Historic Odd Fellows Lodge

Friendship | Love | Truth

Welcome and Thank You!

The Sandy Spring Odd Fellows Lodge is a two-story, gable-fronted frame structure set upon a concrete foundation. The Lodge measures 27’ x 52’ and is two bays wide and four bays deep. The weatherboard walls are clad with asphalt siding and the roof is covered with sheet metal. There are two brick chimney flues projecting from the roof, one towards the front and one towards the rear. The Lodge was built between 1906-1909 and by 1920, the Lodge was fully functional. It has thus served the Sandy Spring and surrounding communities for over a century. This piece of land was once a place for worship when the building of the oldest Black Church in Montgomery County - Sharp Street United Methodist Church - burnt down. It provided an invaluable space for a school, a home for a burial society, and was the premier gathering space for African Americans from all walks of life before it closed in 1975. The building is one of the last stand structures built by descendants of enslaved slaves people in Montgomery and Howard Counties. The Lodge was the social center during the era of segregation and as the vanguard for the civil rights movement in Montgomery and Howard Counties, the Baltimore area, and Washington, DC, and we strive to continue to co


The Mission

Continuing a century-old tradition, the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Sandy Spring Lodge #6430 Inc. is committed to using the newly restored historic build as a safe space for education and dialogue to foster multicultural understanding.

Our Story So Far...


History

The Grand United Order of Odd Fellows (GUOOF) has its origins in the original GUOOF in England, which was established in 1798. Having been denied membership in the segregated International Order of Odd Fellows (IUOOF) in 1842, Peter Ogden, who had been initiated into the Grand United Order in Liverpool, England, appealed directly to the GUOOF governing body in Leeds (Manchester) for independent membership in the organization. The GUOOF in America obtained its charter directly from the Manchester Unity in Great Britain and is independent of the IUOOF.

Over the years the Lodge fell into disrepair and decay and was abandoned. It became a neighborhood eyesore and there were attempts to demolish the structure. The Odd Fellows Lodge Preservation Committee intervened and petitioned the State of Maryland, Montgomery County, and private donors for funds to restore and renovate the Lodge. The painstaking endeavor of serval dedicated members of the Odd Fellows and friends, which employed the skills and experiences of local historians, architects, builders, public officials among others, has restored the Lodge completely to its former glory in 2016. Today, the newly-renovated Lodge is an epitome of the progress African Americans have made in the State of Maryland. The building is recognized as one of 25 African American Historic Sites in Montgomery County. (Ref.: the African American Heritage Trail).

Service

The Odd Fellows Lodge served as a health and life insurance agency for the African-American community of Sandy Spring. The members paid fees to the Lodge and in turn the Lodge provided medical and funeral expenses for its members. During the era of segregation, the Odd Fellows Lodge stood as a place of worship, a site for social activities and a center for education”. The Lodge has always been a venue available to the Sandy Spring community. For example, when it’s neighbor, the Sharp Street Methodist Church, needed a temporary home due to fire, the Odd Fellows Lodge was used.


Renovation

In 2005, upon learning of the Lodge’s history, a small group convened to save the historic structure. The group, the Odd Fellows Lodge Preservation Committee, was able to secure private funding, a $100,000 State bond bill and a $90,000 Montgomery County government grant to complete the exterior of the preservation by 2008. Fundraising and grant-writing continued. With significant support from the Maryland Historical Trust, Phase II restoration (windows, two interior floors, stage, stairs, ramp, and HVAC) were completed by 2016. We are proud of this significant restoration project for the community.


Completion

This beautifully restored historical building lacked interior plumbing and access to potable water. It took almost 5 years to acquire permission from the MHT Easement Committee, Maryland State, WSSC, and Montgomery County government to construct an indoor bathroom is this historic building, and to provide well water and holding tanks to support the bathroom. With a $30,000 State bond bill and private funding by the Odd Fellows Preservation Committee, restoration of the Lodge was completed, despite Covid interference, on July 31, 2021. The completion of this project could not be completed without the support of Brother John Willis Green, Odd Fellows Grand Master of the American Jurisdictions.

NEWS:

The process of adding an indoor restroom to the Lodge and the global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted plans for the reopening of the Lodge. The official opening, a virtual event was on February 2nd, 2022, which begins our celebration of Black History Month.

The Lodge over the years
A Personal Message

A glowing performance by Eunice L. Seagraves as Harriet Tubman at the grand opening.

[ HARRIET TUBMAN: DEFENDER

Written & Directed By: Percy W. Thomas]

The Historic Odd Fellows Lodge is reopened and serving the community again. Preserving the African American Heritage 🌍🤲🏿

Carousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel image