Boylston

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BOYLSTON LODGE

Location: West Boylston

Chartered By: Percival L. Everett

Charter Date: 03/14/1877 1877-154

Precedence Date: 05/08/1876

Current Status: Active


NOTES

MEETING PLACES OF BOYLSTON LODGE, APRIL 1974

From Proceedings, Page 1974-67:

Boylston Lodge was organized by written permission of the Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M. of Massachusetts in March 1876. The first meeting was held in an upper room in the First Baptist Church, built in 1832. Most of the Lodge meetings were held there until the Church was destroyed by fire in 1890. The "Old Stone Church" that now stands on the shore of Wachusett Reservoir replaced it. During the years 1890 to 1904, Boylston Lodge met in various buildings including the Town Selectmen's Room, the New Odd Fellows Hall and the Robert B. Thomas Hall. When the Town in the Valley was destroyed by the Builders of the new Reservoir, the Baptist Society built in 1900, a new Church on the Upper Common.

From 1904 to 1972, Lodge meetings were held first in the new Town Hall and then in the Odd Fellows Hall on Newton Street.

For 96 years, Boylston Lodge has had no home to call its own. In January 1972, this Baptist Church on the Common was purchased and Boylston Lodge held the first meeting in its new home on March 12, 1972.

It is an interesting coincidence that after almost 100 years, Boylston Lodge is now meeting in a Baptist Church built by the same Society that owned the place they held the first meeting.

PAST MASTERS

  • George M. Lourie, 1876-1878; SN
  • Henry F. Harris, 1879
  • Aaron Goodale, 1880, 1881
  • Charles M. Harris, Jr., 1882
  • A. C. Smith, 1883, 1884
  • Charles J. Wilder, 1885
  • Aaron Goodale, Jr., 1886
  • W. A. Earle, 1887
  • Linus G. Harris, 1888, 1894, 1895
  • Edwin G. Mague, 1889
  • Albert S. Garland, 1890
  • Louis Cutting, 1891, 1892
  • Artemas C. Smith, 1893
  • Harry L. Sawyer, 1896
  • George L. Wright, 1897
  • James F. Higgins, 1898
  • Arthur A. Caldwell, 1899
  • Moses J. Look, 1900
  • Leon A. Goodale, 1901, 1902
  • Franklin E. Walker, 1903, 1904
  • Merrill A. Love, 1905
  • Charles E. Bolton, 1906
  • George L. Wright, 1907
  • Frank G. Goodale, 1908, 1909
  • Walter G. Boynton, 1910
  • Walter H. Bray, 1911, 1913
  • Walter E. Robbins, 1912
  • Frank H. Washburn, 1914
  • Edgar P. Neal, 1915
  • Stephen P. Streeter, 1916
  • Harry W. Trask, 1917
  • Thomas Kingdon, 1918
  • Aaron Goodale, Sr., 1919
  • Wayland A. Tuttle, 1920
  • Frank H. Cate, 1921-1923; SN
  • Elihu F. Kelton, 1924
  • Raymond S. Huntington, 1925
  • George L. Cutting, 1926
  • Robert E. Lamb, 1927
  • Francis N. Luce, 1928
  • Cromwell E. Fairbanks, 1929
  • Edgar W. Holden, 1930
  • Albin A. Anderson, 1931
  • William H. Silvester, 1932
  • Frederick W. Fahlstrom, 1933
  • Wallace B. MacInnis, 1934
  • Ernest H. Smith, 1935
  • Wallace L. Howe, 1936
  • James A. Cooke, 1937
  • Edward Van der Pyl, 1938
  • Donald P. Reed, 1939, 1940
  • Ralph W. Hager, 1941, 1942; SN
  • Lester W. Fawcett, 1943
  • Lester L. Fawcett, 1944
  • E. Herbert Ekblom, 1945
  • G. Emil Christenson, 1946
  • Harold B. Haigh, 1947
  • Hilding A. Edberg, 1948, 1949
  • Peter H. Surabian, 1950, 1951; N
  • Randall H. Piper, 1952
  • Harold A. Scott, 1953
  • Charles H Outway, 1954, 1955
  • 'W. Kenneh Sears, 1956
  • Aaron Goodale, Jr., 1957
  • James L. Denman, 1958, 1959
  • Frank A. Welus, 1960
  • Everett F. Howard, 1961
  • Warren S. Lundell, 1962, 1963
  • William K. Person, 1964
  • John Bryce, 1965
  • Stanley E. Long, 1966
  • Richard D. Gates, Sr., 1967; N
  • Charles H. Howard, 1968
  • Lester J. Josephson, 1969, 1970
  • Albert L. Johnson, 1971
  • Louis K. Aharonian, Jr., 1972
  • Norman C. Greenough, 1973
  • William A. Anderson, 1974
  • Peter Stewart, 1975
  • William H. Silvester, Jr., 1976
  • William A. Dowell, Jr., 1977, 1978
  • James R. McLain, 1979
  • David A. Grinkis, 1980
  • Donald F. MacKenzie, 1981
  • Robert D. Gates, 1982
  • Glenn T. McLain, 1983
  • Arthur J. Fancy, 1984, 1985
  • Robert G. Hendrickson, Jr., 1986, 1987
  • Roger W. Hall, Jr., 1988
  • Roger G. Lindfors, 1989
  • James W. Ramsey, 1990, 1991
  • Stephen R. Leslie, 1992
  • Stephen R. Leslie, 1993, 1994
  • John E. Ballard, 1995, 1996
  • James W. Ramsey, 1997
  • Kenneth L. Sleeper, 1998
  • Robert A. Hager, 1999
  • Michael D. Mullins, 2000
  • Timothy J. Kelly, 2001-2003; PDDGM
  • John E. Ballard, 2004
  • Keith M. Fancy, 2005, 2006
  • Louis M. Papagni, 2007; PDDGM
  • Frederick L. Palmer, 2008, 2009
  • Daniel L. Thibeault, 2010-2012

