Odd Fellows Home, Checotah, Oklahoma

20 Jul

Taken about 2 years ago, I shot this photo from my car as I was driving home from a job in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I don’t recall why but I got off the road in Checotah and drove through town.  I had never seen an Odd Fellows Home and thought that it might be a shelter for local indigents.

This evening while surfing the web looking for information on this Odd Fellows Home, I found the following:
The land in this region had an abundance of wildlife and fertile soil. Cotton and grain, and orchards thrived. Much of the area also was grazeland for cattle. In 1901 the building was a home for orphans and elderly that was constructed on a 153-acre farm near Checotah. In 2001 the Oklahoma Odd Fellows Home at Checotah was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NR 01000660). It was also known as Odd Fellows Widows and Orphans Home.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows “strive to make the world a better place in which to live, seeking To Improve and Elevate the Character of Mankind.” I could find very little information on this particular home but it appears that it is now privately owned and may still be used for the care of elderly. There were a few photographs on some of the geneology websites. Perhaps a phone call to the IOOF will result in some interesting facts and stories of this home. Maybe you know.


Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Oklahoma, Photography


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35 responses to “Odd Fellows Home, Checotah, Oklahoma

  1. masterharper

    July 20, 2011 at 6:59 am

    So many of these kind of homes have disappeared

  2. Bobby

    July 20, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Interesting history lesson. I wonder what it is used for presently…

  3. NikkiMarie

    November 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    This place gives me the creeps. My boyfriend lives in Checotah and every-time I visit we pass this place once or twice and i always get chills… its a very “odd” place

  4. brandy

    January 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    What I know of the home, it’s currently a mission outreach for the Homeless. They sell clothing , furniture, and other items. They have also been known to help citizens who can;t afford to pay their utilitites.

  5. wildstorm

    January 23, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Thanks Brandy. I was sure it was used for some kind of charity. I appreciate your comment.

  6. PAPA

    March 8, 2012 at 11:07 am



  7. rhonda posey

    May 13, 2012 at 7:39 am

    My dad was an odd fellow and when I was a kid we would go their and stay the night,have a lot of good memorys from this place. It seems I remember part of the home was a nursing facility for the elderly people.

  8. Tony Jantz

    June 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I lived here from 1960-1976, got put in here when I was 14 months old, left when I’s 17, just want to know which of the home kids r ya “Papa” and if I remember you, same also 4 u, Rhonda Posey, don’t feel like reflecting on all my years there right now, but do feel that it was the right decision by my dad 2 put my 2 sisters, brother+me n there tho. I can also say ALL the members of the Odd Fellows+Rebekahs were fine people, they were a very generou$,educated,philanthropic,+high morals/scruples type that tried 2 instill all that was decent in2 us.

  9. Ginger Jantz

    July 7, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I entered the Odd Fellows home at the age of 3 in 1960 & stayed till 1970. Noble & Mae Wright were our “Mother & Dad.” We were taught manners, good work ethics & attended church on Sundays. They were strict on us but with that many children you have to have rules. We always ate well from the garden & had an abundance of fresh dairy & eggs. The older children took care of the younger ones. The girls helped out in the kitchen while the boys milked cows, fed the pigs, & gathered eggs. The home was sold to an individual a few years ago & is now a shelter for men & a thrift store. I have many fond memories of the home and to this day I can remember the day
    my father “dropped” us off.

  10. Mindanaon Odd Fellows

    July 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    This is an inspiration. Thank you for the photograph and for the wonderful testimonials. Best regards from the Odd Fellows Philippines.

  11. wildstorm

    September 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you so much for your comment, M.

  12. wildstorm

    September 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you so much, Ginger.

  13. Libby Proctor

    July 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    The odd fellows home,once an orphanage, then a nursing home. I came to work at this “home” when it was a homeless shelte in 2009.. Many a families and individuals benefited from the love shared in this home from owner Peggy christian and her board members. Bible study was taught daily as well as the importance of work. In 2012 it was gifted to Teen Challenge of Oklahoma and currently provides a place of dwelling for woman who suffer life altering problems. weather it be drugs, alcohol , depression or self esteem issues, the love of God continues to be changing factor in all that come to stay here.

  14. michael herron

    August 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    i grew up in checotah and i remember my grandfather noah cagle delivering ice to the home. we owned the southern ice co. my name is mike herron. and although i have been gone a long time i still consider checotah home. checotah is a great place with a lot of wonderful people and great child hood memories!

