Description of Historic Place
The Independent Order Odd Fellows Ridgely Lodge #250 (or Odd Fellows Hall) is located in its original location in the Village of Oil Springs, Ontario, at the intersection of Kelly Road and the Oil Springs Line. The two storey Renaissance Revival building has distinctive architectural features, and a diverse history intimately connected with community involvement.
The Odd Fellows Hall was designated by the Village of Oil Springs under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-Law 2007-463) for its heritage value.
A Renaissance Revival building, the Independent Order Odd Fellows Ridgely Lodge #250 is a basic rectangular, two storey building with a solid yellow brick (stretcher style) exterior. It is embellished with wood and cast iron elements. There is an engraved date stone on the second storey that reads, “I.O.O.F. 1890,” to acknowledge the year the structure was erected. The exterior ground floor has fine architectural features that include: large brick pilasters topped with decorative wood moulding; and two narrower pilasters flanking the front entrance, made of cast iron and marked “Doherty Sarnia, Ont.” (a stove foundry in Sarnia). The second storey features large single hung windows, topped with decorative brickwork (alternating voussoirs) in a contrasting colour. Additionally, three windows on the west side have multiple light transoms containing coloured glass sections. An exceptional architectural feature of this structure is the decorative wooden trim along the roof line and additional decorative brickwork below the wooden trim. There are sixteen decorative corbels along the roof line and seven decorative corbels on top of each brick column, painted in a contrasting colour.
The Odd Fellows Hall had multiple uses throughout its history, and served as an important community hub for the Village of Oil Springs. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows came to Oil Springs in 1886, originally meeting in the village's Orange Hall. Members erected their own building in 1890 at the corner of Oil Springs Line (formerly Main Street) and Kelly Road. The hall was dedicated on December 18th, 1890 by the Reverend Brother N.H. Martin, Past Grand Master of Chatham; this was witnessed by 175 members, and the meeting (which included a dinner served by the ladies) did not close until 2:00 a.m. Construction for an enlargement on the east side of the building began in July, 1903, and was completed in February, 1904. The Lady Washington Rebekah Lodge #337 has also been using the Odd Fellows Hall for meetings since they were instituted in May, 1947.
The Odd Fellows are a mutual benefit society, and have been important in Oil Springs not only because they provide fellowship among members, but also because they support charitable causes in the community. Fraternal organizations like the International Order of Odd Fellows have been important in communities across Canada, and offer companionship as well as community support. After the building was enlarged, the I.O.O.F. began renting the hall to various organizations for $25 per year, which was later increased to $75 per year to supplement the building's upkeep. Various businesses have rented from the Odd Fellows Hall, including a general store, meat market, drug store, variety store, barbershop and pool room, furniture store, and two apartments on the upper floor east side.
Sources: Village of Oil Springs Municipal Office: “Designation Data Sheet” and By-law No. 463 of 2007. Oil Museum of Canada archives: selected excerpts from the Tweedsmuir History of Oil Springs.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Independent Order Odd Fellows Ridgely Lodge #250 include its:
- original location, prominently situated on Oil Springs's main street
- solid yellow brick (stretcher style) exterior with wood and cast iron embellishments
- engraved date stone on the second storey, “I.O.O.F. 1890”
- decorative brickwork
- three large brick pilasters
- decorative wood mouldings
- two narrower pilasters on each side of both front entrances, cast iron and marked “Doherty Sarnia Ont”
- two angled recessed single doorways on façade; third door (access to apartments) not original
- panes of glass with transom windows above on the angled sides
- recessed panels on the screen door echoing panels on angled doorway walls
- large single hung windows inside each pair of pilasters
- four semi-circular windows
- two segmental windows
- decorative brickwork at top of each window (alternating voussoirs) in contrasting colour
- multiple light transoms containing coloured glass sections (three west side windows)
- decorative wooden trim along roof line and decorative brickwork below
- sixteen decorative corbels along roof line and seven decorative corbels on top of each brick column painted in contrasting colour
- second floor I.O.O.F. meeting hall has twelve foot ceilings and white oak hardwood flooring beneath carpet
- original furniture in the meeting hall: twelve different sized Eastlake style chairs inscribed with the lodge logo; two desks with chairs; small metal safe (Victor Safe and Lock Co.); piano (Henry Herbert Toronto from Mason and Risch Ltd)
- kitchen cupboards, doors and wood trim all grained in faux wood technique (original)
- original hardwood tongue and groove flooring
- heating system, originally wood furnace to heat both floors; after renovations in 1903-04, new coal-burning steam heating system installed