Small towns used to be populated by Moose, Elks, Eagles, Masons, Oddfellows and other members of fraternal and social organizations. Today we have Facebook.
When Friend Jan and I traveled across Ohio, I was struck by how many small towns had buildings associated with fraternal organizations. In some, like in tiny Nelsonville, two of the largest buildings in the downtown area were affiliated with organizations like the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.)
Knights of Pythias
This is Nelsonville’s Pythian Building, built in 1905.
Shawnee Knights of Pythias
When I shot a collection of architectural photos of Shawnee, Ohio, I roamed the former Knights of Pythias building, which had also served as an opera house and theater. Rotting lodge robes were still hanging in a closet.
Visitors to the lodge meeting room were checked out through this peephole before being admitted.
International Order of Odd Fellows
The IOOF – International Order of Odd Fellows – met a few doors down.
What organizations did Cape have?
I was prepared to say that Cape didn’t have many fraternal organizations, but a quick scan of the 1979 City Directory turned up quite a few:
- Calvery Shrine #8 (Masonic Temple) – 2307 Broadway (includes other affiliated organizations)
- Circle Number 603 Daughters of Isabell – 318 S. Spanish St.
- Epsi Lota Memorial Lodge – S. Sprigg St.
- Lodge 639 Benevolent Order of the Elks – 2751 Thomas Dr.
- Oddfellows Lodge 675 – 825 S. Ellis St.
- St. Vincent’s Council No. 1111 Knights of Columbus – 318 S. Spanish St.
2 Replies to “Fraternal Organizations”
Here is an early Frony photo of the Elks building in Cape Girardeau destroyed by fire in 1938, along with links to earlier and later photos of the building, as well as some history of the Elks.
My friend, The Shy Reader, sent me this impressive list of organizations from the turn of the (20th) century:
Fraternal organizations were numerous in Cape’s past. Knowledge of some, which went only by abbreviations, has been lost in time.
“Secret societies” (including veterans groups) listed in the 1906 City directory were:
Knights Templar, Cape Girardeau Commandery, No. 55
Cape Council, R. and S., No. 20
Royal Arch. Wilson Chapter, No. 75
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, St. Mark’s Lodge, No. 93
Order of Eastern Star, St. Mark’s Chapter, No. 167
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Cape City Lodge NO. 675
Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Capaha Lodge, No. 639
Ancient Order United Workmen, Cape Lodge No. 135
Knights and Ladies of Security
Modern American Fraternal Order, Cosmos Lodge, No. 157
Knights of Pythias, Lorimier Lodge, No. 169
Modern Woodmen of the World, LaCroix Camp, No. 5110
Woodmen of the World, Walnut Camp, No. 134
Grand Army of the Republic, Justi Post, No. 173
Sons of Veterans, Warren T. Stuart Camp, No. 14
Maccabees of the World, Frisco Tent, No. 149
Women’s Relief Corps, Justi, No. 154
Ladies Cemetery Improvement Association
Ladies of the Maccabees of the World, Hive No. 101
Ladies’ Aid to Sons of Veterans, No. 7
Royal Arcanum, Cape Girardeau Council, No. 2042
Travelers’ Protective Association, Post M.
Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aeirie, No. 713
Listed separately as “clubs” were:
Cape Girardeau Commercial Club (which became the Chamber of Commerce)
Broadway Pastime Club (“a social organization for men”)
D.Y.B.C. (“a girl’s social club”)