(From For the Record, Sunday, March 10, 1996:) The the Independent Order of Odd Fellows lodge in Mead will be hold its centennial luncheon at noon on Tuesday at the lodge hall on Market Street in Mead. The date of the celebration was incorrect in a story in Thursday’s paper.
The two-story wooden lodge building has been a fixture in Mead for 100 years.
This month, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows is celebrating the centennial of its Mead meeting hall. The small observance will begin at noon March 15.
Members hope the event will also commemorate restoration of the hall by the building’s first-ever outside tenant.
Over the years the lodge building, off Market Street, has been a landmark and a community gathering place.
“One of the ladies who belongs here - her son graduated from school here. They had dances in there. We had card parties. We had dinners,” said Joyce Kern, 72.
The Mead Odd Fellows Hall is one of the oldest in Eastern Washington that still hosts regular meetings.
Built by lodge members from Waverly, it opened on March 17, 1896, according to John Nunn, a member who keeps many of the lodge’s historical documents.
The Mead Odd Fellows merged with a lodge in Millwood and have been meeting there since 1993. The Rebekah chapter, primarily geared to women, has 23 members and still meets in Mead.
Kern, a native of England who moved to Mead with her new husband after World War II, said election ballots formerly were counted in the hall.
“It was an Odd Fellows hall, but it was a county hall, too,” she said. “We used to be here all night and all morning.
“They would count the ballots here, then take them to the Courthouse.”
Founded in England in the 1700s, the Odd Fellows lodge is dedicated to charity work and helping members in time of misfortune. The three tenets of the Odd Fellows are friendship, love and truth.
“I guess they were considered unusual because they were helping other people and not themselves,” said Ellen Nunn, a Rebekah member organizing the 100th-year celebration. “I guess we’re so used to the name it doesn’t seem so unusual at all.”
The lodge building is in desperate need of painting and other restoration work, and the ladies who meet there wanted a place without stairs to climb.
So they leased the building’s upstairs to Ken Schug, who is using it as a center for martial arts. He has refinished the wood floors, installed new windows, moved walls and painted the entire upstairs. He plans to upgrade plumbing and paint the outside.
The downstairs will be converted into the Rebekahs’ meeting hall.
There’s still work to do before the anniversary.
One of the most daunting tasks is to find a way to get a piano moved from the second floor down to the first. To commemorate the building’s 100th anniversary, the Mead Rebekahs are hosting a lunch for the five other Odd Fellows lodges in the Spokane area.
There will be sandwiches, potato chips, dill pickles and a cake. The lodge will lay out its old photographs and letters, dues ledgers, attendance books and documents, including the original deed that passed the property to the lodge.
And if the piano arrives downstairs, members will be singing songs.
“If not, I’ll just have to sing a cappella,” said Kern. “You don’t always need a piano.”
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