- 1 BELMONT LODGE
- 2 REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- 2.1 ANNIVERSARIES
- 2.2 VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 2.3 BY-LAW CHANGES
- 2.4 HISTORY
- 2.5 OTHER
- 2.6 EVENTS
- 2.7 GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- 2.8 OTHER BROTHERS
- 2.9 DISTRICTS
- 2.10 LINKS
Chartered By: William Parkman
Charter Date: 03/09/1865 VII-2
Precedence Date: 03/08/1864
- William B. Bothamly, 1864, 1865
- William W. Mead, 1866, 1867
- Alvin M. Fisher, 1868
- George H. Porter, 1869, 1870
- Henry M. Haines, 1871, 1872
- John H. Lakin, 1873, 1874
- Charles E. Chenery, 1875, 1876
- George H. Chenery, 1877
- William M. Nassau, 1878, 1879
- William Munroe, 1880, 1881
- John H. Pettinger, 1882
- J. Lucius Ellis, 1883, 1884
- Frank Chandler, 1885, 1886
- James D. Evans, 1887
- William H. Pierce, 1888-1890, 1904
- Louis Locke, 1891, 1892
- Charles H. Houlahan, 1893, 1894
- Edward O. Hatch, 1895, 1896; Memorial
- Gustavus C. Holt, 1897, 1898
- George C. Flett, 1899, 1900; SN
- Irving B. Frost, 1901, 1902
- Joseph H. Cullis, 1903
- Amos E. Hill, 1905, 1906
- Horace Parker, 1907
- George M. Rogers, 1908, 1909
- Fred E. Poor, 1910, 1911
- Charles W. Sherman, 1912
- Royal T. Brodrick, 1913
- Fredric S. Pry, 1915
- Clarence A. Russell, 1916, 1917
- J. Frank Edgar, 1918, 1919
- Amos L. Taylor, 1920; N
- Alexander E. Corbett, 1921
- Arthur P. Stone, 1922
- J. Watson Flett, 1923
- Samuel Alcock, 1924
- William C. Swain, 1925
- Chester R. Thomas, 1926
- Louis A. Jones, 1927
- Wallace S. Blood, 1928
- Joseph Earl Perry, 1929
- Frank A. Scott, 1930
- Alfred H. Gardner, 1931
- Charles C. Small, 1932
- Earl W. Taylor, 1933
- George C. Steil, 1934
- James E. Woods, 1935
- Charles E. Flanders, 1936
- W. Andrew Hickie, 1937
- Allen T. Dresser, 1938
- Stanley G. Russell, 1939
- Philip W. Russell, 1940
- John T. Hollis, 1941
- Edwin A. Cheney, 1942
- Henry G. Pratley, 1943
- Walter F. Johnson, 1944
- Paul C. Whitney, 1945; N
- Herbert H. Jaynes, 1946
- Harold C. Greenlaw, 1947
- Chester D. Shepherd, 1948
- Frank F. Pierce, 1949
- Howard E. Clark, 1950
- George D. Vincent, 1951
- Douglas G. Lillie, 1952
- Mark R. Gifford, 1953
- Harvey Atkinson, 1954
- Walter W. Knowlton, 1955
- Gilbert M. Jones, 1956
- George A. Lincoln, 1957; N
- Alexander L. Whalen, 1958
- Kenneth W. Littleton, 1959
- E. Wayne Donaldson, 1960
- Walter R. Abbott, 1961
- Joseph H. Dillon, 1962
- Fred H. Chamberlin, 1963
- Bob Rudy Homberg, 1964
- George B. Pike, Jr., 1965
- Brenton W. Canning, 1966
- Harold V. Segar, 1967
- Reginald V. Gardner, 1968
- Robert M. Richardson, 1969
- Paul W. Rolston, 1970
- Kenneth M. Horton, 1971
- Ronald F. Cassidy, 1972
- Kent Larson, 1973
- Richard I. Lowe, 1974
- William J. Cochran, 1975
- Walter A. Reed, 1976
- Roger W. Austin, 1978
- Earl T. Spicer, 1979, 1980
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- 1914 (50th Anniversary)
- 1928 (1000th meeting)
- 1939 (75th Anniversary; GL Special Communication)
- 1964 (Centenary; GL Special Communication)
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1865 (Parkman; constitution of lodge and installation; see description below)
- 1878 (Welch; installation)
- 1879 (Welch; installation)
- 1880 (Welch; hall dedication)
- 1906 (Blake; hall dedication)
- 1908 (Blake; hall dedication)
- 1909 (Blake; hall dedication)
- 1912 (Flanders)
- 1914 (M. Johnson; 50th Anniversary)
- 1918 (Abbott)
- 1928 ( Simpson; 1000th meeting and installation)
- 1930 (Allen; reception for Deputy Grand Master Louis A. Jones)
- 1936 (H. Dean; reception for Deputy Grand Master Joseph E. Perry)
- 1938 (Perry; 2 visits, Past Masters' Night and Grand Master reception)
- 1939 (Perry; 3 visits, anniversary, Ladies' Night and installation)
- 1940 (Perry; 3 visits, church service, Past Masters' Night and installation)
- 1941 (Schaefer; reception for Senior Grand Warden Earl Taylor)
- 1952 (Roy; reception for Grand Secretary Earl Taylor)
- 1954 (W. Johnson; reception for Senior Grand Warden Herbert Jaynes)
- 1960 (Eaton)
- 1963 (Osgood)
- 1964 (Osgood; Centennial)
- 1967 (Perry, as Acting Grand Master; Past Masters' Night)
- 1969 (Jaynes; Grand Master's reception)
- 1973 (Vose; Fathers and sons night)
- 1975 (Maxwell; installation)
- 1973 (Melanson; 2 visits Hall dedication and merger)
75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MARCH 1939
From Proceedings, Page 1939-31:
By Bro. Edwin A. Cheney.
The real history of Belmont Lodge covering the seventy-five years of its existence is found in the books of record kept for that purpose in which are included the minutes of the 1134 communications held by the Lodge during that time, so that in a real sense this is not a history, but merely a brief condensation of some of the important and interesting events which have taken place during that time, together with some statistics.
History is "a systematic record of past events especially of those in which man has taken part, such past events in general being considered as material for record." I think unconsciously we think of history as a series of exciting events, but when men associate themselves together as we have for the past seventy-five years for the avowed purpose of learning to subdue our passions, keep a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy, and practice charity it doesn't make for exciting reading. The history of any Masonic Lodge is, therefore, a chronicle of a series of rather prosaic and to the uninitiated uninteresting events. It is a series of meetings at which a ritualistic routine is practiced over and over again in a quiet, continuing, and earnest endeavor to build character.
On March 2, 1864, an informal meeting was held in the vestry of the Unitarian Church in Belmont Center for the purpose of forming a new Lodge. The Unitarian Church at that time was located in Belmont Center diagonally across from its present location or next to the present coal yard of Marcy Brothers at 395 Concord Avenue. The meeting was called to order by Past Master William J. Underwood and there were seven Master Masons present. That the voting for Master was not merely perfunctory is attested by the fact that Brother William B. Bothamly received four votes and Worshipful Brother Underwood three, and William B. Bothamly became the first Master of the Lodge.
It was voted that "Belmont" be adopted as the name of the Lodge and that the meetings be held monthly on Wednesday evenings on or after the full of the moon. Nothing appears in the records as to why the time of the meetings was dependent upon the moon, but it is my opinion that it was because of the desirability of having light for driving to the members' homes after the meetings, because it should be remembered that Belmont at that time was a farming district and the members came and went in horse drawn vehicles. In this connection it is interesting to note that Belmont was incorporated as a Town in 1859 and that its population at that time was approximately 1279. It is also interesting to note that at that time Abraham Lincoln had not been elected President for the second time nor had General Sherman made his famous march through Georgia to the sea, and it was over a year later that Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Grant, and at that time the telephone, phonograph, incandescent lamps, and linotype machines had not been invented and that rapid transit was dependent on horse cars or on the steam railroads.
On March 8, 1864, thirteen Master Masons signed a request for a Dispensation from the Grand Master and on March 23rd a meeting was held in Waverley Hall. Waverley Hall so-called was situated more or less on the site of the present Boston & Maine Station, but at that time was occupied by a store owned by the father of one of Belmont Lodge's Past Masters, Worshipful Brother Clarence A. Russell. This building has since been moved across the street, some of which goes to make up the present building now occupied by the Post Office. A Dispensation was presented empowering the Lodge to work for one year. At this meeting it was voted that the fees for initiation be $20.00; a proposition, which today we call an application, was received for the degrees in the Lodge from Horace A. Homer.
On May 25th, the records disclose that the Lodge closed at nine and one-half P.M. and on the invitation of the Worshipful Master partook of a collation at his home. It is fortunate for the Masters who followed that this custom has not prevailed.
On July 23rd we find that it being a very warm night and an important war meeting occurring on the same evening but a few members were present.
On September 21st an invitation was received from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge to attend the celebration of the laving of the corner stone of the new Masonic Temple.
On November 16th of this same year is recorded the first official visitation of a Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother William Parkman, and on April 5, 1865, the Grand Master again visited the Lodge for the purpose of installing the officers.
It is interesting to note that the records do not disclose another visitation by a Grand Master until 1878, fourteen years later. The records during this time disclose that the members usually partook of a slight collation. It is interesting to note that these collations were usually provided for by subscription rather than out of the general funds of the Lodge.
At this time there appear references in the minutes to letters received from wives and daughters of deceased members expressing appreciation for kindnesses extended by Lodge members to their departed loved ones in their distress and thanking the Lodge for furnishing "watchers." This, of course, is where the familiar alibi "sitting up with a sick friend" originated. Nurses were not employed in those days as they now are and the giving of medicine, keeping heating pads warm and keeping fires going were dependent on friends and fraternal Brothers who really acted as nurses and were known as "watchers."
On June 17, 1867, a visit was paid Belmont Lodge by the officers and members of Pequossette Lodge and an invitation was extended to Belmont Lodge to join with them at a later date. This was the beginning of a long and enduring friendship between these two Lodges.
On April 8, 1868, I note that the records show that the Worshipful Master Alvin M. Fisher presided in the "West." We also find that lager beer was served at some of the meetings and whether this had anything to do with the Worshipful being in the "West" we will never know.
On June 10th "A poor and distressed Worthy was with us who had good testimonials and made a brotherly appeal through the Worshipful Master who ordered the contribution box to be placed on the altar and invited all who could without inconvenience to themselves and family to contribute their mite, whereupon $8.35 was collected and the recipient expressed himself as truly grateful." The next year the meeting night was changed to Thursday and a communication was read from the Grand Lodge regarding swindlers, etc. and said notice was posted upon the blackboard. Printed notices to members in those days were of course out of the question.
On March 17, 1870, it was stated that Waverley Hall had been sold and that a hall was available in Belmont Center in the High School building heated by furnace, lighted with gas, with ten first class horse sheds nearby and it was voted to move the Lodge to this building.
In 1871 the Lodge voted $25.00 for sufferers of the Chicago Fire.
On May 8, 1879, the officers of the Lodge were installed by Most Worshipful Charles A. Welch, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts.
In 1880 the yearly dues were established at $4.00.
On February 26, 1880, the new hall in the Fitchburg Depot was dedicated and the Grand Master was again present. The minutes disclose that when trains rolled through the station the noise was so great that the work had to be suspended until the train disappeared in the distance. The Fitchburg Depot at that time was located about where the present railroad bridge and underpass now are at Belmont Center.
On February 9, 1882, the records refer to attending a funeral in Cambridge and mention is made of a severe and heavy snowstorm, so severe that scarcely a horse car was able to make the trip through East Cambridge.
Records through this period disclose that a charge was given a candidate after receiving the First Degree, also that it was necessary that a candidate after receiving the Third Degree be elected to membership before actually becoming a member.
In 1889 Belmont Lodge had been in existence twenty-five years and there is nothing in the records to show that any special celebration had occurred. It is interesting to note that during this twenty-five year period the population of the Town had increased to 2098 and that this period was still nearly ten years before the Spanish War and that at that time there had not been invented moving pictures, wireless, airplanes, or gasoline engine driven automobiles.
About 1895 the Beethoven Quartette first began to sing for the Lodge and it has continued singing for Lodge functions, with changes in personnel of course, for forty-three years. This quartette originated in Beth-horon Lodge, but difficulty in pronunciation caused it to be known as Beethoven and it has remained so to this day. In the old days after the quartette got through with their work they would go into the banquet hall and prepare the collation for the members. Present day stewards may wish to make a note of this. The Lodge-room was originally in what is now the banquet hall. In 1920 this quartette sang at five Third Degrees during one month.
In October 1899, the first meeting was held in the new Masonic Hall at our present location and the hall was dedicated by Acting Grand Master Right Worshipful Charles T. Gallagher and at that time the total membership of the Lodge stood at 107.
On February 18, 1900, a special dispensation was granted and the funeral of Joseph L. Frost was held in the Lodge-rooms. Funerals of members since that time have been held on several occasions in the Lodge-rooms.
On April 5, 1900, the officers of Washington Lodge, Manchester, New Hampshire, were present and raised one of their candidates and on May 4th of the same year Belmont Lodge returned the visit and were entertained by officers of Washington Lodge in Manchester by "being taken on a trolley trip over the various lines in the City."
On March 14, 1901 the first Ladies' Night was held.
On July 9, 1901, sixteen members of Belmont Lodge attended dedicatory exercises at Benton Lodge, Guildhall, Vermont, In honor of their former member Colonel Everett C. Benton, who became the first Master of that Lodge and later Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts.
On March 3, 1904, the 500th Communication of the Lodge took place. The membership at that time was approximately 156.
On March 1, 1906, the Reverend Jesse Coker was installed as Chaplain. He served in that capacity for about thirty years until the time of his death. The records of the Lodge express on many, many occasions the affection he was held in by his Brethren.
On October 20, 1908, the 560th Communication was held to attend the funeral of our first Master, William H. Bothamly, who was also the last surviving Charter member.
In the same year we find the first mention of the proposed Masonic Home in Charlton and the next year a play "As You Like It" was given on the lawn of the Benton Estate under the sponsorship of the Women's Auxiliary and the sum of $681.80 was raised for the Home and the Home was actually dedicated on May 25, 1911.
In 1914 the Lodge had been in existence for fifty years. The minutes disclose no particular celebration, but I find in the Grand Lodge records a brief statement that on March 24, 1914, Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson attended the celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Belmont Lodge in the Town Hall in Belmont and I am informed by some of the members that an appropriate celebration was observed. The Town had by this time grown in size to a population of 8081 and the membership of the Lodge to 257.
On December 14, 1916, James K. Locke died after having served the Lodge as Treasurer for forty years.
In 1917 Charles H. Houlahan died after serving the Lodge as Secretary for twenty years.
On April 7, 1921, the records show that Brother F. C. Brown presented a pair of boxing gloves to the Lodge; that said boxing troves were such as were first used in the earlier days of Belmont Lodge. They were given as a memento, nicely encased in a box which he had made and which was accepted by the Worshipful Master with thanks. I am ignorant as to what may have happened to that valuable gift or to what particular use it may have been dedicated. Possibly it was used by the Master to keep recalcitrant Brethren in the proper frame of mind.
In 1922 a motion was passed by Belmont Lodge recommending a Dispensation for the purpose of forming Beaver Lodge.
In 1923 Henry F. Arenstrop died after having served the Lodge as Inside Sentinel and Tyler for thirty-six years.
On December 13,1928, the 1000th Communication of Belmont Lodge was held and Most Worshipful Grand Master Frank L. Simpson installed the then Worshipful Brother Joseph Earl Perry as Master of Belmont Lodge.
It took approximately forty years to reach the 500th Communication of Belmont Lodge, but the next five hundred Communications were accomplished in about twenty-four years.
That same year it was voted to loan the Grand Lodge for an indefinite time the chair in the East of the Lodge which had once been the property of Right Worshipful Henry Price, the first Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and that chair now occupies a prominent place in the Museum Room and is nicely encased in glass.
Belmont Lodge has had 51 Masters during its existence, a list of whom is appended to this history.
One of its affiliated members, Most Worshipful Everett C. Benton, became Grand Master. The only Past Master of Belmont Lodge to become Grand Master is the Most Worshipful Joseph Earl Perry, who served Belmont Lodge as Master in 1929 and later became District Deputy Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, and in December 1937 became Grand Master.
Four Past Masters of Belmont Lodge have become District Deputy Grand Masters and many distinguished Belmont Past Masters have become officers of the Grand Lodge.
According to my computation during the seventy-five years of the Lodge's history there have been 893 candidates raised. The greatest number of meetings held in any calendar year was in 1920 when there were 52 meetings and 57 candidates raised. The following year, however, there were only 42 communications held and 97 candidates raised. The high point in membership was reached in 1931 with 633 members.
In closing we would pause to pay our tribute to those Brothers who seventy-five years ago started this Lodge. We are prone to think of our own time as one of crises, turmoil, and strife when the faith of man is sorely tried, but we can look back seventy-five years to that little meeting in the Unitarian Church when those good men, at a time when this country was torn by the greatest fratricidal war in history, did have faith and courage enough to start this Lodge and from their example we can well take renewed inspiration and vigor to carry on the work that they so nobly started. So, in memory of you, our departed Brothers, we pause to express the fraternal love and affection we have for your memory.
And now our thoughts go forward to seventy-five years from tonight when a new group of Belmont Lodge members may be meeting to celebrate the 150th anniversary and we pause again to salute you. To you it will be a very different world from that we know today. Inventions will be commonplace then that we cannot contemplate now. You will face problems that seem insurmountable, you will combat "isms" that threaten your very existence, but to you we say "be resolute and of good cheer". We have endeavored to carry on as good citizens and as good Masons in times that seemed to us critical and acute. We have often failed, but each failure has brought forth fresh resolutions to give our best and, God willing, we will succeed in contributing our share to the making of a better world. So, to you we say "pick up the torch that falls from our failing hands and lift it on high, learn well the professions of your Masonic faith and while you keep yourselves circumscribed within those precepts it is impossible that you materially err".
- Stanley G. Russell, Master
- Philip W. Russell, Senior Warden
- John T. Hollis, Junior Warden
- Wor. Samuel Alcock, Treasurer
- Bradley A. McCausland, Secretary
- Rev. Marion F. Ham, Chaplain
- Wor. Allen T. Dresser, Marshal
- Edwin A. Cheney, Senior Deacon
- Henry G. Pratley, Junior Deacon
- Edgar T. Downes, Senior Steward
- Walter F. Johnson, Junior Steward
- Paul C. Whitney, Inside Sentinel
- Walter E. Campbell, Tyler
- George R. Loud, Organist
- William B. Bothamly, 1864 †
- William W. Mead, 1866 †
- Alvin M. Fisher, 1868 †
- George H. Porter, 1869 †
- Henry M. Haines, 1871 †
- John H. Lakin, 1873 †
- Charles E. Chenery, 1875 †
- George H. Chenery, 1877 †
- William M. Nassau, 1878 †
- William Munroe, 1880 †
- John H. Pettinger, 1882 †
- J. Lucius Ellis, 1883 †
- Frank Chandler, 1885 †
- James D. Evans, 1887 †
- William H. Pierce, 1888 †
- Louis Locke, 1891 †
- Charles H. Houlahan, 1893 †
- Edward C. Hatch, 1895 † g
- Gustavus C. Holt, 1897 †
- George C. Flett, 1899 † g
- Irving B. Frost, 1900 †
- Joseph H. Cullis, 1903 †
- William H. Pierce, 1904 †
- Amos E. Hill , 1905 †
- Horace Parker, 1907
- George M. Rogers, 1908 p
- Fred E. Poor, 1910
- Charles W. Sherman, 1912
- Royal T. Brodrick, 1913 † im
- Frederic S. Pry, 1915
- Clarence A. Russell, 1916
- J. Frank Edgar, 1918 †
- Amos L. Taylor, 1920 g
- Alexander E. Corbett, 1921
- Arthur P. Stone, 1922
- J. Watson Flett, 1923 j
- Samuel Alcock, 1924
- William C. Swain, 1925
- Chester R. Thomas, 1926 jm
- Louis A. Jones, 1927 cl
- Wallace S. Blood, 1928
- Joseph Earl Perry, 1929 acgk
- Frank A. Scott, 1930
- Alfred H. Gardner, 1931 n
- Charles C. Small, 1932
- Earl W. Taylor, 1933 fh
- George C. Steil, 1934
- James E. Woods, 1935 †
- Charles E. Flanders, 1936 o
- W. Andrew Hickie, 1937
- Allen T. Dresser, 1938
- a Grand Master
- b Past Grand Master
- c Past Deputy Grand Master
- d Past Senior Grand Warden
- e Past Grand Secretary
- f Grand Marshal
- g Past District Deputy Grand Master
- h Past Senior Grand Deacon
- i Past Grand Sword Bearer
- j Past Grand Standard Bearer
- k Past Judge Advocate
- I Chairman, Board of Trials
- m Past District Deputy Grand Marshal
- n Past District Deputy Grand Secretary
- o Marshal, 34th Lodge oflnstruction
- p Dimitted
- † Deceased
|Candidates Raised||Members Affiliated||Membership|
CENTENARY HISTORY, MARCH 1964
From Proceedings, Page 1964-22:
By R. W. Paul C. Whitney.
Belmont, Mass., March 2nd, 1864
At an informal meeting of several Master Masons, assembled at the Vestry of the Unitarian Church for the purpose of forming a new Lodge in said Town of Belmont, the meeting was called to order by Past Master William J. Underwood. Brother William W. Mead was elected Secretary Pro-tem. Upon motion it was voted that we proceed to vote for Officers, to serve for the ensuing year.
Brother Higgins was appointed a Committee to receive, sort and count the votes for Master who attended to that duty, and reported the whole number of votes to be seven, of which Brother J. J. Underwood had three (3) and Bro. W. B. Bothamly four (4) and upon motion of Bro. Higgins, the ballot was declared unanimous.
Upon voting for Senior Warden, the votes were found to be the same number as before, viz. — seven of which Bro. W. W. Mead received six (6) and Bro. Thomas Livermore one (1) and the ballot was upon motion also declared unanimous.
- The ballot for Junior Warden was found to be seven (7) of which Bro. O. M. Homer received the entire number.
- The ballot for Treasurer was also found to be seven (7) and Bro. Jonas B. Chenery received the whole number.
- The ballot for Secretary was found to be the same, viz, seven (7) and Bro. Charles Heywood received the entire number.
Bro. Bothamly & Higgins were appointed a Committee on fitting up a Hall for our own, as soon as one can be obtained and — Bros. Underwood, Mead & Bothamly were appointed a Committee on Furniture and Bros. Harrison and Mead as a Com. on Finance.
Upon motion it was voted that we adopt the name of BELMONT for the name of the Lodge, and that we hold our meetings on Wednesday evenings on or after the full of the moon of every month.
Attest: Wm. W. Mead, Sec. Pro Tem.
Belmont, March 8th, A. L. 5864
Names of Master Masons — who signed the request for a Dispensation —
- Wm. J. Underwood
- Wm. B. Bothamly
- Isaac Watts
- James M. Hale
- Jonas B. Chenery
- Thos. Livermore
- Warren Heustis
- Wm. W. Mead
- O. M. Homer
- Geo. W. Ware, Jr.
- Geo. W. Long
- Chas. L. Heywood
- Albert Higgins
- Jas. R. Harrison
Belmont, March 23rd, 1864
A Lodge of Master Masons was opened in Waverley Hall at 8 o'clock, under the following organization — Worshipful Past Master William J. Underwood in the East, Brother William W. Mead in the West, Brother Orlando M. Homer in the South, Brother Jonas B. Chenery as Treasurer, Brother Chas. L. Heywood as Secretary, Brother Wm. B. Bothamly as Senior Deacon, Brother James R. Harrison as Junior Deacon, Brother Albert Higgins as Senior Steward, Brother Isaac Watts as Junior Steward, Brother N. Y. Tricky as Tyler.
<gr> The records of the informal meeting of the second instant were read; the Wor. Master presented a Dispensation from the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mass. granting us power to work for one year, and it was read by the secretary.
Brother Underwood then resigned the chair to Bro. Bothamly, Worshipful Master-elect, of the first Masonic Lodge in this town, styled BELMONT LODGE.
Waverley Hall, First Meeting Place of Belmont Lodge.
You have just read the minutes of the first two meetings of Belmont Lodge. They were written in long hand and the penmanship was superb. The Unitarian Church at that time was located in Belmont Center diagonally across from its present location or next to the Belmont Lumber Co. on Concord Avenue. Waverley Hall was situated more or less on the site of the present parking lot adjoining the railroad at Waverley Square.
"Meetings on Wednesday evenings on or after the full of the moon of every month" was probably because of the desirability of having light for driving to the members' homes after the meetings. You will remember that Belmont at that time was a farming district and the members travelled in horse-drawn vehicles.
Belmont was incorporated as a town in 18S9 and its population at that time was recorded as 1279. Five years later when our Lodge began, it was probably still less than 1500. It is also interesting to note that at that time Abraham Lincoln was president of our country and we were engaged in a great Civil War. None of the inventions which are so commonplace today, such as the telephone, phonograph, incandescent lamps and type-setting machines were in existence. Rapid transit was dependent on horses or the steam railroad.
