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[photograph]
The IOOF building today
Photograph by Terry Skibby
The 1879 International Order of Oddfellows (IOOF) Building stands in its original location. Before its completion a disastrous fire, which started in a blacksmith shop on the Plaza, destroyed most of the buildings in the area. Shortly thereafter the Lodge joined with local merchants to build a fireproof brick structure. Its eclectic style with Italianate elements makes it typical of the period when Ashland's booming growth permitted expansion. Like many western towns, fraternal organizations, along with churches, provided the primary social outlet. The IOOF Building was built by the merchants and the Oddfellows. Locally designed, it was built of local clay brick, and constructed by local brick makers. The September 19, 1879, edition of the Ashland Daily Tidings carried the following announcement: "The foundation of the Oddfellows and Merchants building is complete. It is finished and ready for brick-work."

[photograph]
Historic photograph of "The Plaza," and IOOF Building on the right, c.1890
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection

The IOOF Building has maintained its architectural integrity and continued use as a commercial building. Although the IOOF Lodge no longer occupies the upper floor (it is now a restaurant), the lower half of the building has been in continual use by local merchants, and today merchants continue to serve the public in ground-story shops. The building has an eclectic style common in small western towns during the middle of the late 19th century.

The IOOF Building is located at 49-59 North Main St. "On the Plaza." The street at the rear of the building facing Ashland Creek is the site of a weekend Artisans' Market during the summer months. The stores and eating establishments that now occupy the building are open to the public during normal business hours.

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