The Friendly Fifth

History of Lodges

Nordkap 378
Farmington Hills, Michigan

Updated  2023 -
History of Nordkap Lodge, 5-378

Nordkap Lodge 378 is the oldest Sons of Norway lodge in Michigan and is part of the
organization’s Fifth District. It is named for Nordkapp (North Cape), a thousand-foot-
high cliff at the top of Norway.
Nordkap Lodge began on August 10, 1929, when a group of about 35 Norwegians met
at the Danish Brotherhood Hall in Detroit with a representative from the Sons of Norway
in Minneapolis to organize a Detroit chapter. Those present were accepted as
members, an election was held, a committee to draft bylaws chosen, and three names
were presented as possible names for the new chapter: Roald, Nordkap, and
Torghatten. As there was already a Roald Lodge in the Fifth District, the members
decided to vote on the other two, and Nordkap won.
In September, the new lodge met at the Strathmor Masonic Temple and planned a Leif
Ericson Fest. Norwegian films were shown, a Halloween party and basket social were
planned, and the lodge was off to a good start. However, the Stock Market Crash of
1929 and the Great Depression intervened, and interest waned. The lodge suspended
meetings in 1931, but membership was at 54.
The lodge was reorganized in 1935 at the Odd Fellows Hall on Fenkell Avenue in Detroit
and retained the Nordkap name. Only five of the original members were in attendance,
but 22 others joined.
Beginning in 1940, the meetings were conducted in English rather than Norwegian.
During the war years of 1940-1945, Nordkap worked hard for the cause of Norway
during its occupation by the Germans. In 1944, the meetings were held in the basement
of Kaleva Hall at Montville Place in Detroit.
For approximately the last 30-plus years, regular member gatherings have been held at
the Swedish Club in Farmington Hills. Through the years, the lodge has sponsored
countless dinners and dances; participated in numerous ethnic festivals and bazaars;
arranged exhibits at museums, schools, and libraries; supported many international and
charitable organizations; and presented classes in the Norwegian language. It has
engaged members in a Norwegian book club, hosted nature hikes and cross-country
skiing events, and currently offers a very active college scholarship program, supported
through various fund-raisers and the generosity of its members.
Members gatherings include social and cultural programs. There are often speakers,
videos, presentations, games, craft and cookie-baking workshops, and “show and tell” to
help members honor and learn more about their Norwegian heritage.
Nordkap also hosts special celebrations at Christmas, midsummer, and the 17 th of May
(Syttende Mai), Norwegian Constitution Day.
Lodge programs are planned to interest all, but they are specifically targeted to attract
and engage young people. Membership in Nordkap Lodge is open to all who are
interested in the preservation of Norwegian culture and heritage. For more information,
see Nordkap’s Web site at

Merger with Samhold Lodge
On November 24, 2019, the Nordkap Board approved the informal merger sought by
Samhold Lodge 5-473 under the terms specified by Sons of Norway. With the merger,
Samhold ceased to exist and transferred its members to Nordkap. Nordkap retained its
name and number, and its officers remained the same until the next election. The
merger was effective January 1, 2020.
Samhold Lodge began at an organizational meeting on January 12, 1964, at the Cass
Lake Community Center in Pontiac, Michigan. There were 49 charter members. The
name Nordlyset (The Northern Lights) was chosen at first but was changed to Samhold
(Unity) at the next meeting. The lodge provided wonderful times for its many members
for 56 years in the northern suburbs of Michigan--first in Pontiac, next in Auburn Hills,
finally in Lake Orion. 
Samhold hosted the Fifth District Convention in 1974, and over the years several
Samhold members served as officers on the District Board. One of them, the late Gene
Steensma (1940 - 2020), had served as president of Samhold Lodge and two years as
District President before moving on to the International Sons of Norway Board.