Esoteric

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ESOTERIC LODGE

Location: Springfield

Chartered By: Dana J. Flanders

Charter Date: 12/08/1909 (1909-200)

Precedence Date: 01/12/1909

Current Status: merged with Samuel D. Sherwood Lodge to form Esoteric-Sherwood Lodge, 06/16/2006.


PAST MASTERS

  • Frank O. Hartwell, 1909-1910; N
  • Thomas C. Hawks, 1911
  • Charles H. Wilson, 1912
  • W. S. C. Russell, 1913
  • George W. Hayden, 1914
  • Charles E. Davis, 1915
  • James P. Smith, 1916
  • Ralph L. Hartwell, 1917
  • John W. Holton, 1918
  • William H. Carr, 1919
  • W. Norton Messenger, 1920
  • Alexander M. Potts, 1921
  • Harold O. Shepard, 1922
  • Arthur C. Fitzpatrick, 1923
  • Joseph Taylor, 1924
  • Homer G. Harris, 1925
  • Joseph A. Lammon, 1926
  • Edwin R. Gifford, 1927
  • Daniel Love, 1928; N
  • Christian E. Jenson, 1929
  • John W. Prevost Jr., 1930
  • John S. Macmillian, 1931
  • Ray Palmer, 1932
  • George R. Vaughan, 1933
  • George A. Guyett, 1934
  • A. Vail Smith Jr., 1935
  • Hugh P. Bemis, 1936
  • Alexander Filkin, 1937
  • Richard W. Kitson, 1938
  • Vernon S. Miller, 1939
  • William W. Willard, 1940
  • Allen S. West, 1941; N
  • William J. O'Neil, 1942
  • Russell A.V. Neilson, 1943
  • Charles E. Hadley, 1944
  • Lawrence C. Carey, 1945
  • Charles H Williams, 1946
  • John E. Joyce, 1947
  • Malcom F. Williams, 1948
  • J. Robert Duncan, 1949
  • Edwin G. Rehbein, 1950
  • Henry W. Kreiner, 1951
  • Alick Dinnie, 1952
  • Robert F. Atwood, 1953
  • Raymond w. Blakesley, 1954
  • Joseph B. Wehmeyer, 1955
  • F. Ray Payne, 1956
  • John Page, 1957
  • Edgar W. Darling, 1958
  • Andrew J. Jorgensen, 1959
  • C. Edson Bemis, 1960; N
  • Joseph A. Harrison, 1961
  • Haig E. Takorian, 1962
  • William G. Harrison, 1963
  • Walter S. Roberts, 1964
  • Solomon H. Markowitz, 1965
  • Roy W. MacDonald, 1966
  • Arthur L. Roberts, 1967
  • George Rosenfield, 1968
  • Max C. Kaye, 1969
  • Almon D. Young, 1970
  • Richard F. Richardson, 1971, 1974
  • Bernard Saltzman, 1972
  • Jack R. Mapes, 1973
  • Charles J. Sienkiewicz, 1975; N
  • Wayne Markham, 1976, 1981
  • Theophillus L. Bearse, 1977
  • Robert H. F. Chin, 1978
  • Hyman F. Schogel, 1979
  • George R. Rosenfield, 1980
  • G. Robert Richardson, 1982
  • James A. Warnock, 1983-1984
  • Ramon G. LaPointe, 1985, 1992
  • Robert G. Holmes, 1986-1987
  • Richard M. Page, 1988-1989
  • Robert W. Cherry, 1990-1991
  • Melvin A. Johnson, 1993-1994
  • Alan F. Kaye, 1995-1997; (PDDGM) N
  • Thomas A. Bridges, 1998
  • Stanley J. LaBrecque, 1999-2000; (PDDGM)
  • Michael J. Cooley, 2001
  • Micheal F. Hatcher, 2002
  • Gardiner A. Whitney, Jr., 2003
  • Anthony Ottomaniello, 2004
  • Wayne R. LaPointe, 2005


Continued with Esoteric-Sherwood Lodge.


REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1959 (50th Anniversary, Page 1959-96; see below)
  • 1984 (75th Anniversary, Page 1984-37; see below)

50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1959

From Proceedings, Page 1959-96:

By Worshipful Charles H. Williams.

Let us recall for the moment the good old days in Springfield, when down on the southeast corner of Main and State Streets there stood a stately and imposing structure of brownstone, erected and dedicated to Masonic endeavor, gracious in appearance and commanding always in its architectural beauty the deepest admiration of all who knew it. Here, in this old Temple, the Masonic history of Springfield from 1892 to 1926 was recorded, not alone by the pens of our Brethren, but in the memories of all who worked and played within its walls. Although several years have passed since the progress and growth of Masonry in Springfield made necessary the erection of a new and larger Temple, the memories of the old are cherished deep in our hearts, because it was there that Esoteric Lodge was born.

