History of Lodges
On June 18, 1925, ninety-two persons gathered in the KP. Hall in Menomonie, Wisconsin to organize and apply for a charter in Sons of Norway. A.J. Sater, with members of Løven Lodge of Eau Claire and Sluppen Lodge of Colfax assisting, presided at the meeting. Less than a month later, on July 25, 1925, Solheim 278 received its charter, and elected Oscar Anderson as its first president. Meetings were held on the second and fourth Friday of each month in the Odd Fellows Hall at a cost of $8.00 a month.
Interest in and concern for one another's welfare were evident from entries in the secretary's minutes. A blomster (flower) from the Menomonie Greenhouse for fifty cents or a sunshine basket for seventy-five cents was sent to those who were ill or in the hospitalit (hospital).
Dances, card parties, basket and pie socials, bingo, and silent auctions were the entertainment and sources of income, as well as showing films at the Grand Theatre. An annual event was a picnic at a local park.
Even in the early years delegates were sent to conventions in Chicago, Madison, Muskegon, Superior and Eau Claire. In 1932 Broders Ealie and Sommervold represented Solheim in Chicago, with expenses of $27.82 being reimbursed by the lodge.
Business meetings were conducted in Norwegian until May 1948. On August 9 of the same year, Sluppen Lodge of Colfax merged with Solheim.
After a decline in membership in the 1950's and '60s, an interest in finding one's ethnic roots was kindled in the early '70s. On June 14, 1975 Solheim commemorated its fiftieth anniversary with a party at the Knapp Hall, honoring Ole Halvorson for his 50 years of dedicated service.
Programs focusing on Norwegian culture and traditions have had a prominent place at our lodge. From a very special re-enactment ofthe history of Norwegians in Dunn County in 1976, slide shows on Norway, a trip to Scandinavia Today in Minneapolis, and Syttende Mai celebrations in the area, we have searched for ways to preserve the culture of Norway in our community.
The Sixtieth Anniversary of Solheim was celebrated on July 13, 1985 with life members recognized. Chris Hovland was honored with a 50-year pin and certificate.
The annual Jule Fest is held early in the Advent Season. The name is self-explanatory. It's a joyous conclusion of the year's activities and typifies one portion of our Norwegian culture.
.... Helen Topdahl and Marion Strand