Brother Gideon S. Ives, Grand Master of Minnesota, 1880-1881, proposed to the Grand Lodge session which was held at Winona, a fund to be set aside for an Odd Fellow’s Orphan’s Home. In 1883, Montevideo Lodge No. 75 pledged $5,000.00 and a site for the Odd Fellow’s Orphan Home and a Home for the aged. The project was held in abeyance until 1885 when Brother Ives again, revived it, expanding his original idea to include a home for the aged. A committee was appointed to find a plan for a home fund.
In 1888, Montevideo No. 75 petitioned for permission to erect the home there, but nothing was done at this time. While this plan did not succeed, it did much to stimulate the project by indicating what could be expected from an individual lodge of a Minnesota town to try to secure the location of such a home.
A Home Board of Directors was chosen in 1891 and articles of incorporation were prepared. The first Board members were Gideon S. Ives, A. L. Bolton, and C. M. Sprague. Seven years later the Home Fund had grown to a total of $25.000.00. The Subordinate lodges were invited to submit offers for the home site. The following lodges made offers: Minneapolis, Montevideo, Northfield, Owatonna and Winona.
The Home Board directors inspected the different sites and selected Northfield as best suited for the Home. The Northfield Lodge offered a 120-acre farm located inside the city limits. It had eighty acres under cultivation and the other forty acres in timber. This farm also had two artesian wells. This site would be near public schools and education centers namely, Carleton College and St. Olaf College which is located across the road and one-fourth mile west. The directors further noted that Northfield was an important educational center and near the center of Odd Fellowship in the State at that time. They also felt that proximity to the Twin Cities was important.
The corner stone was laid June 16, 1899. The first building, a three-floor dormitory, was dedicated on June 16, 1900. In 1923, the second building, the Wallace G. Nye building was built. The third building, known as the Gideon S. Ives Memorial and the v-shaped infirmary wing known as the George W. Weber Memorial, was completed on June 7, 1959. With the older buildings being demolished, new construction was again prominent in 1974. New apartment complexes and assisted living were phased into the modern nursing care during the 1980’s.
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