Built along the historic and now-defunct Rutland Railroad line, Todd’s Hotel in Wallingford, Vermont, attracted tourists from Boston and New York who wished to escape the summer heat and desired to experience the rustic scenery or to fish for trout in streams that surrounded the hotel. Under the proprietorship of Joel Todd, the Hotel enjoyed an enviable reputation, and its dance hall, reputed to be the largest hall connected with a hotel in the state of Vermont, was the site of many elegant balls (including the Masonic ball described in the above dance card) and game suppers, which Todd gave with increasing frequency.
Sadly, Todd’s Hotel was gutted by fire in 1888, but research into this small dance card held in the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library has revealed the presence of a very active and growing fraternal community in late 19th century Rutland County, Vermont. In addition to the 12 Masonic Lodges listed in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Vermont for 1882, Rutland County hosted 4 Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) Lodges and 6 Grand Army of the Republic Posts.
The proprietor of Todd’s Hotel, Joel Todd, was active in fraternal circles, as well, and in 1871 Todd and his older brother Horace, along with several other men, founded Pico Lodge, No. 32, I.O.O.F, in Wallingford, Vermont. As for Todd’s possible ties to Freemasonry, records held at the Grand Lodge of Vermont reveal that Todd took his first Masonic degree on January 7, 1878, in Anchor Lodge, No. 99, but did not continue any further.
Masonic Dance Card: Masonic Ball at Todd's Hotel, 1882. Purchase. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 015.
Smith, Henry Perry, and William S. Rann (1886). History of Rutland County, Vermont: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. (Vol. 2) Syracuse, New York: Heritage Books. https://archive.org/details/historyofrutland00smit 18 August 2015.
Thorpe, Walter (1911). History of Wallingford, Vermont. Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle. https://archive.org/details/historyofwalling00thor 18 August 2015.