Who We Are...
Vonheim is among the largest social chapters of Sons of Norway International. We typically meet at 1pm on the 2nd Saturday of each month at Norway House at 913 E Franklin Ave in Minneapolis, MN. Guests are welcome to attend and learn more about us.
Women and men of Nordic descent—and others wishing to explore Norwegian culture—are invited to join Sons of Norway. We encourage you to visit us at one of our upcoming events.
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.
We promote Norwegian traditions and fraternal fellowship through cultural and social opportunities offered by the lodge, district and headquarters. Activities include language camps and classes, scholarships, handicrafts, cooking and heritage classes, heritage programs, sports programs and travel opportunities.
We offer Norwegian cultural heritage activities that enrich understanding and foster friendships—and are fun! Insurance options and related financial benefits secure the future for you and your family. There are outreach opportunities to help others.
Vonheim Lodge 1-108 means many things to many people. Over the years, there have been many proud moments.
Vonheim traces its history back to December 2, 1910, when its charter was presented by First District President,
Thorwald Nelson. There were 46 charter members, plus 34 transfer members from other lodges. The average age of a Sons of Norway member was 38 years old.
The first officers of Vonheim were installed by Supreme Secretary Laurits Stavnheim. Vonheim's first President was Carl Raskoft. Two thirds of the new officers were blessed with beautiful red hair.
The name "Vonheim" was chosen over Glitretinden, Kringsjaa, and Nybraat to honor the Norwegian Vonheim High School, one of the older folk high schools in Norway. Also, "von" in Norwegian means expectation and anticipation, while "heim" means home. Thus, the name may be interpreted "the desirable home."
The new officers served well. From that group, Karl Andresen became supreme secretary and Alfred Anderson served as First District Secretary for many years. Other early leaders also served on the first district and supreme boards.
The lodge prospered from the beginning, with its bazaars and entertainment of cultural value. A highlight was the 25th Anniversary held December 1, 1935; when Governor Luther Youngdahl was the main speaker. When Vonheim marked its 50th anniversary the speaker was Hubert Humphrey, who later served as U. S. Vice President.
In 1931 a male drill team was organized. The group entertained Vonheim and other district lodges for many years. World War II came along and a ladies drill team took the place of the male unit. Margaret Anderson and Jorund Wold directed the drill team for many years.
In 1932 a handwritten journal named "Vonheimen" was begun. In recent years, the "Vonheim Saga" newsletter has served to inform and entertain members.
When Sons of Norway membership was opened to women, some of the first women members were Christine Andresen, Marie Roskaft, and Marie Opstad. Women members have made vital contributions to the lodge over the years. Vonheim elected its first woman president, Hilda Lee, in 1977. Later woman Presidents were Myrtle Brandvold and from 2006-2012 Carolyn Hagen.
During World War II, relief efforts for Nazi occupied Norway were an important activity. Olaf Serley, a charter member, provided his warehouse for gathering of food, clothing, and other necessities which were packed and shipped to Norway. Hans Wold made the shipping boxes in his garage and provided trucks.
Though many have contributed to the success of Vonheim, special tribute is due the Hans Wold family, Vilhelm and Yerdis Holand, and Karl and Mayme Brustad. Hans was noted for delighting members with his songs, while Jorund played the piano. Jorund also served as lodge newsletter editor.
Vonheim prospered under leaders such as Orville Prestholdt, Donald Opsahl, and Walter Jacobson. Flight programs for lodge members, sponsored by District 1, boosted membership significantly over a span of several years. In June 1985, Vonheim had almost 4,000 members. For many years Vonheim was the largest lodge in the Sons of Norway. Currently, Vonheim has about 450 members
Many activities have been undertaken over the years, with some of them becoming traditions. Among the most popular are the lodge torsk dinners. The major beneficiary of the fund raising dinners is the lodge's scholarship program which has helped scores of youngsters attend Skogfjorden language village near Bemidji, Minnesota, operated by Concordia College. The scholarship program has also included grants to students attending schools and camps in Norway.
There was great camaraderie involved in working on Vonheim torsk dinners. Whole fresh torsk was purchased to feed over 700 people. The 10 - 12 pound fish were sawed into steaks by lodge members early the day of the dinner. The evening before, members gathered to peel up to 300 pounds of potatoes. The torsk dinners were enjoyed because the lodge made a nice profit for the scholarship fund, and because the people were very happy to be served fresh torsk. Torsk dinners are held in October.
The Julebord held every year at Christmas-time continues to be a great tradition in Vonheim lodge. Norwegian food served includes: lefse, kranskake, herring, geitost, julekake, flatbrod, rommegrot, salmon, and cookies, cookies, cookies, and more cookies.
In recent years several Vonheim members have served in district and international positions, including: Dennis Sorheim as International Secretary, Vice President, and President; Tom Tisdel as International Treasurer; and Gene Brandvold as District Treasurer and President and International Treasurer.
In 2006, Vonheim with the other lodges of the Joint Committee of the Twin Cities put on the First District Convention in Bloomington. Vonheim also participates with the Joint Committee to celebrate the Sons of Norway birthday in January, Syttende Mai, and the annual picnic at Norway day.
Vonheim members participate in the District One Bowling Jamboree and golf events. We also have a meatball dinner in June with special musical entertainment.
Vonheim is a major contributor to the collecting of stamps for Tubfrim. At last count, Vonheim had cut over 1,100,000 stamps and sent them to Norway.
Vonheim sends a full group of delegates to the first district convention and usually advances members to the International Convention.
Vonheim Lodge is proud of its Norwegian culture and heritage. We look forward to the future, of keeping old friends, in meeting new ones, and in gaining new experiences.