The Friendly Fifth

History of Lodges

Dovre 353
Chetek, Wisconsin

History of Dovre Lodge 5-353
Dovre Lodge #5-353 was organized on July 28, 1928, in Chetek, Wisconsin, with 23 members.  The first president was Andrew Wold, the meetings were held in the Odd Fellows Hall, 102 Douglas Street, Chetek WI.  In the early 1900’s, 50% of Barron County had Norwegian heritage.  The membership grew rapidly, but in the hard times of the depression, many resigned.  In 1940, lodge members began meeting in private homes.
The Norwegian language was spoken at meetings until December of 1941, when members voted to hold business meetings in English.  In the late 1960’s, many new members joined Dovre Lodge.  Meetings were held in the Sioux Creek Town Hall until April of 1969 when they were moved to the Court House in Barron.
In 1973, there were over 270 members with an average meeting attendance of 85-100.  The 50th anniversary of Dovre Lodge was celebrated in 1978 at a picnic held near Sand Creek.
In the 1970’s, several floats were built and shown in parades, each year one larger than before.  In 1973, the largest Viking ship/float built was over 20 feet long with a dragon’s head and tail.  It was built by members and finished in time for the 1973 Barron Better Days.  About 16-20 lodge members in costume road on the float which appeared in dozens of parades each year and was a crowd favorite.  On an updated note, the large float was gifted to Amery Lodge who later gifted it to Valkyrien Lodge in Woodville.  In 2016, Dovre Lodge member Bun Hanson built a Viking boat around the pick-up truck of Robert Fossum to participate in the 150th Anniversary of Sand Creek parade.  Needing a better boat,in 2017 the lodge had an offer of a Viking boat from Myrmarken Lodge in Marshfield, and with a contribution to the Sons of Norway Foundation, brought the boat/float to the farm of Gerhard Nyhus.  The boat was repaired and is now active in many parades in NW Wisconsin.
The Dovre Singers group was started in 1971 by Mrs. Richard Rasmussen.  Programs were presented at senior centers, church fellowship meetings, retirement homes, and special events including the Sons of Norway Convention in Eau Claire in 1976 and Scandinavia Day in 1977.  Dressed in Norwegian bunads and heritage clothing, they sang such songs as “Kann Du Glemme Gamle Norge” and were in demand for many programs.
The Lodge has helped several young people attend the Norwegian Language Camp, Masse Moro, near Eau Claire.  Sponsored by SON District 5, the first Dovre attendees were Michael Weise, Randy and Rhonda Engness.  Each year since then, several have attended camp, learning about Norwegian customs and language.  Mitchell Bitney also attended Camp Norway and became a counselor at Masse Moro the next year.  Dovre Lodge currently sponsors a Masse Moro scholarship to attend the two-week summer camp for children and grandchildren (ages 9-15) of lodge members.
In the past, Dovre Lodge has sponsored the Javnaker Dancers from Norway, have elected a King and Queen to honor those who have contributed special services to the lodge, and a Princess to attend the Fyr Ball in Blair, WI.  From 1983-2012, lodge members served coffee and Norwegian goodies to the public at the Barron Bank at Christmas time. 
Current lodge activities include: serving dozens of cookies at the Barnebirkie in Hayward; annual Framtid/Adopt-A-School Norwegian programs for 4th graders at schools in Barron, Cameron, Chetek, Prairie Farm and Rice Lake; participating with their Viking Boat in parades in Chetek, Rice Lake and Ridgeland; showcasing Norwegian food and crafts at the Annual Multi-Cultural event in Barron; taking field trips to Scandinavian museums and events; hosting a Midsummer Bonfire Fest in June with Pioneer Village; holding an annual picnic each July; hosting an Annual Auction in September; making over 200 lefse for the holidays; a Christmas dinner in December at Rolling Oaks Restaurant; and many committee meetings at Norske Nook in Rice Lake.
Our recent past presidents include: Juel Peterson, Richard Rasmussen, Adolph Engness, Inez Schrader, Esther Skjerly, Louise Varnes, Florence Weise and Robin Fossum. Two members have served on the District 5 board, Orvin Hanson and Inez Anderson.  Membership is open to all with Norwegian heritage or an interest in Norwegian and Scandinavian culture and heritage.  Membership includes the monthly Sons of Norway Viking Magazine and the bi-monthly Dovre Brev newsletter.
Meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month at Chetek Lutheran Church in Chetek at 6:00pm.  Meetings begin with a pot-luck dinner, followed by a short business meeting and a special Scandinavian program.  Between 35-40 members participate in monthly meetings.
Please feel free to contact president Robin Fossum for Dovre Lodge information at: 715-642-2414 or  Robin is also serving as an International Director for District 5 and is a member of the Sons of Norway Foundation Board of Governors.   Updated August 1, 2021.