A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 24, 2007
Norwegian Capital of Texas (Clifton nickname)

Clifton was declared the “Norwegian Capital of Texas” in 1997 by the Texas legislature. Immigration from Norway to Texas started in the 1850s-1860, led by Cleng Peerson (1782-1865). Bosque County, Texas is sometimes nicknamed “Norway.” A lutefisk festival (now a “Norse Smorgasbord") has been held in the county for many years.


Wikipedia; Clifton, Texas
Clifton is a city in Bosque County, Texas, United States. The population was 3,542 at the 2000 census.
(...)
Culture
Known as the Norwegian Capital of Texas, Clifton and the surrounding area was settled by Norwegian and German immigrants in the mid-1800s. Nearby Norse is the final resting place of Cleng Peerson, internationally recognized as the “Father of Norwegian Immigration to America.”

Visitors to Clifton may explore the vast collection of pioneer Norwegian articles at the Bosque Memorial Museum, or take the Cleng Peerson Memorial Highway west to the Norse Historic District. Sites along the route include many 19th century homes and churches, among them Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, established in 1869.

The church is the annual site of the Norse Smorgasbord, a feast of traditional foods introduced to the area by Norwegian settlers. Further down the road a Lutefisk dinner is held annually in Cranfills Gap, near the site of the historic Old Rock Church.

Clifton celebrates its Norwegian heritage each year with the Norwegian Country Christmas Tour, held the first Saturday of December. The daylong event features demonstrations of Norwegian crafts, tours of homes and buildings harkening back to the days of the early settlers, and many other related activities. The 1999 tour was a featured Road Trip appearing in the November 1999 issue of Texas Highways. Clifton is home to the Bosque Conservatory. Housed in a magnificent 3-story building that was the former Main Hall of Clifton College, the organization offers a local outlet for visual and performing arts unparalleled in a city of Clifton’s size. Among its many offerings are a performing theatre, classes in a variety of subjects, an annual photography show and a nationally recognized art show.

Clifton, TX
Heritage, Art and Culture
Known as the Norwegian Capital of Texas, Clifton and the surrounding area was settled by Norwegian and German immigrants in the mid-1800s. Nearby Norse is the final resting place of Cleng Peerson, internationally recognized as the “Father of Norwegian Immigration to America.”

Visitors to Clifton may explore the vast collection of pioneer Norwegian articles at the Bosque Memorial Museum, or take the Cleng Peerson Memorial Highway west to the Norse Historic District. Sites along the route include many 19th century homes and churches, among them Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, established in 1869.

The church is the annual site of the Norse Smorgasbord, a feast of traditional foods introduced to the area by Norwegian settlers. Further down the road a Lutefisk dinner is held annually in Cranfills Gap, near the site of the historic Old Rock Church.

Norwegian Society of Texas
Objectives...
Historical: Historical markers have been established through the cooperation of NST and the Texas Historical Commission, including the Cleng Peerson Highway (Highway 219) between Clifton and Cranfills Gap. In May 1997, the Texas Legislature officially designated Clifton as the Norwegian Capital of Texas.
Genealogical: Interested and expert members of NST can help you trace your roots or direct you to organizations assisting in genealogy research.
Activities: Folk dancing, including Leikarring folk dance group
Arts and crafts, including rosemaling, embroidery and Norwegian foods
Language classes to help you learn to “snakke norsk”
Scholarships: Donations can be forwarded to the Althing financial secretary.

Wikipedia: Cleng Peerson
Cleng Peerson (17 May 1783 – 16 December 1865) led the first group of Norwegians to emigrate to the United States, traveling on the sloop Restauration.

He was born in Tysvaer, Norway, and died in Bosque County, Texas. Peerson is buried in the cemetery of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church outside of Cranfills Gap, Texas.

In 1825, he led a group of Norwegians, many of them Quakers, who traveled from Stavanger, Norway to New York City, arriving on 9 October 1825 after a three-month voyage, and onward to their first settlement, in Kendall, Orleans County, New York. The people who made this voyage are sometimes referred to as the Sloopers.

In honor of the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of this event, in 1975 Cleng Peerson and a portion of an America letter were depicted on a Norwegian NK 1.40 postage stamp. The sloop Restauration (also spelled Restoration) was featured on a United States postage stamp honoring the centennial in 1925. 

Handbook of Texas Online
PEERSON, CLENG (1782-1865). Cleng Peerson (Kleng Pedersen), who championed the immigration of Norwegiansqv to the United States, was born in Tysvær, Norway, on May 17, 1782. He came to the New World as a result of hardships in his native land, including the high price of farmland, the high number of drownings among fishermen, and drought. He arrived at New York City in 1821 seeking homes for fellow Norwegian Quakers (most later immigrants from Norway were Lutherans). Between 1825 and 1847 Peerson helped establish communities for Norwegian Quakers and their compatriots in New York, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. He moved to Texas in 1850 and lived with friends near Dallas until 1854. Then he moved to newly organized Bosque County, urging fellow Norwegians in East Texas to do so as well. In recognition of his service, the Texas legislature granted Peerson 320 acres of land in Bosque County, half of which he gave to Ovee Colwick in exchange for a home. Peerson lived with Colwick until his death, on December 16, 1865. He was buried at the cemetery at Norse, Texas. King Olav V of Norway visited Norse in October 1982 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Cleng Peerson. A chair made by Peerson was placed in the Clifton College museum but was later given to the Bosque Memorial Museum. 

