Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, February 21, 2010, pg. 14
Albion’s downtown business district has certainly seen many changes through the years. Most of our buildings were erected from the period of 1850 to 1900. Only a few were erected later. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Odd Fellows Block, located at 129, 131, and 201 N. Superior St.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) is one of the oldest fraternal organizations in existence today. Albion once had several IOOF lodges. The first one was organized on January 22, 1847 and was later disbanded. Another, the Albion Encampment No. 63 was organized on March 25, 1874 and was merged with the Springport chapter in 1931. Another, the Calhoun Lodge No. 60 was organized on November 5, 1883. Still another local lodge, the Canton Carver Lodge No. 44 was organized in 1921.
It was in March, 1910 that construction began on a new two-story brick building just south of the Hurley Block. A wooden frame building used by Frank Nowlin, and the Behling Brothers Saloon was moved back along W. Michigan Avenue so the new IOOF building could be erected on the site. The building was erected quickly, and was ready for occupancy in just a few months. “Who said Albion wasn’t booming?” quipped the Albion Recorder at the time.
The first floor was designed to hold three commercial business establishments. The Behling Brothers Saloon returned to the site, with Nicholas Daleo’s fruit and confectionery store and the Church & Broas grocery becoming the remaining merchants in the new building.
The entire second floor, 129 ½ N. Superior St., was designed as the meeting hall for the Odd Fellows. The Lodge No. 60 met here weekly on Friday evenings. The other local IOOF lodge, Albion Encampment No. 63, met here on the first and third Tuesdays. Also meeting here of course was the woman’s branch, the Albion Rebekah Lodge No. 23, which met on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the Odd Fellows building as it appears today. Notice the marker above the first floor. It states, “IOOF-60, 1910.” This refers to the Lodge No. 60. Apparently they had the most money or influence, because their lodge number is posted there instead of the other No. 63 lodge. The three linked chains emblem of this organization on the marker stand for Friendship, Love, and Truth. On the first floor to the left at 129 is the closed recreation hall. In the center is a tattoo place at 131, and of course on the far right is Dickerson’s Music at 201. The staircase entrance to the IOOF Hall upstairs at 129 ½ is located to the right of Dickerson’s Music.
What happened to the Odd Fellows? After World War II membership gradually dwindled, and by the 1960s the men’s group folded. The Rebecca’s moved to the Fitch St. Chapel. Today, the former Odd Fellows upstairs meeting hall in downtown Albion is vacant. How many of our readers knew that this was once the Odd Fellows building?
The Odd Fellows Building in February of 2010
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic