IOOF Sonora Lodge #10

Faithfully serving our community since 1853. 

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The Odd Fellows and its sister organization, the Rebekahs, are two of the oldest worldwide Fraternal orders. Although some books claim to trace Odd Fellowship back to Roman times, what is said to be the earliest record of an Odd Fellows Lodge appears in a reference to a Lodge meeting at Globe Tavern in England in 1748.  The Lodge was No. 9, so apparently there were at least 9 associated fellow Lodges at that time. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows became active on this continent on April 26, 1819, in Baltimore, Maryland, when it was founded by an Englishman named Thomas Wildey. There are now over 10,000 Lodges in 26 countries.  

The Odd Fellows mission is to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead, and educate the orphan, because we were founded at a time before federal and state social service departments were established to provide these services. Sonora IOOF focuses on raising funds to support the education of current and former foster youth, the sick and the elderly, and we also take great pride in caring for our non-endowment historical cemetery.  

The Odd Fellows Motto is: Friendship, Love and Truth, as we believe that these three links are necessary to the survival of the world, and can only be accomplished through the practice of fellowship and understanding among all peoples and nations.  The Independent Order of Odd Fellows are often referred to as, "The Three Link Fraternity," for this reason.  


Although our membership and elected officers are committed to remaining topical and relevant, our Lodge preserves the old regalia, and remains practiced on rituals and ceremonies out of respect and deference for the history of the Lodge and its members. But we are so much more than that! 

For over 80 years (1853 through the 1930's) the Sonora IOOF was the most active service organization in the community and did so much to help this town prosper and get through its hard times.  Like most service organizations, membership declined post WWII, and by the 1990's, membership had gotten dangerously low.  Our most veteran members were aged and in-firmed, so there was no one to provide care to the lodge or its cemetery.  By the end of 2010, the lodge had only five active members, the lodge had no income, and was facing closure.  Then, in 2011, 
a story about the desecration and vandalization of the Sonora Odd Fellows cemetery was published in the local newspaper, and many new members joined to help revive the Lodge's activity and to help preserve the cemetery.  The Sonora Lodge has since undergone major changes, and we've been very excited to give our lodge new life and bring it back to the forefront of service to our community.  

Sonora IOOF is committed to raising funds for our community's current and former foster youth, its sick and its elderly.  We've established a non-profit foundation to increase our fund raising efforts and provide even more to this community to keep our tradition going! 

As the 10th oldest lodge in the State of California, our beautiful and historic Lodge hall is a source of pride.  It is in a prominent location right off Washington Street in downtown Sonora.  Our neon sign has been a staple in the area for decades, and easily identifies our building from both sides of the street. Our current renters include the Sonora School of Sewing and Apparel Construction and the La Bella Rosa gift shop.