The IOOF building in Forks in 1935. (Rex Gerberding)

The IOOF building in Forks in 1935. (Rex Gerberding)

BACK WHEN: Forks residents remember burned building

After recognizing the old IOOF building in Forks, residents share times had there.

SEVERAL PEOPLE RECOGNIZED the September Picture from the Past as the International Order of Odd Fellows Building on Forks Avenue in Forks.

The photo was from 1935.

There have actually been three IOOF buildings.

The first was built in 1903 and was one of the first substantial buildings built in Forks at that time.

The second IOOF was built in 1920 and was somewhat larger than the first building.

Rebuilt after fire

When the 1925 fire hit Forks, the two IOOF buildings were both destroyed, but Forks rebuilt the block that burned and added cement sidewalks and other improvements.

Photos of the 1930s show Olympic Pharmacy to the south of the main IOOF building.

In the photo, the long steep stairway that leads upstairs is at the far left.

Michael Edens, Judy Gill and Christi Olsen-Baron also commented on the IOOF building.

Olsen-Baron identified the man in an apron in the photo as Murray Macaulay who owned City Cash ­Market.

The Gabrielson Grocery was on the right side of the photo.

Olsen-Baron said it must have been pre-1939, as the big log is not in the photo.

Edna Leppell of Forks commented that her family purchased the City Cash Market from Macaulay.

Lonnie Archibald of Forks wrote that he recognized the building as the IOOF Hall in Forks.

He said, “There is a lot of history in that old building or should I say was a lot of history as it burnt on Oct. 29, 2012.”

He said that in early years, downstairs at street level, there was a meat market operated by Macaulay.

It was later owned by John Leppell Sr.

It then became a variety store owned by Muriel and Del Huggins.

Also later in the same space was a dress store owned by Florence Ninke and then later another shop called Alice’s.

Eventually, Joyce and Verl Pool put in a Sears store.

After that, there were many changes.

Bert Fletcher, a former resident of Forks, wrote that the building was on the east side of the street and a grocery store once owned by Ed and Edna Tuttle was on the right of the photo.

On the left side was Elliot’s Variety Store five-and-dime.

Elliot’s was taken over in the late 1940s by the Huggines, and they ran it as a variety store.

The Huggines built a new store just south in the next block in 1955.

That building still stands today.

When the variety store moved in 1955, Ninke ran a very successful ladies dress shop for many years.

Fletcher’s mother, Estene Fletcher, was a friend and very good customer of Ninke.

Bob Huelsdonk operated a radio and hi-fi shop in the rear of the store.

2012 fire

The Hispanic store Tienda Latina had the first floor of the IOOF building in 2012 at the time of the big fire.

I’m not sure what businesses came between Alice’s dress shop and Tienda Latina.

Olympic Pharmacy was to the south of the main two-story building.

Olsen-Baron said Olympic Pharmacy was built by Ray Goss in 1934.

It was an important hub in the town of Forks.

People met there for their medical needs in addition to conversation.

At one time, there was a soda fountain.

The first Forks State Bank was on the left side of the pharmacy.

It stayed until they built the building the library is in presently.

Before the bank, the building was Burnham’s Restaurant sometime prior to World War II.

Olympic Pharmacy closed around 1987-88, and Betty Bernier acquired the building.

Baron-Olsen and her mother, June Olsen, opened a store called Rain Country Apparel.

There was also a gift shop called B&B Gift next to it in same building that was operated by Bernier.

Baron-Olsen and her mother closed their businesses in about 1995, and Bernier sold to Joanne Allen.

Allen’s mother-in-law, Gladys Allen, opened Fern Gallery, which remained open until about 2009.

At that time, Joanne Allen sold to Dazzled by Twilight, and it remained until the building burned in 2012 along with the IOOF.

Archibald has conducted many interviews throughout the years and shared some of the information he gathered.

He said, “During interviews for my first book, ‘There Was A Day,’ Magda (Meridith) Kaemmle told of dances there during the Great Depression. The IOOF Hall was used back then for dances.

“The old wood stove stood witness to those weekend schottisches held upstairs. Everyone danced.

