Built in 1859 by Joseph Bower, a leading merchant in the community in the latter half of the century, it was run by Bowers and his sons as a general store until 1870. It housed a tailor shop with employees busy all the time and many clerks. The tailoring was done upstairs. In 1888, an Agricultural Fair was being held here, and it became the first building in Kemptville to be lit by electric lights, as lines were run especially for the occasion from George Keating’s mill above the bridge at Prescott Street. It was bought by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1892, two years after they had arrived in Kemptville. The store was remodeled with lodge rooms on the second floor, and an Opera House on the ground floor. It had a stage for concerts, plays or dance bands. For a few years in the 1940’s, Mr. Vincent Kelly showed movies there every Saturday night. The Fireman’s Ball was held there on March 17 every year. This was a full course meal followed by a dance. This hall has been used by the community ever since for public and private events, and regular dances, plays and concerts.


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