The history behind the PM Parks begins in the 1700s in England. It was there that the Oddfellows were taking care of the sick, the orphaned, the widowed, and the less fortunate. The Oddfellows spread to America, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was established in 1819.
Hi, I'm Justin Allen. I have worked at PM Park for two years now. I started working there in late June 2007 and have worked summers there since. I started as a dishwasher and am now a cook at the resturaunt. When I'm not cooking I'm either working on the rooms at the PM Park apartments, raking the beach (which i enjoy unless there are more dead fish than usual), mowing the lawns, waiting tables at weddings or any other job Chris and Rahn can come up with. Considering we are the only place for breakfast on the lake and other than The Muskie, the only place for dinner, things get very hectic on weekends and holidays. I was unfourtunate enough to start at PM Park only three days before the big 4th of July weekend. It was so busy I questioned if i could even do the job but I stuck with it and now I love it. Being right on the Lake makes the job alot more enjoyable and interesting. The view is great and the atmosphere is comfortable and casual. PM Park also enters in the annual Sweetcorn eating competition during the Lions Sweetcorn Feed in August. We unfourtunately got beat by the boys at the local dock and hoist company, those guys could eat! Look for us next year though to redeem ourselves. PM Park has always been a fun and/or lively place to work mostly because Chris, Rahn and the 'regulars' make it that way. I feel like I have followed in my grandma's footsteps because she worked summers at June and Johnny's in the early 40's in her youth also.
I really appreciate the lake and all my friends I've met there. I live for the summer at Clear Lake! (Submitted 15 November, 2008)
PM Park, Clear Lake, Iowa is currently a restaurant and lodging establishment in Clear Lake, Iowa. Prior to what it is today, it was run by the Patriarchs Militant as a children's summer camp for the less fortunate.
According to Patriachs Militant literature, occasionally a war would erupt and the men would be summoned to fight, but someone would have to stay behind to take care of the children, the orphans, women who were left alone, and the elderly who still needed care. These people were called the Patriarchs Militant.
The Patriarchs Militant are the uniformed branch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.), established in 1886 by the Sovereign Grand Lodge, the international governing body of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.. The Patriarchs Militant were known as protectors; the motto the Patriarchs lived by was "Justitia Universalis, Pax aut Bellum", (Universal Justice, Peace or War).
In 19th century America (and Britain and Australia), orphanages were common. As part of their role to care for the widows and orphans, the Patriarchs Militant set up "PM Parks". At one point in time, every state in America had one or more PM Parks. The Clear Lake PM Park is one of the few PM Parks left.
There were two purposes of PM Park. The first was to provide a gathering of places for meetings and training sessions of the Patriarchs. The second was to provide a summer camp for children who were less fortunate. PM Parks gave children a summer vacation in a life that didn't offer much luck.
The PM Park in Clear Lake, Iowa was established in 1914. When it was first built, it included two buildings. One of the buildings was used for a gathering place for eating and entertainment. The other building, that sits right next to the first, was a dormitory for the children to stay in. They are located on the south side of the lake.
Still to this day the PM Park in Clear Lake, Iowa is owned by the Patriarchs Militant. The Patriarchs lease out the facilities to Cristine and Rahn Bragger to run a restaurant and lodging facilities.
At least once a year, the Patriarchs Militant make their way to the park for a week at a time holding meetings, ceremonies, and various other events. This point of time is called PM Week.
Currently the PM Park establishment is a small summer retreat that offers a variety of options.
The main building that was once used for a gathering place for eating and entertainment for the children's camp is being used as a restaurant. The main floor holds the kitchen and two dining rooms. One dining room overlooks the lake, and the other overlooks a large lawn, with some view of the lake and landscaping. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the second floor of the building there is a party room to hold events anywhere from a wedding to a class reunion.
The second building original to the park that was once the dormitory is still being used for lodging. The rooms have been modified to accommodate individuals and not just a group of children.
PM Park also offers short term apartments that are available just up the road from the restaurant, as well as a cottage for summer rental. This expansion has allowed more space for families to come and relax as well as offer a more long term experience.
The newest addition to PM Park is a lake side Tiki Bar. The bar was built and opened in the summer of 2007. The bar only offers beverages and closes at midnight to respect the neighbors around PM Park. PM Park also offers lake access with a dock to anyone who cares to come by way of boat.
PM Park is open from mid May to mid September, seven days a week.
From this past summer (2008) of PM Park and the Tiki on the right.
Thank you so much Justin for the information and the gorgeous pictures.
Part of the Odd Fellows
(Thanks to Bob Moninger and Lyndon Crist for this info.)