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Chicago Sons of Norway Torske Klub History at the 25th Anniversary - 1985

by Irving Highland

[This history was written for the the Torske Klub 25th Anniversary in 1985. It is interesting to note the changes and the similarities to today's klub. See the original manuscript with photos also.]

In the beginning, there were 3: Claus Nicoll, Andrew Highland, and Aasmund Rosseland. The idea of a torske club was born by these three men, following a visit to Minneapolis, where they were guests of the Minneapolis Torske Klub.

On February 27, 1960, a selected committee of nine met at the Chicago Norske Klub to organize the club. These were: Andrew Highland, Aasmund Rosseland, Claus Nicoll, Irving Gunderson, Reidar Rosenvinge, James Birney, Bernard Jacobsen, Chris Johansen and Irving Highland. They met five times drawing up rules and regulations with the results being the birth of our club May 14, 1960.  Forty members attended that first meeting, and we have been meeting the 2nd Saturday of the month ever since, except for June, July and August. At the luncheons, only the freshest of codfish will be served, with melted butter, boiled potatoes, flatbrod, coffee and two servings of Aquavit. A top notch speaker will be invited to each of our luncheons to give a twenty minute talk. Dues will be $1.00 per year, plus $5.00 for the purchase of the aquavit. In the following years, the dues will still be $1.00 but $10.00 additional for the purchase of the aquavit payable on or near your birthday.

At the Fall luncheon, Saturday, September 10, 1960, Magne Smedvig, Manager of the Sons of Norway Home Office in Minneapolis, was the Master of Ceremonies, and Orlando Wilson, Superintendent of Police for the Chicago, was the invited speaker. Also in attendance were the following members of the Supreme Board of the Sons of Norway: John Kaare Hagen, newly elected president, Vice President Wilhelm Holand, Director-at-Large and Past President Irving Highland, Director-at-Large and Past President Irving Highland, Director Conrad Garmager, and Counsel and Past President Gerhard Sonnesyn - plus the "Boss" of the Minneapolis Torske Klubben, Roy Thorshov.

From the very first meeting, there have been noted individuals in the fields of sports, politics, industry, TV, newspapers, education, and travel who were asked to be the speaker of the day.

We should mention that great help in the organization of this club was given by Magne Smedvig, then General Manager of the Sons of Norway. He was instrumental in sending us an outline of the basic organizing rules and regulations governing the Minneapolis Torske Klubben. We have followed these suggestions even to the present day. Many members who are no longer with us will be remembered for their contributions to our club. Andrew Highland, Claus Nicoll, Marshall Pedersen, Rasmus Harr, Art Gulland, and Henry Halvorsen, to mention a few.

The first and foremost purpose of our klub to fellowship. Of course the menu, always undeniably delicious, sparkles up our taste buds. Then too, the speakers who entertain us provide a fitting climax to a very enjoyable afternoon. Credit must be given to Chris Johansen for his untiring efforts in providing excellent speakers for our entertainment.

On our annual "Ladies Day", we provide our wives and/or lady friends with our regular menu and professional, talented entertainment. The attendance of up to 200 and more attests to the popularity of these events.

One of the highlights of club activities was a trip to Minneapolis by some members and their wives. The Milwaukee Railroad provided a chartered railroad car, leaving Friday and returning on Sunday. The members were guests of the Minneapolis Torske Klubben, and enjoyed a pleasant luncheon and visit on Saturday. The ladies lunched together, then were free to browse and shop as desired.

The site of our dinners has changed only once, from the original Norske Klub, later called the Norway Center, to our present location at the Scandinavian American Cultural Society. Here, the luncheons are supervised by our genial member, Barney Jacobsen, the "Master Codfish Chef"

Those at the helm during those satisfying twenty five years:

Andrew Highland  1960-1962
Irving Highland     1962-1980
Chris Johansen       1980-

Assistant Boss
Aasmund Rosseland
Ray Newgard

Claus Nicoll
Karsten Sundby
Ernest Schaaf
Ray Newgard
Arthur Gulland
Henry Halvorsen
Barney Jacobsen
Archie Andersen

Claus Nicoll
Karsten Sundby
Ernest Schaaf
Arthus Gufland
Henry Halvorsen
Barney Jacobsen
Orville Larson


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