The Friendly Fifth

History of Lodges

Nordlyset 183
Racine, Wisconsin

In the early 1900's many Norwegians settled in Racine, WI and the surrounding community. At that time two churches held Norwegian services.

Feeling the need to band together to help newcomers to the United States, the Wergeland Society was founded in 1903. Their purposes in forming this society were: to be helpmates to all Norwegians who did not speak English; to visit the sick; to give financial assistance to members in need.

By 1917 some members ofthe Wergeland Society had become disillusioned with the liberal habits of the Society, and decided to become a part of Sons of Norway. With 100 charter members, Nordlyset Lodge 183 was chartered on June 11, 1917.

During the depression of the 1930s many members were unable to pay their dues in Sons of Norway and the membership dwindled. However, after the depression most of them rejoined.

In 71 years, Nordlyset 183 has had 18 presidents. Those with the longest service are: Trygve Olson, 14 years (1947-48, 1956-67); Louis Peterson, 12 years (1968-1979); Carl Carlsen, 7 years (1932-1938); Karl Kirkeby, 6 years (1981-1986).

After 71 years, membership in our lodge remains about the same as it was in 1917, 100 members. Our average attendance is around 30, and those who attend regularly are good workers in the lodge.

.... Carol Kirkeby