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Dispensation: 1876
  • Petition for Charter: 1877

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1951 (75th Anniversary)
  • 1977 (Centenary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1877 1901 1902 1912 1913 1914 1919 1923 1926 1927 1940 1947 1952 1955 1962 1967 1973 1976 1985 1988 1989 1992 2004 2012

HISTORY

  • 1951 (75th Anniversary History, 1951-77; see below)
  • 1976 (Centenary History, not in Proceedings; see below)

75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1951

From Proceedings, Page 1951-77:

By Worshipful Walter Bray, Worshipful James Cooke, Worshipful Aaron Goodale, Worshipful Raymond Huntington, Worshipful Francis Luce, Worshipful Donald Reed, and Worshipful William Silvester.

The complete history of any group as read from the records is a long and arduous task. The most interesting history we would find in the thoughts and experiences of the Lodge members. Let us briefly review some of the events in the earlier years of Boylston Lodge and so relive those early experiences.

The desire on the part of several Masons, probably of Trinity Lodge of Clinton, to establish a new Lodge could have been due to the growing interest in Masonry throughout the State. As you may recall, before the year 1775 only seven Lodges existed in the Massachusetts Colony. Three were in Boston, one at Marblehead, one at Gloucester, one at Newburyport and one in Nantucket. Between the years 1776-1800, twenty-eight new Lodges were constituted, and during the next fifty years, thirty-four more were added. By 1850, there were sixty-nine Lodges in Massachusetts. The interest in Masonry then began to spread like wild-fire. Between the years 1850 and 1875, there were established in this State one hundred and forty-one new Lodges. Is it any wonder then that several members of Trinity Lodge who resided in Boylston, Sterling and West Boylston requested the Grand Lodge for a special dispensation to form a new Lodge in West Boylston? This dispensation was granted by the Grand Lodge on March 8, 1876. The only other Lodge in Massachusetts to receive its dispensation that year was Joseph Webb Lodge in Boston.

The first regular communication was held April 10, 1876, in the "Masonic Room" of the Baptist Church. This church was a wooden structure that formerly stood where the stone church now stands — beside the waters of Wachusett Reservoir. Though now abandoned, it stands as a monument to the past, and it might be said to mark the birthplace of Boylston Lodge. The following officers and Masons were present, with Dana Bancroft as presiding Master, at this first meeting in 1876:

  • George M. Lourie
  • Aaron Goodale
  • Alfred Whiting
  • John O. Flagg
  • Rev. I. Sawyer
  • Henry F. Harris
  • I. H. Stockwell
  • W. W. Ross
  • Charles Harris
  • Herbert Fisher
  • T. W. Sargent
  • E. B. Berry
  • Henry Pierce
  • C. M. Newton
  • Francis N. Luce
  • Thurston Buck
  • W. H. Boomer
  • Willard Bragg
  • G. B. Harris
  • Charles J. Wilder
  • Thomas H. Prescott
  • Charles Goodale
  • George Bassett
  • Lawrence Hastings
  • B. L. Sykes
  • L. J. Lawrence
  • B. L. Scott

The first names proposed for membership were those of Thurber Butler and John Naylor, and Brother Butler was the first to be raised to the degree of Master Mason, on July 10, 1876. During this same year of dispensation, twelve members were raised and joined the other twenty-one in signing the original charter. On November 13, the original By-Laws were read and adopted, and a committee appointed to design a Lodge seal. The year of trial as a Lodge was completed, and on the evening of April 5, 1877, officers of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts proceeded to constitute Boylston Lodge. The meeting was held in the lower vestry of the Baptist Church. The formal procedure of constituting and installation was conducted by Most Worshipful Percival L. Everett, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. Assisting him were officers of the Grand Lodge, among whom were Most Worshipful Brothers William D. Coolidge, William Parkman and Sereno D. Nickerson, all Past Grand Masters. It is seventy-four years ago that a Most Worshipful Grand Master presided in Boylston Lodge.

The Lodge was assigned to be in the eleventh district, at that time under the supervision of Right Worshipful Charles W. Moody, District Deputy Grand Master, and a Past Master of Montacute Lodge.

There were in all, thirty-three names on the list of charter members. None of them are now living. The last to depart was Brother Thurston Buck of Sterling, who was buried with Masonic honors on February 24, 1929. The first elected Master to be installed was George M. Lourie. He later became the first District Deputy Grand Master to be appointed from Boylston Lodge. His term of office as District Deputy was from 1885 to 1887, and a tree was planted in his memory at the Masonic Home in Charlton on October 29, 1939, by members of this Lodge.

In the beginning, the lodge-room was in the roof part of the Baptist Church, and although small, was adequate for the number of members. Centennial Lodge No. 178, I. O. O. F., was organized the same year, and by vote of the Lodge, shared these same quarters with us. In 1882 the Lodge voted to rent the use of the room to the Grange and again, in 1886, allowed the Royal Arcanum similar privileges. On May 2, 1890, fire broke out in the church and six hundred dollars worth of property of Boylston Lodge was destroyed. The Bible, charter and regalia were saved, and fortunately, the record books were not in the lodge-room at the time. The Selectmen of the Town then offered the use of their meeting room in a building that housed the public library and a school room. This room proved useful for regular business meetings but was rather small for degree work. Only one candidate, Harry L. Sawyer, received all of his degrees in this small room. Incidentally, he received them within a period of two months. The records show that a visit from the District Deputy Grand Master also took place in the small confines of this same room, but only seventeen members were present. Beginning in November, 1891, the Lodge meetings were held in Thomas Hall, the Parish House of the Congregational Church. Meetings continued there until the erection of the Odd Fellows Hall in 1894, to which Boylston Lodge moved.

The construction of Wachusett Reservoir vitally affected the life of the whole Town, and Boylston Lodge was no exception. The Town seemed doomed and conditions were in a state of uncertainty. There were a few new members who joined the Lodge, thus providing degree work, but at times there were insufficient members present to fill the officers' chairs. The future looked very dark. Fortunately, the Town slowly took shape on the hillside overlooking the new reservoir and Boylston Lodge, like the other organizations, found again its place in the community. Centennial Lodge of Odd Fellows moved its building from the valley to its present location on Newton Street, and in 1903, Boylston Lodge again made its home in that building. However, due to various misunderstandings and dissatisfactions, the Lodge, after six years, changed its meeting place, this time to the new Town Hall. Here, beginning in September 1909, for another six years it carried on its regular work. During this interim residence several gifts of Lodge furniture were presented by several of the Brothers. Door knockers were given by Brothers Warren Goodale and Arthur Parker. Silver jewels for the officers to wear at Grand Lodge were presented by the Master and Wardens — Brothers Munson Flagg, Walter Robbins and Walter Bray.

On February 12, 1912, a new Bible, "The Great Light in Freemasonry" was presented to the Lodge by the sons of Wor. Aaron Goodale IV in memory of their father. It was most significant that this Bible, which now adorns our Altar, should perpetuate the name of so distinguished a Masonic family. Four generations of Goodales are listed among our membership. The first Aaron Goodale (the third generation to bear the name of Aaron) was a charter member and became the fourth Master of the Lodge in 1880. His son, Aaron IV, became a Master Mason in 1878 and was the eighth Master, in 1885-86. All three of the sons of Aaron IV became members of Boylston Lodge. Two of them have been Master — Leon was the nineteenth, in 1900-1902, and Aaron V was thirty-fourth Master, in 1918-1919. It is hoped in a few more years that the fourth generation of Aaron Goodales will preside over Boylston Lodge. Aaron, Jr. is at present a Steward of Boylston Lodge.

On April 8, 1912, the Lodge voted the approval of a Masonic Lodge in Rutland, and on May 4, 1912, Rufus Putnam Lodge was instituted. For many years the two Lodges have observed St. John's Sunday together. Past Master's jewels had not been given since 1887, and by vote of the Lodge, plans were made to correct this omission. Hence, on May 13, 1912, in the presence of a distinguished group of guests and Brethren, jewels were presented to eleven Past Masters. They were presented by Right Worshipful Henry Dyke, District Deputy Grand Master of the 21st District. Five other Past Masters who were unable to attend received theirs at a later date.

September 27, 1915, found the Lodge convening again in the Odd Fellows Hall on Newton Street and for nearly thirty-six years now we have continued to make this our home.

The meeting on March 12, 1917, was devoted to the fortieth anniversary of the granting of the charter. The Secretary, Wor. George Wright, read a prepared summary of the major events of the first forty years. (Much of the material used for this seventy-fifth anniversary history was mentioned in his summary.)

The net membership in forty years had grown from the original thirty-three to one hundred twenty-five. This year of 1917 was also the year of celebration of two hundred years of established Masonry in England. The Secretary was authorized to write in our records an appropriate commemoration of this great event. The account of this appears in our records on June 13, 1917.

The next two years were strenuous ones. Our country was at war; our members were entering the Armed Service; there was a shortage of fuel which interfered with our regular meetings and influenza epidemics caused meetings to be cancelled. The regularity of Lodge work continued during the next few years, with the addition of new members and the passing away of the older ones. With the loss of each of our Brothers, suitable tribute was paid them relative to their contribution to the Masonic work.

The year 1926 marked the fiftieth anniversary of Boylston Lodge and proper plans were made for a suitable celebration. This anniversary was held in cooperation wd Centennial Lodge, I. O. O. F., on May 6. The complete report or this event has been lost from the records — a very regrettable fact The membership on this fiftieth anniversary had grown to W, With the passing of the fifty year mark, the Lodge could bote forward to the awarding of service medals to those of thor members who had practiced Masonry half a century. The first presentation was made to the only living charter member, Thurston Buck, who was raised in 1876. He received his medal n October 24, 1927, and was buried February, 1929. It was presented by R. W. Otis C. White, then District Deputy Grand Master.

The history of the Lodge during the list twenty-five years has been very much a part of the lives of many of our present members. More than two hundred new members have been admitted to help carry on the fraternal, charitable and social work of the Lodge. We also mourn the passing of many of our true and faithful Brothers. These twenty-five years have passed swiftly, with certain instances standing tit in our memory. Out of our jurisdiction grew another Lodge —our Brothers from Shrewsbury requested a release to form Matthew John Whittall Lodge in 1928. On October 26, 1930, the second fifty-year medal was presented to Brother Emory Bacon; R.W. Brother Frank Cate became District Deputy Grand Master — the second to be chosen from Boylston Lodge in its fifty-eight years of existence. He was presented his jewel on October 29, 1934, and since that time, has left us to join the Celestial Lodge above. The third fifty-year medal was presented on December 15, 1941, to our Wor. Brother George Wright. Wor. Brother Wright served twice as Master, seven years as Secretary, and was a noted authority on many of the historic events in Masonry and in the history of his Town of Boylston.

Wor. James F. Higgins, our oldest living Past Master, was presented his fifty-year jewel on June 19, 1944. Wor. Brother Higgins was Master in 1897-1898. At present he is living in Athol and is in very poor health. Two more of our Brothers were honored with their fifty-year medals on April IS, 1946 — Arthur H. Broad of Worcester and Chester E. Lord.

The By-Laws of Boylston Lodge have been revised many times to meet the changing demands. The last time it was to establish a building fund, to which every member contributes $1.00 a year. To this fund has been added the gift of $500 made by the late Brother Robert C. Houghton. It is hoped that some day this fund will assist us in erecting a building of our own.

Those of us who remember Brother Edgar A. Whitcomb will recall that on June 9, 1947, a presentation was made to him of a gold watch. This was a gift from his many Brothers in recognition of his long and faithful service as Lodge Treasurer. Brother Whitcomb joined Boylston Lodge in May, 1917, and became its Treasurer in November, 1923, which office he held for twenty-five years. He was well-known for his many visits to his Brothers who were sick and in need of comfort. His passing in January, 1951, was sad news to us all.

Three other Brothers who received their fifty-year medals were Albert O. Bullard, who received his on November 10, 1947, in Boylston Lodge; George L. Harris, who was presented his medal in Livingston Lodge in New York City on November 17, 1947, and Wor. Franklin E. Walker, who received his medal on January 10, 1949, in Greenleaf Lodge, Whittier, California. Wor. Brother Walker was our twenty-second Master, serving in 1902-1904.

Another outstanding event of the year 1949 was the presentation of the District Deputy Grand Master's medal to R.W. Ralph W. Hager on an official visit to Boylston Lodge on January 17. On May 20 of this year, a joint meeting was held with Rufus Putnam Lodge in the Holden Town Hall, at which time both R. W. Brother Hager of the 22nd District and R.W. George Campbell, District Deputy Grand Master of the 21st District, was present. On June 13 of last year, Mrs. Frank Cate presented to Boylston Lodge the Past Master and District Deputy Grand Master jewels of R. W. Brother Cate, together with some of his Masonic books. Another highlight of the year was the presentation to Wor. Brother Charles E. Bolton of his fifty-year medal at his home in East Millbury.

During our seventy-five years, there have been sixty-six Masters in Boylston Lodge, including Wor. E. Dana Bancroft who acted while the Lodge was working under dispensation. He was, by the way, also the first appointed Master of Trinity Lodge of Clinton in 1858. Today there are thirty-seven of these Past Masters living and nineteen are here tonight. Our membership has grown to 451 members from the original thirty-three. Boylston Lodge has not only carried on the traditional work of Masonry in the lodge-room, but has practiced these principles outside of the Lodge. This is evidenced in the records by the events of social, fraternal and charitable nature. Many incidences appear in the records of the aid given to distressed Brothers and widows. Contributions have been made by the Lodge and its members to many worthy causes, including our Masonic Home in Charlton. Social events have included Ladies' Night on several occasions, the first one occurring on January 29, 1877.

