Junior Order American Mechanics Hall

In 1853 the Junior Order of American Mechanics, or J.O.U.A.M., was founded. Its parent organization, the Order of American Mechanics was a political and social order that advocated for nativist policies and provided financial support for its members.

Twenty five years after its founding the J.O.U.A.M. became an independent organization that focused on becoming a fraternal benefit society that was open to all people regardless of creed, race, or sex, however strong nativist sentiments remained. The group offered a social membership and insurance membership. The later granted members health, death, and accident insurance during a time when that type of coverage was rare.

A chapter of this organization was founded in Toms Brook on September 18, 1895. At the time it had 28 members. The majority of these were most likely workers at the nearby Lime Quarry or other industrial interests in the town.

By 1906 the organization had grown to 143 members and had built its own meeting house. On April 11 of that same year the lodge sent a petition to the United States Senate asking them to restrict immigration.

In a 1910 listing of the Jr. Orders of American Mechanics of Virginia, the Massanutten Council was listed as being located on Main Street in Toms Brook. Its meetings were held on Saturday's and G.L. Borden was its secretary.

When the Massanutten Council organization ceased to function is unknown. However the building was converted into the Toms Brook Fire Department sometime after that organization was founded in 1948. It was demolished in the 1990s when that organization moved into a new building and turned their former hall into a parking lot.

Images

Massanutten Council, No. 68, Jr. O.U.A.M.<br /><br />

Massanutten Council, No. 68, Jr. O.U.A.M.

Postcard with a picture of the Junior Order of American Mechanics building in Toms Brook Virginia and a description of their organization. | Source: Herb Parker Postcard Collection | Creator: Shenandoah County Library View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Shenandoah County Library, “Junior Order American Mechanics Hall,” Shenandoah Stories, accessed July 19, 2018, http://archives.countylib.org/tour/items/show/25.

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