Big Oak Flat

The I.O.O.F. Hall

The I.O.O.F. Hall dates from the early 1850ís and was originally two separate, one-story buildings; a close look will reveal where the two butt together. Both stores were built of dressed schist slabs set in lime mortar. Schist was plentiful in the area and proved to be an excellent building material. Lime; however, was scarce and had to be shipped in from a quarry near Sonora. This was an excellent method of construction, utilized by many of the Gold Rush era buildings that still remain in the Southern Mines. The five large iron doors are set in perfectly squared brick frames. The second story was added in 1924 and is reached by a covered outdoor stairway.

The east half of the lower story was built circa 1852 and housed Kent and Grantís Mercantile. The slightly smaller west half was built in 1854 for Michael Gilbert who operated a grocery store. Both buildings survived the fire of 1863. Unfortunately, this was not the case for the Odd Fellows original building and shortly after the fire they purchased Grantís store for a meeting hall. Gilbertís store was obtained sometime during the 1880ís.

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