Elm

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ELM LODGE

Location: West Springfield

Chartered By: Dudley H. Ferrell

Charter Date: 03/11/1925 1925-93

Precedence Date: 04/18/1924

Current Status: in Grand Lodge Vault; merged with Belcher Lodge 11/17/1988 to form Elm-Belcher Lodge.


PAST MASTERS

  • Harrison E. Dunbar, 1924
  • Henry D. Colton, 1925
  • Edson S. Dunbar, 1926; N
  • Herbert W. Headle, 1927
  • Thomas G. Farrell, 1928
  • Axtell A. Lloyd, 1929
  • H. Adolf Jacob, 1930
  • Alfred E. Miller, 1931
  • Allister A. Tulloch, 1932
  • Alfred F. Taylor, 1933
  • Addison R. Kidder, 1934
  • Lester A. Giles, 1935
  • Carl H. Otto, 1936
  • Ralph L. Cheeseman, 1937
  • James D. MacRobbie, 1938
  • Clifford D. Warren, 1939
  • Earl R. Taylor, 1940
  • Hebert M. Reed, 1941
  • William M. May, 1942
  • Leslie P. Coe, 1943
  • Willard R. Bryson, 1944
  • William H. Deacon, 1945
  • Henry A. Lathrop, 1946
  • Robert G. Godfrey, 1947
  • Samuel J. Howley, 1948
  • Winslow L. Pellissey, 1949
  • William J. Raschi, 1950
  • James W. Hazard, 1951
  • Jesse A. Perkins, 1952
  • Harold W. Whitaker, 1953
  • Donald G. Elmer, 1954
  • Everett H. Warren, 1955; N
  • Arthur T. Rydell, 1956
  • Harry T. Wright, 1957
  • Harold A. Gibbons, 1958
  • Raymond Williamson, 1959, 1976; N
  • Roderick H. Jensen, 1960
  • Anthony F. Scalise, 1961
  • Harold O. Stanton, 1962
  • Sheldon M. Titcomb, 1963
  • Charles H. Tate, 1964
  • Seth H. Crowell, 1965
  • Daniel Pisano, 1966
  • Edward J. Hills, 1967
  • William J. Bessette, 1968
  • Arthur A. Schlosser, 1969
  • John J. Fedier, 1970
  • Armand E. Daviau, 1971, 1978
  • Robert H. Merryman, 1972
  • William L. Sieber Jr., 1973
  • Michael G. Kafantaris, 1974
  • Bernard A. Sears, 1975
  • Jean-Louis Mercier, 1977
  • Stanley C. Svec, 1979
  • Paul W. Noyes, Jr., 1980
  • Kenneth E. Lenz, 1981
  • John R. Weake, 1982
  • Guido Simone, 1983; SN
  • David A. Davies, 1984
  • Kenneth B. Kimball, 1985
  • Barry A. Niell, 1986
  • Arthur E. Hastings, 1987

Continued with Elm-Belcher Lodge.


REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1949 (25th Anniversary)
  • 1974 (50th Anniversary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1928 1930 1937 1938 1942 1949 1952 1954 1956 1971 1972 1980 1981 1983 1984

HISTORY

1949 (25th Anniversary History, 1949-46)

25TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, APRIL 1949

From Proceedings, Page 1949-46:

By Right Worshipful Edson S. Dunbar, P. D. D. G. M., Senior Past Master of Elm Lodge.

On a cold, windy Sunday afternoon, March 2, 1924, to be exact, eleven Master Masons met at Masonic Hall, West Springfield, for a very important discussion. These Master Masons were Wor. Harrison E. Dunbar, Past Master of Mount Holyoke Lodge of South Hadley Falls, Massachusetts, Frank Hays Webb, William Ernest May, William H. Gay, Edson S. Dunbar, Herbert Wallace Headle and Henry Day Colton. With these Masons there were three other Past Masters of Mount Orthodox Lodge of West Springfield, Worshipful Brothers Frank O. Scott, Fred C. Hubbard and Herman Foerster. In order to make sure that everything proceeded according to Grand Lodge specifications, Right Worshipful Edward O. Marshman, District Deputy Grand Master of the 18th Masonic District, was present in the capacity of adviser.

These Brothers met on that cold, windy Sunday afternoon in the front hall of the Masonic Temple. There being no fires in the two hot air furnaces on that particular Sunday, all present sat with their overcoats tightly wrapped around them and "remained covered" during the meeting, only removing their gloves to sign a petition requesting Mount Orthodox Lodge for concurrent jurisdiction in Wrest Springfield and Agawam. And thus, on March 2, 1924, was conceived a new Lodge in West Springfield.

