Odd Occupants: Neighbors and Tenants of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Chillicothe – Early and Mid-20th Century

See part 1: “Odd Chillicotheans: The Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Chillicothe, 1874+

A spot search of my incomplete collection of Chillicothe city directories shows some of the occupants of the upper part of the Nipgen Block owned by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) at the top of the stairs at 63 North Paint Street.

Roaring ’20s

The 1926 Chillicothe directory lists only the IOOF there. But the 1928 directory lists three other occupants, probably on the second floor.

The 1928 Chillicothe city directory, page 344

One is the American Insurance Union. The year before, the company had completed the “American Insurance Union Citadel” at Broad and Front streets in Columbus:

“What would become the LeVeque Tower was commissioned by the American Insurance Union, a group formed in 1894 as a ‘fraternal insurance company, secret society and social club.’

“The LeVeque Tower is a 47-story skyscraper in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. At 555 feet 5 inches it was the tallest building in the city from its completion in 1927 to 1974, and remains the second-tallest today.” (Wikipedia)

The Great Depression ruined the company.

The 1928 directory also lists an office of the Woman’s Relief Corps, also probably on the second floor:

“The Woman’s Relief Corps (WRC) is a charitable organization in the United States, originally founded as the official women’s auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) in 1883.

“The organization was designed to assist the GAR, promote and help run Memorial Day, petition the federal government for nurses pensions, and promote patriotic education.

“Today, it is largely dedicated to historical preservation of research and official documentation related to the WRC and GAR.” (Wikipedia)

The Chillicothe Grangers No. 2075 were also there.

“The Grange, officially named The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, is a social organization in the United States that encourages families to band together to promote the economic and political well-being of the community and agriculture.” (Wikipedia)

(I believe only one grange remains active in Ross County, Elmdale Grange #2162, on Dry Run Road. Although, once a year the Clarksburg and Elmdale Granges joined to form the Pamona Grange and operate a restaurant under the grandstands of the Ross County Fair…until COVID.)


The 1949 directory lists 27 entries at 63 North Paint!

The second and third floors were clearly a home for labor and railroad unions, fraternal organizations – especially women’s auxiliaries – and two churches.

From the 1949 Chillicothe city directory, page 333

The groups include the United Commercial Travelers (Scioto Council No. 33), a society for traveling salesmen, or commercial travelers.

‘The original objectives of the order were to aid its members and their dependents in financial and material matters…The organization also wished to operate as a secret society…at one time referred to itself as “travelers masonry.”‘ (Wikipedia)

I had included their former headquarters in a 2018 photo blog on the Short North of Columbus, now an art gallery:

See Park Street in Columbus – Samples of Stasis and Flux in the North Market District, Goodale Park, Short North, Vicky Village…and More

Only three entries in 1949 are clearly part of the IOOF: Tecumseh Lodge No. 80, Valley Encampment No. 21, and Martha Lodge No. 22 Daughters of Rebekah.

The “Royal Neighbors Camp No. 4321” may also have been an Odd Fellows auxiliary; they now identify themselves as “one of the largest women-led life insurers in the U.S.”

Other women’s organization at 63 North Paint:

  • Daughters of Pocahontas, a female auxiliary of Improved Order of Red Men (IORM) – along with the Logan Tribe IORM
  • The Pythian Sisters, a female auxiliary to the Knights of Pythias

The Seventh Day Adventists and the Church of Christ somehow fit in there, too.

The Fifties

With the end of Polk’s directories for Chillicothe in 1951, and the start of Mullin-Kille’s in 1956, historians have a new style of directory.

For some reason the entries at 63 North Paint drop to only the three IOOF divisions (phone 2-8666), plus only the “Church of the Latter Day Saints” or Mormons (who were probably on the second floor).

The entry for the IOOF now includes the meeting times, location, phone number, and secretary for each division.

Beyond this date…someone else who is odd can look in to Odd Fellows.

Join me for a visit to the third-floor 1874 meeting hall of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, with a delicious finish at Old Capitol Brewing, 6pm Sunday, October 24th, 2021. Learn more in my Facebook event listing.

Some history from Pat Medert’s Paint Street volume. And thanks to Google and Wikipedia…who can sometimes be trusted.

Published by:

Kevin B. Coleman

Pre/historian, architectural historian, re-enactor, guide, reporter, speaker, writer, gardener, craftsperson, husbandman, et al., who can work in stone (flint knapping, flintlock, silicon chip) among other things and who is determined to use my knowledge, wisdom, and personal survival to help the greater good. At least, my cats and dog here in semi-rural Ohio tell me that.

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