|Independent Order of Odd Fellows Building
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) originated in England in the late 1700s, and was established in the United States in Baltimore, Maryland on April 26, 1819. John Widley started the organization in the United States and coined the motto’s phrase, “Visit the Sick, Relieve the Distressed, Bury the Dead, and Educate the Orphan.” The first lodge in Oregon was established in Salem in 1852; the Enterprise Lodge followed almost 50 years later. The Enterprise IOOF Lodge No. 153 was instituted on April 12, 1901, having been organized under the dispensation granted April 4, 1901. The May 24th charter lists the first members as H.C. Mahaffey, J.W. Rankin, J.W. Kerns, T.D. Scott, H.E. Endicott, J.S. Cook and John Root.
After seeking a more permanent home for the lodge activities, the IOOF joined forces with the Knights of Pythias in 1907, and formed a group called the Enterprise Fraternal Association for the purpose of building a lodge hall. By 1908, the lodges and private citizens financed the construction of a new Bowlby stone building on the southwest corner of Main and Second streets (200 W. Main). Known as the Enterprise Fraternal Association Building, the first floor was rented to a variety of businesses while the upper floor served as the lodge meeting hall. The dedication ceremony for the hall was held on February 28, 1908. The building served the needs of the lodge, and the community for many years until the Fraternal Building Association sold the building to the Enterprise State Bank but maintained a lease (until the end of 1917) to the upper floor until new locations could be found for the lodges' meetings and events. The IOOF started making plans for a their own lodge hall.
The January 1, 1917, Chieftain headlines state “LODGES MAY BUILD THEIR OWN HOMES.” The IOOF had previously purchased a lot on Third and Main streets. For some years, lodge members talked about building a substantial lodge similar to the City’s Carnegie Library with a half basement for dining and social events while the upper floor would be reserved for lodge activities; the building would be for lodge use only. The Knights of Pythias also planned to build a similarly independent lodge, but renting the ground floor to help generate income to maintain the lodge.
Plans for a new lodge were facilitated when prominent resident Sarepta Weaver, widow of William Weaver, donated a city lot next to the City Library for the purpose of building a new lodge. The property was given to the lodge for a dollar on August 11, 1917 (Wallowa County Deed Book 29, p. 485). Construction was slowed by the lack of funds for the project and the impending war in Europe. Two years later, plans for the new IOOF began again in earnest.
The lodge announced the completion of the plans for the new IOO building in the May 22, 1919 edition of the Chieftain. Local contractor John Oberg, a Swedish emigrant of 1907 born in May 1882, designed the building that was described as having “an attractive appearance, with a front giving the impression of three stories in height. It is to rise on the lodge lot, across the alley to the north of the Carnegie Library.” Plans specified a 60’x75’, two-story brick building, with a basement that included a large dining room and kitchen. The upper floor was designed for use as a meeting hall. Construction began in the summer of 1919 and continued into the fall. The brick used in the construction was locally manufactured.
By December 11, 1919, the IOOF was nearing completion, and warm weather in January 1920 allowed work to continue. On April 1, 1920, the newspaper announced the date for the dedication ceremony, which was scheduled for April 25th. The new lodge hall was the first of its kind in Wallowa County to be completed for exclusive use by the lodge (no commercial spaces). The article in the paper continues with a glowing report of the new building, “The building is 60 feet wide and 74 feet deep. In the half basement of the ground floor has a great dining hall 50 feet by 60 feet, with a large kitchen adjoining. There is a commodious parlor for the especial conveniences of women. These rooms on the ground floor give a keen sense of the suppers and pleasant social gatherings which will be held there in the future years by the Odd Fellows, the Rebekahs, and their families. The second floor is primarily devoted to the lodge hall proper, which occupies most the space. Along the west front runs a balcony, under which are the anteroom and the property room and lavatories. At the south of the lodge hall, and connected with it by large sliding doors, is a pleasant room facing the south, which is used for club purposes. On ordinary occasions, this will be shut off from the lodge hall.” The building was dedicated in the spring; hundreds gathered to see the newest addition to the town.
Although membership in the Enterprise IOOF Lodge has diminished over the years (currently about 20 members), the Lodge still retains ownership of the building and uses the structure for community events and lodge meeting. The basement is rented to the Soroptimists Thrift Shop for their store.
built from locally produced bricks in 1910. The upstairs ceiling has been lowered but otherwise it is virturally unchanged.