The origins of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows can be traced to the creation of beneficial trade societies in England. Composed of craftsmen who practiced a variety of different or "odd" occupations, the purpose of these organizations was to support the needs of members and improve the communities in which they lived. The I.O.O.F. was formally established in this country in 1819. In 1834, the Odd Follows of North America separated from the English Order. Some years later, a group of Newark residents organized for the purpose of establishing a local lodge. On February 11, 1847, a charter was granted for Oriental Lodge #12. The present Lodge Hall was constructed here on land that was conveyed to the organization in 1851. Like many such facilities, the structure was designed to include shops for places of business on the first floor, with a meeting room above. In addition to serving for a time as the location of the town's library and telephone exchange, the building has been occupied by tailors, jewelers, barbers, and a camera shop. since its organization, Oriental Lodge #12, I.O.O.F., has continued to "Improve and Elevate the Character of Mankind" through its many services to the citizens of Newark.