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Location: Ancon, Canal Zone

Chartered By: Arthur D. Prince

Charter Date: 12/14/1921 1922-224 (Constituted 02/23/1922)

Precedence Date: 03/08/1921

Current Status: merged with Canal Zone Isthmian Lodge to form Ancon Lodge, 07/28/1982.


  • Charles C. Cameron, 1921, 1922
  • Calvin D. Eppley, 1923
  • Fred R. Rice, 1924
  • Samuel W. Newhard, 1925
  • Arthur J. Barker, 1926
  • George H. Buehler, 1927
  • Abraham L. Brill, 1928
  • Craig S. Neville, 1929
  • Robert C. Worsley, 1930
  • Albert H. Evans, 1931
  • John F. Sankey, 1932
  • Henry W. Gerrans, 1933
  • Lawrence Getz, 1934
  • Roger A. Orvis, 1935
  • Walter C. Dugan, 1936
  • Bert J. Benoit, 1937
  • Simon P. Williams, 1938
  • James W. Thompson, 1939
  • Carl R. Newhard, 1940
  • William H. Clinchard, Jr., 1941
  • Milton R. Smith, 1942
  • Hugh E. Turner, 1943
  • Robert R. Hicks, 1944
  • John J. Dudak, 1945
  • Henry W. Bigelow, Jr., 1946
  • Clarence C. Jester, 1947
  • Howard H. Dvorak, 1948
  • Elmer H. Gardner, 1949
  • James G. Murray, 1950
  • Ralph E. Harvey, 1951
  • Charles J. Sorrell, 1952
  • Elzy G. Fiffer, 1953
  • Bennett J. Williams, 1954
  • William S. McKey, 1955
  • Clayburne A. McLelland, 1956
  • Waldemar R. Zirkman, 1957
  • Andrew J. Smith, 1958
  • Ralph K. Frangioni, Sr., 1959
  • Willard K. Percy, 1960
  • Thomas Brown, 1961
  • Harold J. Million, 1962
  • Perry E. Truxton, 1963
  • Virgil R. Worsham, 1964
  • Allen K. Miller, 1965
  • Thomas C. Peterson, 1966
  • James L. Dalton, 1967
  • Klaus D. Reichert, 1968
  • James F. Amason, 1969
  • Thomas E. Barlow, 1970
  • Clinton K. Murphy, 1971
  • Stanley H. Bezzo, 1972
  • Noland W. Creekmore, 1973
  • Larry N. Bates, 1974
  • Carl O. Riggs, Jr., 1975
  • John D. Nolan, 1976
  • Rolando A. Linares, Jr., 1977
  • Earl R. Hancock, 1978
  • Edwin L. Rindfusz, 1979
  • James E. Henderson, 1980
  • William A. Brown, III, 1981
  • Ralph R. Rice, 1982



  • 1971 (50th Anniversary)



1925 1934 1949 1950 1960 1968 1972 1973 1980


  • 1971 (50th Anniversary History, 1971-8)


From Proceedings, Page 1971-8:

By Worshipful Thomas C. Peterson.

In 1920, under the leadership of Wor. Charles C. Cameron, a meeting was held in regard to forming another Masonic Lodge on the Isthmus.

At a meeting on November 8, 1920, 40 Brethren signed a petition to the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. At that meeting, the name "Chagres" was chosen after ballot.

Of the signers of the petition for charter, the 40 Brethren represented 17 different Masonic jurisdictions. There were only 9 members of other Canal Zone Lodges; however, there were 5 signers from Lodges in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

During December 1920, the other Lodges on the Pacific side voted on the request for formation of the new Masonic Lodge at Ancon named Chagres and they informed Wor. Bro. Cameron and his fellow brothers that the request was approved unanimously. The petition was then submitted to Right Worshipful Ralph Osborn, District Grand Master of the Canal Zone Masonic District, for his approval.

Chagres Lodge Under Dispensation was constituted Wednesday, March 9, 1921 when the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Arthur D. Prince, delivered a dispensation dated March 8, 1921 and returnable December 14, 1921, and installed Bro. Charles Cameron as Worshipful Master; Bro. Calvin D. Eppley as Senior Warden and Bro. Edwin F. Bramin as Junior Warden, in the Masonic Hall, Ancon.

The first stated meeting under dispensation was held on April 4, 1921 in the Ancon Masonic Hall.

The first Special Communication of Chagres Lodge U. D. was held on June 20, 1921. On that night 3 Entered Apprentices were received and initiated. The District Grand Lodge paid its first official visitation to the Lodge on October 26, 1921.

On February 6, 1922, Chagres Lodge was officially constituted and its officers for the year 1922 installed by Rt. Wor. Clinton G. Carty, Acting District Grand Master.

