1910s

Prior to 1913, Mr. Gust Rosberg, a master tailor in Indianapolis, had tried to form a Swedish club, without success. For of his 65th birthday in 1913, he rented a hall and ran an ad in the local newspaper, inviting all the Swedes in Indianapolis to his birthday party.

Prior to 1913, Mr. Gust Rosberg, a master tailor in Indianapolis, had tried to form a Swedish club, without success. For of his 65th birthday in 1913, he rented a hall and ran an ad in the local newspaper, inviting all the Swedes in Indianapolis to his birthday party.

Around the same time, two members of the Vasa Order came to live in Indianapolis. Marcus Furstenberg and Oscar Zetterlof were both members of Skanson Lodge No. 99 of Waltham, Massachusetts They were interested in forming a Vasa Lodge in the Swedish community in Indianapolis. They attended Mr. Rosberg's birthday party, gave a presentation on the Vasa Order, and proposed a date for a meeting.

May 29, 1913

SVEA Lodge #253 was chartered on May 29, 1913 in Indianapolis. Lodge health benefits were significant to its early members, along with the social and fraternal support of the membership as a whole.

The 1920s saw a peak in membership and lodge activities. The lodge had few, if any, second-generation members (American-born.)

The depression of the 1930s curtailed lodge growth, and along with social security and the introduction of employer-sponsored group health insurance plans, a decline in membership set in. The lodge continued with meetings in members homes, membership declining gradually.

1947

Lodge rituals officially changed from Swedish to English.

50th Anniversary - 1963

SVEA 253 celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1963. An anniversary dinner was held at the Sirloin Inn with 18 members and three guests attending.

By 1978, membership had declined to a dozen or less. It was then decided to affiliate with the International Center of Indianapolis and to use the news media to give the Lodge greater visibility to the Scandinavians of the community in order to attract new membership.

In 1981, Swan Swanson, Chairman of SVEA Lodge #253, became Master of the District, the first member of our lodge to achieve that office. By the end of 1982, membership had reached 104 members.

By the end of 1979, membership had increased to forty. The new members were anxious to share the Scandinavian heritage, willingly accepted office in the lodge, cooperated in the development of cultural programs, with emphasis on Scandinavian ethnic customs, foods, crafts, publications and Swedish language classes.

70th Anniversary - 1983

In 1983 the lodge hosted the District Annual Convention for the first time in our history, at the Indianapolis Airport Hilton. This was the celebration of the District's 75th Diamond Jubilee.

90th Anniversary - 2003

In 2003, our lodge celebrated its 90th anniversary with a banquet at the Fountains Banquet Center in Indianapolis.

In March of 2020, due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic, the lodge had to cancel all in-person meetings and holiday celebrations. In August we regrouped and began holding virtual meetings. In December we pre-filmed a Lucia Processional and musical performances by members, which we played live to an audience of over 130 attendees from across the country and the globe on the virtual platform Zoom.

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The lodge transitioned to meeting at the Latvian Community Center in Indianapolis in 20XX.

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2021