The following is the speech I prepared for Building Association Auction on March 18, 2023:
Thank you for coming and supporting this grand lodge building this evening. I can tell that you are all enthused and ready to support, however is needed. What an encouragement it is to see you all here, doing what you can to keep this facility running well for the use of the lodge efforts. Again I thank each one of the members, the building association board, and others in the community at large for supporting us. Tussen tak!
I am not able to tell you how the lodge started in 1916. It was about 20 years after Sons of Norway began offering Norwegian immigrants life insurance to keep their families secure. From there Norwegian Americans from across the country were getting together fraternally to share in their common ancestry and language to enjoy and be together for food and drink and reminiscing about the old country. I suppose at first there was no building, just a few families getting together to build one. At some point 60 years ago, the lodge members decided to move from the building two doors down to purchase the old hotel property here and build this lodge for the members to grow into and enjoy. And I think I can say from seeing all of you tonight, that we enjoy it today very much!
The thing is that if not for the foresight and determination of our predecessors so many years ago, we wouldn’t have this beautiful spot. I don’t take it for granted, we have been given a gift. And we take no credit for what we have. We only mean to honor and preserve what has been entrusted to us. Only 1/3 of the lodges in the Sons of Norway have a building to own. So it’s a regular occurrence to operate a lodge without a building or a building association. When you meet members from other lodges who used to have a building but had to sell it because it was too costly in time or money to operate, you sense a bit of sadness of what they used to have. We don’t want to feel that way I think. No.
The operation of the lodge in its business is key. The bar business in the Trolls’ Den, the hall rentals, the cultural food stands, the festivals and celebrations throughout the year. Poulsbo relies on us to provide that touch of Norway that brings people here, to live and to visit. So you all can understand what’s at stake when we need to fund the operation of the lodge, but also the structure it resides in.
So let’s keep on with this club fraternal, that we have a place that is here, in little Norway, 107 years after that small band of families started us off. Let’s not let them down, as we remember their sacrifice and joy, in their humanity and heritage as Norwegian Americans.
Poulsbo Sons of Norway