Tonight is certainly a diamond anniversary — a brilliant stone in the crystals of events. It is the first time since the installation ceremony on April 5, 1877, that a Grand Master and his distinguished suite have honored the lodge-rooms of Boylston Lodge. We are honored by their presence and may well be proud to have this as a crowning jewel in our seventy-five years of Masonry. May it also be a shining example to light the future path of Boylston Lodge.

CENTENARY HISTORY, APRIL 1977

BOYLSTON LODGE A. F. & A. M.
ONE HUNDRED YEAR HISTORY
1876 - 1976

Note: the references (S#) in the text refer to pictures included in a slide show originally presented with the centennial history in 1977.

PREFACE

At a meeting of the Centennial Committee in May 19?6 three Past Masters were selected to write the History of Boylston Lodge A. F. & A. M. The events were classified in three sections: The Organization and Early Growth (1876-1904); The Years of Recovery and Growth (1905-1964); The Planning For and Obtaining a New Temple (1965-1977).

The records and the minutes of the past meetings were carefully read and the highlights and the most important events noted* Each writer composed his section and delivered it at the 100th year observance on April 4„ 1977 in the presence of the Grand Master of Masons of Massachusetts.

The following is a copy as edited by the three authors, Worshipful Donald P. Reed, Worshipful Norman C. Greenough, and Worshipful James A. Cooke,

DEDICATION

The materials necessary to write the history of any organization becomes available only when someone has kept complete and accurate records of the events as they occurred. Therefore, we dedicate this Centennial History of BoyIston Lodge to those Brothers who served as Secretaries during the past one hundred years.

THE CENTENNIAL OF BOYLSTON LODGE, A. F. and A. M.

WEST BOYLSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
April 4, 1977

The year of 1876 was a very important year. The United States celebrated its 100th birthday. Also., tyro special events occurred during March 1876 that affected the lives of men throughout the century. First, the famous inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, on March 10, sent his voice over a wire and the telephone came into existence. Second, a request by 22 Masons, mostly from Trinity Lodge of Clinton, for permission to form a new Lodge was answered. The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts granted permission on March 8, 1876 for s lodge to be called "Boylston Lodge", to be located in West Boylston.

A familiar Bible verse was being enacted: "Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened unto you."

This group of Masons had received permission to establish a Lodge and now sought a place to meet. They knocked at the door of the First Baptist Church and found their new home in the upper room above the sanctuary.

The group was organised under the leadership of Dana Bancroft (S1), a Past Master, who ten years previously had helped in the re-organization of Trinity Lodge of Clinton.

In this Baptist Church (S2), built in 1832, these Masons first assembled on April 10, 1876. Luring the next twelve months the temporary officers practiced their degree work. Meetings took place most every Monday night„ They drew up their By-Laws, and adopted their official seal.

On July 17, 1876 they raised the first candidate, Thurber Butler. Eleven candidates became raerabers during the year, so that there were thirty-three names on the Charter that was received on March 14, 1877.

In March 1877 a new slate of officers was elected„ with George M. Lourie as Master and Aaron Goodale III as Senior Warden.

On April 5, 1877 (just 100 years ago) the new officers were installed by the Most Worshipful Percival L. Everett, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and his suite. With him were three Past Grand Masters, William Coolidge, William Parkman, and Sereno Nickerson. The installation took place in the vestry of the church.

Worshipful Master Lourie was born in Bannockburn, Scotland in 1830, the son of a "carpet loom fixer". The father is said to have woven the first Brussels carpet made in .America. Wor. Lourie first settled in Enfield, Conn., in 1840, and moved to Clinton about 1851. He was associated with the Bigelow Bros, Mills and came to West Boylston as Superintendent of the Clarendon Mills in 1870, In 1885 he was appointed District Deputy of the 18th District. A tree in his memory was planted at the Charlton Home on October 29, 1939 by Boylston Lodge.

For fifteen years Boylston Lodge met regularly in the apartment over the sanctuary. These quarters were also shared with the Centennial Lodge of Odd Fellows, the local Grange, and the Lodge of Royal Arcanum.

On May 2, 1890 fire destroyed the church. Fortunately, the Lodge records were at the home of the Secretary, and the Bible, Charter and officers' regalia were rescued.

A new stone church (S3) arose on the same spot and partially stands today as the only evidence that an historic group of buildings once occupied this area. In 1973 the building was declared an historic land mark by the National Parks Service and listed in the Register of Historic Places. Decay and lack of proper care caused the roof to fall in 1974 partially destroying the structure (S4). Today it is being rebuilt and will again become a landmark and a reminder to members of Boylston Lodge of their birthplace.

Following destruction of the old church, s. temporary home for Boylston Lodge was provided for by the Selectmen of the Town. A nearby schoolhouse (S5) that had been converted into a library and town offices served for a year. Here, in a small room with a table at the center for the Three Great Lights, the Lodge functioned, raising one candidate through all three degrees in two months. They also received District Deputy Moody and his suite in these crowded quarterse The next residence was a larger building near the brick Congregational-Church called "Thomas Hall" (S6). This was used also for town meetings and by the Congregational Church. It was named in memory of Robert B. Thomas, founder of the "Old Farmer's Almanac" (S7), which is still being published today, Robert Thomas was also the first Town Clerk of West Boylston.

In 1894 Boylston Lodge was able to rent rooms from the Centennial Lodge of Odd Fellows, who recently had erected a new building (S8)„ These facilities proved adequate for the next eight years until the building of Wachusett Reservoir required the removal of the hall to higher ground.

Although Boylston Lodge never was a resident of the "Stone Church" we have inherited some of its valuable artifacts (S9). The interior view shows that we have the pews, the furniture from the platform here in the East, and the beautiful windows of the church to adorn our next Temple.

Only the "Old Stone Church" remains to guard this "Historic Area" (S10) and to members of Boylston Lodge it will remain a monument of our birthplace.

In 1902, due to construction of the Wachusett Reservoir, the Odd Fellows' Hall in the valley was taken down, moved to the upper part of the town, and rebuilt at its present location on Newton Street (S11). In January of 1904, Boylston Lodge again made its home in this building and stayed there for the next six years. The "exorbitant" rent was $?5o00 per year, which included the use of the lower banquet hall and kitchen with no restriction on the number of meetings held each year* This $75.00 would barely pay the heating bill alone for the present Temple for one week in the cold winter of 1977. In September 1909, Boylston Lodge moved into the new Town Hall (S12) located where the Municipal Electric Light building now stands at Crescent and Central Streets, and remained there about eight years.

During this period, on February 12, 1912, a new Bible, "The Great Light of Masonry", was presented to the Lodge by the sons of Worshipful Aaron Goodale the 4th, in memory of their father. It is most significant that this Bible, which still adorns our altar, should perpetuate the name of so distinguished a Masonic family. Four generations of Goodales are listed in our membership, and in each of these generations there has been an "Aaron" who became Master of this Lodge. The first one was a charter member. In the third generation there were three brothers who became members of this Lodge and two of these became Worshipful Master. In all there have been eight generations of Aaron Goodales in West Boylston,, the youngest now being ten years of age. Should Boylston Lodge ever decide to change its name how could it possibly choose any other than "Goodale" Lodge of West Boylston! On March 20, 1961 Worshipful Aaron the 5th received his 50-year Veteran's Medal and it was pinned upon his jacket by his son Worshipful Aaron the 6th.

In April 1912 the Lodge voted approval of a Masonic Lodge in Rutland, and on May 4, 1912 Rufus Putnam Lodge was instituted. For many years the two lodges observed St. John's Sunday together, and since 1948 they have joined together in holding an annual special communication in the Holden Town Hall known as "Holden Night."

A rather special evening was enjoyed on May 13. 1912 when eleven Past Master's jewels were presented. It had been realized that no Past Master's jewels had been awarded since the Lodge was chartered in 1877 and the omission was rectified on this evening. Five other Past Masters who were also entitled received jewels at later dates.

On March 12, 1917 the 40th anniversary of the granting of the Charter was celebrated. The net membership in forty years had grown from thirty-three charter members to 183 members. The year 1917 was also the year of celebration of 200 years of established Masonry in England. On December 25, 1917 the West Boylston Town Hall was destroyed by fire and Boylston Lodge was again without a home. Lodge records that were stored in a safe in the cellar were saved. Arrangements were made and it was back to Odd Fellows' Hall (S13) for what was going to be a stay of 55 years. The two years 1918-1919 were strenuous ones. Our country was at war, there was a shortage of fuel which interfered with regular meetings, and influenza epidemics caused meetings to be cancelled. Now, almost sixty years later, we are seeing the tendency for history to repeat itself, at least in respect to fuel shortages and the threat of influenza epidemics,

In 1926 the 50th Anniversary of Boylston Lodge was observed, and this was a joint celebration with Centennial Lodge of Odd Fellows, also 50 years in existence, Our membership at that time had grown to 239. With the passing of the 50-year mark the Lodge could look forward to the awarding of 50-year medals to members who had practiced Masonry for half a century. The first such presentation was made on October 24, 1927 to our only living charter member, Bro. Thurston Buck8 who was raised in 1876 (S14).

During the next 25 years Boylston Lodge maintained an active existence. More than 200 members were admitted in this span of time. In 1928 our brothers from Shrewsbury were granted a release to form Matthew John Whittall Lodge, On October 29, 1934 a District Deputy Grand Master's jewel was presented to Rt.Wor. Bro. Frank Cate, only the second member of Boylston Lodge to be so honored in its 58 years of existence. Several additional 50-year medals were presented to entitled brothers during these passing years.

