Independent Order of Odd Fellows • I.O.O.F.
Montana Lodge No. 1


KENNON BAIRD COLLECTION • CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE IN A NEW WINDOW

1884 "Rock of Odd Fellowship" Engraving
Originally Property of Herman F. Lidolph (1857-1941)
Member of Montana Lodge No. 1 from 1893 to 1941
Collection of Kennon Baird



Wikipedia Entry About the Odd Fellows


 

1879 Temple

The Odd Fellows met at several locations before constructing their own building in 1879 at 105 N. Main (Last Chance Gulch). It can be seen on the left side of the 1907 Fourth of July parade photo below. It's followed by a detail view showing the dates 1819 and 1879 carved into granite blocks on the facade of the temple. 1819 was the year the I.O.O.F. was chartered in the United States.

The building was demolished in 1971 during the Model City/ Urban Renewal project.


KENNON BAIRD COLLECTION



The "1819" Stone is Now in Anchor Park
East of the Lewis & Clark Library


COURTESY OF PAM ATTARDO

 



Cornerstone Contents Recovered, 1971


 


1910 Odd Fellows Home
Destroyed by Fire in 1926


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Located on Head Lane west of Helena, The original Montana I.O.O.F. Home was dedicated in 1910. It suffered a devastating fire in January of 1926, but no lives were lost.

Various fundraising events were undertaken to build a new home. It was rebuilt by 1928, and operated until the mid-1970s.

Since that time, it has served a variety of functions, most recently as a bed-and-breakfast inn. Visit the site for views of the interior.



I.O.O.F. Custom Bus Built by a Helena Company, 1926


New I.O.O.F Home Dedication Souvenir Button

 



1916 Temple in the Iron Front Building • 413 North Main


COURTESY OF TOM MULVANEY


This $40,000 translates to over $900,000 in 2020 dollars.

 

 

1963 Photo Showing the 1916 Rooftop Addition


COURTESY OF KITTY ANN QUIGLEY TAALER

 

 

"Floating" Dance Floor

The "floating floor" in the temple ballroom, which is still in use today as the Windsor Ballroom, is a "sprung floor" -- a floor on springs. Such floors were popular in the early 20th Century, but few are still in use.

It took the lodge until 1947 to pay off the mortgage on the Iron Front Building.


1917 I.O.O.F. state convention commemorative ribbon, with medal featuring the Iron Front Building.

 

 

Montana Lodge No. 1, I.O.O.F., August 2 1938


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The Windsor Ballroom Event Venue

Golden City Lodge
Grand United Order of Odd Fellows
African-American Lodge

Pictured above is William C. Irvin (1868-1930) Helena policeman and member of the Golden City Lodge, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows. The lodge was founded in Helena in 1892. Newspaper mentions of the active local lodge end about 1930.

James P. Ball photo courtesy of the Montana Memory Project, MHS 957-597



I.O.O.F. Cemetery • 1896 to Present

The historic Odd Fellows Cemetery is located on the northeast corner of Forestvale Road and McHugh Lane in the Helena Valley. Donations for upkeep can be made to the I.O.O.F. Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 962, Helena, MT 59624.

Photo courtesy of Montana's Historic Landscapes, which has a page about the cemetery.