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  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.

The 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 roll call of officers in 1981 for Elvesvingen #1-582 was:

 President -
     Arnie Bentdahl 
 Vice-President –      Virgil Christensen
Counselor –
     Lars Sageng
Secretary –
     Karl Musel
 Financial Secretary      Gerals Reksten
 Asst. Fin. Sec. –      Odella Fjoser
Treasurer –
     Dave Trooien
 Social Director –      Sandy Johnson
Cultural Director –
     Avis Wobschall
Marshal – David Bentdahl
Asst. Marshal – Linda Bristol
Inner Guard – Janette Schave
Outer Guard – Jan Bentdahl
Trustee, 3 yr. - William Kuehl
Trustee, 2 yr. – Milan Skarphol
Trustee, 1 yr. – Olav Haugen
Publicity Director –
     Betty Mueller
Historian – Dorathea Sutter
Youth Director – Bill Musel
Musician – Marjorie Bentdahl

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.


In 2002 we hosted the District #1 bowling tournament and banquet.  That year we also chartered buses to go to the Syttende Mai (17th of May) stage show in Hanska and to the Lindesnes Trekkspillklubb (Accordion Club) concert at the Lakeville Senior High School.  We are proud of our background and traditions and are concerned about helping to strengthen the strong bonds across the Atlantic, between people in Norway and people in North America.

More fun, historical pictures from Elvesvingen Lodge 1-582

Kindergarten Class at a local elementary
school learning about Norway.

Each block for this quilt was embroidered by a different lodge member.

Float for Friendship Days Parade
in St. Peter

Display at the annual International Festival in Mankato, MN.

Orville and Mary Sampson
dancing at a Christmas party.

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©2003, Mankato Sons of Norway,
Elvesvingen Lodge 1-582.
All rights reserved.

Rosemaling throughout the site created by
Karen Jenson, Milan, MN.
Used by permission.