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The Odd Fellows Temple / The Williams Building

112 E. Commonwealth Avenue

the historical Odd Fellow Temple
 the building before its renovation

This imposing three-story brick structure was designed and built by Oliver S. Compton for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Lodge #103, as evidenced by the 1927 cornerstone at the building's northwest corner. Designed from the start as a profit-making venture, the building was used as meeting and activity space for the Odd Fellows. Lodge members reserved the second floor for their exclusive use while leasing out the first floor for office and retail space and the third floor to other local patriotic and fraternal organizations. One of the first tenants on the ground floor was the United States Post Office. The original pressed tin ceiling, which graced the lobby of the Post Office, is still in place. A later use for the ground floor was a food locker, and since the 1950s, the Williams Company has occupied this space. The Odd Fellows Lodge occupied the upper level of the building in some capacity until 1949, and the structure continued to serve as a lodge and meeting room for various groups well into the 1970s, when occupancy was restricted to the ground level for safety reasons.

As a striking example of the brick commercial structures of the 1920s, the building's main decorative feature is the use of glazed, pale pink and blue terra-cotta tile across the street façade. It is the only building in Fullerton with this type of unique material. Three turban-shaped copper cupolas decorate the front edge of the building. A series of arched windows on the upper level of the west wall is also a key design feature. It is the interior space, however, that gives the building its architectural significance.

the historical Odd Fellow Temple
 the building after its renovation

The upper level spaces are divided so as to provide assembly areas for both large and small gatherings, each with adjacent dining and kitchen facilities. There is a two-story high, 3,400-square-foot auditorium with pro-cenium stage and built-in seating along the walls. There is also a smaller, 2,000-square foot space, situated on a third level across the front of the building.

The building was extensively rehabilitated in 1994, and its front façade is now completely restored. In 1994, the work also included seismic retrofitting, where a steel framework was placed on the outside to brace the west wall. This alternative was chosen, because its placement was considered to have the least impact on the building's most important feature: its interior spaces and appearance.

In 2002, a new three-story lobby with a stairwell and elevator was added to the south side of the building. The addition is designed with brick veneer and detailing to complement the existing architecture, but it also exhibits features and forms to indicate clearly that it is not part of the building's original design. The addition now allows the upper levels of the building to be occupied again.

The long history of the building's use for public assembly has contributed broadly to the city's cultural development. It is the social history associated with the building - more so than its architecture - that is the property's legacy to the community.


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