In due time the request for concurrent jurisdiction was granted. Another meeting was held and Worshipful Harrison E. Dunbar was recommended for the office of Worshipful Master of a new Lodge. Henry D. Colton and Herbert Wallace Headle were recommended for Senior and Junior Wardens respectively. Between the first and second meetings it was requested that all seven of the original group as well as several additional interested Brothers, including Harry A. Hubbard, Edward E. Williams, Thomas O. Farrell and H. Adolph Jacob, submitted suggestions for a name for the new Lodge. At the second meeting, after careful consideration of many excellent suggested names, Brother Herbert W. Headle's suggestion was adopted. Since the Masonic Temple was located on Elm Street (which before the hurricane was lined on both sides with stately elm trees), and since the elm tree has always stood for strength, beauty and New England tradition since the very founding of New England, the name Elm was selected. And thus a name for the new baby Lodge in West Springfield was selected and appeared on the request to the Grand Lodge for a dispensation. The Grand Lodge granted our request, and in May, the dispensation was presented by R W. Edward C. Marshman, District Deputy Grand Master of the 18th Masonic District. The following officers were appointed to serve under dispensation:

  • Harrison E. Dunbar, Worshipful Master
  • Henry D. Colton, Senior Warden
  • Herbert W. Headle, Junior Warden
  • Frank H. Webb, Treasurer
  • William H. Gay, Secretary
  • Lewis S. Erickson, Chaplain
  • Nelson Feeley, Marshal
  • Edson S. Dunbar, Senior Deacon
  • William E. May, Junior Deacon
  • Thomas G. Farrell, Senior Steward
  • Axtell A. Lloyd, Junior Steward
  • Adolph Jacob, Inside Sentinel
  • Alexander H. Allan, Organist
  • Carl C. Perkins, Tyler
  • George B. Perry, Lecturer

And thus Elm Lodge was born and soon became a healthy bab yin Western Massachusetts Masonry.

An interesting side light showing how easy it is for a new Lodge to make a mistake occurred immediately after our request *or a dispensation. Several of the original signers told their Masonic friends that they could become charter members by signing up and paying $10.00. As a result, thirty additional names were forwarded to the Grand Lodge to be included on our charter. Back in 1924 Right Worshipful Frederick W. Hamilton was Grand Secretary. He came back at us with a very strong letter in which the word "No" appeared many times, the gist of his letter being that we could not include these additional names on the charter. Those of us who knew him realized that when he said "No" he really meant it. However, Worshipful Harrison E. Dunbar was also inclined to be stubborn. After about six letters and two trips to Boston, a compromise was made and Elm Lodge paid $30.00 for the engrossing of a new charter which included thirty names in addition to the original seven signers of the dispensation.

During that first year under dispensation, Elm Lodge raised twenty-eight candidates. The first Master was a very exacting ritualist, and as a result of his insistence of perfect ritual, Elm Lodge right from the start established a record for good ritual that has followed through the years. At our first Exemplification, Elm Lodge came through with a score of 100%. Right Worshipful Brother Edwin L. Davis was the Grand Lecturer at that time and was loud in his praise for the way the new Lodge was conducting itself.

When Elm Lodge first started, the Masonic Temple, although it had been extensively renovated back in 1914 when Mount Orthodox bought it from the First Congregational Church, was still far from being perfect as a meeting place. The building enjoys a beautiful location on the top of a hill, but is a target for all the winds from the North, Northeast or Northwest. In the winter time they are inclined to be a little strong. The building was heated by two hot air furnaces, one in the Northwest corner, the other in the Southeast corner right on the first floor — in fact these furnaces rested on the wooden floor, and when they were taken out, the boards were charred half way through from hot ashes that had been dropped on them. Many a time during that first year the candidates were furnished with overcoats and extra pairs of wool socks to avoid catching cold or pneumonia.

Shortly after Elm Lodge got under way, representatives of Mount Orthodox and Elm got together and started to raise a fund by taking shares in the William R. Harvey Masonic Building Association. This ultimately resulted in a modern heating plant as an addition to the back of the building, over which a modern kitchen was installed. This gave us much more banquet space and club room facilities on the first floor and much better heating.

However, another interesting incident took place during our first official visitation by Right Worshipful H. Greeley Randall. His visitation came exactly one week after they began to tear out to make these new alterations on the heating plant and kitchen. The net result was that after the meeting in the lodge-room, we adjourned to the banquet hall below and could only use one corner of it with absolutely no kitchen facilities. As a result, the refreshments which had been planned were changed suddenly to pumpkin pie and cider. Then, to our dismay, the silverware was locked up in a safe under piles of tables, chairs and lumber and the dishes were in storage. The representatives of the Grand Lodge and Elm Lodge officers and members ate their pie with their fingers off paper plates. Several tuxedos had to go to the cleaners the next day.