“The entire family went as you didn’t hire baby sitters back then.

“Young children would sleep on the benches as the band played on.

“Magda also mentioned that the first show house in Forks was located in that old building.”

Archibald also said, “In another interview, Jim Klahn also mentioned the IOOF building where Grace Fletcher played the piano in the downstairs theater where silent movies were shown.”

1950s, ’60s dances

Archibald said he attended dances while in high school, which took place there in the late ’50s and into the early ’60s.

He also recalled attending plays presented by the Rainforest Players of Forks there in the tallest building in Forks at that time.

“So tall and with so many inside steps, mind you, that they even installed an elevator,” he said.

Archibald wrote, “In 48 years of photographing fires and accidents, the old IOOF Hall fire of Oct. 29, 2012, was the most dangerous and hottest fire I had experienced and that includes the fire which destroyed the old Olympic Theater.

“A half block on the east side of town was destroyed when that historical IOOF building burned. There was a hot time in the old town that night.”

Gladys Allen, Bernier, June Olson, Leppell and Barbara Kelso were among the several Forks ladies who helped with the timeline of their businesses.

In 2014, a new complex was built and is owned by the city.

It is the Rainforest Arts Center with one story and retail space on the side.

It provides an important community center.


Alice Alexander is a Clallam County historian, author, and a descendent of an Elwha Valley pioneer family. She is a recipient of a 2014 Clallam County Heritage Awards. She can be reached at

Alice’s Clallam history column appears the first Sunday of every month, alternating with Linnea Patrick’s Jefferson County history column on the third Sunday of the month.

October picture from the past                                Do you recognize this church and do you know what occupies this building now? Hint: It is east of Port Angeles. Send your comments to or mail them to Alice Alexander, 204 W. Fourth St., Apt 14, Port Angeles, WA 98362, and she will use your comments in her column Nov. 6.

October picture from the past Do you recognize this church and do you know what occupies this building now? Hint: It is east of Port Angeles. Send your comments to or mail them to Alice Alexander, 204 W. Fourth St., Apt 14, Port Angeles, WA 98362, and she will use your comments in her column Nov. 6.

More in Life

A GROWING CONCERN: Get twice the bang from your early blooms

IF WE TRULY are the spot to go for fabulous flowers, prolific… Continue reading

HORSEPLAY: Equestrian summer camps and horse trailer heat risk

THIS TIME OF year, I get frequent inquiries asking if I know… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: What’s a deacon to do in troubled times like these?

FIRST THINGS FIRST. To my queer readers (2SLGBTQIA++ of all kinds, though… Continue reading

Mystic faire opens Friday in Port Townsend

The ninth Into the Mystic Intuitive and Energy Healing… Continue reading

Cruella and Pierre de Vil emceed the Community Paw-Ty Olympic Peninsula Canine Couture Runway Show at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Port Angeles.
Canine Couture show raises funds

Pierre and Cruella de Vil recently emceed the Community… Continue reading

Sunday program set for OUUF

Joseph Bednarik will present “Is Tolerance Tolerable?” at 11… Continue reading

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith.
Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith will present “Love is Violet:… Continue reading

Reverend David McArthur
McArthur to present “Your Spiritual Heart” Sunday

The Rev. David McArthur will present “Your Spiritual Heart”… Continue reading

Keith Ross’ “The Rescue of Eddie & Elliott — A Bald Eaglet Adventure” recently won best “Gift” book and was a finalist in the “Children’s/Juvenile (non-fiction)” categories through the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group’s 2024 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. (Keith Ross/Keith’s Frame of Mind)
Eagle rescue book wins indie publishing award

Sequim author-photographer looks to wider distribution

A GROWING CONCERN: Cutting the American lawn down to size

IT’S TIME TO free ourselves from the grueling and extremely harmful task… Continue reading

The Rev. Glenn Jones
Unity in Olympics program scheduled

The Rev. Glenn Jones will present “Celebrating the Papa… Continue reading

Unitarian speaker scheduled

Vivian Mulligan will present “Unitarian Universalists — Who Are… Continue reading