Celebrating the centennial of Des Moines’ IOOF Hall

The first and oldest building in Des Moines will be celebrated on its 100th birthday along with its 100-year owner/occupant organization, the IOOF Lodge #305.

You’re invited to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows open house party!

Here’s your chance to step inside a building that was here before almost all of us were born. You will likely find yourself feeling right comfy with the hospitality and freshened-up new look.

This building’s historic construction started in 1909 and has occupied that space since November 1912. This is a dual 100th birthday party-- one for the building and one for the IOOF Club.

“In conjunction with the celebration dinner and open house, Des Moines Historical Society will conduct free museum tours upstairs highlighting the building’s fascinating role in the history of Des Moines,” wrote IOOF Member Morgan Hicks.

This well-preserved white building located at 225th and 7th Avenue S., is square-shaped, tall, available for rentals, and offers a fresh look with new windows, a paint job and interior updating.

The open house is Sat., Oct. 13th, 4-7 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are welcomed to support local IOOF charity projects.

A complete spaghetti dinner featuring biscotti with ice cream dessert for $10 will be served in the historical hall to benefit Sponsor IOOF Club’s local charities. Please call (206) 878-6499 for reservations.

Just think, if a building can last 100 years and look good with a touch-up what’s a human being’s odds for looking good as we age too? Smiling helps.

If walls could talk I suspect there’s a whole bunch of interesting stories that have been lived, told and laughed about within these very IOOF building walls.

There’s something about the sense of history recorded in memories of this big, square, white building at 225th and 7th Avenue South in Des Moines, WA, that makes it special and history confirms it’s community values such as:

Jim Langston, chaplain of the IOOF Club said that during 1919 World War One, Campfire girls and Rebecca ladies organizations folded bandages at the IOOF building for delivery to injured military soldiers.

In 1925, a huge fire destroyed Des Moines Elementary School. “Town folks scurried to install partition chalk boards, desks and books in the IOOF Hall where school resumed Monday morning.”

In the 1930s the hall held classes on topics of community interests.

And the public has for years rented the facility for weddings, gatherings and meeting purposes and it is still available. This 100-year building has served well drawing people together – a veteran indeed.

History recorded by pioneer, Melanie Draper, (now deceased) in her book Timber, Tides and Tales was later merged into the larger book of “One Hundred Years of the “Waterland” Community” by Richard T. Kennedy and Grechen Schmidt that tells some of the IOOF history as follows;
The community was very important to residents of Des Moines before incorporation. The service club carried the ball to see that things got done or called to attention of proper authorities. A Booster Club seemed to be the first of the community-type service clubs. It was a woman’s club organized in 1907. Later the Club was called the Enterprise Club. The men’s Commercial Club was dedicated in 1909.
The building, now known as the Odd Fellows Hall on the corner of S.225th St and 7th Ave. S. was originally built by and for the Commercial Club and dedicated in 1909 as the Odd Fellows Hall.”

In a 1939 account, the Enterprise Club of 1910-1920 was a group of very active women. No actual records exist until February 26, 1917 when ladies met at Mrs. Swain’s home and their next order of business was to start a library by asking the Seattle Public Library for discarded books. From that date, until the formation of the Des Moines Library League, the woman’s club had the library as one of its chief projects.

Though many years have passed women have been the backbone of the Improvement Club. They maintained the clubhouse, bought all necessary equipment, organized and furnished books and shelving for the library until it became a part of the King County Library System and still helped when asked at all times “to work together for the general improvement of our city.” Ninety-five years later Des Moines Library serves us well.

As we celebrate people and events that make communities better, may I add: Thanks Jerry Robinson, Robinson Newspapers owner/publisher, for choosing your newspaper business career of now (60 years) that has drawn local communities together for common good – with smiles - as you write and print the stories. What a guy! We luv ya!

Today’s Thought: Blessed are they who have nothing to say and cannot be persuaded to say it. (Anonymous)

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