Gustavus Adolphus Society, 1628 E Lake St, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Gustavus Adolphus Society
|Address:||1628 Lake Street E|
|Neighborhood/s:||Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Hennepin County, Minnesota|
|Historic Function:||Meeting hall|
|Material of Exterior Wall Covering:||Brick|
|Material of Foundation:||Concrete|
|First Owner:||Gustavus II Adolphus Society|
Gustavus Adolphus Society: The Fraternity on Lake Street
“Enighet – Jämlikhet – Broderskap – Framåtskridande”
The Gustavus II Adolphus Society was founded June 11, 1886 to create a community for Swedish men. Naming their group after a well-loved king of Sweden, the founding twelve members created a program of debates, lectures, music, singing and athletics; in exchange for a membership fee of $1, brothers were eligible to receive sick benefits at a time when employers did not provide health insurance.
The motto of the group became “Unity, Equality, Brotherhood, Progress.” Younger as well as older people joined the society and in 1893 it was officially chartered by the State of Minnesota as a fraternal organization. In 1924, the Society erected a building at 1628 E. Lake Street.
In 1950s, membership grew as the society reached out to the direct descendents of Swedish immigrants. The Lake Street building was sold in 1995, and it was gutted by a fire on January 16, 2004.
The group continues to meet at the American Swedish Institute. Today, a ladies auxiliary group supports this Swedish fraternity, just as the fraternity supports the community by providing, since 1961, scholarships for students at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.
The Thorgaard-Anderson Company once occupied the first floor of Gustavus Adolphus Hall. The neighboring Salvation Army Temple still hosted a Swedish-language Christmas service in the 1970s with an old-time string band and Swedish male chorus. On the opposite (south) side of Lake Street were Norlander’s Dry Goods and Suneson’s Music Store. The Northland Poster Collective sold Joe Hill posters, and Ingebretsen’s offered a wide selection of food and gifts from Scandinavia. The Vasa Order’s Runeberg Lodge had monthly meetings at the nearby Good Templar Center at 2926 Cedar Avenue South. Scandinavian dances were also held there on a regular basis. Forty years later Ingebretsen’s is the lone outpost of Scandinavian culture in the area.
Swedes in Minneapolis
The Swedish population in Minnesota skyrocketed between 1880 and 1920. Minnesota became home for the largest Swedish population in the country and by 1910, only Chicago surpassed Minneapolis’s 26,000-strong population. In Minneapolis, Cedar-Riverside was home to more than 6,000 Swedes, and Cedar was called Snusgatan, or Snoose Boulevard because of the large number of Swedish saloons and dance halls. During Prohibition in the 1920s, the heart of Swedish Minnesota shifted to South Minneapolis.
Memories and stories
- Gustavus Adolphus College
- Gustavus II Adolphus Society
- Swedes In South Minneapolis
- The American Swedish Institute
- Swedes In Minnesota at the MHS
- Historic significance of Gustavus Adolphus Hall
- Gustavus Adolphus Hall in City Pages: August 10, 2006
- Gustavus Adolphus Hall in the Alley Newspaper: March 2007
- Gustavus Adolphus Hall in the Star Tribune: December 30, 2008