Sons of Norway Mission Statement
The mission of Sons of Norway is to promote and to preserve the heritage and culture of Norway, to celebrate our relationship with other Nordic Countries, and provide quality insurance and financial products to our members.
It is our Lodge’s intent to help preserve the traditions and history of the Norwegian and American Norwegian culture. Our Lodge sits in a unique place, near the bridge that connects these two countries. Many of those who came from Norway in the 1900s landed in Brooklyn, and several families stayed for generations—raising their children, and then their American-born grandchildren.
Woven into our history are both sides of the story. Where we come from, and what it was like for our relatives to live in full communities together in America.
Lodge Brooklyn has a reputation amongst other Lodges of the Sons of Norway as being one of the most fun, down to earth, and lighthearted groups within the organization. We always have a good time as we gather and share past memories and create new ones in a fun, warm, and welcoming environment.
Meet the Officers
My cousin Alice Svege asked if I could help at one of the Lodge Brooklyn meetings. I felt so warm and at home, I knew it was for me. I am “made in America” with Norwegian parts. I have learned much from being a part of this Lodge as well as made new friends. I am honored to hold this post and be a part of such a great Lodge as well as organization.
My mother always told me I could waltz before I walked. My both parents were from Scandinavia, Dad from Sweden and Mom from the Aland Islands. The Scandinavian culture is part of my DNA. The first meeting I attended at Lodge Brooklyn I joined as I loved being with people so genuinely nice and fun. I remember a trip to Norway in my early twenties and leaving with an impression of remarkable people and awesome scenery. Lodge Brooklyn helps me relive my twenties!
Solveig Simonsen McLoughlin
I was born in Norway and came to America at 9 years old. I grew up in a Norwegian household with amazing food and traditions. I was invited to a Son’s of Norway meeting and immediately joined. I am thrilled to be in a place where my traditions are celebrated, such as sharing Norwegian food, which I love making and eating.
Elaine Ann Breiland
Corinne Alexis Hall
Music & Cultural Director / President Emeritus
I was fortunate to grow up in the same house as my Norwegian grandmother. She lived on the third floor of our family home, and spent every single day cooking, sewing, knitting. I’ve never seen anyone quite like her- she could do anything. From making gorgeous Norwegian sweaters to cooking huge family dinners in a tiny kitchen… she was a miracle worker.
It is because of her legacy and example that I became interested in joining the Sons of Norway. I am who I am because of her. And I wanted to give something back to the community for some of those gifts she brought to my life.
I am very Norwegian—born and raised. I’ve been an officer with the Sons of Norway since the late 1990’s and love every minute of it—the companionship, love, and all the traditional things we enjoy. With the new leadership I hope we go on forever!
Brooklyn Lodge History
as listed in the 2012 3rd District
Local Lodge Centennial History Book
Brooklyn Lodge #3-243
Sons of Norway
9104 FOURTH AVENUE, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, 11209
Instituted November 22, 1923, Meets 2nd Friday, 8 pm, Færder Hall
9104 4th Avenue., Brooklyn, NY 11209
Thursday, November 22, 1923, eight men and women met at the Masonic Hall, 257 Bay Ridge Avenue, Brooklyn, with O. C. Christopher and the Third District Board to organize Brooklyn Lodge No. 243, Sons of Norway.
Jens Tomter became the first President. He was reelected twice and did well. The first secretary was Harald Pedersen. The Lodge moved to Parkway Assembly, 51st Street and 4th, Avenue, where regular meetings began. The charter was closed March 6th, 1924, with 25 members.
Brooklyn Lodge made great progress in membership and in fraternal endeavors. When the Third District awarded a trophy in 1927 in its membership campaign, Brooklyn Lodge won it by signing up 60 members. In 1928-1929 the Lodge had 240 members, the highest before reverses set in. The Fifth Anniversary was celebrated at the Hotel St. George; Alf H. Olsen was President.
The depression came and brought difficult times, but the Lodge survived and in 1933 the Tenth Anniversary was held at Gregory’s Restaurant, 8315 4th Avenue. Hans J. Frisvold was President. At this time the membership counted only 57, the lowest ever. In these ten years, however, more than $4,000 had been paid out to the sick and the needy. The bazaars for the Norwegian Children’s Home and Norway Relief Fund had been participated in. We also moved to different quarters five times.
In 1934-1935 the Lodge moved ahead and had more than 100 members. In 1936, for the first time, a woman sought the Presidency, but lost out to Harry Skaara. Also, in 1936 our Drill Team came into being with Harry Skaara as Captain during the first three years. Next Ingvar Njerve served nine years, Leif Bretsen ten years, Orren A. Kyle two years, Hans Wulff six years, and finally Vern Porter.
