This story was originally published in the May 26th issue of The Wellesley Townsman.
|Odd Fellows Building at 89 Central Street in Wellesley, MA. Photo by Rhys Heyden.|
Sandwiched in-between two upscale retail stores in the heart of downtown Wellesley, the Odd Fellows Building seems, well, a bit odd. Who exactly are the Odd Fellows, and what is this building used for?
What: The building is the formal meetinghouse of the Sincerity Lodge #173, the Wellesley branch of the I.O.O.F. (Independent Order of Odd Fellows). The Wellesley Odd Fellows meet at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month. According to Kasper Pilibosian, the owner of the building and an Odd Fellow himself, the Wellesley I.O.O.F. is a small group of 10 or 11 people who - like the Masons or Rotary Club - promote community service work and support local businesses. The Odd Fellows building was constructed in 1875.
History & Background: The North American I.O.O.F. was founded in Baltimore, Maryland on April 26, 1819, and received its charter from the Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England. It is officially categorized as an altruistic and benevolent fraternal organization. As an organization, the I.O.O.F. is based on advocating three principles – friendship, love, and truth. The “FLT” is their official motto and forms the three-link “FLT” chain that can be seen on the Wellesley building. The official Odd Fellows website claims nearly 10,000 I.O.O.F. lodges in approximately 26 countries worldwide.
According to the Odd Fellows website, “The altruistic and friendly society [in England] came to be known as "Odd Fellows" because it was odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and of pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind. It was believed that they were "an odd bunch of fellows" who would behave in such a selfless and seemingly impractical fashion.”
|A close-up of the front sign. Photo by Rhys Heyden.|