History of Polytechnic Lodge 148
Polytechnic Lodge was granted its charter on August 2. 1928, and was originally formed in an area of Fort Worth, Texas, located on the southeast side; known as Polytechnic Heights. Known as Poly by locals, in the 1850s, the area experienced a golden age of prosperity. In the 1930s it was a place for faculty housing for Texas Wesleyan University.
The area was primarily middle class and was the location where the Odd Fellows established a lodge, which thrived in the area. Two years ago the Forth Worth ISD offered to buy the lodge for an expansion, at which time Polytechnic moved their meeting location to the downtown Fort Worth area; they now meet at the building of Fort Worth 251.
Like many Odd Fellow Lodges throughout the country Polytechnic Lodge has adapted to meet the needs of the modern family. Making our community a better place has always been an important part of our history. We are looking to expand our lodge in the Northwest Tarrant County area where there has been a tremendous amount of growth for businesses and new home sales.
Odd Fellows in Texas
The first Grand Master of the Odd Fellows in Texas was Anson Jones who was the last President of the Republic of Texas. The first Odd Fellows lodge organized in Texas was; Lone Star Lodge No. 1, on July 25, 1838. Odd Fellowship continued to grow and thrive in both small and large Texas towns throughout the state. There are many remnants of the Odd Fellow lodges throughout the state. Most notably are cemeteries with the letters I.O.O.F. over them, which stands for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
In our country’s early history, insurance companies that provided death benefits did not exist. When there was a death in the community the responsibility of burial depended on the family. For this reason as a way to support widows, orphans and families; Odd fellows took on the responsibilities of burying the dead, educating the orphans and caring for the widows. In 1884, the Odd Fellows broke ground to build an orphanage and widow’s home in Corsicana, Texas. This was a fully functioning self sustaining micro community where widows, orphans and the aged were cared and provided for.
Today there are about 1,600 members statewide and the Grand Lodge, the governing body for the state of Texas, and members have authorized a major renovation of the historic orphanage and widow’s home of Corsicana. It will be transformed into the headquarters from which the officers can oversee the business of the fraternity. The grand lodge oversees retirement homes, a nursing home, and 130 pieces of property in the state, employing 120 people. The crown jewel of this renovation will be a convention center portion of the remodel. The convention center will accommodate community and business events, as well as, providing a centralized location for the annual Grand Lodge Session for all Odd Fellows in Texas. http://www.iooftx.org
North American Odd Fellowship
The Sovereign Grand Lodge is the governing body of North American Odd Fellowship. Thomas Wildey is credited with bringing Odd Fellowship to the Americas. He was born in London England, in 1782. He came to America in 1817, on April 26, 1819; Wildey with four other men began the process that lead to the formation of the Independent Order of odd Fellows in North America. Over the next 40 plus years of his life Odd Fellowship grew to 200,000 members across North America.
Today, as a worldwide fraternal order with over 10,000 lodges in 25 countries their top priority is; “To improve and elevate the character of mankind.” Odd Fellows are involved in various philanthropic efforts at the local, national and international levels. Odd Fellows and their units spend over $775 million annually in relief projects, which include Educational Foundations, SOS Children’s Villages in Cambodia, Living Legacy (planting trees), Arthritis Foundation, Visual Research Foundation, and United Nations Educational Pilgrimage for Youth. For more information visit the Sovereign Grand Lodge’s website at http://www.ioof.org.