1870 was an interesting year.
In that year, construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was begun, the soda fountain was patented, the first motion picture was shown to a theater audience, the Cincinnati Red Stockings went on tour as the first professional baseball team, President Ulysses S. Grand met in Washington with Sioux Chief Red Cloud, the U.S. Department of Justice was created, the Franco-Prussian War began, the Transcontinental Railway was completed, and the Davis Odd fellows Lodge was chartered on April 12, 1870, in the little hamlet of Davisville.
In commemoration of the event, Davis Odd Fellows Lodge #169 invites the public to an Open House and 148th “Birthday Party” at the Lodge Hall on Thursday, April 12, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. The Lodge Hall is located at 415 Second Street in Downtown Davis. Odd Fellows will provide mini-tours of the historic Hall. There will be music, the Odd Fellows bar will be open for members of the public to purchase libations, and dinner will be available for purchase at $7 per plate.
Odd Fellows came to California in 1849 with the establishment of the first Lodge (California #1) in San Francisco. The Davis Lodge was the 169th Lodge instituted in California, on April 12, 1870 – a mere five years after the end of the Civil War and death of President Abraham Lincoln. “To put this in perspective,” said long-time member Dave Rosenberg, “the University Farm which later became UCD was founded in 1905, and the City of Davisville which later became Davis was established in 1917. Our Odd Fellows Lodge predated UCD by 35 years, and predated the City by 52 years. We’ve been around for a long time.”
The Davis Lodge (then known as “Yolo Lodge” because it predated the City of Davis) was instituted by Grand Master John Brown Harmon who traveled from Apollo Lodge #123 in San Francisco. He was accompanied by the Sovereign Grand Master Elias Driggs Farnsworth, who was visiting California at the time. A number of members from other California Lodges including Sacramento, Mokelumne Hill, Eureka and other locations also attended. The first Noble Grand of the Davis Lodge was Jacob Horning.
In 1876, the Odd Fellows dedicated their first Lodge Hall located on G Street. There was a downtown parade and the Odd Fellows wore their regalia during the parade and dedication ceremony. At the time, the Davis Odd Fellows numbered 53 members. The Odd Fellows remained at the G Street location until 1956 when they sold the building to the Masons, and moved into their current location on Second Street.
On April 12, the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge numbers over 293 men and women ranging in age from 19 to 91, have been in Davis for 148 years, and have been at their current Lodge Hall for over 60 years. The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge is one of the fastest growing Lodges in the United States, and is the largest Odd Fellows Lodge in California in terms of membership. Members of the Lodge are very active in the community, and engage in many charitable and community supportive events, including Second Sunday Bingo, Breakfast with the Bunny, Breakfast with Santa, A Taste of Davis, Thursday Night Live music at the Lodge, the Classic Film Festival, the Davis Chocolate Festival, and many more. The Lodge website is www.davislodge.org.