By Dave Rosenberg Past Grand Master Independent Order of Odd Fellows Jurisdiction of California
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge is the oldest organization in the City of Davis, having been chartered on April 12, 1870. On April 12, 2020, our Davis Lodge celebrated its 150th birthday.
Odd Fellowship follows a tradition that was established in Great Britain hundreds of years ago – it is an ancient fraternal order.
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge #169 currently has 375 members in 2022, making us one of the five largest Lodges in California, if not the largest.
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge emphasizes active community support as well as social activities for members, in addition to the historical traditions.
Odd Fellows are a fraternal order, so new members learn secret rituals, signs, handshakes and passwords.
About 20 applicants for membership are currently pending in two pledge classes.
The current Odd Fellows Lodge Hall was built in 1955 and sits right in the heart of Downtown Davis.
Over the past few years, we have totally remodeled the Lodge Hall, complete with new elevator, new restrooms, new modern kitchen, new roof, wood paneling, and carpeting.
The Lodge Hall, both the Lower Hall and the Upper Hall, is constantly busy – being utilized about 20 days every month for Lodge and community uses.
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge shares ownership of our property with the Davis Rebekah Lodge #253, which was chartered in 1901. Many Odd Fellows are also members of the Rebekah Lodge.
The Davis Lodge is the fastest-growing Odd Fellows Lodge in North America, having quadrupled its membership in the last 10 years.
We are recognized throughout California Odd Fellowship and within the Sovereign Grand Lodge as the cutting edge of this Order.
Our members include members of the Davis City Council, County Supervisors, the Chief of Police, members of the School Board, Judges, the Director of the Farmers’ Market, lawyers, ranchers, students, homemakers, community activists and many others.
Our annual Lodge Installation and Awards Dinner is a highlight of the year, and is well-attended.
We put on an annual OddtoberFest for the members, that attracts 100 participants.
We have an annual Noble Grand’s Halloween Party for members.
We organize a “Senior Project” where we help needy frail seniors with projects in their homes.
In the past, our Lodge has hosted dinners for families of foster children.19. We have organized a computer project for seniors, where we help seniors learn how to use their computers.
The Lodge has a Social Services Committee which provides support for persons with mental health issues.
The Odd Fellows have a “wine club” for members interested in enology to sample varietals. The wine club meets about once each month at member’s homes.
We have a “zymurgy club” where members interested in zymurgy can brew Odd Fellows beer, and sample different brews.
The Lodge rents a bus and takes an annual trip to spend a day in the rolling hills of Amador County, visiting wineries and enjoying an outdoor lunch.
We have an active Good Fellowship Committee which sponsors numerous good fellowship events, including a weekly Lodge “Club Night”.
California Odd Fellows operate a children’s summer camp called the “Three Links Camp” and – through the Davis Encampment ‐ provide scholarships so that needy Yolo County children can attend.
Odd Fellows built a float for the Picnic Day Parade.
For many years, our Lodge provides an annual Picnic Day Breakfast for the community.
When a Lodge member is sick or in distress, the Lodge Visiting Committee visits that member, and sends flowers or a plant.
Lodge members have helped raise money through bell ringing over the holidays.
Lodge members have helped serve food for Davis Community Meals.
Odd Fellows started a Legacy Tree Committee in 2008 and work with Tree Davis in the planting and maintenance of trees in town.
Odd Fellows have co-hosted numerous events at the Lodge Hall for worthy organizations such as Hospice, Pine Tree Gardens, the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center, Davis Community Meals, etc. and have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in community support.
Odd Fellows, as a fraternity, have fun together with movie nights, wine trips, Bunko nights, and other activities as Lodge members.
Odd Fellows support each other when illness or tragedy strikes. A few years ago when a member needed cancer treatment, the Lodge organized an event which raised $10,000 for the member.
When an earthquake struck Haiti, the Lodge organized “Hope for Haiti” which raised over $20,000 for relief.
Odd Fellowship is open to all good men and women. Our Lodge has members of all ages from the 20’s to the 80’s, all ethnic backgrounds – we reflect the diversity of the community.
Odd Fellows host numerous music venues at the Lodge Hall through a very active Music & Concerts Committee.
The Odd Fellows Lodge is available for rental for weddings, birthdays, dinners, lunches, receptions, conferences, lectures and the like, and is well-utilized by community groups.
Members of the Lodge can, under certain conditions, use the Lodge Hall free of charge, for personal events such as anniversaries.
The Hall Board Association maintains a full liquor license, and the Lodge has a full bar which is available for community groups that rent the Hall.
Odd Fellows rented a bus for an all-day trip to the Napa Wine Country.
Odd Fellows have taken an urban hike in San Francisco.
Odd Fellows in California own two retirements communities (the Saratoga Retirement Community and the Meadows of Napa Valley) which are first-rate operations open to the public. A Davis Odd Fellow serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, and another Davis Odd Fellows serves as a member of the Board of Directors of these communities.
Odd Fellowship supports Rebekah Children Services (a group home for foster children), a research program for eye disease, and many other good charitable works.
The Lodge is open to all. Odd Fellows do not discriminate. Our membership is diverse, almost 50‐50 men to women, and includes all ethnicities, sexual orientations, and religious beliefs.
We don’t discuss religion, politics or commercial business in the Lodge.