In 1946, the By-Laws of Boylston Lodge were revised to establish a Building Fund, to which each member would contribute $1.00 per year in his dues, and which fund was open for all who wished to make gifts or legacies, for building purposes.

In 1949, our third District Deputy Grand Master, Rt. Wor. Bro. Ralph W. Hager, was presented his jewel on January 17.

The year 1951 brought still another major anniversary celebration, our 75th. At this time our membership had grown to 451, and 66 Worshipful Masters had served BoyIston Lodge during these 75 years. I would like to quote verbatim from the historical sketch which was read on May 28, 1951 at our 75th anniversary celebration in the Major Edwards High School auditorium.

"Tonight is certainly a diamond anniversary - a brilliant stone in the crystals of events. It is the first time since the installation ceremony on April 5. 1877 that a Grand Master and his distinguished suite have honored the Lodge rooms of Boylston Lodge. We are honored by their presence and may well be proud to have this as a crowning jewel in our 75 years of Masonry. May it also be a shining example to light the future path of Boylston Lodge."

The Master of Boylston Lodge at this meeting was Wor. Bro„ Peter Surabian. The Most Worshipful Grand Master in attendance that night was Most Worshipful Bro. Thomas S. Roy.

Following the celebration of the 75th anniversary there seems to have been continuous thought about the procuring of a piece of land for the eventual erection of our own Masonic Temple. On October 13, 1952, it was voted to have the Worshipful Master appoint a committee of seven to study and report on this matter. By this time the building fund established in 1946 had grown to about $2,500, The committee reported from time to time on various sites that had been investigated, but no definite action was taken„ Over the next ten years membership on this committee changed occasionally,, and it was a case of "keeping eyes open" for just the right situation to present itself. By 1962 the building fund had grown to about $10,000. One thing that helped in this growth was a change in By-Laws in 1955 whereby $10.00 from each new membership fee was put into the fund. In the same By-Law change $10.00 was also allotted to the Boylston Lodge Charity Fund and $5.00 to the Masonic Home Fund.

In the fall of 1957 a chapter of DeMolay was formed-in Holden, with several members of Boylston Lodge being active and instrumental in this formation. The jurisdiction of this Chapter also included some seven other towns surrounding Holden.

We often hear of a Lodge in one jurisdiction performing some sort of Masonic service for a Lodge in another jurisdiction. A rather unusual example of this occurred in Boylston Lodge on June 6, 1960, when the Master Mason degree was conferred on Bro. John Westlund as a courtesy to George Washington Lodge No. 820 of Kaiserslautern, Germany. Bro. Westlund, who was in the United States Armed Services at the time, had taken his E. A. and F. C. degrees in Germany. His proper credentials for having received the Third Degree in Boylston Lodge were returned to his Lodge in Kaiserslautern through the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

In the spring of 1961 the lodge voted to pay one-half of the cost of re-decorating the Lodge room in Odd Fellows Hall in appreciation of the good "landlord-tenant" relations that had existed over the many years that Boylston Lodge had made its home in this building.

In the fall of 1962 there was some thought of buying this hall, from the Odd Fellows. This was one solution to obtaining a building of our own. Agreement could not be reached on price, however, so this idea was not consummated, We must have been in a buying mood at the time, for our records show much talk about buying a small organ to help in our degree work. If we could not buy a building we could at least buy an organ? An Organ Fund was established and a few months later a small Baldwin organ was purchased, which greatly enhanced the conducting of our meetings for the next ten years. Our organist was our present Worshipful Master, Wor. Bro. William Silvester. This organ is now used downstairs in our dining area.

In January of 1965 Worshipful Brother Peter Surabian was appointed District Deputy of the 22nd District. He became the fourth Master from Boylston Lodge appointed during 88 years of its existence.

ln 1965, after fourteen years of searching for appropriate land noon which to build a temple, property had been found that appeared satisfactory. In preparation for owning property, nine appointed members of Boylston Lodge met on March 9, 1965 at 35 Scarlett Street,, West Boylston, to sign an agreement to form a charitable corporation. This was to be known as West Boylston Masonic Charity and Educational Association, Inc. On June 30 papers were passed and the Association acquired two acres of land on Worcester Street, with house thereon. This building was formerly the Bigelow-Temple Tavern (S15) and was purchased from the widow of Bro„ Lawrence M. Shepard. She was given life tenure of the house and land.

Since most of the available funds had been used in the purchase of the Shepard property, no plans were made relative to building a temple during the next two years. In the monthly calendar of September 1967 Worshipful Bro. Stanley Long wrote, "Would you like to build, a temple? Wouldn't it be nice to have new quarters when we celebrate our 100th anniversary in 1976-77?"

The next year Wor. Bro. Richard Gates established the "Buck of the Month Club", which netted $5,000 in its first year and stimulated other programs of fund raising. During the following three years plans and ideas were discussed by the Board of Trustees of the Association and the members were encouraged to give to the Building Fund which had been previously established.

