CITYSCAPES


The IOOF building


By KEVIN LEININGER
from the archives of The News-Sentinel

Before there was The Chamber of Commerce, there was The Fort Wayne Commercial Club. And before G.C. Murphy Co. moved into its home at Wayne and Calhoun (Editor's note, 1997: since to have been torn down), there was the IOOF Building.

There is a very definite connection between the two.

In 1890, the International Order of Oddfellows (IOOF) erected a dark brown stone building at Wayne and Calhoun. Over the years, the landmark housed several businesses, including two in the 1920s - Bruder Jewelers and the New York Dentists. The dentists specialized in false teeth.

The building was most well-known, however, as the home of the Commercial Club, which was organized on July 8, 1899. The Commercial Club merged in 1910 with the Wayne Club, and together the two groups sought to sustain the city's financial health. By 1917, the Chamber of Commerce was organized, and ground for the chamber's present home at Wayne and Ewing streets was broken in 1926.

By 1948 the IOOF Building was considered too old and too small. It was torn down and the G.C. Murphy Co. began work on new building in its place, which opened in 1950.

--Sept. 26, 1982


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