Thursday, 19 May 2011

Decorah Odd Fellows to show off new lodge

DECORAH - The Winneshiek Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge 58 will hold an open house in its new quarters Sunday.

It is an opportunity for the public to see its new facilities and learn about the fraternal organization, according to Odd Fellows Trustee Duane Vine.

The group has moved from its previous location above T-Bocks to 326 Washington St., formerly the Fashion Floor Center, across the street from the Social Security office. The event will be from 1 to 4 p.m. and will include musical entertainment, refreshments and door prizes.

"We want people to come see what Odd Fellows is about and visit our new lodge," Vine said.

Odd Fellows recently purchased the building, which has three apartments on the second floor. The lodge, which includes a full kitchen, will be available for the public to rent for birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions.

The history of the Odd Fellows in Winneshiek County goes back to 1854. Today there are about 50 members, according to Vine, who was grand master of the Odd Fellows Lodge of Iowa from 2003-04. He noted the Odd Fellows is the only fraternal organization allowed to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, as provided for by President Franklin Roosevelt, who was a member of the organization.

In 18th century England, it was odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind, according to a brochure on the IOOF.

"Those who belong to such an organization were called 'odd fellows.' Odd Fellows are also known as the Three Link Fraternity, which stands for friendship, love and truth," the brochure states.

Today, Odd Fellows is a worldwide fraternal order with more than 10,000 lodges in 25 countries involved in a variety of civic and philanthropic efforts.

Anyone interested in joining the Decorah Odd Fellows should contact Vine, 382-2760; or Dean Holzer, 382-4909.

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