The original uses and history of this two-story framed building in Reedville are currently unclear, but it was later converted for use as Tranquility Lodge No. 4218 for the Grand Order of the Odd Fellows, the African American offshoot group of the International Order of the Odd Fellows.
The building was possibly built for use as a school or a church, and likely has ties to the deep history of the African-American watermen of the Chesapeake Bay, and the menhaden industry that employed many Black fishermen and laborers in Reedville. Social and fraternal organizations were often led by prominent African American watermen who were connected to the local farmers and other leaders in the communities.
We are hoping the listing will raise awareness on the history of African American fraternal organizations, and the building’s possible ties with the African-American watermen of the Chesapeake Bay.
The structure suffers from neglect and deferred maintenance. While largely intact and stable, action needs to be taken soon to ensure the building’s preservation.
Working with the local African American community, the Grand Order of Odd Fellows, the Reedville Fisherman’s Museum, and the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society to gather more information on the building’s history is paramount. The building is located not far from Reedville historic harbor, so rehabilitation and reusing it as a community center or rest stop on the bicycle route would be a welcomed addition to the area.
For more information see the Reedville Fisherman’s Museum,
Contact: Thomas Ennen, (407) 474-8211