To Bro. J. T. Andersen, a member of Manhattan Lodge #62 F. & A. M. goes the honor and the title "The Father of Norsemen Lodge." Bro. Andersen in his visits to various Masonic Lodges in the Greater New York area, met and conversed with many Brothers of Norwegian birth or descent. He spoke to them about the formation of a new Masonic Lodge composed of Brethren of Norwegian birth or descent, where in addition to the standard work of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, they could also participate in Masonic and other charitable undertakings within the community in which they resided.
The idea had appeal and informal meetings were held to discuss the formation of a club, and thus gain the necessary status to enable them to make application to the Grand Lodge for a Dispensation. The first meeting on record was held March 17, 1909 at Prospect Hall, Prospect & 5th Avenues, Brooklyn, N. Y.
The following Brothers were present:
Jacob T. Andersen Louis M. Johnson
Olaf Andersen Axel J. Larsen
Peter Benson Ole Lorensen
Amund Christofersen Einar S. Myrvold
Hartvig Davidsen Christian Nelson
Hans Engebretsen Thomas T. Sando
Thorvald C. Gay Jens T. Tengelsen
Sven J. Hansen Edward J. Evans
Carl A. Hanssen Axel Homestead
Oliver Iversen Martin Iversen
This was the culmination of all the preliminary meetings and the club was now formally organized under the name of "The Midnight Sun Club."
The following Officers were elected:
Bro. Louis M. Johnson........... President
Bro. Jacob T. Andersen... Secretary
Bro. C. A. Hanssen........ Treasurer
The second meeting of "The Midnight Sun Club" was held on April 18, 1909 at Prospect Hall with Bro. Louis M. Johnson presiding. Routine matters were discussed, and a set of by-laws were adopted preparatory to forming the new Lodge. Article Two of the By-Laws read as follows:
"The purpose of this Club shall be to organize a Norwegian Lodge in the City of New York."
The third meeting of "The Midnight Sun Club" was held at Prospect Hall on May 2, 1909, Bro. Louis M. Johnson presiding. Bro. J. T. Tengelsen made a motion that "The name of the new Lodge shall be Norsemen Lodge." This name was enthusiastically and unanimously adopted. At the same meeting another motion was made as follows:
"After the Lodge receives the Dispensation the Initiation Fee shall be $40, and after the Lodge shall have received a Charter the Initiation Fee shall be $50.
At subsequent meetings, the Club elected a line of Officers for the proposed "Norsemen Lodge." It now became necessary for the Officers to become proficient in the ritual of the three degrees of Masonry. Countless meetings were held at the homes of the Master and Wardens, and finally on the evening of Sept. 5, 1909, the Master, Wardens, and Line Officers presented themselves at Frederik Lodge #857 F. & A. M. for examination. They worked the Three Degrees of Masonry to demonstrate their ability, as required by the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York. Having exemplified the degrees, including lectures and charges, and thus demonstrating their proficiency to the satisfaction of all present, the officers of the proposed "Norsemen Lodge" were congratulated by the Master of Frederik Lodge, W.•.Bro. Sorensen, and by many high Masonic officials present. Frederik Lodge then passed a resolution as follows:
"Resolved: We the members of Frederik Lodge #857 F. & A. M. having witnessed the exemplification of the Three Degrees of Masonry by Bro. L. M. Johnson, Peter Benson and Torvald C. Gay, named in the petition as Master and Wardens of the proposed "Norsemen Lodge" find them proficient in every respect."
On September 14, 1909 the petition for Dispensation was mailed to the Grand Master S. Nilsen Sawyer, together with all necessary papers as requested. At the last meeting of the "Midnight Sun Club" held Oct. 12, 1909, Louis M. Johnson presiding, the official notice was read that the petition of "Norsemen Lodge" had been granted. A committee was appointed to arrange for a meeting at Sanctorum Hall, Court and Union Streets on Oct. 26, 1909. Thus on this evening the Brother Members of the "Midnight Sun Club" received from the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York a dispensation to confer the three degrees of Masonry. The "Midnight Sun Club" had now become "Norsemen Lodge U. D." (Under Dispensation). The following Masonic officers officiated.
R..W.'.Bro. P. Pepee D.D.G.M. of the 10th Masonic District, Acting Grand Master.
W...Bro. Paul Sorensen, Master of Frederik Lodge #857 F.&A.M., Acting Marshal.
The following Officers were installed in their respective stations and Places:
Louis M. Johnson - Master
Peter Benson - Senior Warden
Thorvald C. Gay - Junior Warden
Edward J. Evans - Secretary
J. T. Andersen - Treasurer
C. A. Hanssen - Chaplain
0. Andersen - Chaplain
T. T. Sando - Senior Deacon
0. Iversen - Junior Deacon
A. Homestead - S. M. Ceremonies
0. Lorensen - Jr. M. Ceremonies
A. Larsen - Steward
H. Engebretsen - Steward
S. J. Hansen - Marshal
Fred Bollman - Tiler
Edward F. Wunder - Organist
At this meeting forty visiting dignitaries and members from various Lodges around Brooklyn and New York were present. Congratulations and good wishes were extended and presentations were made as follows: silver working tools by Sanctorum Lodge #747. Officers aprons and Bible by Zeredatha Lodge #483; Square and Compass by Frederik Lodge #857.
Many other gifts have been presented to Norsemen Lodge from time to time: silk American Flag by the Brethren of Bred Ablick Lodge #880; a silk Norwegian Altar Flag by Mrs. George Kirkegaard, the wife of R.•.W.•.Bro. George Kirkegaard, Past Master of Frederik Lodge #857 and Honorary member of Norsemen Lodge who also presented to the Lodge a miniature silver Viking Ship; a silk Norwegian Flag from Bro. Hans Pederson of Norway (this Flag was brought over from Norway by R. .W.•.Bro. Wm. Koch) ; a silk Degree Banner by R. .W.•.Axel Pedersen made by Mrs. Axel I. Pedersen after a design made by Bro. John Andersen.
During the seven months the Lodge operated under Dispensation, the membership increased to thirty-eight. At the first Third Degree, conferred in Norsemen Lodge on December 28, 1909, the following Brothers were raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason:
Bro. Chas. H. Bordewick
Bro. Carl Holmsen
Bro. John Nord
Bro. Solfest Tomasen
Bro. 0. A. Gorden
The last meeting under Dispensation was held April 12, 1910. This meeting was held just prior to the annual convention of Grand Lodge, where consideration was to be given to Norsemen Lodges' application for a charter.
April 29, 2010, a time to commemorate Norsemen’s founding members, we welcome all to celebrate and pay homage to the group that was given birth 100 years the group that was given birth 100 years ago.
2010—The Golden Anniversary Year of Norsemen Lodge, a time for us to pause; to look back over the years and evaluate the growth and accomplishments of our lodge. A time for us to celebrate; to pay tribute to the foresight, determination and ideals of the charter members of our Lodge. Also it is a time for us to rededicate ourselves to carry out the high ideals of Masonry, ever keeping in mind that the only justification for the existence of a lodge is the good it can do in the community in which it lives. It is the intent of the committee, through the medium of this book, to introduce the reader not only to the successive leaders, but to many of the Brethren, who by their devotion to the philosophy of Masonry have been, are, and will ever be the strength of the Lodge. To write the history of our lodge and leave out their great contributions would be a vain attempt indeed.