26 7th Street
This is the second Independent Order of Odd Fellows Temple in San Francisco, the first was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. There is a wonderful history of the past temples with great photographs at my friend Mark’s site. Check out the old photos here.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), is a global altruistic and benevolent fraternal organization derived from the similar British Oddfellows service organizations. Their symbol of three links stand for Friendship, Love and Truth.
The North American IOOF was founded in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819. Odd Fellowship became the first national fraternity to include both men and women when it adopted the Rebekah Degree on September 20, 1851
The building, designed by G. A. Dodge was erected in 1909. The building is undergoing construction on the lower floor, removing much of what we see today. The photo above was taken in July of 2011.
According to his son David Dodge’s Website:
On July 31, 1919, just weeks before his son David’s ninth birthday, George A. Dodge was killed in an automobile accident. The accident occurred in the tiny San Joaquin County town of French Camp—near Stockton—as a result of a collision with a Southern Pacific train. Witnesses described the driver, Robert Oliphant, a steel salesman from San Francisco, as trying to beat the train to the crossing, ignoring its warning whistles. Dodge was pinned beneath the wreckage and died instantly. Oliphant was seriously injured and taken to the local hospital.
This horrific incident snuffed out the life and career of George A. Dodge, a successful San Francisco architect.
George Andrew Dodge was born in San Francisco on September 4, 1864, the third son of David and Catherine (Gentner) Dodge, who had moved to San Francisco from New England earlier that year. By the age of twenty-six, George was established as a professional architect in San Francisco. On June 15, 1893, he married Maude Ellingwood Bennett. The couple set up house in the city and George’s business grew. Their first child, daughter Kathryn, was born in 1899, followed by daughters Frances, born in 1905, and Marion, born in 1907. By the time of David’s birth in 1910, the Dodge family had relocated across San Francisco Bay to Berkeley.
In 1903, Dodge entered into partnership with James Walter Dolliver (1868-1927) and they worked together up until Dodge’s death under the firm name Dodge and Dolliver. Together they were responsible for designing and building several public buildings around the Bay Area, including St. John’s Presbyterian Church and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall in San Francisco. Dodge was selected as the lead architect by the Odd Fellows Board to rebuild the Hall (on the corner of Seventh and Market Streets) after the previous building was destroyed by the earthquake and fire of 1906. Other projects include the San Mateo County Courthouse in Redwood City, Tamalpais Union High School in Mill Valley, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and Jail in Santa Rosa, and Carnegie libraries in Palo Alto and Woodland (Yolo County).
In Redwood City, the “old San Mateo County Courthouse” now serves as San Mateo County History Museum, which is fitting given the building’s own ill-fated history. The marker designating it a historical landmark tells the story and reads, in part: “In 1903, the architectural firm of Dodge and Dolliver designed a domed rotunda courthouse. It was completed and ready for occupancy when the 1906 earthquake demolished all but the domed rotunda. The courthouse was reconstructed between 1906 and 1910.” Visitors to the museum can still see the Dodge and Dolliver dome. (This project recently underwent a complete restoration. My husband, the late, Michael H. Casey was the sculptor of all the reproduced eagles and ornamentation within the new museum).
The symbols of the IOOF.
The IOOF shares the all-seeing eye symbol with the Masons, as both fraternities require members to believe in a higher being, a deity of some sort, though the specific religion of each member is not dictated by the fraternity. (Although many of the IOOF symbolism traces the meanings back to Judeo-Christian teachings.) The all-seeing eye reminds Odd Fellows that God watches them always.
The moon and seven stars is a symbol of the Rebekhahs. They represent the never failing order which pervades the universe of God and all of nature, and suggest to the members the value of system, regularity and precision in all worthy undertakings
The main symbol of the IOOF is the three chain links, sometimes with the letters F, L and T carved inside them, which stand for Friendship, Love, and Truth