The Building: Home to Two Fraternal Orders

In the Spring of 1932 Independent Order of Odd Fellows lay claim to the building.

The original windows remained, but the interior was very different. In place of the pulpit and vestry, the Odd Fellows reconfigured the space to accommodate their meetings and social events. Founded in 1888 in West Somerville, the Society drew its membership from middle class professionals and blue-collar workers. Many were also Unitarians. They emphasized charity towards their members, especially those who had fallen on hard times. Their female counterparts, the Rebekahs, were also involved in community service. The women practiced concern for the less fortunate while fostering mutual support within the sisterhood.  The social and charitable activities of both societies featured heavily in the local Somerville Journal. Gradually, though, mentions in the paper were only found in obituaries. Membership dwindled. It was time for the Lodge to change hands once again.

 

  Photo courtesy of  Rozena Crossman

Photo courtesy of Rozena Crossman

In June, 1963 the Somerville Temple Associates purchased the lodge.

The transition was smooth, as many members of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons were also active in the Odd Fellows. The Somerville Lodge Masons were rooted in the neighborhood, and had received their charter in 1912. The symbolic carpenter's square and compass soon replaced the three links that had once adorned the building. Formal furniture upholstered in dark blue velvet and group portraits of Masonic notables decorated the interior. Like the Odd Fellows, the Masons’ membership dwindled over the years. In 2002, they relocated to King Solomon's Lodge on Highland Avenue and the College Ave hall was once again vacant.

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  Photo courtesy of  Rozena Crossman

Photo courtesy of Rozena Crossman