Without due reflection it is difficult, perhaps, to realize that fifty years have elapsed since the institution of our Lodge; but when we look upon our records and review the vast amount of Masonic activity which has taken place since our inception, it is equally difficult to realize that we are today celebrating only our 50th anniversary.

Brother William W. Wallace and Worshipful Thomas C. Hawks may be credited as the first of our members to propagate the idea of the new Masonic Lodge in Springfield which now bears the name "Esoteric." Early in the year of 1908, in the cozy smoking-room of the old Masonic Temple, Brother Wallace and Worshipful Brother Hawks, then Deputy Grand High Priest and Deputy Grand Captain of the Host, respectively, of the Fifth Capitular District of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts, met with several of the other interested Brethren, all prominent indeed in the Masonic and civic life of Springfield. There they discussed the possibilities of a new Lodge. Among those present at this informal gathering, in addition to Worshipful Brother Hawks and Brother Wallace, were Right Worshipful Edwin A. Blodgett, Worshipful Brothers Charles Wilson, Waterman S. C. Russell, John Holton and Brothers Charles Workheiser, Frank Workheiser and Frank Fuller. It is with sincere regret that we find all these distinguished Brethren have passed along into the Celestial Lodge above.

There were already three regular and duly constituted Lodges in Springfield: namely, Hampden, Roswell Lee and Springfield. However, there seemed to exist a strong desire on the part of certain of the Brethren to form a new Lodge, realizing perhaps that the existing Lodges were fast growing in membership. There was in mind the sentiment of the Brethren, and of the Grand Lodge in particular, that no Lodge should be permitted to expand to such proportions that the Craft would not be served to the best interests of Masonic purposes and endeavor.

The facilities for accommodating a new Lodge in the Masonic Temple were entirely adequate at the time, and, suffice it to say, any further revenue which could be obtained by additional rentals was then, as well as now, most welcome. At that time, also, there were a number of unaffiliated Masons in Springfield who, it was thought, might be enlisted as members in support of a new Lodge. The soundness of this thought is proved in the fact that nearly fifty per cent of the Charter Members of Esoteric Lodge were from the ranks of these members of the Craft previously unaffiliated in Springfield.

Several preliminary meetings followed this informal discussion and the minutes of these meetings, as recorded by the first Secretary, our late Brother Frank B. Workheiser, are most interesting in their entirety. However, time and space will here permit only their summary as follows: At a meeting held Thursday evening, September 10, 1908, Right Worshipful Edwin A. Blodgett was chosen chairman of a committee of petitioners. A collection was taken among the Brethren present, amounting to $35.00, to be applied toward defraying expenses of postage, stationery, etc. At this meeting it was voted to issue three new papers for additional signatures.

The next meeting was held on Thursday evening, November 24, 1908, when it was voted that "Esoteric" be the name of the new Lodge if formed, this name having been suggested by Right Worshipful Brother Blodgett and readily agreed upon by all present. It was voted also that the three Lodges in Springfield, Hampden, Roswell Lee and Springfield, be petitioned for recommendation, and further, that such petition, if assented to by these Lodges, be presented to the Grand Lodge for consideration in the granting of a dispensation. At this meeting of November 24th, the appointed committees reported on the by-laws and on nomination of the first officers, Worshipful Frank O. Hartwell being chosen Master, Brother Thomas C. Hawks, Senior Warden, and Brother Orrin B. Buell, Junior Warden. The additional officers necessary to complete the organization were later elected and appointed and the roster of the proposed Esoteric Lodge appeared then as follows:

  • Frank O. Hartwell, Worshipful Master
  • Thomas C. Hawks, Senior Warden
  • Orrin B. Buell, Junior Warden
  • Fred A. Bearse, Treasurer
  • Frank B. Workheiser, Secretary
  • John W. Holton, Chaplain
  • Edward B. Calef, Marshal
  • Waterman S. C. Russell, Senior Deacon
  • George W. Hayden, Junior Deacon
  • Charles W. Lemont, Senior Steward
  • Charles E. Davis, Junior Steward
  • Arthur C. Fitzpatrick, Inside Sentinel
  • George H. Munroe, Tyler

Brother Orrin B. Buell, by reason of other Masonic connections, did not remain in the office of Junior Warden, his place being taken by Worshipful Charles H. Wilson.

At the third preliminary meeting held on Thursday evening, January 14, 1909, Right Worshipful Brother Blodgett read before the members present a letter from the Grand Lodge. This communication was as follows:

Mr. Edwin A. Blodgett, Springfield, Mass.

Dear Sir and Worshipful Brother:

The dispensation of Esoteric Lodge will be granted, to bear date January 12, 1909, but it will take a few days to have it properly engrossed to send you. The Grand Master instructs that you may proceed with your organization precisely as if dispensation was actually in hand and we will send it as soon as it can be made ready.

Yours fraternally,
Thomas W. Davis, Recording Grand Secretary

Following the reading of this letter from the Grand Lodge the Brethren repaired to the lodge-room where a Master Mason's Lodge was opened in form.

Esoteric Lodge worked under dispensation for one year and on Thursday, January 13, 1910, was made a Regular and Duly Constituted Lodge, the officers being installed in full form. Our records disclose that there were one hundred fifty Brethren who attended this meeting of our Constitution, which was held in the Masonic Temple at two o'clock in the afternoon. Among the distinguished guests present were Most Worshipful Dana J. Flanders, Grand Master, Right Worshipful Clarence A. Brodeur, Senior Grand Warden; Right Worshipful William M. Belcher, Junior Grand Warden; Right Worshipful Thomas W. Davis, Recording Grand Secretary; and Right Worshipful Charles C. Spellman, Acting Grand Treasurer.

There were fifty-two petitioners for Esoteric Lodge, all Charter Members, two of whom are now living: namely, Ralph N. Fowler, born April 2, 1873; and Wor. Charles Eleazer Davis, born Oct. 13, 1880, Wor. Master, 1915 — 50 year member.

Our Past Masters who have served the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts as District Deputy Grand Masters are:

On January 25, 1934, the 25th anniversary of Esoteric Lodge was held in the Masonic Temple on State Street, preceded by a dinner at 6:00 p.m. There were 480 members and guests present, including Right Worshipful Clifford A. Weber, District Deputy Grand Master of the Chicopee 18th Masonic District, and all of the District Deputy Grand Masters of the Springfield Districts, also His Honor Brother Henry Martens, Mayor of Springfield. There were present 230 members of Esoteric Lodge; 15 States represented, with the District of Columbia and the Province of Ontario, Canada. After the dinner they repaired to the auditorium where the history of Esoteric Lodge was read; an address was given by Very Rev. Percy T. Edrop, District Deputy Grand Chaplain and Dean of Christ Church Cathedral of Springfield; and a program of entertainment was enjoyed.

May 11, 1939, was another memorable occasion for Esoteric Lodge when we were honored with a visit by His Excellency Brother Leverett Saltonstall, Governor of Massachusetts.

Many exchange visitations with Lodges within our District have been enjoyed and also annual visitations with St. John's Lodge of Hartford, Connecticut, which started in 1928.

Esoteric Lodge has been blessed in being able to have numerous social activities during these past fifty years by having Christmas parties for our members' children, ladies' nights, and old-timers' and members' nights. We have given refreshments and entertainment to the hospital patients at Westover Air Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts. It has been our privilege to enjoy the wonderful work put on by the Order of Rainbow for Girls and the Order of DeMolay for Boys. The Masonic Home and Hospital have been recipients of gifts and visitations on numerous occasions.

Esoteric Lodge, since its birth, has taken an active and leading part in the Masonic life in Springfield, enjoying a normal growth in membership and sharing in the responsibilities and obligations of the Craft. We take sincere pride in the standard of efficiency which its officers have established in the exercise of their respective duties and in the manner in which the ritual is exemplified, receiving always the highest praise at the annual Exemplifications held under the direction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge.

Here let it be said that the committee responsible for the selection of the first officers of Esoteric Lodge were most sound in their judgment and wise in their choice, and we owe them a deep debt of gratitude for the firm foundation which they laid in the building of Esoteric Lodge and the continued service which they rendered in its behalf. In Right Worshipful Brother Hartwell they found a sincere leader and helpmate, exemplifying always the higher ideals and principles of brotherhood; a shining example to those of us who would attain the esteem and brotherly love which Esoteric Lodge and the whole fraternity held for him. Right Worshipful Brother Hartwell was just completing his year as Master of Hampden Lodge when he accepted our request to serve as Master of Esoteric Lodge-to-be. We are proud indeed of our first Master and pray that his remembrance will remain with us always.

