Gustavus Adolphus Society, 1628 E Lake St, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Gustavus Adolphus Society

Gustavus II Adolphus Hall
Address: 1628 Lake Street E
Neighborhood/s: Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1924
Historic Function: Meeting hall
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
Material of Foundation: Concrete
First Owner: Gustavus II Adolphus Society

Powderhorn Park Minneapolis Hennepin County

Gustavus Adolphus Society, 1628 E Lake St, Minneapolis, Minnesota
(44.948368,-93.250852warning.png"44.948368.-93.250852" is not a number. )

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.

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.

The Thorgaard-Anderson Company once occupied the first floor of Gustavus Adolphus Hall. The neighboring Salvation Army Temple was still holding Swedish-language Christmas services 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 held monthly meetings at the nearby Good Templar Center at 2922 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.


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