On October 7, 1905, Tryggve Lodge No. 88 began in East Orange, New Jersey, one day before New Jersey District No. 6 became part of the Vasa Order of America. The group was originally a Swedish workingmen’s society but with the new association, women were welcomed to join immediately.
The lodge meetings were originally conducted in Swedish, changing to English in 1950, and the location changed a few times, mostly for convenience of its members. The place I remember fondly was the Odd Fellows Hall on Main Street in Orange; many celebrations happened there, monthly meetings were filled with music, singing, dancing, agreements and arguments, friendship, refreshments of all kinds, greetings, Swedish and Swinglish. Many ideas were formed and exchanged and implemented, as were many lifelong friendships.
Tryggve sponsored Children’s Club Vitsippan #116 in 1943, and they held most of their programs here. We all had a great time.

Vasa Park, Budd Lake
When our Vasa home in New Jersey was established — internationally known as Vasa Park in Budd Lake — many Tryggve members were very involved in its development and activities. They built two cabins, helped design the roof configuration of the original dance hall, hosted the Mr. Tryggve beauty contest, participated in every Leif Erikson Parade and Leif Eriksson Smörgåsbord, had several winners in the Miss Vasa Park beauty contest, cooked many dinners and filled many glasses with the liquid of choice. And of course, for more years than I can remember, we hosted our two-day picnic, serving all kinds of wonderful food in the dining room and handmade hamburgers in Lilla Stugan. Since the inception of Vasa Park, there has always been a Tryggve member elected and serving on the Board of Trustees, the governing body of the Park.
In recent years, Tryggve meetings moved from Montclair Women’s Club to Clifton Masonic Hall. We have had Lucia celebrations, Christmas parties with Jul tomtes and Santa Clauses, send-offs and homecomings, Oktoberfests and anniversaries.


String of mergers
In 1985, Bernadotte #122 merged with Tryggve; in 1993, Svea #92 disbanded; in 2005, Höga Nord #194 disbanded. Many members from these lodges transferred to Tryggve, and over the years our membership has been as high as 250. Currently our roster has 58 members.
Tryggve has been honored to have 10 of its members rise to the office of District Master. In this auspicious group is the first in New Jersey of father, son-in-law, daughter, husband and wife combination of District Masters. Over the years, Tryggve members have served as officers on the Grand Lodge level, such as Cultural Director, Supervisor of Children’s Clubs, Deputy, Activities Director Vasa National Archives Board.

Tryggve to merge with Framåt #360
Because of a lack of participation at meetings, members living out of state, and the advancing ages of some, we talked and talked and agonized ... and came to a motion and vote to merge with Lodge Baltic-Framat #360, another lodge close by in New Jersey.
We forwarded our request to the New Jersey Executive Board and it was accepted. Our Charter will be retired and will hang with honor with those other former New Jersey Lodges in District 6 Archives. Since its inception 110 years ago, Tryggve has received over 1,000 applications for membership; they have been preserved in our Archives. They are a wealth of information to review, including addresses from families in Sweden, names and occupations.

This is sad for me to reminisce upon. I joined Tryggve 58 years ago when Tryggve hosted the official visit for my father, Carl G. Johnson, District Master in 1957. I have not delved into specific names other than my father, as there are too many important and significant — each member was and is an important part of the history of Tryggve. I have my memories to cherish.

Tryggve is hosting a party to commemorate the ending of Tryggve and the beginning of Baltice-Framat membership at their meeting hall in October. At that time membership pins will be presented to those who have reached milestones, members who are transferring to other lodges will be recognized, and we will all join together in a new beginning.

Helen Johnson Haumacher
Tryggve member
District Master 1998, Grand Lodge Deputy 2002-2006, Vasa National Archives Board Member 2011-1014