Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Odd Stuff

Because I live far away I am taking this trip on Oklahoma's Highway 183 via the internet.  I sometimes resort to the maps at or to get down to the street level and look around.  While doing this in the town of Roosevelt I came upon what appears to be an abandoned building that caught my eye:
Although it sits right on Highway 183 - the main route through town - this building, like many others located in the small towns of the area, shows all the signs of neglect and desertion.  It has broken and boarded-up windows and doors and is framed by an empty sidewalk growing weeds from disuse.   This particular building, however, has something a little unusual:  the letters I O O F bricked into the facade.

This building, it turns out, must have been the Grand Lodge for the town's Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  I have heard of the Odd Fellows before but really knew very little about the organization.    I have learned that the North American IOOF,  founded in Baltimore, Maryland in the early 1800s, was based on the Oddfellows service organization established in England.  Some people believe the organization is rooted in the trade guilds of the Middle Ages: the Odd Fellows being an organization for the "odd" trades that didn't belong with the major trade groups.   The IOOF website, however,  says the name came from the "oddity" of the idea that a fraternal guild would form for the purpose of charitable activities toward those in need rather than in support of a specific trade or work skill.

The IOOF in America is a fraternal organization dedicated to service to others in need and to character development of its members.   It was the first major men's social organization the nation to also admit women (known as Daughters of Rebekah).  According to the IOOF website the organization is non-political and non-sectarian.  They say it is based on a belief in God and universal brotherhood, and supports a number of worthy causes in the United States, such as the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University, the Rose Parade, and the Arthritis Foundation, among others.  They also make an annual pilgrimage to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. 


Just Stuff From a Boomer said...

It certainly looks forloarn out there. Don't you wonder what went on there in it hey days. I always do.

mary said...

I does look desolate doesn't it? It seems that all the small towns I look at (including the one where I was born) have gotten a lot smaller since they were established.