A new organizer, Ivar Thorson, helped a lot and the Lodge celebrated its Fifteenth Anniversary (1938) with 300 members at the Knights of Columbus, 86th Street and 13th Avenue, Brooklyn—with Ole J. Andreasen as President.
In 1938 our Lodge paper Brooklyn News was started. It came out in April and in November with a special issue for the Fifteenth Anniversary, 12 pages with Einar Bredland as Editor, and he did a tremendous job. November 22, 1939, the Sisters presented the Lodge with its own banner designed by Einar Bredland. Thanks to them all.
Then in 1940 came the horror of war. The Lodge worked hard; we will just mention that several thousands of dollars were given to Norway Relief Camp Norge and the Norwegian Seamen’s National Relief. We had entertainments for the crews of the Navy and Merchant Fleet. We kept in contact with our members in Service, sending letters and packages. The Lodge went ahead economically and in membership. We celebrated our Twentieth Anniversary (1943) with Syvert Aanesen as President and 400 members. $10,000 had been paid to sick benefit members. This time we dined and danced at the Marine Restaurant, 2539 Cropsey Avenue. Our twenty-fifth Anniversary was held at the Hotel Granada. We had 400 members and Hans Frisvold was President. Our Thirtieth Anniversary (1953) was also celebrated at the Hotel Granada. We had 500 members and Einar Nilson was our President. Brooklyn Lodge was the next largest in the Third District. We have paid $22,000 to sick benefit members and some needy cases.
Brooklyn Lodge, together with Lodges Arbeideren, Færder, Saga and Stavanger, bought the house owned by I.O.G.T. at 641 66th Street about 1934 and later some lots at 88th Street and 4th Avenue, hoping to build a new home. The lots turned out to be too small and the Berkshire Theatre at 5911 8th Avenue was bought. After extensive alterations we moved in here in October, 1955. Our thirty-fifth Anniversary was celebrated with a banquet in our own Sons of Norway Center in 1958 with Jakob Pedersen as President. We have lost many members and have only 350 left in 1963. The reasons are that many of our members were moving away didn’t help. Our economy is good. We still help our sick and, every Christmas, Santa Claus looks in on any who may need a helping hand. In these 40 years sick benefits and gifts amount to almost $35,000.
Our members have been useful outside our own Lodge. In 1929 Nils Pedersen was elected Trustee in the Third District Lodge. 1930 saw the young and efficient Einar Bredland as Regent. Same year Ole J. Andreassen became Secretary and an alter President and then Counselor, serving eight years in all. Syvert Aanesen was elected Vice President in 1946, Einar Nilson same in 1956 becoming Social Director in 1958 and Arnfin Olsen Vice President in 1966.
Brooklyn Lodge joined the Funeral Fund of the Third District in 1928 and when the Fund was liquidated May 5th, 1959, we received a check of $2,530.85 as our share. With this money we started our Good Will Club, but as funds ran out we closed our book from the first of the year 1974, with sadness.
A 17th of May Committee of Greater New York was started in 1952 with Ole Schjulberg as its first chairman and later Einar Bredland with its chairman for some years. Brooklyn Lodge has been well represented in the yearly parade with flags, banners and members.
The Lodge is proud of its bowlers. In 1963 the ladies were in first place, competing with 14 other teams.
Brooklyn Lodge Sewing Club was organized October 21st, 1942, with the idea of helping Norwegian Seamen and the Little Norway Camp in Toronto. The first meeting took place in the home of Anna Njerve. The ladies knitted 106 pairs of socks, 5 sweaters and 14 pairs of seamen’s gloves. A radio was purchased and raffled off. The profit of $365.50 was sent to the member at Little Norway. They also mailed hundreds of Christmas cards and 59 Christmas packages to seamen away from home—sick seamen in the Marine Hospital were also remembered with visits and packages. All this work was continued until 1945. Thereafter the club started working for the bazaar to benefit the Eger Gamlehjem. They worked for that several years. From that time the club had a table with beautiful items at the bazaar for the Norwegian Children’s Home and did a terrific job. In 1961 the club started with a table at the bazaar held at the Norwegian Christian Home for the Aged.
The Drill Team of Brooklyn Lodge has been very active and useful in the whole District. Our Fortieth Anniversary (1963) was also held at Sons of Norway Center and Sverre Andersen was our President.
