Odd Fellows Hall, 2012

Now: Century 21 North Homes Realty, Inc
Photo courtesy Otto Greule

It’s early evening by the time we reach the last stop on our 19th century walking tour, where a long line of mostly men, engaged in several sotto voce conversations, are waiting to enter the Odd Fellows Hall at 1205 Second Street.

snohomish stories
Then: 1970s

Snohomish Lodge, No. 12, of the I.O.O.F was dedicated on April 20th, 1886, in an elaborate ceremony presided by Grand Master G. D. Hill, of Seattle, that included Lodges of the Order in the Territory, as well as the general public. The ceremony was followed by a grand ball at the Atheneum Hall, First and Avenue D.

Referred to as the Odd Fellows Hall in the newspapers, the handsome facility, built by J. S. White, immediately filled the need for a community meeting place for a growing Snohomish.

For example, there was a huge turnout for the railroad meeting held in the hall on Friday, December 15, 1887, about bringing the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway into town — a meeting that I wrote about in March 2010.

The “Snohomish Choral Society” meet there on a regular basis, charging ladies 10 cents and gentlemen 15.

With a name whose meaning has been lost in translation over the years, the “Wranglers Society” offered a mix of song and debate.

The “Free Thought Society” met to organize its upcoming schedule of lectures in 1889: State Constitution, Weatlh and Want, Evolution and Religion — but put off forming a committee for music.

Lectures by traveling personalities were a staple of the hall, usually about religion, such as the one announced June 8, 1889 in “The Eye” — “Dr. J. L. York, the well known lecturer will speak upon the subject: ‘Our Religion and the New State Constitution.’”

The Odd Fellows Hall was the scene of many contentious gatherings beginning in 1887, over the tandem subjects of statehood and incorporation, covered in juicy detail by the two newspapers, “The Eye” and “The Sun” — each with an editorial stake in the outcome of the discussions.

Let’s imagine it’s Friday, April 25, 1890, the issue of incorporation is coming to an head as the crowd gathered on Second Street is waiting to hear Hon. Sam H. Piles, a lawyer who got his start in Snohomish and has returned as Seattle’s city attorney. The expectation is that Piles will speak in support of the opposition to the wishes of Snohomish’s Founding Father, E. C. Ferguson, on the question of re-incorporation as the City of Snohomish in the new state of Washington.

The doors are opening now and the charged crowd quickly disappears to find a seat in the large, open room on the second floor — a room that remains essentially unchanged over the years. Of all the wonderful historic structures in Snohomish, I would select this room if I had one wish to make the walls talk.

You are invited to read the fascinating story of Snohomish’s re-incorporation as a City of the third class at HistoryLink.org.

snohomish storiesBirdseye View of Second Street Walking Tour, circa 1890 (Click to Enlarge)

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Published in the Snohomish County Tribune, November 21, 2012.

5 Replies to “Odd Fellows Hall, 2012”

  1. From Donna Harvey via email: “That was an interesting article.  My other Great Grandfather, William H. White, was Charter Member No 12,  of the Snohomish Chapter.  I belonged to Rainbow Girls in the 1950’s, and we had our meetings in the Hall.  The Board Room was always locked, but I was told that my great grandfather’s portrait was hanging in there.  In l989, I contacted Century 21 to see if I could acquire the portrait.  They referred me to William Green in Snohomish.  He was a very elderly man at the time, and he said I could have the picture.  It is a beautiful Charcoal drawing  in a 30  x 28 oak and gold frame.  There were also drawings of each of the other charter members hanging in the Board Room at the time.”

  2. Is this still an active Odd Fellows Lodge? Are there still members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows who actually meet here? The Odd Fellows are still strong in Europe, Latin America, Asia.

  3. Recently I learned that the large room on the second floor was for lodge ceremonies only. Public meetings were held on the first floor … before the drop-ceiling and cubical offices were added!

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