Stay Tuned: Odd Fellows Hall

by Jeanne Curley

(originally published in October 2000 newsletter)

I've often thought of taking a walking tour of our city, to note just what buildings are still standing that housed all the wonderful exhibits of the Societies over the years. The first place I thought of was the Odd Fellows Hall.

Last issue, I mentioned the Essex Agricultural Society and the Houghton Horticutural Society uniting in 1879 at the Music Hall Building. Does anyone know where this was? The stock and cattle were housed for the show at Fairchild's Field on Boston St. The Societies were together again in 1880 in Market Hall and, after that, at the old Y.M.C.A. building at the corner of Market and Liberty. For the next five years, Exchange Hall had the honor. This wonderful event had grown so that the schedule went from a folded piece of paper to a book form of twelve pages.

The first woman secretary was Miss Edith Coburn Noyes, appointed in 1894. She resigned after a year and the office was placed upon Miss Ruth S. Wood. I believe she kept that position until 1910.

The homes of many of the members were opened for meetings, combining business with the social side, and this is when they decided to establish an annual turkey supper. Outings were introduced for the pleasure and profit of members and their friends. This was a close, interesting, active group. As I read the many stories, I long to join them on visits to the Larz Anderson Estate, Converse Conservatories in Malden, Arnold Arboretum, Aggasiz Museum, Harvard College, Canobie Lake, and moonlight walks to Marblehead.

Mr. Philip Emerson, a President of the Society, may be credited as the instigator of school gardens. He began dressing up the school grounds with flowers and vegetables, with the Tracy School being one of the most beautiful. Other schools began giving attention to their school grounds and, as one visited the different portions of Lynn, you would be proud of the care shown by each one. In fact, it is said that many a boy's course in life was changed because of this. Speaking of boys, in 1899 a committee was appointed that called upon the mayor in regard to graffiti on rocks and boulders in the Woods. Some things never change, though we don't seem to think of those things happening in the nineteenth century.

That year, for the first time, the Manual Training School sent an exhibition of their work to the fall exhibit. The Society decided to invite school children to bring in bouquets or specimens of dried flowers for prizes at the fall exhibit. Invitations were given to all the schools in the city to visit the exhibit for free between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. the first afternoon. The exhibit that year was one of the best yet held.

A Mr. Scott, of Somerville, spoke before the Society on "City Betterment." Mr. Henry Saxton Adams, chairman of the Mass. Horticultural Society, spoke about "The Home and School Garden," things that are of high interest today. Spring exhibits were being established at Cadet Hall for strawberries, roses, peonies, and other beautiful flowers that couldn't be seen at the annual fall shows.

Some of the best known, highly respected, and most influential men and women of Greater Lynn have been identified with the Houghton Horticultural Society and the annual exhibits formed a feature of which all were justly proud. I'll discuss some of these prominent people in the next issue.

One last note: remember the skating rink?

Superintendent John Morrissey developed a splendid skating rink, very near the toboggan slide at Lynn Woods. The rink was 300 feet long, about 60 feet wide, and 5 feet below street level in Johnson's Grove. It was excellent for hockey and, when held, carnivals. The rink was in a natural amphitheatre so that several thousand people could watch hockey or a fancy skating exhibition without going on the ice.

Until next time...stay tuned!

 

See Also

Articles

Bringing Home the Woods by Jack Walsh

Change and the Woods

Divinity and the Woods

Holiday Greeting

Lions and Pirates and Caterpillars, oh my!

Lynn Woods Reflections

Minutes from SSSP

Old Names in Lynn Woods

Stay Tuned: Arbor Day

Stay Tuned: Dungeon Rock

Stay Tuned: Houghton Horticultural Societ

The end of an error!

The Vernal Pools of Lynn Woods

What Exactly is a Weetamoo?

Where Did It Come From?

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