On June 11, 1925, Most Worshipful Dudley H. Ferrell, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, with the Grand Lodge Officers, constituted Elm Lodge and presented it with its charter. This was a gala occasion with a large delegation of Grand Lodge Officers, District Deputy Grand Masters from the surrounding territory and the Masters and Officers of most of the Lodges in the immediate vicinity attending. Tickets for the roast turkey dinner had to be limited, and the walls of the buildlng in the area of the lodge-room must have bulged in order to accommodate the crowd that was present on that occasion.

Under dispensation, Elm Lodge was assigned to the 18th Masonic District. After our constitution, we were made a part of the Springfield 33rd Masonic District.

At the first election of officers after our constitution in 1925, considerable pressure was brought to bear to have Worshipful Harrison E. Dunbar continue another year, but as his health had not been too good, he declined. All of the other officers, with but one or two exceptions, had never held Masonic office before and they felt rather inexperienced to carry on.

And here again an incident happened that is a little bit irregular. Henry D. Colton, who had been serving as Senior Warden, was elected Worshipful Master. Brother Headle, who had only been an officer for a year, asked that Brother Edson S. Dunbar, who had served as Junior Warden in Mount Holyoke Lodge the previous year while serving as Senior Deacon of Elm Lodge, be considered for Senior Warden as he would like to remain another year as Junior Warden. The Lodge followed out his desires so Brother Edson S. Dunbar was elected Senior Warden and Herbert W. Headle remained as Junior Warden.

Everything proceeded smoothly until early in January when the Senior Warden received a call to come immediately to Worshipful Brother Colton's home. When he arrived there he found a doctor and a nurse, who told him to go in and see Worshipful Brother Colton and only to stay five minutes. The Senior Warden did as requested, and in that five minutes, lived an eternity. Brother Colton was critically ill with pneumonia. He presented the Senior Warden with his complete details for his own funeral, and specifically requested that since he was also Senior Warden of the Episcopal Church, he wanted only the Episcopal Service because he did not want the Brothers to stand in the cold cemetery around his grave with bared heads, fearing that they might all contract pneumonia. The next morning Brother Colton died and was buried beside the old White Church which he so dearly loved, in fact he lived in the first parsonage in West Springfield.

In April of the second year, a second tragedy hit Elm Lodge in that its first Master was ordered to bed with a heart condition, which kept him confined to his room or bed for sixteen months before he died. And may your historian say right now that never has he seen such Masonic loyalty paid to any Brother as was paid to Worshipful Brother Harrison E. Dunbar. During the sixteen months that he was confined, there was never a time of over two or three days but that one or as many as eight or nine Brothers came to visit him.

And so the passing of these two great Masons, who went to their reward so soon after the birth of Elm Lodge, left a heritage of Brotherly Love and affection and set a standard for good ritual and good leadership that has played an important part in the success of our Lodge.

After the death of Worshipful Brother Henry D. Colton, the officers of Elm Lodge moved up one station and continued for the balance of that year. The same officers were re-elected for the following year. This added experience made them more competent and efficient and Elm Lodge proceeded on a smooth basis from then on.

During this period there were plenty of candidates. On several occasions during our first three years of Masonic service it was necessary to work five candidates on the first degree, five on the second and five other candidates on the third all on the same night. We would open Lodge at 6:30, and at the close of the three degrees, would serve refreshments. As a result, it would often be 12:30 before we left the hall. On several occasions the Worshipful Master received calls the next evening from wives of Kim Lodge members asking a very simple question, "What time did Elm Lodge close last night." Although the Worshipful Master at that time was not married, he still had an idea of what might be transpiring so he always gave the members the benefit of at least a half or three-quarters of an hour in reporting the time of closing of the Lodge. After one of these nights of three degrees on five candidates each it was necessary for Reverend Oldfield, who was Chaplain of our Lodge, to go with one of the Brothers who had been present the night before and convince his wife that he had been at Elm Lodge until 12:30.

During those early years in the life of Elm Lodge, people evidently did not seem to be quite as hurried as they are today, and it was nothing unusual to have Lodges from the city or surrounding towns send delegations of twenty-five or thirty Brothers on a surprise visit, with the result that our poor Junior Warden had to scurry around and get additional food because we always had a collation after a business meeting or a degree. The Brothers would sit around the piano and sing or tell stories and make Masonry the friendly, brotherly fraternity it is supposed to be.

