Hope

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HOPE LODGE

Location: Gardner

Chartered By: William Parkman

Charter Date: 03/09/1865 VII-2

Precedence Date: 02/22/1864

Current Status: Active


NOTES

ANTIQUE DOOR KNOCKER, NOVEMBER 1915

From New England Craftsman, Vol. XI, No. 2, November 1915, Page 44:

The Antique: By Charles Dana Burrage, Past Grand High Priest

HopeLodgeDoor.jpg HopeLodgeKnockerPlate.jpg

Attending the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hope Lodge of Gardner in February, 1914, I was greatly impressed by the quaint design and exceeding beauty of the door knocker on the Tyler's door of the lodge and I immediately asked the privilege of calling it to the attention of the readers of the New England Craftsman.

The knocker is in two parts, the upper part, or knocker, being of unusual form, as shown in the photograph. The base upon which the knocker strikes, contains a very richly engraved Arabic inscription in ancient characters. The door knocker weighs from 15 to 18 pounds, is made of bell metal, is filigreed around the edge and inlaid with gold, silver and other metals. According to A. V. Williams Jackson, Professor of the Department of Indo-Iranian Languages, of Columbia University, New-York, whose assistant, Dr. A. Yohannson, in conference with Professor Jackson studied out the meaning of the intricate and involved characters, the translation is as follows:

"Any one who presumes to enter this edifice and knocks for some reason of importance will be welcome.
But every one who intrudes or seeks to disturb will be stopped by the one on guard."

Dr. Yohannson reports that there was considerable difficulty in translating the inscription because the Arabic characters were of exceedingly ancient form and intricate in design and undoubtedly many hundreds of years old.

The knocker was obtained during the travels in Egypt of Ledoit B. Ramsdell, a member of Hope Lodge, and the story of its acquisition is as follows:

"When I was in Cairo, Egypt, a few years ago, I was struck by the beauty of the door knockers on the Mosques, and asked my dragoman if he could procure one for me. After looking around for some time, he told me that he had found one, and I went with him to see it to a curio shop which was run by an old Mohammedan who dealt in antique bronzes. I asked the dealer if he knew anything of the former history of this old knocker and he informed me that it was taken from an old Mohammedan mosque. The knocker was very old and very rare; in fact, he said he probably could not find another one like it in all Egypt.

After considerable dickering back and forth, I purchased it, brought it home and presented it to my home Masonic Lodge, Hope Lodge of Gardner."


PAST MASTERS

  • Charles Heywood, 1864, 1865
  • Henry C. Hill, 1866, 1867
  • Edward J. Sawyer, 1868, 1869; SN
  • John D. Edgell, 1870, 1871; SN
  • Frank W. Cummings, 1872, 1873
  • Charles F. Reed, 1874, 1875
  • William Stone, 1876, 1877
  • Marcus H. Howe, 1878, 1879, 1880
  • Charles N. Edgell, 1881, 1882
  • Henry H. Adams, 1883, 1884
  • Charles A. Cowee, 1885, 1886
  • Arthur P. Derby, 1887, 1888
  • Charles O. Plantier, 1889, 1890
  • Calvin H. Hill, 1891
  • George E. Walker, 1892, 1893
  • Volney W. Howe, 1894, 1895
  • Fiorus D. Ramsdell, 1896, 1897
  • Edwin C. Wheeler, 1898, 1899; SN
  • Harlon P. Upham, 1900
  • Herbert T. Adams, 1901, 1902
  • Charles O. Miller, 1903, 1904
  • Charles B. Boyce, 1905, 1906
  • Charles E. Whitney, 1907, 1908
  • J. Myron Moore, 1909
  • John H. Jenkins, 1910, 1911
  • J. Herbert L. Smead, 1912, 1913
  • Merton H. Greene, 1914
  • Charles A. Brown, 1915
  • Seth Heywood, 1916
  • Harrison Greenwood, 1917
  • Stanford H. Hartshorn, 1918, 1919
  • Fordyce T. Reynolds, 1920; N
  • George N. Archibald, 1921
  • Silas M. Wheeler, 1922
  • Leslie R. Williams, 1923
  • Clifford W. Shippee, 1924
  • George H. Heywood, Jr., 1925, 1926; N
  • Harold Fulsom Brown, 1927; N
  • C. Amasa Whiney, 1928
  • Edgar L. Bugbee, Jr.,1929
  • Frank E. Lavallee, 1930
  • Alvin R. Walker, 1931
  • Paul A. Basset, 1932
  • Harold E. Walker, 1933
  • Frederick P. Bell, 1934
  • Henry L. Brooks, 1935
  • Roy C. Bruce, 1936
  • James W. H. Baker, 1937
  • Linwood C. Gates, 1938
  • Robert M. Crouch, 1939
  • Charles W. Sauter, 2nd, 1940
  • Elmer E. Louma, 1941
  • Arnold W. Gates, 1942
  • Harry C. Parry, 1943
  • Allen C. Shippee, 1944
  • George Schreiner, 1945
  • Charles F. Saunders, 1946
  • C. Arnold Munson, 1947
  • Harold E. Hobby, 1948
  • William J. Taintor, 1949
  • Kenneth B. Mann, 1950
  • Robert M. Clogston, 1951; N
  • Eino A. Kajander, 1952; N
  • Lloyd A. Steeves, 1953
  • James A. Mann, 1954
  • Hervey F. Bowden, 1955
  • Chester H. Smith, 1956
  • Clyde M. Smith, 1957
  • Percy M. Blanchard, 1958
  • Toivo J. Kujanpaa, 1959
  • Theodore R. Higley, 1960
  • Stanford Hartshorn, Jr., 1961
  • Newton A. Zebley, 1962
  • Clifford H. Lyon, 1963
  • Eino W. Winter, 1964
  • L. Porter Andrews, 1965
  • Ronald D. Smith, 1966
  • Richard B. Hawkins, 1967
  • Thorsten B. Lind, 1968
  • Norman W. Hicks, 1969
  • Robert E. Weeks, 1970
  • Bertel Mattson, 1971
  • John L. Stacy, 1972
  • Russel A. Vedoe, 1973
  • Edward T. Thompson, 1974; PDDGM
  • Daniel R. Livingston, 1975
  • Jeffrey C. McFaul, 1976
  • Franklin D. Everett, 1977
  • Aaron G. Ballinger, 1978
  • Albert L. Hughes, 1979; PDDGM
  • George H. Copeland, 1980
  • Leo P. Provencher, 1981
  • David P. Crumbley, 1982
  • Donald J. Meuer, 1983
  • John C. Janes, 1984
  • Richard M. Cunningham, 1985
  • Robert Trepanier, 1986
  • Wilfred E. Ducharme, Jr., 1987; DDGM
  • Daniel E. LaDouceur, 1988
  • Calvin G. Knight, 1989
  • Gerhard J. Cremer, 1990
  • M. Paul Carlberg, 1991
  • Kenneth A. Tower, Jr., 1992
  • Harley McCartny, 1993
  • Donal A. Hicks, 1994
  • Richard K. Moulton, 1995
  • William A. Hunt, 1996
  • Herschel C. Hall, 1997
  • Edward N. Thompson, 1998; N
  • David H. Arens, 1999
  • Michael F. Terry, 2000
  • Christopher A. Hedstrom, 2001
  • Dennis R. Violette, 2002
  • Dale A. Larocque, 2003
  • Kenneth A. Tower, Jr., 2004
  • Raymond J. Gagne, 2005, 2006
  • Richard A. McAllister, 2007; PDDGM
  • James W. Pearce, III, 2008; PDDGM
  • Jay A. Jolicoeur, 2008; PDDGM, PDGM
  • Jonathan P. Gleason, 2009, 2010, 2011
  • Douglas A. Cormier, 2012

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Dispensation: 1864
  • Petition for Charter: 1865

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1914 (50th Anniversary)
  • 1939 (75th Anniversary)
  • 1964 (Centenary)
  • 2014 (150th Anniversary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1888 1907 1911 1912 1913 1923 1924 1925 1928 1931 1934 1935 1937 1939 1949 1955 1956 1959 1972 1987 2009

HISTORY

  • 1897 (Historical address at hall dedication, 1897-26; see below)
  • 1939 (75th Anniversary History, 1939-13; see below)
  • 1964 (Centenary History, 1964-6; see below)
  • 2013 (150th Anniversary Historical Address; see below)

HISTORICAL ADDRESS, FEBRUARY 1897

From Proceedings, Page 1897-26:

It is well, whether as individuals or as an organization, when any special anniversary mile-stone in the march of life is reached, to pause, glance back over the past, review its successes and its failures, and seek to profit by their lessons for us in the forward march into the future.

So, upon this special anniversary, as well of the birth of our most illustrious Brother, the immortal George Washington, as our own as a Lodge, we assemble, and for the moment look back into the history of the past of Hope Lodge. It has fallen to the lot of the speaker, by request of the Committee of Arrangements, to act as the historian of the day. Conscious of my lack I am thankful for the honor bestowed. We are as a Lodge thankful for the honor conferred upon us by the presence of the representatives of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge and of so many representatives of the Craft from sister Lodges.

