Preservation Journal

117 South

117 South

Year Built: 1878 (assessor)
117 South Main Street
Known as IOOF Hall/Concert Hall

©2008 Historic Downtown Association-St. Charles

117 South Main
1878, H. C. Bode, Builder

Recognized on the National Register of Historic Places and in the WPA Guide to Historic American Buildings for its engineering, the Odd Fellows Hall is the tallest building on Main Street. This double-bracketed Italianate structure has particular importance in the history and identity of St. Charles because of its design, and because its prominent position in the center of the block between the original Court House and the early Market Place, later City Hall. It has been referred to as the "Queen of Main Street". Constructed in 1878 by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, this structure reflects the pride of these prominent citizens in fraternal work and in their community. The third floor was their meeting hall and the second floor hosted the dance hall, theater space and a lounge. On the first floor was the St. Charles Savings Bank, and in the lower entry level was Emmons Title Company founded by an early Recorder of Deeds, Benjamin Emmons. Carved in stone and placed on the building above its entry are three rings. They represent the IOOF creed: Friendship, Love, Truth.

Before 1878 another 'community house' had occupied this site. The Concert Hall Association had constructed a two-story brick building in 1856, the second floor being a place for concerts, entertainment and special events. Its first floor was the original site of St. Charles Savings Bank. The tornado of February 26, 1876, damaged the Concert Hall beyond repair, but the bank reopened at a temporary location within a week and today still serves customers as First State Bank of St. Charles.

Known as the IOOF Building (or Moose Building), restoration completed in 1986. The IOOF Building has particular importance in the architectural history and identity of St. Charles. Constructed in 1878, the ornate Victorian design and prominent siting centered in the middle of the block between the original Court House and Market Place, later City Hall, established it as one of St. Charles’ most identifiable structures. Though structurally sound, it had lost much of its ornamentation, all of its glitter, and ‘modernizations’ had left the interior unrecognizable as a spacious and beautiful place of social and civic importance. City officials had even proposed that it should be demolished and the land used for parking. The 117 property, noted as ‘St. Charles Odd Fellows Hall’ has been recognized with individual placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. (Sharlotte Worthington)