Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Originally Odd Fellows Memorial Hall
Address: 301-309 Schermerhorn Street
Cross Streets: Nevins and Bond Street
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: 1924-25
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
The story: The Odd Fellows can trace their origins back to the minor trade guilds of Europe in the 14th century. The name comes from the fact that some trades did not have enough members in a town to have their own guild, so they joined together – a membership of odd fellows. In addition to social activities, these organizations provided financial services for members, especially for the elderly. Many began as burial societies for members. By the late 19th century, they were one of many fraternal societies that were very popular in the United States. Brooklyn was home to chapters of just about every society possible, for every group possible, and some of those societies are still very active today.
After World War I, Brooklyn’s Odd Fellows decided to honor the members of their fellowship who had died during the war. They began collecting funds to build a memorial hall in 1920, and by 1923 had collected over $300,000. Odd Fellow lodges from all over the country contributed to the fund, as this was the only Memorial Hall for Odd Fellow war dead in NY State. The Hall would also serve to honor the over 7,000 Odd Fellows in New York who served in the war. (more…)