National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

National Register of Historic Places Program
Weekly Highlight: Odd Fellows Home of Dell Rapids
Minnehaha County, South Dakota

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


[photo] of highlighted property

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 architectural style.

To read the full file on the Odd Fellows Home of Dell Rapids.

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