The 1960’s may have been the most difficult years. Hard discussion and disagreement came as talk of changing over to English finally came to a vote on February 20th, 1964, and 30 “yes” and 25 “no” was the final count. This split the Lodge and after 10 years it proved to be no help. With the passing of Ingvar Njerve in 1968 our Lodge lost one of its most dedicated members. He had served almost 28 years as Financial Secretary. Our forty-fifth Anniversary was celebrated at the Danish Athletic Club, 741 65th Street on November 22, 1968, and Gus Wernberg was President. In 1969 we lost our Sons of Norway Center, 5911 8th Avenue—and moved to the Bay Ridge Masonic Temple on 69th Street and 3rd Avenue. Our last meeting at the Center was November 20th, 1969, our forty-sixth Anniversary. It is not too much to say that we left the Center with many bitter memories, memories that will forever live with us.
On November 11, 1971, we voted on merging with Polar Star and Stavanger. It was a close vote, 35 for and 18 against. We have now moved to Færder Lodge Center, 9104 4th Avenue and like it very much. Our Fiftieth Anniversary was held at Andres on 86th Street. 32 lodges were represented with 271 guests. Our fifty-fifth was held on November 11, 1978, at the American Legion Hall. This was a combination of Drill Team and Rasmussen Lapskaus party. This was the first time the Fifty Year Membership pin was given out. Einar Bredland was there to receive his pin. Charles Kraft, Kjell and Elsa Jahannesen had also earned this great honor.
The lodge’s Sixtieth Anniversary (1983) was held again at Andres 86th Street with over 200 members. In Lodge Brooklyn’s history there have been only two women presidents. The first was Karin Holldorf and the second was Ragnhild Jermansen. In 1993 we had 120 members, 51 life members. The oldest member of 65 year standing was Kjell Johannesen. Also mentioned our 5 siblings, 1 brother and 4 sisters, who together had 222 years of membership. With fond memories of our dedicated member of 63 years, Dr. Einar Bredland, whom we will never forget. We extend our appreciation to Anna Njerve for all her hard work and dedication.
On November 13, 1993, we celebrated our 70th Anniversary at the Danish Athletic Club with Ragnhild Jermansen, President, with 15 lodges present and 125 guests.
This is just an extract of our history to show what has taken place in these seventy years. Many men and women have done wonderful work. We look through our minutes and other papers and feel a great respect and admiration for these people who have contributed so much to our Lodge. We can’t name all of them in this short space, but we can say a heartfelt “thank you” to all of them.
Since our 70th Anniversary (1993) we have had a few changes.
We were meeting at Færder House until it was sold. We then moved to the Swedish Club- 65th Street Brooklyn, upstairs, but it became hard for some of our members to climb the stairs. Lodge Brooklyn is doing our best to keep going- but it is not easy. We are all getting older, the neighborhood is changing and others are moving away.
We held our 75th Anniversary on November 14th, 1998 at the Bay Ridge Manor at 76th St., Brooklyn, with Arnfinn Olsen, President, Karen Holldorf the Invocation and past President. Our guest speaker John Hilvyak and Audun Gythfeldt made a special presentation.
There were 19 Lodges represented, the Swedish Football Club, the Norwegian Seamen’s Veterans, Gjøa Sporting Club and Charles & Britt Nilsen (International President and wife), Sandy and Ruth Ginberg (International Director and wife)- everyone seemed to have a good time.
We have changed the meeting place again and meet even today (2011) at Gjøa Sporting Club, 62nd Street, Brooklyn, between 8th and 9th Avenues. We meet the 4th Sunday of each month from 1 to 5 pm, with no meeting in July and August.
Our meeting is on the first floor and everyone seems to be very pleased. We have a wonderful group of people and still doing our best.
Our 80th Anniversary was held on November 23, 2003 at Gjøa Sporting Club, Brooklyn, which was catered by Milandet’s of Brooklyn. Sigrun Lasren, President. Arnfinn Olsen our Master of Ceremonies, Guest Speaker Ragnhild Jermansen with highlights of 80 years and a wonderful skit, she performed- which we will all remember- she had just come off the boat and heard so much in Norway about a place she could go to in America which was called Sons of Norway in Brooklyn. Dressed was in her attire and a joy to us all. Bert Stromhold and Artie Carlsen played for the occasion.
We always had live music at our meetings until 2 years ago, now only we have it on special occasions.
We belong to Zone 1 which is Long Island, Brooklyn and New York.
Our 85th Anniversary was celebrated on November 30th 2008 again at Gjøa Club Brooklyn with Milandet’s catering. Sigrun Larsen the President, it was a great turnout. Barbara Berntsen had made up and “Ode to Brooklyn Lodge”. Great Job!
A special presentation was given and enjoyed by all was Accordion Duo; Brent Busnell who has been blind since birth. He was Finlandia Foundation National Performer of the year 2008 and Bert Stromholm. Fantastic!! Great time by all.
All are welcomed to our meeting & socials at Gjøa Sporting Club—Brooklyn. Thank you to all who have helped support us. Very Grateful! Over the past years we still sponsor many children to Land of the Vikings—Youth Camp—and still continue to do so.
