Odd Fellowship started in England in the seventeenth century, when working men organized for mutual aid and community betterment. Long before the invention of a “social safety net,” these first lodges paid the expenses of members who were unable to work, and cared for the widows and orphans of those who died. It was a radical idea for the time; people didn’t know what to make of it, and called members “odd fellows”…and the name was adopted with pride.
Odd Fellowship first came to America in 1819, when Thomas Wildey and four other Odd Fellows from England founded Washington Lodge #1 in Baltimore, Maryland. With its self-help approach and its openness to every social class, it caught on quickly, and within twenty years lodges existed in every state of the Republic.
The original lodge building for Hopkins Lodge 17 was on the north corner of Main Street and 9th Ave. N. in Hopkins.