On May 13, 1903, Leif Erikson Lodge No. 1 (now 2-001) of the Grand Lodge of the Sons of Norway of the Pacific Coast holds its first meeting at Forester's Hall, 818 1st Avenue, in Seattle. It was the first of many lodges to be organized in the Grand Lodge of the Sons of Norway of the Pacific Coast, which was also founded on May 13, 1903. The fraternity originally serves young men mostly under the age of 40 of Norwegian birth and descent (it has admitted women since 1927) with health benefits, life insurance, financial and social services, and recreational programs.
The Leif Erikson Lodge was Seattle's first chapter in the larger Sons of Norway fraternal organization established by and for Norwegians and their descendants. The larger group's Pacific and Midwest branches merged in 1910 to create a group that currently numbers some 72,000 members. Leif Erikson Lodge's numerical designation 2-001 indicates that it is the first lodge of the Pacific (2) division.
Over its history, the Lodge built three headquarters: Norway Hall, now a Seattle landmark; Norway Center, currently owned by The Mountaineers; and the present Leif Erikson Hall in Ballard. The Lodge also developed Norway Park near Mount Vernon in the early 1960s as a recreational area for its members. In 1905, women established a sister organization, Valkyrien Lodge No. 1, as part of the Grand Lodge of the Daughters of Norway Pacific Coast. The two Lodges had a close affiliation and owned two buildings together until the selling of Norway Center. The first woman joined Leif Erikson Lodge in 1927. The current women's auxiliary, Norna, was launched in 1953.
With a membership of 1,700 in 2003, the Leif Erikson Lodge actively supports numerous activities and programs, including the Kaffestua social center; the Leikarringen dance group for adults; and the Barneleikarringen dance program for children and families. The Lodge also sponsors language and other heritage classes to introduce younger members to Norwegian culture, and it funds a scholarship program for youth camp counselors and instructors.