We still support all S/N funds, 17th of May, Salvation Army, and others. Deeply missed—Ragnhild Jermansen, Finn Gjertsen, Gigi Palsen, Peder Rasmussen (now in a nursing home), Arnfinn & Oddbjorg (now living in Florida).
Hopefully our 90th Anniversary will be in November of 2013. With this in mind we are still looking ahead!
—Respectfully, Alice Svege (2012)
Jen Tomter 1923-26
Johan Jacobsen 1927-(1/2 year)
Lauritis Larsen 1927-(1/2 year)
Alf A. Olsen 1928 & 1930
Nils Pedersen 1929 & 1939
Ole J. Andreassen 1931-1932, 1938, 1944-(1/2 year)
Hans J. Frisvold 1933 & 1948-1950
Thorleif Arnsen 1934 & 1937
Einar Bredland 1935 & 1952, 1976-1977, 1980-1981
Harry Skaara 1936 & 1940
Syvert Aanensen 1941-1943, 1944 (1/2 year)
Arnold Mayers 1946-1947
Einar G. Nilsen 1953-1954
Orren A. Kyle 1955-1956
Jakob Pedersen 1958-1959
Arnfinn Olsen 1960-1962, 1998-2000
Sverre Andersen 1963-1964
Vern Porter 1965
Hans Wulff 1966, 1970-1971
Helge Aursland 1967
Gus Wernberg 1968
Karin Holldorf 1969
Palmer Larsen 1972-1975, 1982
Peder Rasmussen 1978-1979
Ragnhild Jermansen 1989-1997
Sigrun Larsen 2001-2015
Corinne A. Hall 2015-2016
Kimberly Tee Breiland 2017-
Ode to Brooklyn Lodge
by Barbara Berntsen
It’s November in Bay Ridge at the Masonic Hall,
To start another lodge was welcomed by all,
8 met with the district & President O.C. Christopher,
Planning to begin a new lodge was the endeavor.
The first President elected was Jens Tomter,
And on March of ’24 they closed the charter,
Their membership campaign increased the score,
Winning a trophy by adding 60 members more.
Only five years together and 240 members the peak,
Before the depression came and the numbers deplete,
It was a difficult time but the lodge will survive,
Thinking of new ideas to keep you alive.
1936 brought a spark and a gleam,
As Harry Skaara captained a new Drill Team,
To accompany any installation brought a cheer,
They’re drilling superior, my memory’s so clear.
The team was very active for 50 years plus,
Assisting all who asked and entertaining us,
Throughout the lodges across district three,
You’re an example to all with your generosity.
It’s 1938 now and the lodge is growing again,
To get the word out was important so then,
The Brooklyn News was sent in fall and in spring,
Spreading your announcements about everything.
As editor Einer Bredland’s efforts would start,
While the sisters worked creating a work of art,
Each one a true worker and each a true planner,
As Brother Einer designed your new lodge banner.
The war broke out, the lodge is in disbelief,
Rose funds for Norway Camp or the Seaman’s Relief,
Contacting their members in the service by letter,
Plus sending them packages what could not be better.
During the 40’s the lodge grew and grew,
Topping at 500 plus members, You Hoo!!
Along with four others you purchased a place,
The Berkshire Theater had the style and grace.
The 5 lodges together with wood and concrete,
The alterations extensive, the job is complete,
Arbeideren, Saga, Stavanger, Brooklyn and Færder,
Had a home on 8th Ave, the Sons of Norway Center.
Many members have served as officers of 3D.
As Regent, Secretary, President, Counselor, and VP,
We thank Nils, Einer, Ole, Syvert, and Arnfinn,
Who gave of their time outside Lodge Brooklyn.
There were bowlers, drillers and a new sewing club,
Knitting socks, sweaters, and seaman’s gloves,
Having beautiful items to sell at a bazaar,
Always thinking of others, those near and those far.
The 60’s upon you, your most difficult time,
Splitting the lodge in half while you’re in your prime,
To speak English at meetings was the dissent,
For me that change was good at this very moment.
Then the loss of your Center on 8th Avenue,
Some memories came with it too sad to review,
But you persevered through it & are still having fun,
With only good things in your future to come.
Their support for our home away from home,
At weekends or youth camp for each little gnome,
Work weekends or summer it is never a chore,
Making sure it continued to be the place we adore.
As a lodge you’ve had struggles, your ups and downs,
With so many to thank and so many who’d astound,
Some minor some major but we all can express,
The Lodge history shows 85 years of success.
Join me to rejoice at Gjøa Sporting Club today,
Fellowship, friendship, it’s my honor to say,
Our celebrating the 85th Anniversary with you all,
Please raise your glass with me, “Gratulerer and Skål.”