Skjold Lodge History 1910-2022
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 (Great Depression forced sale). 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.
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.
At the end of 2018 Skjold moved to its current home at All Saints Lutheran Church at 630 S. Quentin Rd., Palatine. The AUYA Ukrainian Center was growing and needed all their space for their own activities.
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 as directors are Barney Jacobson and Jostein Bakken.
Skjold Lodge is over 100 years old and Skjold
News is 53. Skjold News was begun in March 1957 by
Ralph Burch who served as the first Editor. He and
his wife Ann did most of the reporting and writing for
the first few years. In 1958 they held the first
Skjold News Benefit to offset costs of printing and
mailing. It was a “Parcel Post Auction” just as it
remains today. In the fifty years since then, the
annual benefits have probably raised $100,000 for the
paper. Through the years, the Skjold News has
received many awards at Conventions, and the lodge
certainly owes a great deal to the many editors,
printers, stampers, folders, and mailers who have kept
the paper going.
In 1965 Ralph, “Ye Editor”, turned the Editor’s task over to his wife’s brother, Conrad Okerwall, and the Burch family moved to Oregon. Some time later, while Mary Beth Haugen was editor, Les Amack wrote a song “Skjold News” for the benefit. The member who worked on the paper the longest, Lorraine Cummings, was in charge of all the folding and mailing for about twenty years.
Other members who have served as Editor include Dick Haugsness, Marion Haugsness and Evelyn Carlsen as co-editors, Laurence Nelson, Fay Finn, Muriel Flubacker and Alice Freier as co-Editors, Mary Beth Haugen, Bob Bolstad, Art Kleven, and Krista Bachman. Jon Satrum, current Editor, and Jim Secora, Assistant Editor, now edit and print the Skjold News. Jon also serves as the webmaster for the Skjold Lodge website.
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 Secora2018-2022 Lisa Solak