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   In the early 1900's, an organization called The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) met in the upper story of this building (Union Hall). The "Odd Fellows" was a men’s fraternal organization that helped provide a "safety net" for those in need and sought to “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.” Its main symbol, three intertwined rings, stood for Love, Friendship, and Truth.


   The Maryville Chapter of Odd Fellows had over 250 members. Although the organization was for men, only, a sister organization (the Rebekahs) was available for women. The Odd Fellows was fashioned after the British military–complete with medals and awards for "going up in the ranks." Membership was by invitation, only. Note the wooden box on the lower left shelf of the display case inside the theatre. Any prospective member could be rejected by a current member’s putting a black ball in this box. The Organization had a strong underpinning of religion. This display has a VERY small Bible in the display case and a larger one that is on the glass table to your right. Only the stained glass is original to the Odd Fellows that met here in Maryville. It was found in the attic after NCTC Purchased the upper story in August 2011.


   Although no longer active here, the IOOF still has lodges around the country. Many former members of that organization are buried in Miriam Cemetery, here in Maryville. Some of their tombstones show the three-ring symbol of the Odd Fellows: symbolizing friendship, love, and truth.

I.O.O.F. rings.PNG


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