[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
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
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-