Trollhaugen Lodge celebrates a golden jubilee

From zero to 50

Photo: Brenda Bard
Board members, old and new, and other Sons of Norway members and guests gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Trollhaugen Lodge.

BARBARA K. ROSTAD
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

How could the Seattle area’s Boeing Company be linked to the start of a mountain retreat owned by District 2, Sons of Norway, which recently celebrated 50 years since its groundbreaking in 1972?

The answer lies in three words: hiring Norwegian-born engineers. Somewhere between 100 and 200 of them came to Washington state to work for Boeing during the late 1960s. Many of them joined Sons of Norway, which gave them a chance to interact with fellow Norwegians and Norwegian Americans.

One group of them formed a new Sons of Norway Lodge, Cascade Lodge #87, instituted on Mercer Island outside of Seattle on Sept. 21, 1968. Even as they began organizing this lodge, they put their focus on how to acquire a place to cross-country ski in the nearby Cascade Mountains.

Hearing of possible land to be leased from the U.S. Forest Service in those mountains, they made an application that same year.  It was rejected.

Photo: Barbara K. Rostad
Quinn Balstad made the festive kransekake adorned with Norwegian flags.

But Trond Hagen, also Norwegian-born, heard about this effort from a fellow countryman, Ole Krokstrand. Cascade Lodge was turned down because of their small number. A Sons of Norway member in Norden #2, Tacoma, he raised the question, “What if we could get the whole district involved?” This would include lodges from four states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.

With this thought, the dream was reawakened;  a glimmer of hope emerged, and the vision for Trollhaugen was advanced.

Intense planning then commenced. Ole vowed not to shave his beard until $20,000 were in the building fund. Eventually, pieces of his beard were auctioned off at a Trollhaugen evening put on at Seattle’s Leif Erikson Lodge #1. Other ways of accruing money included Trollhaugen calendars, buttons, and soap, plus encouraging lodges in the district to make donations.

A contest invited members to submit names for the intended year-round recreational center. Asbjorn Nordheim, Leif Erikson Lodge, contributed the winning choice, Trollhaugen, which means “Troll Hill.”

Next Trond and Ole took the enlarged concept of a year-round recreational facility to the 1970 District 2 Convention in Bremerton, Wash. The proposal was approved, and $12,000 was granted for seed money. A lease agreement was signed with the U.S. Forest Service on Dec. 24, 1970.

The next 18 months involved a flurry of activity. Both an advisory board and a working committee were established. Thomas Stang led the advisory board and Trond Hagen headed up the working committee with Ole Krokstrand as vice chair.

Jan Kiaer, Leif Erikson Lodge, was the architect selected to design the building. He was paid for creating the layout; the major structural design was done free of charge by Ole Krokstrand, who laid the foundation, and Trond Hagen framed the roof.

Photo: Brenda Bard
Over the years, Ione Bard has created a family of trolls to decorate the lodge’s Fireside Room

By July 1971, the working committee had 13 people. Site selection and surveying were conducted, engineering designs were prepared, a contractor, Bert Larson, Leif Erikson Lodge, was chosen, and much promotion was done at lodges throughout the district.

Once the groundbreaking had taken place on June 25, 1972, the bulldozers moved in, and construction started. Now large groups of volunteer workers, as many as 40 to 50 at one time, spent weekends at the site. Windows were installed, the basement floor was prepared for pouring concrete, and “when the snow fell in autumn 1973, the windows were in place, the concrete floors were cast, and most of the outside paneling was in place,“ wrote Ole in 2017.

Tracing the threads that wove the cloth is always interesting. What if District 2 delegates had not agreed in 1970 to support a year-round district-owned facility? What if those Norwegian immigrants had not envisioned a ski lodge in the Cascade Mountains and applied for a space? And even further back, what if Boeing had not sought to hire Norwegian engineers?

Almost a full decade elapsed between the first seed of an idea for a Norwegian cross-country ski retreat in the Cascades and the opening of Trollhaugen for use by District 2 members in early 1978. An official dedication took place June 24, 1979.

By the time another decade rolled around, the mortgage was burned on Aug. 19, 1989, and the 10 years since the official dedication was also celebrated. Trollhaugen was now owned by District 2, free and clear.

Through the years, other milestones were marked, but when the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking occurred this year, all the stops were pulled out. A full day of activities was planned, including the Poulsbo Folk Dancers from their high school group, horseshoe competition for adults, and a butterfly hunt for kids, consisting of Norwegian flags in the shape of laminated butterflies that were hung on branches in the woods to find.

This event showed the esprit de corps of everyone who had volunteered hours on the board, cooking for camp, shoveling snow, chopping wood, repairing snow plows, and much more—all for the love of Trollhaugen. Numerous raffle baskets supplied by lodges generated $625 to the 126 guests attending the meatball and fish dinner. Laminated butterfly ornaments wore the Norwegian flag. Attendants enjoyed a horseshow competition, as well as an army of Norwegian cookies and lefse and a 35-ring kransekake adorned with Norwegian flags.

This memorable 50th anniversary celebration was a testimony in multiple ways to the work and wonder of Trollhaugen.

Photo: Barbara K. Rostad
Young folk dancers from Poulsbo added to the festive atmosphere at the golden jubilee celebration.

ABOUT TROLLHAUGEN

Annual events
Ski races for adults and children, first weekend in February
Puget Sound Ski For Light Regional Events, cross-country skiing for blind and mobility impaired persons, each with a guide, every other Saturday all ski season
Summer camp, teens ages 13-15, two weeks
July Steak Fry with horseshoe competition and family games
Adult Heritage Retreat, September
District 2 Fall Board Meeting, late September

Special events
Lodges often book a weekend for their members. Weddings, memorial services, family reunions, and a myriad of other group events also take place throughout the year.

Overnight accommodations
Both members and nonmembers may make reservations to stay at the lodge, with
nine rooms, which, with the lofts, can accommodate a total of 56 guests.

More information
Visit Trollhaugen’s website at trollhaugensofn.com.

This article originally appeared in the September 2, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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Barbara Rostad

Barbara Rostad, a North Dakota Norwegian, has been writing for The Norwegian American since 2014. A versatile writer with degrees in journalism and sociology plus teaching experience in sociology, English, and speech, Barbara has published articles and poems, edited newsletters, compiled a book about Ski for Light, and received writing awards from Idaho Writer’s League. A 45-year member of Sons of Norway, she’s often both newsletter editor and cultural director.

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