ELVESVINGEN LODGE 1-582 MANKATO, MINNESOTA SONS OF NORWAY SUB-DISTRICT 5
Shortly after moving to Mankato in July 1969, Arnold and Helen Bentdahl became members of the local Norwegian-American Club. This Laget had programs of cultural music, readings, news from Norway, and occasional guests keeping up with the Norwegian heritage.
Later on people in Mankato asked the Bentdahls, who had come from the Hanska-Madelia area, some 35 miles west of Mankato, if the Norse Laget was a part of the Sons of Norway. They had to answer in the negative.
That theory set in motion the idea of forming a lodge in Mankato. The next thing to do was to visit the International Headquarters of the Sons of Norway in Minneapolis. The Bentdahls were told, “When you have 100 signatures, we’ll plan on starting a lodge there.”
In the meantime, a visit was made on September 13, 1980, to Lin-Hans-Rud Lodge #1-479 in Hanska. At the conclusion of their meeting, Financial Secretary, Brother Leonard Nelson, gave Mr. Bentdahl a list of 42 names in the Mankato area that he could contact for the proposed lodge. By September 22, 1980, the list of names of people interested in forming a lodge in Mankato had grown to 33.
Kari Dyneland-Musel sent a news note of a proposed lodge formation to the ‘Waseca, Minnesota “Journal.” At the same time, news articles were printed in the “Mankato Free Press” (daily) and the “Home Magazine,” a Mankato advertising tabloid. Mr. Bentdahl was a guest on the Betty Painter show on KYSM-Am and also on Chuck Pasek’s Coffee Break Show on KEYC-TV.
The first Steering Committee Meeting was held at the Bentdahl home on November 10, 1980. The purpose was to fill out the preliminary information sheet.
By the end of January 1981 about 140 people had been contacted, so on February 5, 1981, a general informational meeting was held at the Char-House in Mankato. Members in attendance were Arnold Bentdahl, Dave Trooien, Kari and Bill Musel, Pat and Larry Jensen, David and Marjorie Bentdahl, Linda Bristol, Janette Schave and Sherri Bjorake.
Institutional Dinner was held on April 25, 1981, in the large dining
room at the Vocational School in North Mankato. There were 182
people registered in the official Sons of Norway Membership Roster Book.
The name chosen for #1-582 was Elvesvingen. It is the direct Norwegian
translation of the Bend in the River. This is in reference to
the curvature of the Minnesota River that makes a turn from the northwest
to northeast in downtown Mankato toward St. Peter and onto Fort Snelling
into the Mississippi River. The name was nominated by Lars Sageng.
The charter Banquet was held at the American Legion Post #11 in Mankato on October 17, 1981. District #1 Secretary, Marvin Quekle, introduced Harold Campbell, Director of Sub-District #5, who presented the charter to President, Arnold Bentdahl.
Membership now stood at 264.
In the ensuing years, Elvesvingen Lodge #1-582 has had continued
meetings and participated in area parades, displays and bake sales.
Members have taken part in programs of Norwegian culture in schools,
clubs, at the library and with the Blue Earth County Historical Society.
In coordination with Minnesota State University’s International Student
Office, every year Elvesvingen Lodge has been a part of the Festival
of Nations, now called the International Festival. The Festival
has a parade of nations, a style show of traditional dress and cultural
music and foods from at least 30 nations throughout the world.
The lodge has given scholarships to assist youth in attending Skogfjorden
Language Village in Moorhead, Minnesota. One of our humanitarian
projects was our participation with other District l lodges to donate
funds to Bob Schave and Alden Redning, whose homes were damaged extensively
in the destructive March, 1998 tornadoes in Saint Peter.