On May 25th, 1864, the Lodge closed at 9 1/2 P.M. and on the invitation of the Worshipful Master partook of a collation at his home. It is fortunate for the Masters who followed that this custom has not prevailed. We find recorded on July 23rd that it was a very warm night and that an important war meeting was being held at the same time so that few members were present. On September 21st, an invitation was received from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge to attend the celebration of the laying of the cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple in Boston. On November 16th of this same year is also recorded the first Official Visitation of a Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother William Parkman, and on April 5th, 1865, the Grand Master again visited the Lodge for the purpose of installing the officers. It is interesting to note that the records do not disclose another visitation by a Grand Master until 1879, 14 years later, and thus began our Belmont Lodge.
The detailed history of Belmont Lodge covering the past one hundred years is of course found in the books of the records kept for that purpose, and in which are included the minutes of the fifteen hundred and thirty-two communications held by the Lodge during that time. That which follows is, therefore, not really history but merely a brief condensation of some of the important and interesting events which have taken place during the century, together with some statistics.
As we look back over the century just past, in addition to the eleven charter members there have been a total of 1,616 men who have associated themselves together for the avowed purpose of learning to subdue their passions, keep a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy and practice charity. Think of all these meetings at which a ritual routine has been practiced over and over again in a quiet, continuing and earnest endeavor to build character. Think how much the members of our Belmont Lodge, men of character, have contributed to our fraternity as a whole, to our community, to our churches, and to civic enterprises.
In the early years there are references in the minutes to letters being received from wives and daughters of deceased members expressing appreciation for kindnesses extended by Lodge members to their departed loved ones in their distress, and thanking the Lodge for furnishing "watches"; this probably is where the familiar excuse "sitting up with a sick friend" originated. Nurses were not employed in those days as they are now, and the giving of medicine, keeping heating pads warm, and keeping fires going, was dependent on friends and fraternal brothers who really acted as nurses and were known as "watches."
A long and enduring friendly relation between Pequossette Lodge of Watertown and Belmont Lodge was initiated on June 17, 1867, when the officers and members of Pequossette Lodge paid a visit to Belmont Lodge and extended an invitation to Belmont Lodge to join with them at a later date. The exchange of friendly visits with a few lapses has continued through the years.
In 1869 the meeting night was changed to Thursday instead of Wednesday. The receipts for this year were $353.50 and after paying the bills the balance was $127.66. $110 was deposited in the Boston Five Cent Savings Bank.
On March 17, 1870, it is recorded that Waverley Hall had been sold, and that a hall was available in Belmont Center in the High School building heated by a furnace, lighted with gas, with ten first-class horse-sheds near by. It was voted to move the Lodge to this building.
On May 8, 1879, the officers of the Lodge were installed by M. W. Charles A. Welch, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. A year later the yearly dues were established at $4.00. Also in the year 1880 the new Masonic Hall in the Fitchburg depot was dedicated and the Grand Master was again present. The Fitchburg depot was located about where the present railroad bridge and underpass now are at Belmont Center. During this period the minutes disclose that when trains rolled through the station, the noise was so great that work had to be suspended until the train disappeared in the distance. This is not peculiar to the 1880's and many a recent member has missed the Master's words of wisdom or a portion of the ritual as a result of a noisy freight rounding the bend.
At the time of the 25th anniversary of Belmont Lodge in 1889, the records do not show any special celebration. The population of the town had increased to about 2,100 and we still didn't have moving pictures, wireless, airplanes or gasoline engine-driven automobiles.
When the building which now houses our Masonic apartments was under construction, Belmont Lodge entered into negotiations with the result that a lease was signed for 10 years, the first five at $250.00 a year, the second five at $275.00 a year. This covered only the present Banquet Hall which was, up to the remodeling in 1919-20, the Lodge room, and about one-half of the present Lodge room which was the banquet hall at that time. The balance of the present Lodge room was the Belmont telephone exchange.
In October, 1899, the first meeting was held in the new Masonic Hall at our present location, and the hall was dedicated by Acting Grand Master R.W. Charles T. Gallagher. At that time the total membership of the lodge stood at 107.
On July 8, 1901, the 463rd Communication opened at 7 o'clock in the evening with 16 members present for the purpose of assisting in the dedication of a Masonic Hall in Guildhall, Vermont. A special train left the Boston and Maine Station, with the members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and others, the American Watch Co. Band and arrived at Northumberland, New Hampshire, with a stop at Lancaster, New Hampshire, for breakfast. Escorted by the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire and the Lancaster Lodge, to the music of the band, they marched across the bridge over the Connecticut River into Vermont, where they were received by the Grand Lodge of Vermont and Benton Lodge of Guildhall, Vermont. The library and Masonic building was a gift to the town by Wor. Bro. Col. Everett C. Benton, an affiliated Past Master of Belmont Lodge and later Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. Other features such as a band concert, services at one of the churches, work in the new Lodge-room in which members of Belmont Lodge assisted are noted. Entrained at midnight for the return trip on July 9, 1901, with stop at Fabyans, trip to Mount Washington and other points, entrained at 10:30 p.m., arriving at Belmont about 8:00 a.m., July 11, 1901, when Lodge was closed in form. This entire trip, as were other trips out of the State, was made at no expense to the Lodge. On March 3, 1904, the 500th Communication of the Lodge took place. The membership at that time was 156.
On March 1, 1906, the Reverend Brother Jesse Coker was installed Chaplain. He served in that capacity for 30 years. The records of the lodge express on many occasions the affection with which he was held by his brethren. Brother Coker for many, many years gave the examinations to the candidates on all three degrees, and your historian distinctly remembers on the examination on the first degree, when Brother Coker was 88 years old, being informed of the difference between "requested" and "required."
On October 20, 1908, the 560th Communication was held to attend the funeral of our first Master, William B. Bothamly, who was also the last surviving Charter member.
In 1908, we also find the first mention of the proposed Masonic Home in Charlton. In 1909, a play "As you like it" was given on the lawn of the Benton estate under the sponsorship of the women's auxiliary and the sum of. $681.80 was raised for the Masonic Home, which was dedicated on May 25, 1911.
In 1914, Belmont Lodge had been in existence for 50 years. From the records there was apparently no particular celebration but in the Grand Lodge records, there is a statement that on March 24, 1914, Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson attended the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Belmont Lodge in the Town Hall of Belmont. By this time the town had grown to a population of over 8,000 and the membership of the lodge to 257. There will be men at this Centennial who were present in 1914 and in 1939 at our seventy-fifth:—what a privilege to attend three major anniversaries of your Lodge!
In the years 1916-1917, it is recorded that a James E. Locke who had served the Lodge as treasurer for 40 years and Charles H. Houlahan, who had served the Lodge as secretary for 20 years both had passed away. In 1923, Henry F. Arenstrop died after having served as Tyler for 36 years.
The formation of a new Lodge in Belmont is shown on the records of the meeting of October 5, 1922, in the receipt of a petition asking for the sanction of Belmont Lodge that a Lodge to be known as Beaver Lodge may be formed. Belmont Lodge passed a motion recommending that a dispensation be granted. The first Master of the newly formed lodge was Wor. Amos L. Taylor, Master of Belmont Lodge in 1920.
In the fall of 1927, a marble clock mysteriously made its appearance in the Lodge. It was the gift of Worshipful Brothers Brodrick and Corbett. Ihe 1000th Communication of Belmont Lodge held on December 13, 1928, was really a most auspicious occasion for our Lodge, for on that evening M. W. Frank L. Simpson, Grand Master, installed Brother Joseph Earl Perry as Master of our Lodge. In 1933-34 Brother Perry served as District Deputy Grand Master for the Brighton Fifth Masonic District, in 1936 as Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge and in 1938-39-40 as Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. He is the only Past Master of Belmont Lodge to become Grand Master.
It took approximately 40 years to reach the 500th Communication of Belmont Lodge, but the next 500 communications were accomplished in 24 years.
Wor. Brother Perry, at the January meeting of 1929, announced that it was his desire, if possible, to have the May meeting of Belmont Lodge a "legislative night" and that he had made arrangements which he expected to have completed by that time, whereby the third degree would be worked by State officials. He said, "all state-wide elected officers are Masons from the Governor down through the Speaker of the House, and that approximately half of both branches of the legislature were Masons." These were the "good old days."
