Sons of Norway

Nor-Bu Lodge

The Blue Tour

Sunday, May 4, 2024
12pm to 5pm

Bowlsby-DeGelleke House

Sons of Norway

Nor-Bu Lodge

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Many Norwegians, who immigrated to the United States, landed in Brooklyn, New York. The Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn became the hub of the Norwegian community. Many Scandinavian immigrants socialized at the Seamen’s Church located there. On weekends, they would travel to Lake Telemark in Rockaway Township, New Jersey to the BUL “Bondeungdomslaget”(Young Farmers Association).

Lake Telemark was founded by builders Stephen and Hallvard Bergdal who named their development in honor of their birthplace“Telemark”, Norway. Their dream was to establish a vacation community for their fellow Norwegian immigrants who lived in Bay Ridge.

The Bergdal brothers made an agreement to donate two lakefront lots to the Bondeungdomslaget (BUL). In 1930, club members built the original BUL cabin for accommodations where they danced, swam in the lake and played soccer. Vacationers took turns cooking different Norwegian foods while enjoying the camaraderie of their fellow Norwegians. The cabin burnt down in 1989 but, was rebuilt to the original plan, except for, the traditional living grass roof!

Many Norwegians later purchased property from the Bergdals and built summer homes. There were two organizations in Lake Telemark, the BUL and Norseman Lodge (Sons of Norway). In 1978 the Norseman Lodge merged with the Bondeungdomslaget (BUL) and took the name “Nor-Bu Lodge”(Sons of Norway).

Several members formed a ski club called the“Odin Ski Club”. In 1948, Art Tokel and Earling Fogland built a 30 meter ski jump located on a slope at the end of North Cape Trail. In 1950, Arne Landvik-Larsen, Ernie Sirevaag and Earling Thoresen started a soccer team. They cleared property and played for many years. Located on Green Pond Road in Telemark, the field is now called “Norway Field”.

Velkommen til Nor-Bu!

This year's Pathways tour features topics of discussion established annually by the New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC).