This (JAMHI) building, to me, will always be the IOOF Building and I hate the fact it might be torn down to accommodate 40 parking spaces (which will probably be for legislative people). This building does have a lot of history attached to it but I realize you can't keep a building for that reason alone.
Way back when I used it a lot it was the IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) building and when they gave up their charter because they only had a handful of members attending meetings, they came to the women's branch, which was Perseverance Rebekah Lodge 2-A, and offered the building to us to run and manage so we would continue to have our meetings there. So many of the ladies were old and didn't want to take on such a responsibility. I did!
But I couldn't have done it by myself so I knew when to admit defeat. IOOF sold and we had to move out to the Masonic Temple where after a year or so, we gave up our charter also because we couldn't afford the $100 a meeting at the Temple.
This building goes back a fourth generation of use through Rebekahs in our family alone. The grand station at the head of the room was occupied as noble grand by my great-grandmother Margaret Bland. My grandma, Myrtle Converse, didn't serve as noble grand but she never missed a meeting. My mother, Berna West, and I served as noble grands sitting in the elegant seat at the head of the room several different years. Many happy potluck dinners were served to members and their families of both IOOF and Rebekahs, bazaars were held each November, Easter egg hunts for the kids, tea parties for the ladies and their daughters, and the annual Christmas party. Some of us Rebekah ladies that still live here meet once a month for lunch just to keep the fraternal relationships alive. Yes, lots of memories.
That's about all we will have anymore once all these buildings are torn down.
Do what you have to do, but don't expect me to appreciate it.
Betty West Miller
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