Auburn Lodge #7 circa 1894. Bricks used in the construction of the building were made and fired on this site. This hall is a notable architectural feature in Auburn.
History of Auburn Lodge #7
It was gold that put Auburn on the map. In 1848, gold miners arrived in the area and worked the ground. It wasn’t long before they started calling it the Auburn Ravine. With miners came saloons and other entities which mimicked a small town.
With towns, came the organizations of churches, clubs, and fraternal groups. The Odd Fellows were one of these groups.
The mining camps of North Fork Dry Diggings, and Woods Dry Diggings were officially called Auburn in August of 1849. Over 1500 people were in Auburn the following year. A few years later, Members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows who included, James B. Squire, John F. Scott, James Bowen, James E. Miller, and Henson Hazell arrived and petitioned for a charter to launch the Auburn Lodge. On August 17, 1852, Auburn Lodge received a charter and officially became the first in Placer County and the seventh Lodge in the California. Past Grand Master George Isaac Nicoll Monell instituted the Auburn Lodge #7 at the local Methodist Church on Thursday, October 7, 1852.
Shortly, after Auburn Odd Fellows were established, the El Dorado Lodge #8 was instituted on September 24, 1852, in Sacramento. The significance of Auburn and El Dorado Lodges being instituted, is these two Lodges made the total for California eight Lodges. These eight Lodges included the following: California #.1, Sacramento #. 2, San Francisco #. 3, Eureka #. 4, Yuba #. 5, Charity #. 6, Auburn #. 7, and El Dorado #. 8, which in turn, petitioned the Grand Lodge of the United States to create a Grand Lodge for California. Auburn Lodge and these other seven Lodges are considered the Pioneer Lodges of California.
On the 17th of May 1853, the Grand Lodge of California was formed. Auburn Lodge’s representative to this first gathering to create this new Grand Lodge was Henson Hazell. Hansen is one of the forty members who attended this session and is considered a pioneer of Odd Fellowship. He became a Grand Lodge officer in 1856. Another notable member of the Grand Lodge from Auburn Lodge #7 was Walter B. Lyon, the Grand Secretary from 1874 until his death on November 4, 1893.
The Lodge suffered a setback in 1855. A devastating fire destroyed their meeting hall. Nearly all of their records were lost in the fire. They hired Harvey T. Holmes to construct a new hall, where the members met for the next thirty-seven years. From there, the Auburn members moved into their current two-story brick building, called the Arthur Building after William Robert Arthur, a member of the Auburn Lodge. The new Odd Fellows Lodge was dedicated, by Grand Master, John Henry Simpson on February 22, 1895.
Unlike many other Lodges that came after Auburn, they have persevered and continuously pushed ahead. Today, the Odd Fellows of Auburn Lodge #7 are youthful and progressive, while respecting the meaningful values of the “old” Odd Fellows. They look to open the Order to the community and to grow.