IOOF building turns 118, celebrates year on National Register

Horse-drawn wagon passes in front of the IOOF building.

Reprinted from the May 1, 1897
edition of the Meeker Herald

Meeker’s Odd Fellows pose in front of their new building.
Meeker’s Odd Fellows pose in front of their new building.
MEEKER I Last Monday was a great day for Meeker Odd Fellows, as it will mark an important epoch in the history of the local society. The day was the 78th anniversary of the establishment of the fraternal order of Odd Fellowship in this country, and in these 78 years the order has grown from very small beginnings to be the strongest secret society—numerically speaking—we are informed, in the United States.

The celebration Monday and exercises connected therewith were of more than fraternal interest to this community, inasmuch as the day was designated as that on which the new hall just completed should be dedicated; therefore, the celebration served a double purpose.
No time or expense was spared by Valentine Lodge in its efforts to make the occasion one long to be remembered by both members and guests, so the celebration was made prominent and interesting by the presence of C.C. Miller and Louis Wildhack, grand master and grand patriarch respectively of Colorado Odd Fellows.
The program was divided into two parts, the first being the anniversary exercises and consisted of singing, and prayer by Rev. Ostenson. Then followed the dedicatory exercises under direction of Grand Master Miller, ably assisted by Grand Patriarch Wildhack as grand marshal. Past Grand Burnham acted as grand warden; R. Hartke as grand secretary; Past Grand Sheridan, grand treasurer; and Past Grand Ostenson, grand chaplain.

Horse-drawn wagon passes in front of the IOOF building.
Horse-drawn wagon passes in front of the IOOF building.
This part of the program consisted of singing by the lodge: remarks by Mr. Miller; prayer by the grand chaplain; building of the altar by the heralds of the north, south, east, and west represented by Bros. H.A. Wildhack, W.A. Keller, F.N. JoHantgen and Q.B. Kelly.
The greater part of the dedicatory work devolved upon Bro. Louis Wildhack, acting as grand marshal, and the manner in which he performed his duties called forth the high encomiums of all the brethren present.
The exercises closed by an eloquent address by District Deputy Grand Master W. H. Clark, and the singing of the doxology by all present.
The exercise being public the large hall was packed by an appreciative audience.
In the evening a very enjoyable dance given under the auspices of Valentine Lodge wound up the day’s festivities.
The building, which was so auspiciously dedicated to lodge purposes last Monday, was begun last fall and will stand as Valentine Lodge I.O.O.F., costing more than $12,000 when completed. The structure is two stories high, of a pleasing and modern style of architecture it has a frontage of 50 feet on Main Street and a depth of 125 feet on Fourth Street.
Herman Pfeiffer was architect J.H. Beard had the contract for foundation walls, and E.D. Hayden did the cut stone work. John Rourke was the brick contractor, and the wood work was executed under the direction of Harry Niblock. J.B. Hill is putting on the finishing touches in the shape of an artistic job of inside and outside painting.
The whole work of construction was in charge of a building committee, consisting of W.A. Keller, president; J.B. Rooney, treasurer; F.N. Joffantgen, secretary and assistant manager, and F.E. Sheridan, manager.
The building is a credit to the Odd Fellows and a very substantial addition to Meeker’s permanent improvements.
With the exception of the large hall on the second story, which is used to lodge purposes, the entire building is leased to the county for a period of ten years and Rio Blanco’s officials are very comfortably and conveniently housed.
The county records are safely locked in the fire proof vault.

Fourth of July celebration in Meeker in 1911.
Fourth of July celebration in Meeker in 1911.

Excerpts from the Meeker Herald from 1897 to 1936

Aug. 15, 1896
Workmen commenced on Thursday tearing down the old McHatton adobe, on the site of which will be erected the new Odd Fellows hall. One by one, the old landmarks are going.

Oct. 24, 1896
The first story of the Odd Fellows building will be completed with the close of work this evening.

March 27, 1897
The county officers moved into their new quarters in the Odd Fellows block Thursday and Friday. The officials will be about as comfortably housed in their new quarters as any lot of office-holders in the state.

April 24, 1897
Judging by the preparations in progress, the Odd Fellows’ anniversary celebration on next Monday will be a notable affair, as it will mark the dedication of the new hall as well as the 78th anniversary of the founding of the society. The day’s exercises will wind up with a ball in the evening, to which the public will be admitted.

Sept. 11, 1897
The Odd Fellows gave their first of a series of dances at their hall on Tuesday evening, and it was a brilliant success, socially as well as financially.

Jan. 28, 1918
Rebeckah Masquerade
The annual masquerade of Josephine Rebekah lodge, IOOF will be given at Rooney hall on Friday evening Feb. 15th. On this occasion, half of the net proceed will be turned over to the Red Cross. Everybody come, have a good time and contribute to a good cause.

Jan. 3, 1925
Old Timers Dance
The annual gathering and reception for the old timers of Rio Blanco county will be held at Rooney Hall Wednesday evening Jan. 14th all old timers are urged to attend. The requirements are to have been a resident of this county since January 1st, 1896. There will be a big dance and entertainment after the business meeting with a chance for the old folks to dance their old fashioned dances.

Dec. 5, 1935
Josephine Rebekah Lodge
On Tuesday evening of this week, Josephine Rebekah Lodge held their regular election of officers. The following officers were selected to fill the chairs: Emma Ruckman—Noble Grand; Beryl Richard—Vice Grand; Cecil VanCleve—Recording Secretary; Ella Henderson—Financial Secretary; Edith Kincher—Treasurer.
After the meeting, a covered dish luncheon was served and everyone present had a splendid time.