Paths to the Present: I.O.O.F | MyWindsorNow.com

Paths to the Present: I.O.O.F

Caitlin Heusser
For Windsor Now!

Parade with Windsor Mercantile and IOOF building in background, circa 1958.

At the top of a two-story building at 414 Main St., a date stone reads, "I.O.O.F" and "1898."

It was not uncommon for two-story buildings to be built in blossoming towns across the West. Typically, business was conducted on the main level and the shopkeeper resided on the second level. The fact an organization, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, put their mark on this building sparked my interest.

As Windsor began to grow in the late 19th century, Harrison Teller, owner of the Windsor Mercantile, needed to expand his business. Coincidently, the IOOF wanted to build a permanent meeting space. The timing was ideal, and the two reached an agreement to construct a two-story, brick building together. The Windsor Mercantile paid for the construction of the first story, while the IOOF paid for the second story to be used as IOOF Lakeside Lodge No. 88.

The second story cost $2,665 to construct and included offices, a kitchen, dining room, 52-foot-by-32-foot meeting room and its own exterior entrance. Nearly half of the cost of construction was donated by organization members.

The IOOF hosted a lodge dedication Jan. 31, 1899. The organization continued to grow, becoming one of the largest fraternal organizations in Windsor.

Its community-minded service made Windsor a better place. During the influenza pandemic of 1918, the lodge served as an emergency hospital.

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Today, the building is occupied by Manweiler Appliance and My Favorite Things on the first floor. The IOOF lodge on the second story now houses apartments.

— Caitlin Heusser is the museum curator for the town of Windsor.

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