A new stimulus came in April 1970 when a letter was received from the Centennial Lodge of Odd Fellows informing the Masonic Lodge that their building was up for sale. The choice for Boylston Lodge and the Trustees was to buy or build. Although $12,000 or more was now available for purchase, the investment in this building would also involve repair problems.

From August to December 1970 plans and sketches for a new temple were submitted by Wor. Bro. Ed. VanderPyle and viewed by members at special meetings. When favorable plans were established it was found the cost of such ranged from $60,000 to $100,000. This appeared to be out of the question, so "hope was lost in fruition".

At the last meeting in December it was rumored that the Baptist Church of West Boylston planned to dissolve and the church building might be available. The Lodge voted to have the Trustees investigate with members of the Baptist group and report at the first opportunity.

The process of negotiation was slow and extended through the Spring of 1971. Finally an agreement was reached. At a special meeting of Boylston Lodge on August 23, 1971 with 103 members present, it was voted 98 to 5 to purchase the church building with specified contents for the total price of $22,200.

Then followed the arrangement for financing, for purchase, renovations repairs, and maintenance. Funds were solicited on a three-year pledge, gifts, and a loan from available Lodge funds. No mortgage was necessary. On. January 24, 1972 final papers were passed and Boylston Lodge had a horns of its own. Strange that from a beginning in a Baptist Church the Masonic Lodge had come to own a Baptist Church on West Boylston Common (S16).

Open House was held on Sunday, February 6„ to allow all members to see their new Temple, A sign-up list was made of members who would give of their time to up-date and repair the building, During the next year platforms were built on the side where the old pews were placed, painted white, and thus allowing for 120 seats. Platforms for the East, South and West were established, A new partition was constructed in the West to separate the foyer from the main church.

On Tuesday, March 14, 1972, with Worshipful Bro. Louis Aharonian in the East, Boylston Lodge held its first meeting with 25 members present. March 27 was Past Masters' Night and some 20 Past Masters were present to perform the Third Degree. Candidate Bro. Robert Hoaglund, who was Moderator of the Baptist group, became the first Mason to be raised in our new Temple.

Improvements continued during the next two years. Included were cushions for the pews, new furniture for South and West, a new heating system, beautiful carpet on the floor, a picture gallery of Past Masters, and, of course,, painting of walls and woodwork. The many hours of work spent improving the Temple was given by nearly 100 brothers.

Organization of this urogram and supervision of the work was mainly by "Our Hiram Abif", Right. Worshipful Peter H. Surabian. His untiring effort and the work of many of the craft is greatly appreciated.

Although the reconstruction, work of the Temple was not complete. It was dedicated on April 22, 1974. Most Worshipful Donald W. Vose, Grand Master of Massachusetts and his suite of distinguished Masons performed a very impressive ceremony. His visit was most appreciated.

Some of the accomplishments of the Lodge, especially during the more recent years, consist of;

  • Blood donated: 300 pints
  • 50-year members presented medals: 62
  • Membership in 1964: 639
  • Membership at present: 540

Boylston Lodge allows Bancroft Assembly of Rainbow Girls the use of the Temple, Presently, the West Boylston Council for Aging sponsors a clinic each fmonth and Bethlehem Baptist Church holds Sunday services in the dining hall.

During the past centennial year we have held a 50-year member banquet, an anniversary ball, have had a 100-year commemorative medal made, had a float in the Town Bicentennial parade, and have reviewed in Lodge meetings some of our early history.

The occasion of the visit of Most Worshipful Grand Master Stanley F. Maxwell and his suite on April 4, 1977 represents the fourth time a Grand Master has favored us with his presence. The Lodge was honored by this visit as the climax of our centennial celebration.

All members of Boylston Lodge are and should be proud of the accomplishments of Boylston Lodge during the past one hundred years.

REFERENCES
  • Records of Boylston Lodge: 10 Volumes
  • Brief History of Boylston Lodge

    • Bro. Harold E. Sheldon
, Bro. Richard H. Davis, 1960
  • Forty Year History of Boylston Lodge
    • Worshipful Bro. George F. Wright, 1917
  • Seventy Five Year History
    • Rt. Worshipful Bro. Peter H. Surabian, Worshipful Bro. James A. Cooke, 1951
  • Special Information and Assistance
    • furnished by Worshipful Bro, Randall H. Piper, Secretary
  • History of Town of West Boylston
    • Horatio Houghton, 1889
  • Pictures and Slides of early meeting places
    • furnished by courtesy of the West Boylston Historical Commission
  • Pictures of Worshipful Bro. E. Dana Bancroft and Bro. Thurston Buck
    • by Worshipful Bro,, Peter Stewart

GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1876: District 11 (Worcester)

1883: District 18 (Worcester)

1911: District 21 (Worcester)

1927: District 21 (Worcester)

1931: District 22 (Worcester)

2003: District 23


LINKS

Lodge web site

Massachusetts Lodges