At the meeting in April, 1898, Miss Grace Foss presented to the Lodge in memory of her father, Leonard Foss, a chair previously owned by the first Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Henry Price. The chair had been brought from England in 1732. From 1898 to 1930, the chair was in the East of our Lodge, but because of its historical value and significance to all Massachusetts Masons it was voted in 1930 to loan the chair to the Grand Lodge. It now occupies a prominent place in the Museum and is nicely encased in glass.
During the early 1920's Masonry and Belmont Lodge prospered. In the years 1919 through 1925, a seven-year period, 332 candidates were raised and 1921 was the "high year" with 97. In contrast in the 1930's, a seven-year period 1932 through 1938, only 52 candidates were raised. In 1934, there was only one candidate.
These were difficult days for the Lodge from a financial standpoint and in 1933 it is recorded that nearly 150 members were having difficulty paying their dues. Our relief fund was replenished by card parties and variety shows. There were some blessings in the early 30's, however; on April 6, 1933, we had a catered pork chop supper — price $5.00; on May 4th a lobster salad supper — price $8.50; on Thursday, June 1st, a boiled lobster supper — price $1.00.
Through the years Belmont Lodge had acquired the furniture and other items needed for conducting a Lodge meeting, had rented the apartments, and in turn had sub-rented to others, but with the increased use of the apartments by other Masonic and Masonic affiliated groups in the early 30's, there was formed the Belmont Masonic Hall Association with representatives from the two Blue Lodges and the Chapter. On June 1, 1933, Belmont Lodge voted to sell its furniture and fixtures to the Association. There was haggling over the price to be paid and it was finally settled by a disinterested committee appointed by the Grand Master. Interesting items in the bill of sale are "two old style flat top desks", which we are still using, one leaded glass descriptive panel over the Master's chair, which is the prettiest display of masonic emblems to be found anywhere, and four cuspidors.
The 75th Anniversary of our Lodge was held on March 2, 1939, and it is noted that 180 sat down to a banquet using both East and West Halls. In those years the West Hall, now occupied by an architectural firm, was available both for dancing and banquet use. At 8:00 P.M. on that occasion, the Grand Marshal, R. W. Earl W. Taylor, a Past Master of our Lodge in 1933, announced that M. W. Joseph Earl Perry was in the anteroom for the purpose of paying our Lodge an Official Visit and to assist in the celebration of our anniversary. The chairman of the committee appointed by the Master to escort and introduce the Grand Master was our senior Past Master, Wor. Horace Parker, Master in 1907, who had made the trip from his home in Fallsbrook, California, to be present at this event.
There were many illustrious Masons present on that occasion who will long be remembered for their contributions to Masonry and our Grand Lodge. Conspicuous among them were M. W. Arthur Prince, M. W. Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary, R. W. Louis A. Jones, R. W. Frank Hilton, R. W. Charles Ramsay, R. W. Francis D. Taylor, R. W. D. Joseph Imler, R. W. Laurence M. Jackson. It is recorded that R. W. Samuel H. Wragg, District Deputy Grand Master of the Brighton 5th District, was unable to be present because of illness, and R. W. Edwin O. Childs was detained because of responsibility he had as Mayor of Newton. Music was furnished by the Beethoven quartet. Lodge closed in Ample Form by the Grand Master at 9:55 and after the benediction all stood and sang together "Auld Lang Syne."
The memento for the membership was a tie-clasp, having on it a charm with the Masonic Emblem on the one side and "Belmont Lodge AF & AM 75th anno. 1939." Many of our members still have and treasure these.
April 30th, 1939, we met at the Payson Park Congregational Church to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the inaugural of George Washington, our first President and a Mason.
Since Past Masters' night is a tradition in our Lodge and a most pleasant evening for the Past Masters, you may be interested in reading the names of our Past Masters who participated in the work of the evening of June 1, 1939: Wor. Fred E. Poor (1910-11); Wor. Alexander E. Corbett (1921); Wor. Allen T. Dresser (1938); Wor. Charles W. Sherman (1912); Wor. Frank A. Scott (1930); R.W. Louis A. Jones (1927); Wor. Fredric S. Pry (1915); Wor. Chester R. Thomas (1926); Wor. William S. Swain (1925); Wor. Charles E. Flanders (1936); Wor. Alfred H. Gardner (1931); Wor. Wallace S. Blood (1928); Wor. Clarence A. Russell (1916-1917); Wor. J. Watson Fleet (1923); Wor. W. A. Hickie (1937); and R.W. Amos Taylor (1920). There were no doubt other Past Masters present, but these were the men who took an active part in the ritual.
In March of 1940, it is recorded that the Kilwinning Club, a Scottish degree team, including bagpipes, was received into the Lodge, took their stations and conferred the Master Mason Degrees. On many occasions this fine Club has met with us and presented their fine Masonic ritual.
In June of 1940 we had a talk on the "danger of government centralization."
We have in our records an abstract of proceedings dated September 11, 1940 and which was ordered by the M. W. Joseph Earl Perry, Grand Master, to be read in the lodge. There are two parts of that abstract that seem of importance. The first is that at this time official Grand Lodge ciphers were sent to each Lodge. No longer did the officers have to sneak to the Old Corner book-store for an unauthorized version. The second part was a portion of the address entitled "The Man on the Sidelines," from which the following is quoted. "In a Lodge, just as in every human organization or activity, it is ultimately the man on the sidelines who determines its history, its destiny, and value. If the man on the sidelines attends his Lodge, if he is cordial and sympathetic with his Brethren, if he is loyal and co-operative with the officers who for the time being are the responsible leaders, if he is a conductor of the enthusiasms and vision and courage that make things succeed, and a non-conductor of the lethargy and jealousies and obstructions that strangle and defeat them, then, even if he holds no office and receives no recognition, he is in fact not on the sidelines but in the thick of things. He is the Lodge. The Lodge is what he makes it."
In December, 1940, it was voted that the Lodge should have its installation on a night other than that of the annual meeting.
February 6, 1941, was another occasion upon which the Grand Lodge visited with us to honor R.W. Earl Wesley Taylor, who had been elected Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge. Wor. Charles E. Flanders served as his Grand Pursuivant. Glowing tributes were bestowed on our Brother by all of the distinguished guests present.
At our annual meeting that year on December 4, we had one of our typical Belmont Lodge business meetings, where every member has an opportunity to participate and have questions answered regarding the business of the Lodge. The amendments to the by-laws passed at that annual meeting strengthened the structure of our Lodge and there have been few changes since.
Three days later on December 7th came the attack on Pearl Harbor and our subsequent entry into World War II. Twelve days later Wor. Charles E. Flanders, Master of our Lodge in 1936 and presiding Master of the 34th Lodge on Instruction, passed away.
There may have been others that entered the service of our country earlier, but our records show that on February 5, 1942, Brother Douglas G. Lillie entered the Marine Corp and in June, 1942, Chester D. Shepherd left us to enter the Air Corps.
On June 4, 1942, the Master announced that Brother Bradley McCausland, who had been Secretary of Belmont Lodge from 1924 to that time, 17 years, had decided to leave Belmont and take up residence in New Hampshire. The Master expressed his deep regret and commented upon the service that Brother McCausland had rendered Belmont Lodge.
An Army and Navy night was held on November 5, 1942, to honor the 13 members and the 24 sons of members who were serving in our armed forces. It was a very impressive evening. Brother Harold W. Hackett of Hyogo Osagka Lodge of Kobe, Japan, spoke to us on the history of Japan and its need for more territory. There were many letters read and reports given regarding the activities of our men in service. Included with the minutes of this meeting was a resolution regarding two sons of members, David B. Bartlett and Daniel A. Joy, both of whom had been reported killed in action. The resolution read: "that their sacrifice shall not have been in vain, but rather, that in tribute to them we hereby rededicate our lives to the cause for which they fought and to the Masonic way of life to which their fathers have dedicated their lives; and that we express to the parents of these sons our deepest sympathy." There were others who sacrificed their lives for our country in later battles, but the reporting of these two made a deep impression on our Lodge.
On June 9, 1942, is recorded the death of Brother Arthur E. Hough, who was active in our town government, having served as town clerk, clerk of the board of registrars, clerk of the board of welfare, and clerk of the municipal light board. Brother Hough was Secretary of Belmont Lodge for three strenuous years following World War I, serving from December, 1918 thru December, 1921. During these three years 178 men were raised.
On many occasions at business meetings the subject of life membership after 35 years as a member of the Lodge was discussed, the first time in 1904. There have been many proposals to change the timing or eliminate life membership, but the "old-timers" always rallied and no motion to change has been successful.
For many years it has been the practice not to have regular communications during the summer months, but your historian has the dubious honor of having called in July, 1945, a regular communication for the principal purpose of balloting on candidates so that the fall schedule could proceed smoothly.
During the war years our Secretary, Brother Taylor, was very faithful in corresponding with the members of our armed services. On many occasions he read interesting letters that were sent to him. One letter from Brother Shepherd who was with the Air Force in Italy told of his suddenly being called upon on Sunday morning to serve as substitute chaplain and then proceeding to preach a sermon to 500 men. On another occasion our Secretary, on behalf of Brother and Major Elias Frederick Liakos, presented to the Lodge a gavel whose head was fashioned from a stone taken from King Solomon's quarry in Jerusalem. Brother Liakos had forwarded this gift from Egypt.
On June 7, 1945, which was Past Masters' night, there were two votes taken which were pertinent to our present 100th anniversary. The first was that "a Centennial Fund be hereby established to provide necessary money for the proper observance of the Centennial of Belmont Lodge in 1964." The second was that "the sum of 50 dollars be transferred from the general fund to the centennial fund." Each year from that time there has been a sum of money transferred from the general fund to the centennial fund at our annual business meeting.
In the early years of our Lodge, the Town of Belmont was predominantly a "market garden" town and on the occasion of the official visitation of the District Deputy it was the custom to present the deputy and his suite with a bunch of celery. This custom was repeated in 1945.
On June 6, 1946, there was a reception by the Lodge to the returning service men; 22 were present, letters were received from several others and from a very few there was no answer. Herewith is a list of the members of our Lodge who served in the armed services during World War II.
- John O. Baker
- Norman W. Burns
- John P. Cameron
- Ralph E. Chadwick
- Chester N. Clark
- David LeB. Donaldson
- Edward E. Doyle
- George E. Gardner
- Carl W. Hanscom
- Lawrence F. Howatt
- Roy W. Marden
- Ephraim Martin
- Edward R. Minzner
- Howard H. C. Kramer
- Philip N. Millar
- Blake S. Miller
- Howard D. Nordlund
- Douglas R. Orr
- Barker L. Jevelekian
- Harry S. Barnes
- Thomas R. Kellett
- Alfred C. Knight
- L. Louis Lee
- Elias F. Liakos
- Douglas F. Lillie
- Nils I. Lund
- Charles R. McGuire
- H. Lawson McLellan
- Albert E. Pratley
- W. Arthur Reynolds
- Fred A. Ross
- George K. Saurwein
- Chester D. Shepherd
- J. Vincent Walker
- Paul R. Winters
- J. Watson Flett
On May 6, 1948, a very successful Past Masters' night was recorded with an outstanding attendance. At that time 22 out of the 28 living Past Masters were present and 6 out of the 8 living affiliated Past Masters. Everyone of the Past Masters took some part in the work. Franklin Field was the soloist, as he was on many occasions in the 30's and 40's.
Over the many years, Belmont Lodge has had many, many fine speakers, both at their dinner table and within the Lodge. Brother Earle H. Ballou 33°, a member of International Lodge in China, spoke on March 3, 1949, with the subject "What next in China." He stated at that time he felt the situation for democracy was well nigh hopeless, that the Communists were strongly established in the North and would undoubtedly extend their power into Southern China, and that the prospects for democracy throughout the entire Far East looked very weak. He stated that the mass of the people are opposed to Communism but they are not likely to be effective against a strongly entrenched powerful minority." In recent years it seems that more and more strongly entrenched powerful minorities are effective in achieving their ends with a lethargic majority doing nothing about it.
Our records show the death on April 1, 1949 of R. W. Louis A. Jones, Master of Belmont Lodge in 1927 and Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in 1930. He was a bulwark of strength to his Lodge, his church and his community.
As your historian read through the records, month by month, and year by year, he was struck by the number of candidates who appeared, received their degrees and then attended Lodge for a very short time. Is it that they are not interested or were interested only in the idea of being a Mason, or is it that our teachings are not being presented adequately and properly, or are our programs dull, or are we not offering our hand of friendship and brotherly love as we should? With the many attractions that are offered to each one of us, in the fields of sports and entertainment, particularly TV, what can we do, what are we doing to strengthen the body of Masonry to which we are all so indebted?
At the regular meeting in June of 1950, the practice of taking action on delinquents before the close of the fiscal year was instituted. Previous to that time action was taken at the annual meeting in December, which left the delinquents as members of Belmont Lodge at the close of the Grand Lodge fiscal year, August 31. The taking of action at the June meeting has been continued since that date and has been in the best interest of both the Lodge and the members affected.
Since the establishment of the 34th Lodge of Instruction, many members of our Lodge have served as speakers, instructors, and officers. Wor. Charles B. Flanders, R.W. Chester D. Shepherd, Wor. Mark Gifford served as Masters; Wor. Brother John T. Hollis and Brother Wellington Wallis as Secretaries; and Brother George Loud and Brother George Rowe as Organists.
At the annual business meeting December 7, 1950, it was voted that a special committee of three be appointed to confer with the other Masonic bodies and the Belmont Masonic Hall Association on the proposal to secure a new organ, preferably electric. Worshipful Chester D. Shepherd, Brother Arthur Jackson, and R.W. Paul C. Whitney, as chairman, were appointed on that committee.
At the March 1951 regular meeting, R. W. Brother Whitney reported on lengthy deliberations that had been held with the representatives of the several Bodies using these apartments and with the officers of the Masonic Hall Association with the view of ascertaining the most important needs in the way of furnishings, equipment and improvements, and the fairest method of financing the same. The Worshipful Master appointed a committee to draw up a proper motion and at the May and June meetings it was voted by the necessary two-thirds of the members voting that Belmont Lodge would contribute #2,860.00 from their Building Fund toward the needed renovations. The amount was based upon $5.00 per member. Beaver Lodge also contributed $5.00 per member, the Royal Arch Chapter #4.00, The Eastern Star $3.00, Amaranth #3.00, DeMolay $1.00 and Rainbow $1.00. In November it was announced that all bodies using the apartments had voted to contribute to the Belmont Masonic Hall Association the several amounts requested, and consequently the action initiated by our Lodge resulted in a new organ, a new rug, a new paint job, and renovation of the toilet and kitchen facilities.
The annual meeting in December of 1951 saw the completion of 9 years of service by R.W. Earl W. Taylor as Secretary. His records were a model of accuracy, organization and completeness, and a model for any lodge to follow. The District Grand Secretaries had great difficulty in finding any errors; your historian knows, he tried.
On December 13, 1951, on the occasion of the Installation of the Officers, M. W. Joseph Earl Perry presented to Wor. Samuel Alcock a Treasurer's jewel "as a tangible symbol of the Lodge's appreciation for his services rendered during the past 25 years and as a mark of respect that each member of the Lodge had for our treasurer."
It is worthy to note that at the January 3, 1952 meeting, the first presided over by Wor. Brother Douglas G. Lillie, the longstanding practice of the officers wearing wing collars was changed to that of wearing turned-down collars.
M. W. Thomas S. Roy paid a Fraternal Visit to Belmont Lodge on February 7, 1952, to assist in the reception to R. W. Earl W. Taylor, who had been elected Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge. Even at 5:30 P.M. there was a very large number of the brethren present to greet the Grand Master. The Grand Master called the Lodge from labor to refreshment and the group proceeded to the Belmont High School cafeteria where the reception was held. It should be noted that this was the first meeting that Belmont Lodge had had the opportunity to enjoy the new carpet, our present carpet, which had been laid during the week of January 21st. There were 33 members of Grand Lodge present and many spoke extolling the virtues of Brother Taylor. The most impressive words, however, came from our new Grand Secretary, who expressed the hope that the brethren gathered there in the cafeteria were there not because of him alone, or because of the Grand Lodge gathering, but rather because they wished to contribute of themselves to the ideals of Freemasonry. He felt that the ideals expressed in the lectures of the first degree were the real basic foundation of our order, and that the word "truth" was the absolute goal of all of us. As speculative Masons, we should be experts in living an ideal life, in seeking truth, and in reaching out to God.
As your historian read the words of the record he could not help but be impressed with the similarity of the ideas of Brother Taylor for Masonry and the idea of our late President, John F. Kennedy, for our country. It seemed that Brother Taylor said, "Don't ask what Masonry can do for you, but rather what you can do for Masonry," whereas, President Kennedy said at his inaugural in 1961, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
From the incorporation of the Town of Belmont in 1859 every selectman, except three, has been a Master Mason. In 1952 all three selectmen, namely, Wor. J. Watson Flett, Brother Charles R. Betts and Brother Howard D. Sharpe, were members of Belmont Lodge. Brother Betts was succeeded in 1953 by R.W. Josiah H. Benton, a Past Master of Everett C. Benton Lodge and a Past District Deputy Grand Master of the Chelsea third district. In 1963 Wor. Brother Flett who served as selectman from 1924-63 and who is respectfully known as "Mr. Belmont," was succeeded by Wor. Earle Parks, a Past Master of Beaver Lodge. Belmont is regarded as one of the finest towns in the Commonwealth; many members of our Craft have and do serve in official capacities in our town government; they have provided good government. Let us hope that Masonry will continue in the future to be an energetic majority or minority and to provide leaders of outstanding character and ability.
It is noted March 12, 1952, by order of M. W. Thomas Roy, that an individual cipher of a candidate's lecture was to be made available to the candidate while he was learning the lecture. Belmont Lodge was the first lodge to officially receive the ciphers for candidates and the May, 1952 class of 5 candidates was the first to have them.
The records report a special communication held August 11, 1953, for the purpose of conducting funeral services for Brother Walter Eugene Campbell. Brother Campbell was Tyler of Belmont Lodge for 29 years, serving from 1924 to 1953.
At the feast of St. John in December, 1953, R.W. Herbert H. Jaynes was installed as Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge and Wor. Douglas G. Lillie was installed as Grand Pursuivant and on February 4, 1954, M. W. Whitfield W. Johnson, Grand Master, paid a visit to Belmont Lodge to honor R. W. Brother Jaynes. M. W. Thomas S. Roy, for whom R. W. Brother Jaynes had acted as Grand Marshal for the three previous years, was most eloquent and complimentary in his remarks regarding what R. W. Brother Jaynes had meant to him and to the Grand Lodge during his administration.
It is interesting to note that it was not until May 6, 1954, that Article XVII of our By-Laws was amended to change "Constituted" to "Instituted" so that the wording of the seal of Belmont Lodge should read: "Instituted March 8, A.L. 5864," which of course was a proper amendment.
In 1951 there was a committee appointed by Wor. George D. Vincent to study ways and means for replacing in the Building Fund the money taken for the improvements in the present apartment, to study the long range possibilities of acquiring new apartments or a temple, and to recommend a plan for increasing the Building Fund. Again at our June, 1954, meeting there was a rather lengthy discussion concerning our lodge apartments and Belmont Lodge's relationship to the Masonic Hall Association. A committee was appointed by the Worshipful Master to study the problem and this committee reported in October that they felt a long-range building planning committee consisting of six members, plus the Worshipful Master as a member ex officio, should be elected for a three-year term and should be charged with the following:
- to carry on a continuing study of the housing needs of the Lodge and of the possible steps for meeting such needs and to report yearly to the Lodge at the annual meeting in December.
- to establish ways and means by which the Building Fund can be increased.
- to recommend action of the Lodge as occasion arises.
No committee was elected, but in November the Master appointed a committee of five to work upon the recommendations of the previous committee.
As we look to the future and learn from the experience of other lodges, housing may some day become a serious problem for our Lodge.
At the May 3, 1956, meeting it was voted that the dues be increased from $8.00 to $10.00 per annum and that life membership should be increased from $160.00 to $200.00.
In 1956 there were two amendments to the By-Laws. The first increased the number of trustees of the Permanent, Charity, and Building Funds from five to seven, with four of the members not to be officers of the Lodge. The second established the 4th Thursday of January in each year as a regular meeting night with other meetings to be called as the chairman deemed advisable. The revised board, meeting regularly, has done a fine job and our funds have increased substantially in the last 7 years.
During 1957 Wor. George Mills Rogers, Master of our Lodge in 1908 was elected to honorary membership and in January, 1958, we celebrated with Brother Rogers the 50th anniversary of his being Master of Belmont Lodge. He was the oldest living Past Master. He passed away on August 6, 1961, at Milton, Mass.
In 1885 a new code of By-Laws was adopted in which the annual meeting was changed from March to December and the regular meeting date set for the first Thursday of the month. Since that time on several occasions it has been proposed that the Lodge change the December date of its annual meeting to conform to other Lodges in our district. In the Fall of 1958, a formal proposal was made to change and as a result the Master appointed a committee of all of the 15 Past Masters present together with the proposer of the change. There was a formal meeting called and after much discussion the committee reported to the Lodge that it was very much opposed to any change. The report was accepted.
On March 5, 1959, the Kilwinning Club again paid Belmont Lodge a fraternal visit and the esteem with which this fine club is held was evidenced by the attendance on that occasion: members 144, visitors 127, degree team 14, candidates 3, a total of 288.
Death to one of our members in a tragic manner was recorded on July 14, 1961. Brother George Oake, a Chief Warrant Officer with the Army Air Defense Command, with 11-years service, was returning from a one-year tour of duty at Thule, Greenland, when he met death on July 11, 1961, in the crash of a jet airliner at Stapleton Field, Denver, where 18 persons were killed. His wife and two sons, David age 8 and Kenneth age 6 were at the air field to welcome him home when the crash occurred. Memorial Lodge, No. 1, A.F. & A.M. conferred a Masonic burial at Fort Logan, National Cemetery, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Brother Oake was a Past Master Councilor of Belmont Order of DeMolay and had received his Master Mason Degree in Belmont Lodge in April of 1950.
On September 24, 1961, Brother George Russell Loud, honorary member emeritus and organist for 38 years, passed away after a long illness. R. W. Chester D. Shepherd retired as Secretary in December, 1961, having served eight years.
Here in 1964 we have 630 members, sixteen less than the high point of our membership, 646 in 1957. We had 14 men sign the request for dispensation in 1864 and there were 11 names recorded on the charter granted April 4, 1865. Since our beginning there have been 1,335 men raised.
The population of our town at the time of our federal census in 1960 was 28,715 and in 1964 is probably about 29,000. There is little land in Belmont on which to build and it appears that there is little chance of much future growth in population. In 1963, there was constructed the first high-rise apartment house at Cushing Square. Most transportation is by private automobile, but the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) still provides public bus (gasoline) service to Belmont Centre and bus service (electric) to Waverley Square.
In our early years many people took the train from Waverley and Belmont to go to business in Boston; however, few people now travel by train, and commuter service will probably be discontinued in the near future.
Radio was a major mode of entertainment at our 75th anniversary but today black and white television prevails. Color television has been slow in being accepted because of quality and cost, but in 1963 and 1964 more and more people have changed to color.
Despite the tremendous growth in recent years of supermarkets with their large parking lots and the offering for sale of every conceivable item, there are still a substantial number of small businessmen operating stores in Belmont.
The organization of our Lodge in 1964 is shown in the program, but it seems appropriate that in addition we should list a few of our members of longest standing.
- Brother Harry LeBallister Given, September 5, 1901
- Brother Joseph Howard Ladd, June 5, 1902
- Worshipful Fredric Sutherland Pry, June 1, 1905
- Right Worshipful Amos Leavitt Taylor, June 6, 1907
- Brother Horace Gleason Selby, April 7, 1910
- Brother Archie Durkee Crowell, June 1, 1911
- Brother Lancaster Howard Heustis, October 5, 1911
- Worshipful Frank Arthur Scott, March 7, 1912
- Brother Charles Herbert Walker, October 3, 1912
- Brother Harold Wadsworth Birch, December 18, 1913
- Brother Willard Sparks Cannon, December 18, 1913
- Brother Earle Gilmore Steele, December 18, 1913
Our association with the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts is as follows: A member of the —
- 1st District 1864-1866 (we were one of three lodges cited in the Grand Lodge report of 1866 for excellent work)
- 4th District 1867-1882
- 5th District 1883-1926
- 5th District (Brighton) 1927
Belmont has been greatly honored during its one hundred years by Grand Lodge in the election or appointment of some of its Past Masters to important positions in the Grand Lodge Family.
