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I.O.O.F. HALL

Sterling Township The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, also known as I.O.O.F., is a non-profit society. Odd Fellows began as a British society in 1810. In 1819 it was founded in North America by Thomas Wildey as the Washington Lodge No. 1 in Baltimore. The meaning of the unusual name is unknown. The Sterling Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Lodge 959, was organized in 1879 by a group of twenty villagers from Nobletown. On September 18, 1887 their first meeting was held in the newly constructed two-story building designed by Seth Bortree. In 1909 H. G. Stevens built a stage for $16.89. A fire escape costing $75 was added in 1917, and electricity was installed in 1923. After the last I.O.O.F. meeting in May 1946, the Sterling Building Association occupied the building until 1973. Through the years the following groups have held their meetings there: Rebekahs, P.O.S.of A., Boy Scouts, G.A.R., Sterling Supervisors, and the Grange. The hall was also rented out for elections and school plays. In 2002, by quiet title action, H.O.S.T. (Historians of Sterling Township) took possession of the vacant building. The group replaced a beam and re-layed the stone wall under the beam. The foundation also had to be re-laid. The fire escape was restored. The building has its original wainscoting, light fixtures, kitchen cupboards, windows, tongue-and-groove oak flooring, and tin roof. New cedar siding replaced the old cedar siding that was beyond repair. H.O.S.T. holds its meetings downstairs, with the museum's artifacts and genealogy material being displayed up-stairs. In 2006 the Historians of Sterling Township received the WCHS Historic Preservation Award for exterior/interior preservation and adaptive reuse of the I.O.O.F. Hall.

Text by Marge Hook and Gloria McCullough

Line Drawing by William Amptman

From 1993 through 2008 the Honesdale National Bank published an annual wall calendar, each featured 13 historic sites. The sites were chosen and researched by a committee of the historical society and artwork was commissioned to Judy Hunt and William Amptman by the bank.

This page was one month of the calendar and was made possible through the Wayne County Commissioners and a Tourism Promotion Committee’s Tourism Grant.