1819 - Independent Order of the Odd Fellows - Odd Fellowship in the United States began on April 26, 1819 in Baltimore, Maryland. In 18th century England, the original brotherhood of Odd Fellows was founded in London, where it was considered unusual to find an organization of men whose purpose was to give aid to the needy and to promote benefits for all mankind. Such men were called "odd fellows" because they were unusual. According to Odd Fellow literature, "odd fellow" is synonymous with "brotherhood."
Today, the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows (I.0.0.F.) is one of the largest non-political and nonsectarian fraternal and service-oriented organizations in the world. Its membership comprised of male Odd Fellows and their wives and sisters, Rebekahs, carry out its philanthropic work. The I.0.0.F. is known for its symbol of three links representing the teachings of Faith, Love and Truth and are guided through their original obligations of "visiting the sick, relieving the distressed, burying the dead and educating the orphan."
1849 - Minnesota Independent Order of the Odd Fellows - The Minnesota Independent Order of Odd Fellows was formed on August 15, 1849 in Stillwater, Minnesota.
1872 - First Odd Fellow Home Opens in Pennsylvania - The first Odd Fellows Home was established for orphans in Meadville, Pennsylvania.
1881 - Interest for Odd Fellows Home in Minnesota - Brother Gideon S. Ives, Grand Master of Minnesota, proposed to the Grand Lodge a fund be set aside for an Odd Fellows Home for the orphaned and elderly in Minnesota. $25,000 was raised to start a Home fund with $6,000 in additional pledges.
1891 - Northfield Selected as Location for Home - A decision was made by the Grand Lodge to build a home for orphans. A Home Board of Directors was chosen and articles of incorporation prepared. The first board members were Gideon S. Ives, A. L. Bolton and C. M. Sprague.
The Home Board of Directors inspected several sites including Winona, Minneapolis, Montevideo and Owatonna but selected Northfield as best suited for the Home. The Northfield Lodge offered a 120-acre farm owned by Josiah Nutting at the time, located on the west side of Northfield. It had eighty acres of cultivated land, forty acres of timber and two artesian wells.
The Board of Directors noted that Northfield's location near the center of Odd Fellowship in the state at that time and its proximity to the Twin Cities were important. The site was also an important educational center as well located near public schools, Carleton College and St. Olaf College.
1899 - Minnesota Odd Fellows Home for the Orphaned and Elderly Opens After Construction of Forest Hall - Incorporated in 1899, the Minnesota Odd Fellows Home (the "Home") was built on the Nutting Farm site, the location of Three Links today. The canvassing committee was able to raise the necessary $12,000 to purchase the farm and construct the first building of red brick. The cornerstone for Forest Hall, a three-floor dormitory, was laid on June 16. Trains brought over 6,000 visitors to Northfield to tour the new facility. Civic and fraternal dignitaries were on hand to lead the dedication ceremonies.
The Rebekahs of the state accumulated several thousand dollars towards furnishing the building. Several lodges set aside funds for furnishing certain rooms. The first resident arrived on August 2, 1900, an 89-year-old gentleman and Odd Fellow member.
1900 - Northfield's Only - Hospital A second connecting building was added and operated as Northfield's only hospital from 1900- 1910. With the opening of the hospital, caring for the elderly became more of a focus. 1923 - Wallace G. Nye Building Opens The Wallace G. Nye Building, named after the past.
Grand Masters of the State of Minnesota and 25th mayor of Minneapolis, was opened. The three-story building included a basement and cost $170,000 to build. Five years later, a connecting "overpass" was built between Forest Hall and the Nye building at a cost of $5,000. Over the years, the Nye building was referred to as the "main building" At this time, approximately 40 boys and 20 girls along with 40 elderly men and 25 elderly women resided at the home.
1952 - Hospital and Infirmary - The third floor of the Wallace G. Nye building was converted to a hospital and infirmary at a cost of $48,000. The third floor featured 31 rooms comfortably furnished within the west wing. The east wing was equipped for residents needing hospital care.
1957 - Orphanage Closes; Care Shifts to the Elderly - By 1953, the Home had reared 421 orphan children and cared for 783 elderly men and women since opening. The census at the Home in 1953 was 86 elderly adults and five children. In 1957, the last remaining children in the Home left. The Minnesota Odd Fellows Home began caring exclusively for the elderly.
1958 - Gideon S. Ives Memorial Nursing Home - The Gideon S. Ives Memorial building, named after the first Grand Master and mayor of St. Peter, opened and housed administrative offices, an auditorium and v-shaped wing known as the George W. Weber Memorial, for nursing home residents. Cost was approximately $450,000. At this time, approximately 140 residents were cared for each day, 75 in nursing care and 65 in boarding care.
