Washington Lodge plays role in all our heritage. The Grand United Order of Odd Fellows is an African-American fraternal organization founded in 1843. Although the GUOOF still exists, its overall membership has declined sharply, just as the number of fraternal organizations everywhere has fallen.
The community rallying around the Odd Fellows’ effort to preserve the history of the African-American fraternal order and to rebuild the Washington Lodge in New Castle represents the best of America, said speakers at a ceremony following the 145-year Homecoming parade Aug. 19, 2017.
The Grand United Order of the Odd Fellows won’t have to weather another winter without a roof, if donors help raise another $30,000, according to organizers of the Save the Washington Lodge campaign.
Organizers continue to push to save the historic building the fraternal organization has occupied since 1886 and preserve it for the future. The fundraising work began after a heavy snowstorm caused the roof to collapse in March 2015.
The New Castle Odd Fellows lodge wants new members to see the 144-year-old fraternal organization remain active well into the future.
Known for its Homecoming parade and picnic each August, the Washington Lodge 1513 has another long-running project to protect — the operation and maintenance of a cemetery that dates back to October 1901, according to information from Margaret Daniel, a historian for the lodge.
After two years of talking about the historic nature of the Washington Lodge in New Castle, local officials will now move to commemorate the fraternal order’s place in the city.
Ever since the roof on the Odd Fellow’s building collapsed after a heavy snowstorm in March 2014, many locals including Main Street Manager Jeff Thoke noted it would be a shame to let the circa 1870s structure that’s been occupied by the Washington Lodge since 1886 deteriorate further.
New Castle’s Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Washington Lodge #1513 purchased a Main Street building in the late 1880s that stands as an historic reminder of Henry County’s past, and the strength and sacrifices of former slaves who founded the fraternal lodge in 1872, a mere seven years after the Civil War ended.
The last few years have been rough – fundraising to cover major roof and foundation repairs caused by several inches of heavy, wet snow.
This Lodge is a part of Area III and it is GOOD NEWS about how our brothers and sisters are fighting the GOOD fight to preserve the Integrity of Our History and Legacy. According to the News article they gathered a lot of support from outside of the GUOOF to get as far as they have but still need to raise an additional $60,000.00.
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