Hobart Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)
By Karen Cuccinello 5-2019
While comparing old and current photos of Stamford Village buildings at a program held in the Stamford Village Library a lady in the audience, named Karen, said her house at 28 Roosevelt Avenue was the IOOF lodge. I had read about an IOOF lodge on Roosevelt but did not know which house it was.
I was surprised to discovered that the lodge on Roosevelt was built by the Hobart IOOF Lodge #63 in 1935. This lodge was organized March 7, 1848 in Hobart and is said to be the oldest in Delaware County. The group floundered in the early 1880’s and reorganized in 1887. They used a new lodge #339 probably following the reorganization for about 10 years then went back to #63. Most of their meetings were held upstairs in the Odd Fellows’ Hall in the McClelland Building, corner of Main and Maple Streets Hobart, but in 1887 they met every Tuesday in the Hobart Grange Hall and in the 1930’s they met in a building on Maple Avenue near the McClelland building. At the time of their 50th Anniversary, in 1898, they only had 31 members left of the 284 initiated during the previous 50 years.
June 7, 1934 Stamford Mirror-Recorder (SMR)- …Another Roosevelt Avenue project will soon be started by the local lodge of Odd Fellows who after many years of renting are going to erect a building of their own. The site adjoins the property of Miss Phoebe Smith, where trees have recently been removed preparatory to the construction of a building 60 x 28 feet. The lodge rooms will be located on the upper story. The project is the result of a cooperative effort by several Stamford and neighboring members. The lot has been donated by Heth Griffin, lumber to the amount of $50 by Oscar Veley, the necessary nails by Omar H. Edwards, and labor and other material by various other members.
February 7, 1935 (SMR)- The new hall being built on Roosevelt Avenue by Hobart lodge, IOOF., is progressing rapidly under the direction of Contractor John Beggs and his men. The foundation was completed last fall. The first story is now enclosed, the second floor is laid and the second story timbers were being put in place as we go to press. It is not altogether unlikely that a dance will be held when the weather moderates in order to properly christen this new building and to provide some additional funds for whatever the boys may have in mind by way of furnishings. They will find plenty of support for any program in which the public is permitted to participate. They are to be congratulated on their enterprise in launching this project and we predict for them an increase in membership proportionate with their courage in organizing this new home.
March 21, 1935 (SMR)- The new Odd Fellows hall on Roosevelt avenue is now ready for the April showers. Members of Hobart Lodge who have contributed their labor in erecting this two-story building, finished shingling and put on the roof boards yesterday.
June 6, 1935 (SMR)- Hobart Lodge, I. O. O. F., have their new lodge building on Roosevelt Avenue practically completed and ready for occupancy. A kitchen is being built on the east side of the building and a walk will be laid along the front of the property.
In 1951 the lodge was said to be the oldest active lodge in Delaware County. The last article I found about Hobart Lodge #63 meeting was in 1958, but I do not know exactly when they fizzled out.
I found articles dated 1911 to 1950’s about the Stamford Lodge #914. In 1926 they were said to be building a lodge on Railroad Avenue but I did not find any more about their building or meetings after 1926. From the mid 1950’s to 1960’s there were Stamford and Hobart IOOF bowling teams.
The 1922 IOOF Journal of Proceedings listed Delaware County Lodges in: Hobart, Arkville, Hancock, Arena, Roxbury, Bloomville, Delhi, Treadwell, Grand Gorge, Walton, Davenport, Sidney Center, Stamford and Trout Creek.
The IOOF existed in England in the 1700’s and was first established in the USA in 1819 in Baltimore. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows aims to provide a framework that promotes personal and social development.
The Rebekah Hobart Valley chapter #470, female branch of the IOOF, was organized in 1911.
Thanks to Jim Meagley, Hobart Historian, for some help with this article.