2015 Friends Recipient
The Danish Viking Days Committee is proud to announce that the D.B.S. Hall has been chosen to receive the 2015 Friends of Viborg Award. The award will be presented at Glood Park on Friday, July 17, 2015 at 8:00 pm.
Below is an excerpt from the Viborg History Book, pages 134-135, highlighting the history of the D.B.S. Hall:
Danish Brotherhood Society Lodge #139
The Danish Brotherhood in America was organized by representatives from certain Danish immigrant societies in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1882. The objects of the Danish Brotherhood and the general nature of its business according to its Articles of Incorporation are “to strengthen its members in fidelity to the constitution and laws of the United States; to render aid to its members and those dependent upon them in the event of sickness, disability or death, and to generally conduct its affairs as a fraternal benefit society upon the subordinate lodge system; and also to aid its members in securing employment and furnishing to them such other brotherly help and assistance as the by-laws of the society shall proscribe.”
In December of 1890 twenty-two men decided to organize a Danish Brotherhood Society in Viborg, South Dakota, and on December 30, 1900, these individuals constituted the Danish Brotherhood Lodge #139. The D.B.S offered a place for newly arrived Danish immigrants to meet and become acquainted with other people of Danish descent – a place of fellowship. The lodge had a substantial library to help its members learn the English language, and the lodge offered life insurance policies to its members, ranging from two hundred and fifty to one thousand dollars. The lodge also gave assistance to its members in many, many other ways.
In June of 1905 the members of the D.B.S decided to erect a hall on the north end of Viborg’s business district. They appointed a committee of five men to oversee the construction of the building: Anton Christensen, H.C. Christensen, J.P. Ibsen, Peter Johnson, and George Nelson. Prior to the erection of the hall, Dania Hall, located northeast of Center Point, served as a place for many of the D.B.S’s functions and activities. The new building was thirty-six feet in length and ninety feet in depth. It also had a thirty-two foot tower built on each of the two front corners. On December 15, 1905, the D.B.S. members dedicated their newly constructed hall. That evening a tour group from Sioux City, Iowa, presented a play, entitled “Her Double Life.”
For over sixty years the D.B.S Hall was the social and entertainment center in Viborg. People used the hall for various functions: drama productions, funerals, concerts, dances, plays, graduation exercises, receptions, anniversaries, parties, Christmas celebrations plus many other occasions. Since 1900 the D.B.S Lodge has celebrated its birth date (December 30) with its annual Stiftelsesfest. The D.B.S. members conducted their meetings and wrote their records in the Danish language until February of 1955, at which time they decided to change to the English language. On February 7, 1963, the members of the lodge allowed women to join the Danish Brotherhood. Jessie Jacobsen, Ann Jespersen, Ruth Peterson, and Helen Sorensen were the first women to join the lodge.
Due to the hall’s high cost of maintenance, the members of the D.B.S. decided to sell the building (October 16, 1969) to the United National Bank for the sum of twenty-two thousand dollars. The old, magnificent D.B.S. Hall was razed in the spring of 1970, and construction on a new hall began in the spring of 1970, and construction on a new hall began in the spring of 1971. Prior to completion of the new structure, the D.B.S. members conducted their meetings in the Legion Hall. Over the years nearly nine hundred people have been members of the Danish Brotherhood Society Lodge #139.
The following men were the charter members of the Danish Brotherhood Society Lodge #139: Anton Christensen, Peter Johnson, Jens Jorgen Nielson, Soren C. Nielsen, Niels Nielsen, Louis Mark, Mikkel Sorensen, Jens R. Larsen, Jens Nelsen, Anders Anderson, Jacob Sorensen, Anton Anderson, Niels Evan Jensen, James Valby, Niels Peter Jorgensen, Hans Peter Madsen, Soren Axel Johansen, H.C. Christensen, Anton Erickson, Thomas N. Rottrup, Jorgen Thomson, and Peter C. Nielsen.
The following men served as president of the Danish Brotherhood Society Lodge #139 from 1900 to 1990: Peter Johnson, Anton Christensen, Mikkel Sorensen, N.B. Hansen, Niels Nielsen, Charles J. Glood, H.C. Christensen, C.I. Petersen, J.P. Ibsen, Jens Nygaard, Hans Hass, D.M.H.S. Jorgensen, George Nelson, N.A. Jorgensen, Soren J. Hansen, H.P. Jorgensen, Niels J. Paulsen, Niels Hansen, Niels C. Jespersen, Jens A. Nielsen, Martin E. Petersen, J.P. Petersen, Jr., Anton Jacobsen, Adolph J. Tronbak, Ludvig J. Andersen, Soren Simonsen, Wayne E. Peterson, Arnie V. Sorensen, Robert H. Nelsen, Walter L. Knudsen, Waldo Jorgensen, Raymond Jespersen, Robert Jacobsen, and Gerald Hansen.