, then in 1974 to the American Legion Hall on Mack Avenue, Grosse Pointe Woods. On the move again in 1985 we found our new home at the First Bethany United Church of Christ in St. Clair Shores.

Jan Aubert began a Norwegian class in 1983, taken over by Ingrid Parrish in 1985. Ingrid Parrish was awarded a District Scholarship to attend the International Summer School at the University of Oslo in 1986.

.... Marie Strom