A history of Normanna Lodge 52, Sons of Norway

Published 9:08 am Saturday, February 6, 2010

What: Sons of Norway Normanna Lodge 52 first-ever Sweetheart Dance and silent auction. There will be door prizes, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Music is by Mega Force.

When: Saturday, Feb. 13

Where: Wedgewood Cove Golf Club (this is a change in location)

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Who: Anyone — people don’t need to be lodge members to attend

Why: To save the lodge building near City Arena and to raise money for scholarships for local high school graduates

How: Tickets are $15 per person ($30 per couple) and are available at the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce and Leuthold’s and at the door.

The following history is provided by Normanna Lodge 52, Sons of Norway. It was updated for its centennial celebration in 2005.

Sons of Norway Normann Lodge 52 was organized by officers of the head lodge on July 26, 1905, with a membership of about 55.

The first officers elected and qualified were: judge, A.S. Molstad; president, John Bessessen; vice president, Carl Mickelson; secretary, Iver J. Dahl; treasurer, W.W. Gravlie; financial secretary, Nels Logan; medical examiner, Dr. G. Bjornstad; regent, Andrew Haugen; marshal, Peter Wallum; inner guard, Mathias Hagen; board of trustees, O.K. Takle, B. Sjkonsberg and Even Johnson.

For some 30 years, meetings were held in Norwegian and met in different places, including the Lea Center building, the VFW hall and others. The young lodge was active and a memorable event was the lutefisk dinner, followed by programs and a grand ball. The dances became so popular that at times they had to rent three or four dance halls.

During World War II, the lodge held clothing drives for Norse relief and a benefit concert for the Freeborn County War Chest for Norwegian relief.

In 1942, the Normen Lodge of Emmons merged with Normanna Lodge 52.

In 1946, the Oslo Chorus performed in Albert Lea, sponsored by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Olaf. The chorus didn’t usually perform in small cities.

Proceeds from the concert were sent to the local polio chapter.

Normanna Lodge 52 hosted the First District convention in June of 1950 with the banquet in the Spanish Dining Room of the Hotel Albert. The grand ball was held at the National Guard Armory.

The lodge donated a stone marker in May of 1953 marking the site of the first homestead in Freeborn County, the Ole Livedalen cabin.

Some of the groups the lodge has hosted over the years are: Bergen Singers, Hovgesund Singers, Jotuning Dance Troupe from Valdres, Nidoras Folk Singers, Haman Symphony Orchestra, Lloyd Herfindahl and the Skal Klubben Band.

In 1978, the membership voted to purchase a building and land so the lodge could have its own meeting place. It was the former student center of Lea College. The first meeting was held there in February 1978 and dedication was held on May 6 and 7 of that year. The lodge purchased additional land in 1987.

Normanna has a Viking ship float that is used in many community parades.

Visit the lodge’s Web site at www.sonsofnorwayalbertlea.org.