The International Order of the Odd Fellows was first organized
in Dakota Territory on May 25, 1870, with a number of lodges
in southeastern South Dakota. The Dell Rapids Lodge No. 8 was
still one of the early I.O.O.F. chapters when it was established
in 1876. After statehood in 1889, the Grand Lodge split between
South and North Dakota in May 1890. At its height, the Dell
Rapids Lodge had 250 members but ended its charter in 2008.
The Odd Fellows Home of Dell Rapids was built in 1910 to serve
in-need members of the International Order of the Odd Fellows
(I.O.O.F.) local community. From 1910 until 1947, it served
as both a home for dependent children and for elderly members
of the Odd Fellows through two world wars, the 1918 influenza
epidemic, and the Great Depression. The Old Fellows Home of
Dell Rapids was the first and only home built by a fraternal
order in South Dakota. Such fraternal order homes represent
a substantial aspect of the early period of Progressive Era
social welfare institutions before social work professionalized.
The property expanded over time into a 172-acre home and farm
that had served around 100 children and 150 elderly residents
by 1935. The grounds, main building, and structures were designed
by prominent regional architect Joseph Schwarz and are each
made of the characteristic and locally-quarried Sioux quartzite
with limestone accents, in a simplified Italian Renaissance
To read the
full file on the Odd Fellows Home of Dell Rapids.
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