The Friendly Fifth

History of Lodges

Skjold 100
Palatine, Illinois



Skjold Lodge became Sons of Norway’s 100th lodge in February of 1910 in Evanston, IL with 30 charter members. Thore Loberg served as the first President.  Meetings were held at Connor Hall in Evanston.  In the early days, Sons of Norway membership was just for men.  In 1911, women associated with Skjold organized and formed Nornen Lodge 41, Daughters of Norway.  The two lodges hoped to have a lodge home, but fraternal groups in Illinois are not permitted to own real estate.  So, in 1914, Skjold and Nornen formed the Sons and Daughters of Norway Building Society, organized to hold property for the two organizations to share.  The Building Society was chartered as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, with membership restricted to the members of the two lodges.
Within ten years the building fund had raised over $1,600 and on 12/22/1924, the lodge bought the old First Presbyterian Church building at 1625 Emerson St. in Evanston on contract for $10,000.  They rented it out to St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church.  In 1934, the property was sold to Dr. Thomas for $6,500.  Meetings were then held for the next 20 years at the Swedish Fraternal Hall, 1415 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL.
In 1949, Sons of Norway voted to allow women membership and the Daughters of Norway were united with Sons of Norway.  The name of the Building Society was changed to the Skjold Building Society and all male and female members were given membership.
1956 and 1958 were special years; with Skjold Lodge hosting the 1956 5th District Convention in Evanston and, along with seven other lodges, hosting the 1958 Sons of Norway Supreme Convention in Chicago.  And, in 1957 Ralph Burch began printing and distributing the Skjold News.

In 1959 the Skjold Building Society purchased a building with two acres of wooded grounds at 1537 Wagner Road in Glenview, IL, for $26,500 with a mortgage of $19,500 from the Supreme Lodge.  As a home for the lodge during the following years, members enjoyed many special events and dinners.  In June 1966 Skjold again hosted the 5th District Convention in Highland Park.  Skjold received the original official Sons of Norway flag on January 16, 1970, in honor of Skjold member Conrad Okerwall, who submitted the winning design in the Sons of Norway flag contest.  In April 1970, at Skjold’s 60th anniversary, a ceremony was held at which the mortgage on the hall was burned.  Unfortunately, on September 21, 1971, the hall was completely gutted by fire; its contents were a total loss. Zoning laws at that time did not permit rebuilding a lodge hall, so the lodge once again had to look for a rental hall for its monthly meetings.  The two acres of land were sold on June 8, 1977.  Meetings and social events were then held at Highcrest Center, Wilmette, IL

In 1979 the Skjold Building Society joined with Normennenes Singing Society, the Danish American Athletic Club, and Dania Society to form the Scandinavian American Cultural Society (SACS) for the purpose of purchasing a home for the four organizations. In October 1980 the four organizations purchased a large Elks Club and six acres on Wilke Road in Arlington Heights and named it the “Scandinavian Club”.  During the years that followed the four organizations enjoyed working together, planning programs and special events.  Members and guests also enjoyed the fine Scandinavian food served in the dining room.  Skjold membership tripled at this time.  In 1981, Saga Lodge merged with Skjold. 
In June 1984, at the 5th District Convention in La Crosse, WI, Skjold was named District Lodge of the Year and received a Certificate of Recognition for an outstanding membership drive and Skjold News received a Certificate of Recognition.   In Sept. 1984, in Vancouver, BC, Skjold was awarded International Lodge of the Year and received a plaque and trophy and our president, Les Amack, received the International President of the Year Award.  In June, 1986, Skjold hosted the 38th Biennial 5th District Convention in Arlington Heights.
After many years working together, the four organizations decided the financial burden of operating the Scandinavian Club was too great. In the fall of 2000 the club closed and the property was sold. The four organizations separated, and Skjold formed a search committee to once again look for rental space in which to hold its meetings.

In January 2001, the lodge began to meet at the American Legion Post in Arlington Heights. The hall was fine for meetings and some other activities, but the lodge needed to rent larger facilities for special events throughout the year.
In November 2003, the lodge moved to a meeting hall at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Mt. Prospect, Illinois.  On July 28, 2006 the members had their first meeting at the Bethel Lutheran Church on West Frontage Road in Palatine, Illinois.  On April 10, 2010, Skjold Lodge celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a large banquet in Arlington Heights.  Also in 2010 Skjold began meeting at the AUYA Ukrainian Center in Palatine, Illinois.  This site had rooms of different sizes that could be rented for different activities and it had an elevator to reach the 2nd floor.

Through the years Skjold has supported many activities dedicated to preserving Norwegian culture and heritage such as the Norwegian National League.  For over 60 years we have participated in the Syttende Mai parade in the Chicago area, many times with a float; we have supplied volunteers and cookies for the annual Barnebirkie ski tournament for children held in northern Wisconsin; for over thirty years we have been a vendor at the annual Scandinavian Day in South Elgin; and many other activities too numerous to mention.

Many of our members have served as officers of the Fifth District Board (Einar Holden, Ralph Burch, Barney Jacobson, Richard Haugsness, Cyril Wittrock, Irvin Trinrud, Lester Amack, Mary Beth Haugen, Eugene Kaczmarek, Judith Torgersen, Jostein Bakken, and Kathy Secora.  Cyril Wittrock is the only Skjold member to be elected president of the Sons of Norway International Board (this took place in 1992 at the International Convention in Lillehammer, Norway).  In Cy’s memory Skjold Lodge funds the Cy Wittrock scholarship administered by District 5.  Those who have also served from Skjold on the International Board of Sons of Norway are Barney Jacobson and Jostein Bakken.
           Fraternally, Gene and Tordis Kaczmarek, JimSecora, Historians


1910   Thore H. Loberg
1911-13 Christ Golee
1914   Sam Berg
1915   Niles Jule
1916-17 Jurgen Gorden
1918   Hans Horn
1919   Otto Mathiesen
1920   Marius Rodley
1921   Christ Olsen
1922   Christ Kjelsoe
1923   Marius Rodley
1924   Christ Olsen
1925   Halmar Hansen
1926   Theodore H. Boe
1927   Christ Olsen
1928   John S. Johansen
1929   John Stene
1930   Halmar Hansen
1931   Christ Olsen
1932   Theodore H. Boe
1933   Eluf Magnussen
1934-36 Marius Rodley
1937-43 Einar Holden
1944-45 Theodore H.Boe
1946   David Svendsen
1947-50 Bernard Jacobson
1951-52 Richard Haugsness
1953-54 Ralph Burch?1955-56 John Arndt
1957-58 Bernard Jacobson
1959-60 Irvin Trinrud
1961-62 James Bohlin
1963-64 Louis Chouinard
1965   Lester Amack
1966   Wallace Johnson
1967-68 Richard Haugsness
1969-70 Arthur Freier
1970-73 Cyril Wittrock
1974   Bernard Jacobson
1975   Sy Katz
1976-78 Cyril Wittrock
1979-81 Gene Kaczmarek
1982-84 Lester Amack
1985-87 Jostein Bakken
1988-89 Judith Torgersen
1990   Gene Kaczmarek
1991-92 Louis Chouinard
1993-94 Judith Torgersen
1995-96 Jostein Bakken
1997-98 Don Hoganson
1999   Jostein Bakken
2000-01 Judith Torgersen
2002-04 Jostein Bakken
2005-06 Carol Ann Carlsen
2006-07 Gregg LeDuc
2008-09 Wendell Brenner
2010-11 Michael Hanson
2012-2017 Kathy Secora
2018 Lisa Solak