History

IOOF Building, ca. 1906
The IOOF Building: Crystal Lodge 159 and Rebekah Lodge 87

About the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs...
The Odd Fellows and the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies (the female auxiliary of the IOOF) have played a significant historic role in United States history. Also known as the Three Link Fraternity, the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs strive to adhere to their command: "visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan". The Ludington chapter was chartered in April 1871 and was able to construct Crystal Lodge 159 in 1889. Prominent members include Ludington Mayors A. E. Smith, Frank W. Graham, A. Kieser, H. M. Hallett and William McGuire, U.S. Congressman R. P. Bishop and many business owners and government leaders. Servicing the local community for approximately 115 years, the chapter dismantled.

The Ludington Chronicle, Oct. 17, 1906
This postcard pictures the IOOF Building as it was originally constructed. It is believed the postcard was produced in 1906, prior to the Ludington Crystal Lodge 159 hosting the 
Annual Convention of the Grand Lodge. The cards were most likely given away or sold to the over 1,500 Odd Fellows and Rebekahs from across the country who attended that year.

Architectural Significance...
The building is an important, quintessential example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. This style is most clearly identified by the use of round arches, squat columns, use of rusticated sandstone elements and brick construction and is consistent with other buildings of of the same time period in the area, such as the Mason County Courthouse (State historical Marker and listed on the NRHP - 88000602  NRIS). This particular design features an asymmetrical facade through two stories, distinguishing the first and second floor entrances. The merlons at the east and west ends of the main roofline are carved with "18" and "89" respectively, indicating the year of construction. The keystones of the second story arch are carved with F-L-T, the motto of the Odd Fellows, standing for "Friendship, Love, Truth"The tympanum of the second story displays a combination of stained glass windows and a sloped, recessed slate roof. This corresponds section to slate roof covering the eastern section merlon, creating the feel of a roofline. 

IOOF Building: Ludington Avenue, Feb. 1 1898
Notice the peaked roofline featuring the three-ring symbol of the Odd Fellows - this element no longer remains and it is unknown as to why or how it was removed. The peak is visible in some historic photos, but no clear date has been determined about its removal.

Alterations and Uses...
The first major alteration was completed in 1912, when the Kozy theater open in the first floor. A film projection room was built in the foyer area, blocking in the original north facade arched entrance and removing the side display windows. In 1915, an addition to the rear of the building was constructed at both levels extending south. In 1942, the lower story of the north facade was completely covered and a marquee added for the Center Theater and resurfaced again in the mid 1960s with T1-11 and cedar shake awning.

IOOF Building: Window Display Highlighting History, Dec. 2010This southern section of the masonry building was surfaced in metal siding in the 1960s. In 2011, the entire building underwent extensive renovation to restore the exterior of the building close to its original architecture, to reveal 1940's elements of the first floor commercial space, and to convert the second floor Lodge space into residential apartments.