As time marched on, our Lodge continued to prosper in true Masonic tradition. Our leadership and the wholehearted cooperation of the members carried us through the lush years of the late twenties. Then we tightened our belts and dug our way out through the dismal thirties. We rightfully acknowledge the outstanding work of the officers, members and service committees who nurtured the Lodge in its youth, through the storms and adversities of depression and brought it safely through to the present day. We particularly commend those who worked so diligently and heroically during the flood of 1936 and the hurricane of 1938. Here again was another outstanding demonstration of Brotherly Love and of rendering aid and assistance when and where needed the most.

In the early forties, war clouds reared their ugly faces over our peaceful valley. Then came war itself. During the next several years, one by one of our officers or members joined the armed forces until nearly 10% of our members were serving with Uncle Sam in all parts of the world. Those were hectic days. Between rationing and members in the service, to say nothing about extra night work for those of us who remained on the home front, there were times when the Worshipful Master hardly knew whether he was coming or going — but we carried on and emerged from the war years stronger and more united than ever. Here again officers and members and active service committees working together pulled us through. Elm Lodge service flag proudly displays twenty-two stars. Only one of these Blue stars turned to Gold — our one member who failed to return to us was Brother Herman G. Koch.

And so today Elm Lodge reaches its maturity after twenty-five years of Masonic service in our community. We are proud of our past. We mourn those officers and members who have gone on to that "undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns," but who contributed so much to Masonry while they were still among us. We rejoice in our little successes along the way. We acknowledge our short-comings. We face the future unafraid, with the pledge in our hearts to live our Masonry as it is given to us in the book of Sacred Law, the Holy Bible, and interpreted to us in our three Masonic degrees, to believe and practice the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, and to so live that others seeing us will say, "I too want to be a Mason."

50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, APRIL 1974

From Proceedings, Page 1974-60:

History 1949-1974.

(A history of Elm Lodge for the period from 1924 to 1949 by R.W. Edson S. Dunbar may be found in the Proceedings of Grand Lodge for 1924, pages 46-53, inclusive.)

The end of World War Two in 1946 found Elm Lodge with a membership of 220 brothers and the post-war years saw a remarkable resurgence in membership which carried on until the early 50's. By 1954 the roster rose to over 400, almost twice as many members as during the war years. These were busy nights for the Masters and Line Officers and it was not unusual to have as many as seven applications for membership read at a business meeting. By 1954 Elm Lodge had reached a 400 plus level and it has been a challenge to every Master since that year to keep to that figure. Losses due to suspensions, deaths and demits had to be offset by bringing in new members. This Elm Lodge has done over the last 20 years, and we are one of the few Lodges which can boast that their membership has not dropped off.

This success can be attributed to the fact that Elm has been, and still is, a lively, vibrant, friendly Lodge. Masters have recognized that the Lodge has to offer something more than that of being a degree mill. Since our 25th anniversary in 1949 Elm has been a Lodge on the go. We have made frequent visits to every Lodge in the 33rd Masonic District. We have travelled to Hartford, Suffield, Westfleld, Windsor Locks, Palmer, Holyoke to name a few visitations in our valley. That wasn't enough for our "travelling lodge". Busses took us to New York City, to Cape Cod, to Alexandria, Virginia to work in George Washington's original lodge, to Calais, Maine, to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, where we raised the only Elm brother to receive his Master Mason's degree on foreign soil. In 1972 another long distance trip to visit St. Andrews Lodge No. 53 in Montreal, Canada. We had distinguished company in the person of Most Worshipful Donald W. Vose, our Grand Master.

These trips were not financed by drawing from Lodge funds. Yearly auctions, pop concerts in association with the Melha Shrine Band and other fund drives made it possible. But the key to the success behind these trips was the hard work of the Elm brothers who pitched in on one project after another to raise the money to get us on the road. It was interesting to find brothers from other Lodges joining us on our travels, at their expense of course. We were and still are a Lodge on the go.

We travelled but others made their way to the old White Church on the hill as well. In addition to the other Lodges in the 33rd Masonic District, nearly 20 other Lodges have visited us plus a score or more of Square Clubs and other Masonic degree teams. We take pride in a cross-visitation with Hartford 88, a series which started in 1948 and has continued unbroken to this date.

Over the years Elm Lodge has had many accomplishments including an enviable record in the Masonic blood program which has seen, since its inception, a long line of Grand Lodge citations. This success has been due to a hardworking committee and the cooperation of the brethren along with some fine friends of Elm Lodge who have recognized the need for blood, a great Masonic charity.

