Independent Order of Odd Fellows
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows began in 18th Century England. It was deemed odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need without recognition and pursuing projects for the benefits of all mankind.
Their deep history began in North America, with the United States and Canada in 1819, and is continually expanding throughout the world where they are a worldwide fraternity in 26 countries. The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs are striving to make the world a better place in which to live, seeking to improve and elevate the character of mankind. The three links stand for Friendship, Love, and Truth.
Ashton’s Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to spotlight the Ashton branch of the Odd Fellows. They organized in 1906 and later their building was built in 1907. Besides being home to the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs it was also home to a bank, harness shop, and hardware store. After those businesses left, it became Hugh Hammond and Louie Smith’s Plumbing Shop until the early 1970’s when they moved shop to where Dan’s Plumbing and Heating are now. Following their move, the Rebekahs opened the Flea Market as a fundraiser to give scholarships to seniors which they continue to do today.
At one time, the Upper Snake River Valley had Odd Fellow and Rebekah lodges from Aberdeen to Dubois, today only Pocatello, Idaho Falls and Ashton have both lodges. Until the mid 1950’s many of the leading businessmen and citizens were members, but by that time the government started to take control of a lot of the things the Odd Fellows were doing locally such as education for orphans, burying the dead, caring for widows, and relief for the distressed. Today the Odd Fellow and Rebekah Lodge has about 25 members who are still doing things to benefit the community. The most evident one is ownership and providing the Flea Market for the community’s use for over 40 years now. Many non-profit organizations are able to use this unique “department store” to fundraise for their many causes. In the late 1990’s, Joyce Leonard was hired to manage the Flea Market. This is when it changed from a “garage sale” to a “business”! A few years ago Joyce retired from this job and the Odd Fellows took over management of the Flea Market from the Rebekahs. They hired Lowell and Karen Nygaard to manage the operations at the Flea Market following Joyce’s retirement. A year or two ago the Nygaard’s stepped down and Ann Oldham is now the manager. The Flea Market is more than a thrift store to many. Whether you shop or rent it to raise funds for your organization, one knows what a great asset it is to our community. So if you see an “Odd Fellow” or a Rebekah please thank them for keeping this “unique boutique” around for our town! Call Ann Oldham @ 351-1674 to schedule your organizations time for fundraising at the Flea Market for 2015 today!