Amicitia, amor et veritas. Friendship, love, and truth were the three founding principles of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF). After its founding in 1842 in Baltimore, Maryland, the fraternal order grew rapidly across the United States and around the world. In the Washington territory, the IOOF had a strong presence, with chapters from Tacoma to Spokane. Even the small town of Gifford, on the edge of the Columbia, boasted a local chapter.
The IOOF promoted “charity and ethical reciprocity” within their communities. In a small town like Gifford, these values promoted a good community standard and strong relationships. The Gifford family itself was active in the local IOOF, and the local chapter was a point of pride to the town’s co-founder James Gifford. When they added the Daughters of Rebekah organization in 1851, the IOOF became the first order of its kind to invite women. In a small town like Gifford, it was a welcome chance to get away from the farms and the ferries.
The men of the town, including James Gifford and his brother, built the IOOF hall just off the main road, near the mercantile shop that the Gifford family owned and operated. When construction on the Grand Coulee Dam began, Gifford sold the land for $15, and the town began work relocating IOOF Hall, the store, post office and service station to higher ground. The IOOF Hall was “consolidated with the Rebekah Lodge and the Rice Lodge after the move.” The IOOF Hall is still standing today, still near the Gifford store.