Davis Odd Fellows has the best website in Odd Fellowship at www.davisoddfellows.com.
The Odd Fellows Lodge provides educational scholarships to children and grandchildren of members.
Odd Fellows have organized numerous hikes throughout northern California for interested members.
The Odd Fellows Bingo Committee hosts Bingo for the community every second Sunday of the month. This is real Bingo with prizes up to $250, authorized by the City Council. All proceeds go to a designated charitable or community group each month.
The Odd Fellows Lodge hosts a breakfast meeting once each month for members – the best breakfast in town – at no charge.
The Odd Fellows symbol is the 3 links which stand for Friendship, Love and Truth.
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge displays a full-color lighted LED sign showing the three links and the letters IOOF, standing for Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Odd Fellows came to California in 1849 and historical Lodge Halls can be found in cities and towns throughout the state, particularly in the Gold Country.
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge, the Rebekah Lodge, the Davis Encampment, and the Hall Board Association are all on sound financial footing.
The Davis Lodge Hall and adjacent property are managed and owned by the Hall Board Association, composed of three Odd Fellows and three Rebekahs.
Since the Davis Odd Fellows was chartered in 1870, about 600 people have been initiated into the Lodge.
The Davis Odd Fellows have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charitable groups over the years.
The Odd Fellows Lodge is the landlord for Hunan, voted the best Chinese food in Davis.
The Inns of Court – composed of Judges, lawyers and law students ‐ meets monthly at the Davis Lodge.
Jazzercise has used the Davis Lodge for many years, several times each week.
We have opened the Davis Lodge to meetings of the Davis Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Davis Business Association.
Once a member earns all three degrees in Odd Fellows, that member can join the Davis Encampment #21.
There are many officer positions to which members can aspire – including Noble Grand, Vice Grand, Financial Secretary, Warden, and the like.
The Davis Odd Fellows has a “photography club” for members who enjoy that hobby.
Aspiring cooks can practice their skill at our monthly breakfast meetings – breakfasts are prepared entirely by members and pledges.
The Davis Odd Fellows and Rebekahs host the annual Breakfast with Santa, which serves 360 children and families.
The Davis Odd Fellows have recently been asked by the City of Davis to host the popular Breakfast with the Bunny, another very popular community event for children and families.
Davis Odd Fellows can purchase numerous items with the special Davis Odd Fellows logo, including sweatshirts, Polo shirts, hats, and the like.
There are rings, necklaces, pins and jewels with Odd Fellows logos and images on them – real collector’s items.
Initiation into the Lodge is painless – no hazing – and is historically interesting.
The initiation ritual goes back almost 200 years.
The Lodge Hall has a full commercial kitchen, a full Lower Hall with banquet seating for 120, a full Upper Hall with banquet seating for 200, and a soon to be developed Conference Room for up to 25.
Community events have been held at the Lodge Hall accommodating over 500 people.
The Lodge Hall is fully handicap-accessible.
The pledge process leading up to initiation takes 5‐6 months – which gives pledges and members time to get to know one another.
The Davis Lodge webmaster distributes an electronic newsletter to members and pledges on a regular basis.
In addition to the main Lodge website, we maintain two other websites – all accessible from the main site – one for Lodge Hall rentals and one for 2nd Sunday Bingo.
Our Davis Lodge website is so good, that the Grand Lodge of California has asked our webmaster – Stewart Savage – to develop the Grand Lodge website.
All Davis Lodge members and pledges are connected via email.
Renewals of Davis Lodge memberships are very high – at times approaching 100%.
The Davis Odd Fellows led a community effort to set a Guinness World Record relating to bicycles, and contributed thousands of dollars to the Davis Schools in the process. And we did set the record!
We have one Wednesday evening meeting each month (fourth Wednesday), and have a social hour prior to the meeting.
Flags and other regalia hanging up at the Lodge Hall are historical items which go back a century.
The Lodge Hall is so busy that we have an Operations Manager to maintain and market the Hall and supervise rentals.
The Lodge Hall has a fully certified commercial kitchen.
New pledges are each assigned a mentor – a member of the Lodge who helps the applicant through the process.
The Davis Lodge has developed a “Pledge Book” which can be downloaded from our website, and is now utilized by other Lodges in California.
The Davis Lodge has a very large number of husbands and wives who are members.
The Davis Lodge has members who are under 20 years of age, and members who are over 90 years of age.
Lea Rosenberg, a Davis Odd Fellow, is a former Citizen of the Year and also was chosen Humanitarian of the Year in Davis.
Many members of the Davis Lodge are in their 20’s and 30’s with lots of small children.
The Davis Lodge provides babysitting services during our Saturday morning breakfast meetings.
Many famous Americans – including Franklin Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, and Earl Warren – were Odd Fellows.
The Davis Lodge used to be known as the Yolo Lodge – we changed the name just a few years ago.
Odd Fellows dues are only $55 per year – a bargain.
We initiated 26 new members into the Davis Odd Fellows in 2010.
Judge Dave Rosenberg led the Lodge as Noble Grand for four years, followed by Judge Dave Reed who led the Lodge as Noble Grand for two years.
In November 2011, our Lodge elected our first woman Noble Grand – Kandice Richardson Fowler – a young woman with two small children.
Davis Odd Fellows are recognized as one of the premier organizations in Davis.