  15. Land Wayland

    August 25, 2013 at 11:42 am

    My grandmother Bessie Agnes Moore worked as the cook for the Home for many years in the 1920 and 30s. Her speciality was biscuits and white gravy and she estimated that she made more than 200 a day for about 20 years which is almost 1,500,000 bisquits and every one of them was eaten with great pleasure by the residents.(who also ate her pastry and hotcakes and lots of other good food

  16. Donna Knutson

    December 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I love this old building and the new owners have really done a lot of work on it in the past 2 years. It was going to be for at risk teens but it is now just for women. When I first moved here it was a Thrift Store and shelter for men. I wish they would have a fundraiser or something to raise more money to really restore it is just wonderful and worth being restored.

  17. Susan McNew

    May 9, 2014 at 9:11 am

    My mom spent her formative years at the home in the 40’s and 50’s. We went on vacation there every summer from the time I was 3 months old until I graduated from college in 1975. We loved going to our grandparents, Mother and Dad Wright. They always treated us as grandchildren, and the things I learned from them have stayed with me for these 60 plus years. I am glad I saw Tony and Ginger’s name on here. I remember you so well. Who were the architect and oil man? I may have know them also.

  18. Susan McNew

    May 9, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    My mom was in the home in the forties and until around 1950. She always thought it was the best thing that could have happened to her and her siblings. My brothers, sister, and I thought it was the best thing too. Mother and Dad Wright were at the home when she went and left after I graduated from college. We visited our “grandparents” every summer from the time I was 3 months old until I graduated from college. We have fond memories and talk about them all the time. We miss that place, but understand time goes on. Tony and Ginger, I remember growing up with you two. Hope you are doing well.

  19. Susan McNew

    May 9, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Sorry there are two posts. I didn’t know the first one went through.

  20. Susan McNew

    May 9, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Any other kids on here? I would love to hear from some of you. PAPA, were you there in the 60s or 70s

  21. Matt Allen

    June 1, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    My Grandmother ran the place for a while. Her name was Willie Mae Harris. I guess she was after the Wrights? I would visit the home in the summer time when I was a kid. This was probably in the mid 70’s. I was born in 1968. So I would say around 1975,76,77,78? While I was there for summer break…. I got to know some of the kids that were being cared for. There was an older boy(he wanted to be a weather man), a younger brother, and maybe two younger sisters(one of the sisters was really little…. slept in a crib). My grandmother would discipline the kids to the max. During those summer stays at the home…. I explored, climbed, went to the barn, ate really well, and had a great time there. Some of my first memories were established from this place. I called it the 100 foot home(because I didn’t understand what I.O.O.F. stood for). I hope all those kids turned out to do great things! I’ve often wondered about how they had turned out and if they were ok!!!!!

  22. Ginger Jantz

    June 11, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    I entered the home on April 1960 and stayed until till May 1970. Maye & Noble Wright were my parents during that time. I often heard about your grandparents but not sure what timeline they served at the “home.” My Mother had a nervous breakdown and was committed to an institution.
    Not sure why my Father couldn’t take care of us but he made the decision to place we four siblings in the home.
    Yes, we all turned out to be productive members of society. There are several of us that keep in touch on a regular basis.
    We were taught good morals and how to WORK hard! That has stayed w/me my entire life.

  23. Tony Jantz

    June 13, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Matt, I remember ya, used 2 talk 2 ya on the stairs by the dining room back n ’76, prob gripin’ 2 ya ’bout my $6 a week allowance, how’s Anita Sue? tell her I said hi. Susan McNew: Ur mom wasn’t
    named Beth/had some bros. named Jackie and Larry Bill? Hope all’s cool with every1 and doin’ well.

  24. nancy gibbs

    June 26, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    what about Cynthia Jantz? I went to school with her

  25. Ginger Jantz

    June 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Cindy lives in Witchita. I don’t have her phone number, however, if you would like to have it I will
    contact one of her daughters. Let me know how to contact you. My e-mail is gmjantz@gmail,com
    Ginger Jantz

  26. Ginger Jantz

    June 29, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    I stopped in Checotah on may way home June 23 and visited the Odd Fellows Home. It is now called Teen Challenge of Oklahoma Freedom House. They provide a 12 month residential training program for women ages 18 & over with life-controlling issues: alcohol/drug/sexual abuse, eating disorders & depression. They rec’d a federal grant and have painted & restored part of the main floor and what is now a thrift store. The Freedom House was in Sapulpa previously but they outgrew it and moved to Checotah where they can accommodate more women.
    The only sad thing to me was that the Odd Fellows sign by the road was gone. I felt it was no longer
    “the home” as we all referred to it. However, this is a wonderful place for women to receive their restoration. All things new.
    Ginger Jantz 1960-1970