1964 - Home Sells the Farm - Due to the cost of operation and changing methods, the Home discontinued farming. The acreage was sold for commercial development in Northfield including Fairway Foods and RytWay Packaging. The resulting funds were used for new construction and building improvements. The farm animals and equipment the Home raised and maintained were sold at an auction. At this time, the Home cared for 130 residents, 87 women and 43 men. The average age of each resident was 81. There were 48 full-time employees and 30 part-time employees. To date 1,270 residents had made their home at the Odd Fellows Home.
1969 - Odd Fellows Lodge - The Odd Fellows Lodge Hall was constructed at the corner of Highway 19 and Odd Fellows Lane. The Lodge was primarily used for Odd Fellows and Rebekahs meetings.
Early 1970s - Significant Changes to Campus - Leadership of the Odd Fellows Home sold 55 acres of land to the City of Northfield in 1973 for $175,382. This included the pavilion and wooded area which became Odd Fellows Park. Approximately 15 acres remained and still do today. Strict government regulations forced the closing and demolition of the oldest of the buildings, including the razing of the main building in 1974.
1974- Nursing Home - A building was added to the nursing home built in 1958. It included 80 resident rooms, a secure unit for those with dementia, kitchen, dining room, activity room, beauty shop, maintenance department and support services. This was to be paid for in 40 years through an FH.A. loan of $1,949,400.
1975-Three Links Apartments - Three Links Apartments opened in 1975 to provide living options for individuals aged 62 or older and/ or with disabilities. The apartments feature 84 units, off-street parking and community spaces.
1981 - Young World Day Care - Young World, a children's day care center was opened for employee's children and also used by the community. The center was licensed for 78 children and promoted interaction between residents and children. Young World was in operation for 17 years.
1987 - Vital Link - "Vital Link" Adult Day Care (known as Three Links Adult Day Services today) opened. It was and still is one of the very few services offering adult day services in southern Minnesota. Designed to provide a break during the day to care givers, Adult Day Services offers an opportunity for older adults to socialize with their peers, participate in meaningful activities and obtain nursing supervision if needed.
1989 - Name Changes to Three Links Care Center - "Odd Fellows Home" name was changed to "Three Links Care Center" The new name reflected the collective services and diverse clientele. A special care unit, "Pathways", was created for people living with severe dementia.
1992 - Fellowship Residence - The Fellowship Residence, featuring board and lodge rooms, was added as an alternative to nursing home living.
1993 - Home Care - Home Care Link (known as Three Links Home Care) began offering home health care services to board and lodge clients, campus apartment residents and the surrounding community.
1994 & 1997 - The Cottages - In 1994, Friendship Manor (known as Cottage East today) was built as an adult foster care home. It was designed to provide a housing alternative for older adults exhibiting the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
A sister building to Friendship Manor, the Cottage (known as Cottage West today), opened to offer non-institutional care to those with memory loss. The Cottage features ten bedrooms and provides personalized care in a home-like setting. With housing offices and a classroom at its lower level, it was, and still is, the site of training for employees.
1998 - Park Ridge Apartments - Park Ridge Apartments opened to provide living options for individuals age 62or older and/or with disabilities. The apartments feature 20 units, off-street parking and community spaces.
1999 - Care Center Renovation - Three Links Care Center embarked on an extensive replacement and renovation project of its nursing home. New construction focused on providing for those who needed only short-term care for rehabilitation as well as for those with dementia. All existing areas of the nursing home were remodeled. Cost for the project was $7.2 million. A year later, new administrative offices, lobby, chapel, dining area, nurses' stations, rehabilitation therapy unit, gift shop and Pathways areas were opened.
2005 - Millstream Commons and Reflections Care Suites - Millstream Commons, a 44-unit assisted living complex in downtown Northfield, opened featuring studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments for older adults who wish to remain as independent as possible. Reflections Care Suites opened on the Three Links campus, offering end-of-life and respite care featuring eight private, spacious suites in a homelike setting.
2008 - Cottage on Forest - Cottage on Forest opened on the Three Links campus adjacent to Reflections. Cottage on Forest, providing memory care, features 12 private bedrooms with spacious common areas for residents and families.
2010- The Villages of Lonsdale - The Villages of Lonsdale, operated by Three Links, opened in Lonsdale, Minnesota. The 56-unit complex features offer independent, assisted living and memory care and spacious common places in a home-like setting.
2019 - Purchase of The Villages of Lonsdale - Three Links purchased the Villages of Lonsdale from Lonsdale Senior Housing and assumed full operations of the complex located in Lonsdale, Minnesota.