26 November 1967, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “The Lutefisk Festival” by Frank X. Tolbert, section A, pg. 17:
And Bosque County is sometimes called Texas’ “Norway.”
(...)
IN NORWAY, I was told, lutefisk, not in the dried state, is the holiday dish, especially around Christmas-time, as is turkey in the U.S. When the Norwegian settlers came to Bosque County in 1857, they were under the leadership of the great Cleeng Pearson, “The Father” of Norse immigration to the U.S., and a man much revered in Minnesota, and Ole Knutson (or Knudson).

Official Capital Designations - Texas State Library
Norwegian Capital of Texas Clifton
House Resolution No. 1330, Senate Resolution 704, 75th Legislature, Regular Session (1997)

Texas Legislature
By:  Sibley S.C.R. No. 52
(In the Senate - Filed March 18, 1999; March 23, 1999, read first time and referred to Committee on Administration; April 15, 1999, reported favorably by the following vote:  Yeas 5, Nays 0; April 15, 1999, sent to printer.)

SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The Legislature of the State of Texas is pleased to designate Clifton, Texas, as the Norwegian Capital of Texas; and

WHEREAS, Settled about 1854, the area had as two of its most notable settlers Ole Canuteson and Cleng Peerson, who established the community of Norse in Bosque County; presently, the largest population of Norwegian Americans in the South and Southwest call Clifton home; and

WHEREAS, The special cultural and historical significance of Clifton has made it quite well known; the Texas Historical Commission designated the town a Texas Main Street City because of its atmosphere and famous hospitality; and

WHEREAS, In preserving the community’s colorful past, the citizens of Clifton have done an excellent job; the historic Norway Mill and the log home of the Joseph Olson family are attractions for tourists and residents alike; and

WHEREAS, The Bosque Memorial Museum, a legacy from immigrant farmer Jacob Olson, will help visitors learn more about the early settlers in the region; and

WHEREAS, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church hosts an immensely popular smorgasbord every Christmas, where people of all ages can sample traditional Norwegian dishes, including lutefisk; and

WHEREAS, King Olav V of Norway visited Clifton in 1982, and a part of State Highway 219 has been selected the Cleng Peerson Memorial Highway; and

WHEREAS, The outstanding qualities of this charming and colorful town have made Clifton popular with tourists, and it is certainly worthy of legislative recognition; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the 76th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby name Clifton the Norwegian Capital of Texas and applaud its citizens for their notable efforts in preserving the fascinating heritage of the area.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (6) Comments • Monday, September 24, 2007 • Permalink


Hi Barry,
When is the Norwegian Smorgasbord held? Is the same time as the festival on the 31st of November and the 1st of December? Please let me know so that I can put the smorgasbord on my don’t miss calendar. I love Scandinavian food and can’t find a smorgasbord anywhere. Not even in Wisconsin any more where I am from. Thanks, Shari

Posted by shari Mayo  on  09/29  at  04:57 PM

Hi,

I would very much like information on 1) When is your Ludefisk festival and could I possibly get on a mailing list?
2) I would like to learn to speak Norwegian.  Where and how could I do this?

Thank you.
Lorelei

Posted by Lorelei Becktell  on  06/08  at  12:53 PM

Corrections:
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church has the Smorgasbord every 2nd week, Wed and Thurs. in November, not Christmas as stated in this website.

We do not serve lutefisk, but have many foods.
Appreciate you correcting this.

Tickets go on sale Sept. 15, 201l, with correct ordering.
Thanks

Posted by Patsy Squyres  on  11/20  at  11:51 AM

Cranfills Gap, Texas, is the site of the annual Lutefisk Dinner on the first Saturday of December.  The 2011 Dinner will be on Dec. 3 with settings at 4:00, 4:45, 5:30, and 6:15.  Tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for children.  Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Cranfills Gap ISD at 1-254-597-2505.  It is an all-you-can-eat meal including lutefisk, boiled potatoes, white sauce, melted butter, turkey & dressing, green beans, homemade bread, homemade pie, tea, and coffee.  Proceeds benefit the school.

Posted by Laura Rose  on  10/03  at  09:01 PM

I’m hoping to find 2 extra tickets for the early meal on Thursday, November 10, 2011.  If anyone can help, please email me. Thanks

Posted by Sandra Burgan  on  11/08  at  06:23 PM

I would like information on Norwegian Festival

Posted by Mary J. Tanner  on  06/24  at  05:12 PM

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