The Norwegian Society of Texas (hereafter referred to as The Society, or NST) was established March 8, 1975, in the Sesquicentennial year of organized Norwegian immigration to America 1825 – 1975.
Norwegian immigrants began arriving in Texas in the 1830’s, then under Mexican rule. And, over the years, people often talked about of having some sort of society, but being obverse to formal organizations it took a while. In November, 1974 17 people of Norwegian birth or decent gathered at a church in Dallas to discuss options which led to the forming of several committees to evaluate approaches to some formal organization. It was decided to approach the Sons of Norway to extend membership to people in Texas.
It was determined that Sons of Norway, which had no insurance license to operate in Texas would not be able to help in this regard, but that it would pursue the possibility of setting up an insurance business in Texas with the concomitant fraternal arm which always accompanies that business. However, it would take at least two years before such an operation could commence.
In February of 1975, the original planners, now grown to 29, met again in Dallas, and decided that it would not do to wait for Sons of Norway but to establish a Texas organization. Working groups were set up to start a nonprofit organization in Texas. The name was selected – Norwegian Society of Texas. Wayne Rhone was selected as Legal Advisor and charged with the official applications. Gunnar Engen was charged with developing a Constitution and By-laws. It was decided also that NST should be managed by and organization called the Althing after the Icelandic Parliament – the first established parliament in the world. That is a board of director with a President and the usual officers.
The formation documents were adopted and the officers of the Althing elected in a meeting of 104 charter members in Dallas on March 8, 1975. And on March 25, 1975, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts issued the charter to NST as a nonprofit corporation. The incorporators were Carl Sorenson, also elected as the first President, Gunnar Engen, Vice President, and Wayne Rhone, Legal Advisor.
In the 35 plus since its establishment the NST has grown from a Dallas group to a statewide organization with chapters in 8 of the major cities in Texas. It publishes a Medlemsbok (membership directory) a statewide Nyheter (newsletter) and each chapter issues newsletters on subjects of interest to the members. In l976 NST became affiliated with Nordmanns Forbundet.