- GRAND MASTER
- M. W. Joseph Earl Perry, 1938-1940
- DEPUTY GRAND MASTER
- R. W. Louis A. Jones, 1930
- M. W. Joseph Earl Perry, 1936
- SENIOR GRAND WARDEN
- R. W. Earl W. Taylor, 1941
- R. W. Herbert H. Jaynes, 1954
- GRAND SECRETARY
- R. W. Earl W. Taylor, 1952-
- DISTRICT DEPUTY GRAND MASTER
- R. W. Edward O. Hatch, 1898, 1899, 5th District
- R. W. George C. Flett, 1910, 1911, 5th District
- R. W. Amos L. Taylor, 1928, 1929, Brighton 5th
- M. W. Joseph Earl Perry, 1933, 1934, Brighton 5th
- R. W. Paul C. Whitney, 1948, 1949, Brighton 5th
- R. W. George A. Lincoln, 1964, Brighton 5th
- GRAND MARSHAL
- R. W. Earl W. Taylor, 1938-1940
- R. W. Herbert H. Jaynes, 1951-1953
- GRAND REPRESENTATIVES
- M. W. Joseph Earl Perry, South Carolina
- R. W. Earl W. Taylor, Maine
- R. W. Herbert H. Jaynes, Maryland
- R. W. Chester D. Shepherd, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
The past century has been one of tremendous growth of knowledge and scientific achievement. We now appear to be reaching a point in civilization where more concern will be given to the relationship of man to man, of country to country, and even to the planets and bodies in outer space. We hope that our Lodge and Masonry can contribute to the recognition of man as God's greatest achievement and that peace on earth shall be forever.
- 1894 (At Boston burial lot dedication, 1894-85)
- 1896 (Cornerstone laying, Waverley Unitarian Church, 1896-276)
- 1899 (Cornerstone laying, Masonic hall, 1899-20)
- 1930 (Donation of the Henry Price chair, 1930-309)
CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, APRIL 1865
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly Magazine, Vol. XXIV, No. 7, May 1865, p. 199:
BELMONT LODGE. This is the name of a new Lodge recently established in the neighboring village of Belmont. Having worked a year under Dispensation, it was regularly constituted by the M. W. Grand Lodge on the evening of the 5th of April last. Situated in the midst of several flourishing Lodges, and in a small but pleasant village, it will probably never be numerically large, but it is in the hands of intelligent Brethren whose zeal will insure its success. At the close of the ceremonies, the M. W. Grand Master Parkman addressed the members on the importance of their trust they had voluntarily assumed, and on their general duties and obligations as Masons. The following are the officers for the current year :—
- Wm. B. Bothamly, W. M.
- Wm. Mead, S. W.
- Albert Higgins, J. W.
- Jonas B. Chenery, Treas.
- John G. Smith, Sec.
- Geo. W. Long, S. D.
- Merlon Simonds, J. D.
- Horace H. Homer, S. S.
- John Alexander, J. S.—P. M.
- Wm. T. Underwood, Tyler.
INSTALLATION, JANUARY 1888
From Liberal Freemason, Vol. XI, No. 10, January 1888, Page 318:
The officers for the ensuing year of Belmont Lodge F. and A. M., Belmont, were installed on Thursday evening, January 5th, by W. Bro. Frank Chandler, assisted by Bro. J. F. Munroe, as Marshal, as follows: J. D. Evans, W. M.; W. H. Pierce. S. W.; Louis Locke, J. W.; J. E. Locke, Treasurer; Thomas W. Davis, Secretary; J. L. Ellis, Marshal; F. Chandler, Chaplain; C. H. Houlahan, S.\ D.; N. C. Videto, J. D.; A. E. Hill, S. S.; John Buckley, Jr., J. S.; Henry I. Arenstrope, I. S.; G. M. D. Sargent, Tyler. The installation ceremonies were performed in a very interesting and impressive manner by Wor. Bro. Chandler, and were followed by a collation and the usual season of social enjoyment.
INSTALLATION, JANUARY 1908
From New England Craftsman, Vol. III, No. 5, February 1908, Page 187:
The installation of the officers of Belmont Lodge, Belmont, Massachusetts, on Thursday evening, January 2, was an occasion of more than common interest and attracted the attention of many Masons who are members of other organizations, notably of Dorchester R. A. Chapter, which was well represented by a delegation of the members of that body. The interest of the Dorchester body comes from the fact that the new Master of Belmont Lodge is also a popular officer in Dorchester Chapter.
The installation of the officers was by R. W. Everett C. Benton, Past Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and Wor. Melvin M. Johnson, Grand Marshal of the Grand Lodge. The officers of the lodge installed were: George M. Rogers, Worshipful Master; Fred E. Poor, Senior Warden; Charles E. Sherman, Junior Warden; James K. Locke, Treasurer, for the 32d time; Wor. Charles H. Houlahan. Secretary; Rev. Jesse Coker, Chaplain: Wor. Irving R. Frost, Marshal; Royal T. Brodrick, Senior Deacon; Harry C. Taylor, Junior Deacon; Fred S. Pry, Senior Steward; Clarence A. Russell, Junior Steward; J. Frank Edgar, Inside Sentinel; Henry F. Vrenstrop, Tyler, 17th time. The installation of Brother Rogers as Master by Right Wor. Bro. Benton was an event of special interest on account of the close family ties and the intimate business relations which exist between the two. All of the other officers were installed by Wor. Bro. Johnson. Wor. Frank O. Locke was Marshal for both installing officers.
The retiring Worshipful Master, Wor. Horace Parker, was presented with a Past Master's jewel and apron. Handsome bouquets were presented to the installing officers and a banquet was followed by brilliant and interesting speeches. Notable among the speakers was R. W. William F. Jarvis. the District Deputy Grand Master of the Fifth District. Wor. Brother Rogers was the recipient of a beautiful floral tribute by William F. Schallenbach on behalf of the Dorchester brethren. The retiring Master presented the lodge with small gold jewels, to be worn by the officers when attending the Grand Lodge, rind mi other appropriate occasions to indicate their official positions. The gift was accepted by the lodge with expressions of appreciation. All the events of the evening were well conceived and successfully carried out and afforded great pleasure to all who were present.
PRESENTATION, APRIL 1909
From New England Craftsman, Vol. IV, No. 8, May 1909, Page 301:
Belmont Lodge of Belmont, Mass., has several valuable and historical articles in possession; perhaps the most notable a chair once owned by Henry Price, the first Grand Master of Massachusetts. It was brought by him from England in 1723 and donated to the lodge in 1898 by Miss Grace C. Foss.
The lodge was the fortunate recipient of another novel and valuable addition to its treasures at its last meeting, April 1st. The presentation was made by Brother A. Winthrop Pope jn behalf of Dr. Samuel W. French of Milwaukee, Wis. Brother Pope stated that Dr. French has a son who is a student of Tech and it was his desire that the first two degrees in Masonry should be conferred on the young man in Belmont lodge, as it would be impossible for him to go back home and have the ceremony performed there during the limited vacation period. The third, however, will be conferred before the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin. The usual formalities were arranged and, after the first degree was received the presentation was made. The gift may be described as follows: In a glass-topped case about two inches deep, embedded in an egg-shaped piece of wood, are two small cubes of stone, and on a card is printed the following explanation of the origin of the gift: "A relic from the palace of the Caesars, Rome. Said to have been taken from the same quarry as that of the pillars of King Solomon's Temple. (Mosaics from Pompeii.) Tradition informs us that these pillars are now in the mosque of St. Sofia of Constantinople. The marbles are identical. Presented to Belmont lodge by Samuel W. French of LaFayette Lodge, 205, F. and A. M. of Milwaukee, Wis., in thankful recognition of the perfect work of Belmont craftsmen on the ashlar, Louis Osborne French, for LaFayette Lodge. 205, of Milwaukee. This egg of historic stone is symbolic of the mythical origin of Freemasonry." Worshipful Master Rogers expressed his thanks and was sure that every member of Belmont Lodge would appreciate the thoughtfulness of the donor. A motion was adopted to send suitable acknowledgment.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- Thomas W. Davis, DDGM, District 4 (Cambridge), 1881, 1882; Junior Grand Warden 1883; Recording Grand Secretary
- George C. Flett, DDGM, District 5 (Waltham), 1910, District 5 (Waltham), 1911, 1912; SN
- Edward O. Hatch, DDGM, District 5 (Waltham), 1898, 1899; Memorial
- Herbert H. Jaynes, Junior Grand Steward 1948, Grand Marshal 1951-1953, Senior Grand Warden 1954, Grand Master 1969-1971
- Louis A. Jones, Deputy Grand Master 1930
- George A. Lincoln, DDGM, District 5 (Brighton), 1964, 1965; N
- Joseph Earl Perry, DDGM, District 5 (Brighton), 1933, 1934; Deputy Grand Master 1936; Grand Master 1938-1940
- Paul W. Rolston, DDGM, District 5 (Brighton), 1972, 1973; Senior Grand Warden 1992; Grand Secretary
- Amos L. Taylor, DDGM, District 5 (Waltham), 1928, 1929; N
- Earl W. Taylor, Senior Grand Deacon 1936, Grand Marshal 1938-1940, Senior Grand Warden 1941.
- Paul C. Whitney, DDGM, District 5 (Brighton), 1948, 1949; N