Worshipful Thomas C. Hawks, after serving Esoteric Lodge as its first Senior Warden and then as Master, became our Secretary in 1914. He continued in this office in the most capable and efficient manner for many years. "Brother Tom" as they loved to call him, could well be referred to as a pillar of strength in Esoteric Lodge, symbolic of his first station in our chairs, always faithful, always a reliable servant to the Craft. To him indeed we are indebted in no small measure for the smooth and successful course which has carried Esoteric Lodge towards its 50th anniversary. It would be unjust indeed if we failed here to mention also the ten other members of the chosen list of officers first in the service of Esoteric Lodge, five of whom, Worshipful Brothers, Holton, Russell, Hayden, Davis and Fitzpatrick, became Masters and, needless to say, each was credited with a most loyal and successful administration.

Brother Richard Bearse, our first Treasurer, served Esoteric-Lodge for many years faithfully and efficiently.

Brother Frank B. Workheiser served as first Secretary, being in that office for a period of six years and remaining always faithful to his Lodge and in service to the Craft. Brother Workheiser died November 1933, and his death was a great loss to the Fraternity.

There are many officers and members of Esoteric Lodge deserving of the highest commendation for their sincere and unselfish devotion in our behalf, but it would not seem wise, nor practical, no matter how strong the desire, to mention them here individually. We do, however, honor them all tonight as we honor the Father of Esoteric Lodge, our late beloved Brother, Right Worshipful Edwin A. Blodgett, chairman of the first committee gathered for our sponsorship and, until his death, ever a wise counselor and devoted servant to the Lodge. Any attempt on my part to eulogize this most distinguished Brother would be superfluous, for we know that a fitting memorial to Right Worshipful Brother Blodgett was prepared by a committee in Grand Lodge, which later appeared in the Proceedings.

In the preparation of this history I am indebted to our Secretaries, Worshipful Brothers Thomas C. Hawks, William W. Willard and Malcolm F. Williams, without whose records, so carefully maintained, and without whose kind cooperation, it would not be possible even to deal in generalities concerning our early history. This account of our history, lengthy as it may seem, I feel is entirely inadequate to express all that has taken place since the inception of our Lodge, or all that is worthy of kind mention and consideration, but if, in even a small way, I have accomplished the purpose for which it is intended, my effort is justified.

In closing, the thought comes to mind that, however illustrious our past may seem, we need, nevertheless, to fix our eyes and purposes upon the future, looking to further bonds of fellowship and to even more honorable achievements than such as have been marked in the fifty years of our beloved Esoteric Lodge.

75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1984

From Proceedings, Page 1984-37:

History of Esoteric Lodge 1959-1984
By Wor. George Rosenfield

(A detailed history of Esoteric Lodge for the period from 1908 to 1959 by Worshipful Charles H. Williams may be found in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge for 1959 — pages 96-103, inclusive.)

On May 21, 1959, the 50th Anniversary of Esoteric Lodge was held in the Masonic Temple on State Street at 6:00 P.M. with dinner served at 6:30 P.M. and over 200 Brethren in attendance (1959 Mass. 94-103). At 7:30 P.M. an "Anniversary Cake" was placed on display and at 7:45 P.M. all the Brethren assembled in a Consistory room where Most Worshipful Andrew G. Jenkins and his suite were received. The gavel of authority was presented to Most Worshipful Brother Jenkins who presided over the meeting.

The history of Esoteric Lodge was read by Worshipful Charles H. Williams, following which Most Worshipful Andrew G. Jenkins addressed the Brethren.

Entertainment was provided by a Scotch Singing Team of men from Springfield College. After the close of the meeting by Most Worshipful Andrew G. Jenkins, all adjourned to the Banquet Hall for a reception. The committees of the 50th Anniversary consisted of:

  • Andrew G. Jorgenson, W.M., General Chairman
  • C. Edson Bemis, Senior Warden, Co-Chairman
  • Charles H. Williams, History
  • Haig E. Takorian, Tickets
  • Charles J. Sienkiewicz, Notices and Banquet Hall
  • Saul Markowitz, Telephone
  • Edgar W. Darling, Entertainment

Esoteric Lodge has been blessed in being able to have numerous social activities during these past seventy-five years, by having Christmas parties for our members' children, ladies' nights, and old-timers' and members' nights. We have given refreshments and entertainment to the hospital patients at Westover Air Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts. It has been our privilege to enjoy the wonderful work put on by the Order of Rainbow for Girls, and the Order of DeMolay for Boys. The Masonic Home and Hospital have been recipients of gifts and visitations on numerous occasions.