  27. Matt Allen

    August 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    To the kids of the home! I’m soo glad y’all are ok! I think about all of you ….from time to time. Tony Jantz, you give me chill bumps, telling me ….that you remember talking to me! Thank you! And, you “Hit the nail on the head”
    I do have an Aunt that lives in Savanna,Ok.(just outside of McAlester,Ok.), on my Grandparents old homestead. My Aunts name is “Anita Sue”. Wow….. I’m amazed you got that one. I don’t know what to say right now! Thank you for remembering that!

    Susan McNew, my Mom’s name is Nelda. She has a brother named Howard. Howard lives on the same land my Grandparents homesteaded….but, in a different house, and on the other end of the ranch. He lives there with his wife Charlene.


    Thank y’all !


  28. Matthew Carroll

    December 19, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Hello, I represent Teen Challenge of Oklahoma. At the former Odd Fellows Home, now called Freedom House Teen Challenge, we offer a 12 month long residential program to help women 18 and over overcome life-controlling issues such as alcohol/drug/sexual abuse, eating disorders & depression.

    Teen Challenge is currently renovating Odd Fellows Building and adjacent wings. We anticipate completing this renovation by the end of 2015 or early 2016. When we complete the renovations we plan to hold a Grand Opening Event in which the community, current residents and former residents are welcome to attend. We would love to contact any former residents so that we can keep them up to date on the progress of the renovations and also invite them to the Grand Opening Event. Teen Challenge is a 501-c3 non-profit and we have received many financial donations along with gifts-in-kind towards the renovations. We are taking donations towards these renovations if any one would like to contribute.

    If you are a former resident and would like to receive updates and/or an invitation to see the renovated residence please contact me at

    Thank you for your time and have a great day!

    Matthew Carroll
    Teen Challenge of Oklahoma

  29. Bill Flynn

    March 4, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    My Grandfather, James C. Flynn and his brother were the first kids put in the home in 1902. Later my Grandmother Francis F. Bullard with two sisters and a brother were placed there. My Grandparents were also married in the home. Though not all of the “inmates” were happy there, it was still home and was a place of security where you knew you would be safe and taken care of.

  30. susan mitchell

    April 17, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    I went to grade school in Checotah with a classmate named Bryan Oakley. He and a younger sister lived at the orphanage. Had to be in the early 70’s. Bryan would be 50-51 now. He had red hair and freckles, and we had so much fun in class. Ive often wondered whatever happened to him, does anyone remember him or his sister?
    Thanks, Susan

  31. Jean Beaulieu Rhodes

    August 13, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Hello to one an all, first I hope I am not intruding , I’m not from the “Home” but visited there when I was very young, my folks were both in lodge & our home was n Weleetka, Okla. I left there mid 60’s, I begin to remember places, people, things, I asked about the ‘ Home’ an couldn’t get answers an I’m just learning the computer so this is how I’ve come across your comments. In my travels I will now try to visit an photograph the ” Home’ thank y’all so much, Jean Beaulieu Rhodes

  32. Tony Jantz

    September 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Susan Mitchell, I lived at the home with Brian, his sister was Crystal, they also had a half sister named Lajuanna Robinson, Brian lives in Lone Wolf,OK (close to Hobart) Crystal lives in McCloud, Lajuanna lives in OKC, if you want to get in touch with Brian google in Brian Oakley Lone Wolf, OK. I haven’t heard from him in about 10 years. All his info is current. Hope this helps you.

  33. Larry Payne

    March 14, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    I remember my first “girlfriend” Sue Wells.

  34. Ginger Jantz

    March 17, 2017 at 7:40 am

    When I entered the home in April 1960, Sue was assigned to take care of me. The older ones had that responsibility. She was always very good to me. When she got married I was her flower girl! She now lives in Dallas and is doing well. We still stay in touch. Ginger Jantz

  35. Larry Payne

    March 17, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Thanks for your kind reply, Ginger. If you communicate with her, tell her that Larry still remembers her. She had such a beautiful singing voice. I live in McKinney, Texas. It seems that many of my childhood friends have wound up “down here”. Larry


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