September 12, 1895: Hundreds of Hoo-Hoo descend on Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1895, hundreds of Hoo-Hoo arrived at Duluth’s Union Station on a special train of the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad where they were greeted by the shouts of their fellow Duluth kittens. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine! By the tail of the Great Black Cat, Black Cat! Hoo hoo! Hoo hoo!” the Duluth kittens shouted at the train. “Hoo hoo!” the traveling kittens shouted back. They were on an excursion during their annual concatenated  in Minneapolis, and some members of the Supreme Nine had made the trip, including Junior Hoo Hoo C. S. Walker, Scrivenoter G. K. Smith, and Custocatian E. R. Coolidge. The Senior Hoo Hoo, Bojum, Jabberwock, Arcanoper and Gurdon did not attend, nor did the groups’ senior leader, Snark of the Universe William Eddie Barnes. The group toured the harbor in the ferry Henrietta before dinner at the Spalding Hotel, where they spent the evening socializing on the roof before retiring. The next day they took a tally ho along the Boulevard before returning to Minneapolis. So what’s a Hoo Hoo? According to fraternal society historian Albert Stevens, the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Ho is a fraternal and service organization formed in 1892 whose members were associated with the lumber and timber industry. While the group’s original goal was “to foster the health, happiness, and long life of its members,” it did not offer insurance or benefits, but when a member fell on hard times they raised them quickly and helped those who could work find employment. Mostly they liked to get together and enjoy themselves in a lighthearted way, as is reflected in their officer’s names, inspired by Lewis Carol works like The Hunting of the Snark and Jabberwocky. Their logo was a crouching black cat with its tail curled to form the number nine, and members were called kittens. By the 1920s membership had grown to roughly 7,000 men and one woman, Mrs. M. A. Smith of Smithton, Arkansas, who was initiated before the order made a rule restricting membership to men. A peak at Wikipedia shows that the order is still alive but reports that only 18 Hoo Hoo remain, all of “good moral character.” Good to see the Hoo Hoo kept their sense of humor for 125 years.

The logo of the International Order of Hoo Hoo.

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