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Sons of Norway puts lodge up for sale

By Staff | Jun 30, 2009

Rugby’s Sons of Norway Odin Lodge 4-087 has been holding meetings and social events at its lodge along Main Avenue South for the past 39 years, but the organization recently had to make the difficult decision to put the building up for sale.

“We just can’t sustain the bills,’ said Sharon Anderson, club president. “It needs a new furnace, new shingles, and it’s quite expensive to heat. And our insurance costs have doubled.”

Members were asked to give input on the matter of what to do with the property, and the overwhelming response from those who returned a questionnaire from the lodge’s newsletter was to sell the building.

She acknowledged there are some who are upset with the decision. However, for the well-being of the organization, a vast majority of the membership believe this is the right decision.

The local Sons of Norway lodge last year celebrated its 100th anniversary and currently has 147 members, many who live out of the area. There are only about 20 active members, Anderson estimates. And as a result, the lodge has basically just been holding business meetings and a few fundraisers to keep up with the expense of heating and insuring the building.

This past winter the organization held its meetings at The Hub Restaurant but still needed to pay to keep its lodge heated.

It may come as some surprise that Rugby is one of only a few lodges in the state that still owns a building.

“Minot and Bismarck have very large and active memberships, and they don’t have a lodge,’ Anderson pointed out. “They don’t have the financial responsibility of a building, and that enables those lodges to use their funds for activities, trips and projects for their members. We hope we can do the same.”

The Sons of Norway purchased the Odd Fellows Hall on Main Ave. in April of 1970 for $17,000 and held its first meeting there later that month, attended by 90.

At one time having a lodge was ideal for the Sons of Norway. There were 60 or 70 active members, and the organization hosted monthly dances and other gatherings throughout the year, which made it easy to pay building expenses. Plus, heating costs were lower.

Unfortunately, times have changed. The number of active members has decreased, and dances and card parties are just not as popular these days.

The lodge listed the property with a realtor last month, and the goal is to hopefully have a buyer before winter sets in.

There are tables, chairs and some appliances in the kitchen area inside that may eventually be sold. Storage for the club’s memorabilia and property will also need to be found, Anderson said.

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