History of Sycamore Lodge
Sycamore Lodge #129 is back in town! In April 2010, the Hayward Odd Fellows Lodge was re-established, continuing a history that dates back to 1866 in Hayward.
The Lodge had been lying vacant for at least 2 years. The previous incarnation of Odd Fellows had disbanded, and the building was on the verge of being sold, when local historian and attorney Frank Goulart and his counselor wife Julie Machado, along with Odd Fellow Dan Honniball hatched a plan to re-establish the Lodge. At Thanksgiving dinner 2009, an idea was born to pursue the Hayward Lodge’s re-opening.
Because of Frank and Julie’s connections with the local art and music communities, the concept was put forward to meld traditional Odd Fellows good works with bettering the community through a focus on the Arts and Music education. Lodges today have a better chance at flourishing when members are united in community-oriented interests.
Two Open Houses allowed people to see the beautiful historic building, built in 1868-9. Meetings were had with Grand Lodge, the owner of the building, to determine the possibility of re-establishing the Hayward Lodge. A membership drive was held to see if there was interest in the community. An amazing 64 people stepped forward wishing to become new Charter members of the re-Chartered Lodge! Through strong support from Grand Master Gene Breeland, Grand Lodge decided to take the Hayward building off the market and allow the community to re-organize Sycamore Lodge #129.
Frank worked on getting the corporate status re-instituted. Jay and Nancy Johnson of the Fremont Mission Peak Lodge #114 and Rick Boyles of the Oakland-Encinal Lodge #3 in Alameda were also invaluable in supporting the re-establishment of Sycamore Lodge. On April 17, 2010, 40 new Members were initiated, along with 6 Associate Members. Another 23 Pledges became Members in May.
In 2013, after two years of planning, we broke ground on installing a new elevator, in our voluntary accessibility project. This project includes a chair lift, an accessible bathroom, interior and exterior painting, and an elevator. (See black shaft one the left in the picture below)
We are excited to forward the causes of Friendship, Love and Truth, to assist the sick, teach orphans, bury the dead, and better our community through the support of art and music and other good works!
Odd Fellows in History
The larger International Order of Odd Fellows has a long history, which some trace to the later Middle Ages and the development of trade guilds. Historical records can be found from at least the seventeen hundreds in England.
The origin of the name ‘Odd Fellows’ is not undisputed, but the best explanation is put in Wikipedia as follows, “By the 13th century, the tradesmen’s Guilds had become established and prosperous. During the 14th Century, with the growth of trade, the guild ‘Masters’ moved to protect their power (and wealth) by restricting access to the Guilds. In response, the less experienced (and less wealthy) ‘Fellows’ set up their own rival Guilds. In smaller towns and villages, there weren’t enough Fellows from the same trade to set up a local Guild, so Fellows from a number of trades banded together to form a local Guild of Fellows from an odd assortment of trades. Hence, Guilds of Odd Fellows.”
By American revolutionary times such lodges flourished in the New England area, and by 1819 were officially chartered and associated with the Manchester British Organization.
From the beginning the Odd Fellows have explicitly avoided all political or sectarian commitments. In the Hayward Lodge all proceedings are conducted with a view to openness and transparency. Committee meetings are open to all members, and meetings are conducted in accordance with democratic principles using established parliamentary customs and Roberts Rules of Order.
Hayward Odd Fellows History
In San Francisco Odd Fellows had established a flourishing Lodge from the days of the Gold Rush. Membership was soon quite large and included civic leaders and statesmen, senators, and governors. In 1868, soon after the City of Hayward was established, the Odd Fellows had built our impressive Lodge Hall that you see today at 950 B Street. Its officers included Hayward leaders such as William Meek–who helped develop the Bing Cherry and the Queen Anne Cherry, and who bequeathed the beautiful Meek Mansion and Park just off of Meekland Avenue in Hayward.