During the first year (1921) 12 petitions for the Degrees were accepted. Eight were initiated; four passed and one raised to the degree of Master Mason.

The baby Lodge on the Canal Zone has grown strong and our annual report for the Masonic Year 1970 showed 426 members on the rolls. The highest number on the rolls was in 1964 and 1966 when in the annual report for those years showed 453 Brothers.

There have been many highlights of the Lodge over the years. Distinguished Service Medals have been awarded to 27 members of Canal Zone Lodges; of these five were members of Chagres Lodge.

It was the first Lodge to request a meeting place in the new Scottish Rite Temple and held its first communication in this Temple and in this Lodge Room on November 18, 1929.

A Past Master of Chagres Lodge has never had the pleasure of being installed as District Grand Master. Our Lodge has been honored by having two Past Masters appointed Deputy District Grand Master (Wor. Bennett J. Williams and Wor. Ralph R. Frangioni); three members have been elected District Senior Grand Warden and six elected District Junior Warden. Wor. Bro. Cameron, the first Master, served as District Grand Secretary, 1926-27 and Wor. Arthur J. Barker served in that office 1937-39.

The Lodge has been preeminent in charity and has given its
helping hand to those in need. She, with her Sister Lodges,
believe we are all a credit to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

The founders of the Lodge set a wonderful example of hard
work tor the good of the order and the members have con
tinued that tradition by giving willingly of their time and
talents for the growth of the Lodge.

Here tonight is Wor. Conrad Worsley, a typical example of a Chagres Lodge member. He was Master in the East a year before I was born. When I started my journey through the chairs he was there to guide and support me as well as others before and after me.

Our founders chose well the name Chagres. It could have been Goethals, Panama Canal, Balboa or even Crossroads of the World. Our Lodge was named after the Chagres River. It is not the longest, nor the widest, or even the deepest of the rivers of the world. The Chagres has never gone anywhere but it has seen just about everything. It has seen more gold, for instance, than all the other rivers of the world combined. Its valley contained so much gold at the beginning of its recorded history that Spaniards called Panama "Castilla del Oro"—Golden Castle. By the time its supply had run low, Peru was discovered; then across the Chagres the Dons drained the fabulous wealth of the Incas, which was enough to match all the gold in the commercial channels of Europe. Later, the Yankees shipped out via the Isthmus virtually all the gold that was mined in the California days of '49; which amounted to more than a billion and a half dollars. Today the Chagres carries the bulk of the world's trade goods—an even more potent form of gold— between the two great oceans.

Our river's first sights were volcanic eruptions, for it was born during an era to terrestrial upheaval. Soon afterwards it watched the migrations of Mongoloid tribes into South America. Later it felt the slippered feet of Christopher Columbus as he searched for his westward passage to the Orient. It saw Vasco Nunez de Balboa as he slashed through the jungle and finally gained a mountain top above its banks for the white man's first sight of the Pacific Ocean. Its banks guided Francis Drake and Henry Morgan as they led their pirate bands. It carried the boats in which adventurers from young America and old Europe raced toward California and her gold.

It saw colonies of Chinese, Hindustanis and Malaysians with their strange dress and habits who had been lured to the Chagres country for a month's wages every day. Finally, after thousands of lives and millions of dollars spent, its banks quivered with the passing of the world's first transcontinental railroad trains.

It looked on while Count Ferdinand de Lesseps spent money and lives until he had almost bankrupted the French nation without achieving an interoceanic waterway. Then, as Panama broke her political ties with Colombia, our river furnished a face-saving obstacle to the troops who had come from Bogota to quell the revolt.

The river helped and hindered the American sanitary workers as they transformed the Isthmus from the vilest pesthole in the world to the garden spot of the tropics. When George Washington Goethals had finished his locks and ditches and dams, the Chagres sent its waters plunging in, to grow into the lakes, to surge through the turbines, to fill the locks, to raise and lower the ships, to shrink the world by half. The Chagres is the world's most valuable river. Its value rests on the fact that it is the river that operates the Panama Canal—feeds its lakes, fills its locks, generates the electrical power, even furnishes the people of the Canal Zone and Panama its drinking water and with excellent game fishing for their holiday spirit. It is the bloodstream of the world's greatest transport and communications center and the source of power for the greatest machine that mankind ever built.

Most Worshipful Grand Master and Right Worshipful Grand Marshal, there is an old saying among the Zonians: "Once you have tasted of the Chagres water you will always return". Let us hope that now that you have partaken of our Chagres River and visited Chagres Lodge you will both return to visit the Canal Zone and Chagres Lodge. Thank you one and all for coming this evening and celebrating the Chagres Lodge's 50th Birthday.



1921: Canal Zone District

1927: Canal Zone District


District Grand Lodge web site

Massachusetts Lodges