Prior to 1897, Norwegians immigrating to San Francisco gathered in different societies. Many were unable to speak English and had little money to sustain their living expenses. Most were laborers or came from farms in rural Norway and learned of America by word of mouth.
In 1897, when the Explorer Fridjof Nansen (pictured above) was rumored to be coming to San Francisco, a gathering of men, 13 in all, formulated plans for a reception in his honor. The group adopted the name Den Norsk Klub Fram. 'Fram' was the name of the ship (pictured below) that carried Nansen on his attempt to reach the North Pole by drifting with the currents and ice packs across the North Polar Basin. Although his lecture trip to San Francisco was canceled, the group convened and continued to meet twice each month with membership eventually growing to approximately 100 members.
Over the years, many dignitaries lived at, visited, or were members of the Club. For example, a reception was held for Roald Amundsen (pictured below) and his crew when they arrived in San Francisco after having navigated through the Northwest Passage on the sloop Gjøa. Andrew Furuseth, the 'Great Emancipator,' lived at the Club when he was not in Washington D.C. fighting for seamen's rights (they were little more than slaves at sea before the 1915 Seaman's Act was passed by Congress). And Thor Heyerdahl and his crew were celebrated dinner guests upon the conclusion of his 'Kon Tiki' expedition.
The Norwegian Club was organized for the predominate purpose of providing for the furtherance and advancement of Norwegian culture and interests, to foster incidental social functions, and to carry on the high traditions and principles of Den Norske Klub Fram. The Club is non-sectarian and non-political. Dinners are held every Thursday evening except during the month of July and on special holidays.
1900 Fell Street, San Francisco, CA 94117-1917
Phone: +1 (415) 668-1558