By Olivia Millunzi, Heritage Frederick
The Maryland Odd Fellows Home was dedicated on July 26, 1925. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows fraternal organization was founded in Baltimore on April 26, 1819, based upon the Ancient Order of the Society of Odd Fellows in England. In September 1851, the Odd Fellows became the first fraternity in the United State to include women by forming the Beautiful Rebekah Degree.
Nineteenth-century fraternal organizations drew new members by offering health insurance and other social welfare services. The Odd Fellows Home was a key part of this mission since it housed retired and indigent members, as well as the widows and orphans of deceased members. The three central buildings—two dormitories and an administration building—were designed by Baltimore architect Joseph Evans Sperry. Sperry was known for his Colonial Revival buildings, including additions to Johns Hopkins University and the women’s building of the Springfield State Hospital; all of these projects used the colony style, where several separate buildings were built on a central quadrangle. The Odd Fellows Home, supported by an on-site 95-acre farm and dairy, had more than 600 residents by 1970. But in 2003, there were only 13 residents left, and the Odd Fellows began renting buildings to The Banner School; in August of that year, the home closed permanently.