Independent Order of Odd Fellows Building

You are currently facing the Independent Order of Odd Fellows building, one of only four surviving two story brick commercial buildings in Cheney.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, this building was erected in 1904. In the 1880s, this spot had been occupied by a blacksmith shop, but it had been vacant for over a decade when the Odd Fellows started construction. Once the building was completed, the lower section of the building was rented out to H.H. Schultz and Sons, Clothiers. The upper section of the building held a meeting hall for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a nationally prominent fraternal organization. Lodge No. 21, Cheney's chapter of the organization, was first started in the early 1880s and claimed many of Cheney's most influential and wealthiest men among its members and this continued to be the case for many years after. The upper section was also rented out for other gatherings and functions and became one of the busiest and most used gathering spots in Cheney.

One of the most notable features of the building itself is the faded Garberg's sign painted onto the northeast side of the building, which is the only physical remnant left from when E.E. Garburg's General Store occupied the lower section of the building. Later, a Safeway was located here and a later tenant was a Sears Outlet store. The presence of these big name stores hearkens back to when Cheney was bustling town with a variety of different stores and three movie theaters located in the downtown. However, Spokane's growth into a regional hub and a decline in college students patronage of local businesses by the 1950s caused many stores to close their doors, leading to a decay of downtown Cheney. The final blow was when I-90 was constructed in the late 1960s, which caused most automobile traffic to bypass Cheney entirely.

The Odd Fellows building was a victim of this and it sat empty for a few years until Walter A. "Shorty" Goodwin opened up a barbershop in 1966. Remaining open after Mr. Goodwin's death on May 26, 2000 and operated by one of his close friends Bud Lutein, the barbershop was one of Cheney's longest-running businesses. Today, the building stands vacant due to a number of structural concerns.



Preserving Cheney's Past
Prager, Mike. "Preserving Cheney's Past." The Spokesman-Review, November 30, 2000.
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