Esoteric Lodge had enjoyed a steady growth in membership from 1909 until we reached a peak of 653 members in 1964. Due to deaths and a general decline in the number of men seeking membership in fraternal organizations, our membership now numbers 320. We have had a number of lean years for membership but during the past few years we have enjoyed a steady influx of young men joining the Lodge. Masonry has always prided itself on the quality of its membership rather than quantity. Esoteric Lodge is beginning to grow again slowly but surely.

On February 22, 1968, Esoteric Lodge held a Special Communication to honor one of its members, Brother George Aronson who was elected the Illustrious Potentate of Melha Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. Some 125 Brethren attended and witnessed a Third Degree as conferred by the Cabari Degree Team of Melha Temple. A gift was presented to Brother Aronson from his many Brethren. The evening festivities were concluded by a delicious catered collation.

Through the years, Esoteric Lodge has tried to let the light of Masonry shine so all can see. It was therefore in February, 1975, the Right Worshipful Charles J. Sienkiewicz instituted the use of Masons from Esoteric Lodge and other lodges in the area for the "Pioneer Valley Masonic Hospitality Committee." It was their purpose to make and serve coffee to the young men and women enlisting in the Armed Services from the Springfield Armed Forces Examination and Enlistment Station. To this day Masons in the Springfield area continue to serve the coffee to those young people as they await their induction into the Armed Forces.

At the Grand Lodge Stated Communication in December, 1979, Right Worshipful Edgar W. Darling was elected Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, he being the second Brother of Esoteric Lodge so honored; the first being Right Worshipful James P. Smith elected in 1930.

During his term in office, Brother Darling assisted Most Worshipful Arthur H. Melanson in the merger of Samuel Osgood Lodge with Roswell Lee Lodge, the former surrendering its Charter.

It is interesting to note that Right Worshipful James P. Smith was presiding Junior Grand Warden and was present when Samuel Osgood Lodge received its Charter, and that Right Worshipful Edgar W. Darling was presiding Junior Grand Warden and was present when it was surrendered. Using a Masonic term of one of its bodies, "it was from Alpha to Omega, the first to last, the beginning, the end."

Also at the Grand Lodge Stated Communication in December 1979, Worshipful Max C. Kaye was appointed Grand Pursuivant by Most Worshipful Arthur H. Melanson. Esoteric Lodge had two Grand Officers at the same time.

In closing, the thought comes to mind that, no matter how illustrious our past may seem, we need, nevertheless, to fix our eyes and purposes upon the future, looking to further bonds of fellowship and even more honorable achievements than such as have been marked in the seventy-five years of our beloved Esoteric Lodge.

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1912 1917 1918 1919 1923 1924 1925 1932 1936 1941 1948 1952 1954 1955 1957 1962 1966 1968 1972 1976 1982 1984 2004

HISTORY

  • 1959 (50th Anniversary History, 05/21: 1959-94)
  • 1984 (75th Anniversary History, 05/19: 1984-37ff)

OTHER

  • 1911 (Acknowledgement of gift, 1911-226)
  • 1924 (Laying of cornerstone, Springfield Masonic Temple, 06/24: 1924-335; Special Communication)
  • 1939 (Reduction of fees authorized, 1939-453)
  • 1940 (Reduction of fees authorized, 1940-58)

EVENTS

CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, JANUARY 1910

A new lodge was constituted at Springfield, Mass.. Thursday, January 13th by the officers of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

The Grand Lodge was opened at 2.10 o'clock in the prelate's room of Masonic Hall building. Most Worshipful Dana J. Flanders, Grand Master, was in the East. The Masters and Wardens of the new lodge were admitted and requested that their lodge be constituted. A procession was formed and the Grand Lodge proceeded to the lodge room where the members of the new lodge and other brethren were assembled. The grand officers were received with due formality. The Grand Master assumed the Oriental Chair. The lodge was then constituted with the usual ceremony under the name of Esoteric Lodge. At the conclusion of this ceremony the officers were installed.

The officers of the new lodge are: Frank O. Hartwell, Master; Thomas C. Hanks and Charles H. Wilson, Wardens; Fred A. Bearse, Treasurer; Frank B. Workheiser, Secretary; John W. Holton, Chaplain; E. B. Calef, Marshal; W. S. C. Russell and George W. Hayden, Deacons ; Charles W. Lamont and Chas. E. Davis, Stewards; Arthur C. Fitzpatrick. Inside Sentinel; Robert VV. Field, Organist; and George H. Munroe, Tyler.

NayassetClubChicopee1909.jpg
Nayasset Club, Chicopee

The officers of the Grand Lodge were generously entertained by the brethren having been provided with a lunch at the Nayasset Club at noon and with a dinner in the same place after the installation was over.


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