COLUMN: Then and Now
WORCESTER - The Odd Fellows Home at 102 Randolph Road towers over the north end of the city as it always has. Thomas Dodge wasn't an Odd Fellow, but he is said to have liked what the organization did, so he donated the land for its construction.
The home was built in the early 1890s simply as a retirement home for Odd Fellows, members of the international fraternal and benevolent organization.
The building is obviously in disrepair. It hasn't changed much - those additions that aren't visible in the original, 1901, photo were added early in the home's history - but many windows are smashed out. Graffiti marks the building, and bricks are smashed or loose in various places. Long ago turned into a parking lot, the former lawn in the rear of the building seems to be reclaiming its territory; grass shoots up through every crack in the concrete.
The three-and-a-half-story building, on the National Register of Historic Places, survived a demolition scare a few years ago, when a developer applied for a demolition delay waiver with the Worcester Historical Commission. That never panned...