In 1958 the Mount Elm Chapter of DeMolay was organized under the sponsorship of Elm and Mount Orthodox Lodge with guidance from brothers of both bodies.

Visits to Westover Field Base Hospital at Christmas became a heartwarming part of our travels, both to the recipients of holiday greetings and to the brothers who joined in to make Christmas a little more cheerier for the unfortunate.

No history of Elm Lodge would be complete without mentioning the names of a few brothers who have played important parts m the story of the Lodge which is celebrating its 50th anniversary on this day. The historians responsible for this report realize that there are many names which should be listed but time and space do not permit.

Two brothers are living today who were among the 30 original Charter Members in 1942. Worshipful William E. May served as Master in 1942, previous to which he was Master of Mount Orthodox Lodge. Brother Herman O. Grimmeisen has been a staunch member of Elm Lodge while being an industrial leader in the West Springfield community. The late Brother Frank H. Webb was a Charter Member and first Treasurer and later Secretary. Brother Webb left a sizable gift to the Lodge he loved. This gift was matched by Lodge funds and serves to help veteran members with the payment of Grand Lodge dues.

One distinguished brother is with us tonight on our 50th Anniversary. Worshipful Ralph L. Cheeseman served as Master in 1937 and is our Chaplain-Emeritus after over 30 years of service. At the left hand of the master in the East his counsel guided many a nervous presiding master. At a special communication in December 1970, the D. D. G. M. Joseph H. Kaufman presented him the Joseph Warren Medal from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. A beautiful portrait graces his home. It is a color photo of Ralph presented by his peers, the past masters.

In its 50 year history Elm Lodge has had two District Deputy Grand Masters serving the Springfield 33rd Masonic District. The most recent is Right Worshipful Everett H. Warren who was our Master in 1955 and served our district with honor and distinction during 1958-59.

Our first District Deputy was the late Right Worshipful Edson S. Dunbar and several pages could be devoted to this distinguished Mason. He served Elm as Master in 1926, was appointed District Deputy in 1940-41 and elected Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1961. At his reception at the First Congregational Church in West Springfield, Grand Master Laurence E. Eaton presented him the Henry Price Medal. Edson devoted his life to Masonry and service to his brothers and all who knew him are richer by his experience. His death in 1967 was a great loss to Masonry.

No reference to the members of Elm Lodge through the last 50 years would be complete without mentioning the Masters who have given of their time, their talent, and their devotion to the Lodge. A half a century has seen good times as well as the bad. Each Master has had to face a challenge, so far they have been successful because we're here tonight.

As we salute the 50 Past Masters in the history of Elm Lodge, we cannot forget the hundreds of brothers who knocked at our door seeking admission into our great fraternity. They have come from every walk of life: education, business, industry, labor, politics, the professional fields of medicine and dentistry, community involvement, agriculture and the list goes on. All of them came to Elm Lodge seeking the great light of Masonry. Many of them have taken advantage of this opportunity by serving their Lodge and their community with honor and distinction. We are indebted to them, both the living and the dead, for making tonight possible.

As we look back through the years we must mention the building which has been our home since 1924. The White Church on Elm Street in West Springfield in now a historic site. We are proud to be part of that history for the last 50 years. Through prosperity, depression and even floods the church has stood its ground. It has not been without the labors and funds of those of us who share its chambers. Today the White Church stands on the hill proudly as a symbol to all who have contributed to its maintenance. On our 50th anniversary, a safe deposit vault will be opened at the Third National Bank of Hampden County. In 1950 the original officers' aprons dating back to 1924 were placed in the vault along with the history of. the aprons. As we look at this memorabilia the thoughts of the past 50 years will go through our minds as well as the thoughts of the years to come. Very soon now we hope to find a brother, who, when he receives his Veteran's Medal, will truly represent 50 years of the history of Elm Lodge. To this brother, and to all who may carry on the tradition of our beloved Lodge in the years to come, we extend our fraternal best wishes. So mote it be!

Wor. Samuel J. Howley
Wor. Ralph L. Cheeseman
Wor. Raymond W. Williamson
Wor. James W. Hazard
Wor. Harold O. Stanton

OTHER

  • 1924 (Springfield, Corner-stone laying for a Masonic Temple, 06/24; Special Communication)
  • 1940 (Reduction in fees authorized)
  • 1972 (Visit to St. Andrew's Lodge, Montréal, Québec, in conjunction with Grand Lodge; 10/13-10/15)

GRAND LODGE OFFICERS


DISTRICTS

1924: District 18 (Springfield)

1927: District 33 (Springfield)


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges