IOOF Lodge

Waxahachie Lodge No. 80

Independent Order of Oddfellows (I.O.O.F.)

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by Bruce Webb


The Odd Fellows lodge began in the mid 18th century as a fraternal benevolent society. Using the Three Chain Links and All Seeing Eye as emblems, with FRIENDSHIP, LOVE and TRUTH as watchwords, and ³Visit The Sick, Relive The Distressed, Bury The Dead, Educate the Orphan² as its motto.

The first recorded Lodge of Odd Fellows was Loyal Aristarcus Lodge, founded in 1745. It met above the Globe Tavern at Hatton Garden, England. The Odd Fellows are now called the Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England.

The Odd Fellows Lodge was first introduced to the United States by Thomas Wildey an English Odd Fellow. Washington Lodge No.1, Independent Order of Odd Fellows was instituted at Baltimore, Maryland in 1819.

The Odd Fellows first met in Texas at Independence Hall, Washington on the Brazos. Its first Grand Master was Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas. The first Odd Fellows Lodge in Texas was Lone Star Lodge No. 1, which was instituted on July 25, 1838 at Houston, by Jacob De Cordova.

Waxahachie Odd Fellows Lodge No. 80 was instituted by the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1859 but demised because of the Civil War. It was resuscitated a few years after the war as Lodge No. 129 on July 6, 1871, but it was changed back to No. 80 by permission of the Grand Lodge in 1872. There were seven Charter Members of Lodge No. 80. John T. King, O.R. Partain, James Smith, E.V.B. Sweatt, Lee Burchaim, S. H. Overstreet and C. R. Gibson.

The Waxahachie lodge first started meeting upstairs in the Kennedy building which was located on the corner of Water and Rogers streets. About 1873 they began to meet up-stairs over the old Texas Power and Light office in the center of the block. This structure was on the North side of the square on Main Street. In May 1883 they moved to the corner of Main and College streets to a rock and wood plank building (present site of the Kress-Penn building) where they met for a year.

Around 1884 the old rock building was demolished and the Lodge built a three-story Renaissance Revival building. The Lodge met on the top floor while Spalding Furniture and Undertaking operated on the first floor. The Lodge met there until, tragically, a fire destroyed the building. This occurred Sunday morning, Nov. 12, 1911 destroying all Lodge records, furnishings and regalia.

The lodge met in the Knights of Pythias hall on the corner of Main and Rogers for several months. Our current building on South Rogers Street (see above) was built in 1891 by the Texas Mortgage Banking Co. for their offices. The lodge purchased the building December 16, 1911. Lodge was first held in the building on March 29, 1912.

I.O.O.F. No 80 Lodge Building, 2003

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