ABOUT INDEPENDENT ORDER OF ODD FELLOWS
Bay View Lodge No. 109, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Redwood City, California celebrated its 100th anniversary October 4, 1962. Bay View Lodge is the oldest fraternal organization in Redwood City and as far as can be ascertained, the oldest fraternal organization duly chartered in all of San Mateo County. Odd Fellowship came to the state of California shortly after the discovery of gold in 1849 and some of our oldest lodges are still in existence today throughout the Mother Lode country of California. Just as many Odd Fellows Lodges were off shoots of another lodge, so it was with Bay View Lodge. All of the charter members were members of California Lodge No. 1 of the Odd Fellows located in San Francisco. Dues were set at $1 per month and that stayed until the late 1950’s.
It is against this background that six Odd Fellows banded together in Redwood City to form a new lodge of Odd Fellows to be known as Bay View Lodge. The charter members were Charles N. Fox, James. W. Turner, Solomon H. Snyder, Andrew Teague, Thomas W. Lathrop and Joseph S. Keith. It was on October 4, 1862 that Bay View Lodge was instituted in Concert Hall, the then upper story of the Court House in Redwood City. According to early day records there were over 150 people present for the institution ceremonies.
The first Noble Grand of the new lodge was Charles N. Fox. Mr. Fox was a lawyer and he was to become prominent in Odd Fellowship. He later became Grand master of the Grand Lodge of the Odd Fellows in California. His father and two brothers also were Odd Fellows and the Fox family was prominent in the civic and cultural affairs of Redwood City and San Mateo County.
The teachings of Odd Fellowship are to “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, to bury the dead and educate the orphan.” The early day brothers believed fervently in these teachings. As a result of their dedication to the teachings of Odd Fellowship, the lodge prospered and within ten years had well over 100 members; which in itself was remarkable considering the population of Redwood City at that time.
For some 20 years the lodge met in rented quarters on Main Street opposite the present Odd Fellow Hall. The brothers decided in 1882 to purchase suitable property so that eventually they could build their own hall. In 1895 a new building was erected and on June 15 1895 dedication ceremonies were held. From that time forward Bay View Lodge continued to grow and initiated hundreds of new members during the next 30 years or so. Along about this time George H. Buck was an active member of the lodge and helped guide its destiny for many years. Brother Buck became a judge for San Mateo County and became rather prominent in the practice of law and it is to men such as George Buck that Bay View Lodge owes so much.