Good Templar Park was purchased in 1925 in Geneva, Illinois by Good Templars who immigrated to Chicago from Sweden. Swedish Day was established to celebrate Midsummer (Swedish Day in Sweden) without the use of alcohol. This symbolized the temperance movement throughout the United States. Protestants led the temperance movement. In 1851 in Utica, New York, the International Organization of Good Templars (IOGT) was born.
By the turn of the century, the IOGT numbered in the hundreds of thousands. This group had its most obvious impact on the Scandinavian countries, and in time, Scandinavian Templars moved to the U.S. The Scandinavians set up lodges where they could associate with others of the same ethnic group, and eventually they began to dominate the organization, which gave it its Scandinavian character. The Scandinavian settlers brought with them many traditions, the biggest that was the Festival of Midsummer, celebrated on June 21st in Sweden. The day before, Midsummer Eve, was as big as Christmas Eve is in the U.S. The festival included dancing, singing and eating good food.
To preserve these traditions, Carl Ramstedt of the Svea Lodge proposed a large picnic area for all the lodges. A few of the Good Templar lodges on the north side of Chicago decided to sponsor a large Swedish festival at Linden Park in Evanston. The picnic was so well received that in September 1911, the Grand Lodges voted to hold a festival called “Svenskarnas Dag” (Swedish Day) In later years the festival was held at Ravinia Park and eventually the Illinois Scandinavian Grand Lodge became a cosponsor.
By 1924 the festival had grown immensely to about 10,000. Some of the Good Templars thought they needed a place of their own to celebrate the holiday. A suitable piece of land was found near the Fox River on the east side of Geneva and the 66 acres were purchased in September 1924. June 30, 1925 Swedish Day in Good Templar Park had 14,000 in attendance!