At the twenty-fifth anniversary of Hope Lodge, its history up to that point was given in an eloquent Address by Wor. Bro. John D. Edgell. Of course the historical facts of the present Address must of necessity be a repetition up to that time, with the addition of its history since.

It is not material for us to know whether Freemasonry existed before the flood; we do know that it has existed since. Whether its inception was with the giving of the patterns to Moses in the Mount and the building of the Tabernacle and continued in the building of King Solomon's Temple or not, it is enough for us to know that our beloved Institution is both Ancient and Honorable. "Even monarchs have for a season exchanged the sceptre for the trowel to patronize our mysteries and join in our assemblies."

It has withstood the assaults of ignorance, hypocrisy and superstition, from time immemorial. It has been tried: in the fires of adversity and has come out purified as the fine gold. Evidences of the handiwork of the Craft, of which there can be no doubt, exist, that show its great antiquity. From an essay entitled The First Glimpses of Freemasonry in North America," by R.W. Sereno D. Nickerson, Past Grand Master, and Recording Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, I quote as follows:

"I find that the earliest trace of the existence of Masons or Masonry on this continent so far as we are now aware, is indicated by the discovery of a flat slab of stone, near Annapolis in Nova Scotia, on which was engraved a square and compasses and the date, 1606; this is the earliest footprint of Masonry upon the continent."

The first warranted Lodge of Freemasons in America was at Boston in 1733. Henry Price, of Boston, was appointed Provincial Grand Master — letters of commission coming from Viscount Montague, Grand Master of England. From small beginnings the Institution spread and flourished for a century. Then came the Morgan excitement, that cast a cloud over the Craft until the great light of truth overcame the clouds of prejudice and ignorance, and the Institution came forth into a brighter and purer light from its temporary obscuration.

From that time on Masonry in this country has steadily and quietly pursued its onward march, keeping pace with the "Westward Ho!" of the Republic.

In the year 1864 there were a number of Masons in Gardner, "good men and true," who felt the need of the establishment of a Lodge. Acting upon that desire they petitioned the Grand Lodge to that effect. The following named Brethren were signers of the petition: LEVI HEYWOOD, GEORGE NICHOLS, HORACE WHITNEY, ANDREW J. MOORE, HENRY C. HILL, CHARLES HEYWOOD, EDWARD J. SAWYER, GEORGE E. WOODMAN, JAMES A. LAKIN, NATHANIEL HOLMES.

The Most Worshipful William Parkman, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in him, granted a Dispensation "authorizing and empowering the aforesaid well-beloved Brothers to form and open a Lodge after the manner of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and therein to admit and make Freemasons, according to the ancient customs, and not otherwise."

The records of the Lodge while under Dispensation show a large amount of Masonic work. At the expiration of one year, a second petition was presented to the M. W. Grand Lodge, signed by LEVI HEYWOOD, HORACE WHITNEY, CHARLES HEYWOOD, HENRY C. HILL, EDWARD J. SAWYER, ALONZO B. CLARK, GEORGE HEYWOOD, GEORGE NICHOLS, GEORGE E. WOODMAN, WILLIAM D. HERRICK, A. M. GREENWOOD, NATHANIEL HOLMES, JOHN W. HILL, JAMES H. GREENWOOD, FERNANDO C. WHITCOMB.

The petitioners prayed "that they might be erected and constituted into a regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons under the name of Hope Lodge, and that a charter might be issued to them empowering them to assemble in the town of Gardner and discharge the duties of Masonry in a regular and constitutional manner, according to the ancient ways and customs of the Fraternity."

In response to that petition a Charter was granted, specially enjoining upon the Brethren "carefully to transact all matters relating to the Craft; to enter Apprentices, pass Fellow-Crafts, raise Master Masons, collect funds for the relief of poor and distressed Brethren, their widows and orphans; to attend the Communications of the Grand Lodge, and punctually pay all sums assessed for its support," and further it expressly declared that "the precedence of said Lodge in the Grand Lodge and elsewhere should commence from the twenty-second clay of February, Anno Lucis 5864."

This Charter was signed by

The first officers chosen by Hope Lodge were

  • CHARLES HEYWOOD, Master.
  • HENRY C. HILL, Senior Warden.
  • EDWARD J. SAWYER, Junior Warden.
  • ALONZO B. CLARK, Treasurer.
  • GEORGE HEYWOOD, Secretary.
  • GEORGE E. WOODMAN, Senior Deacon.
  • GEORGE NICHOLS, Junior Deacon.
  • L. S. STOWE, Senior Steward.
  • ANDREW J. MOORE, Junior Steward.

Thirty-three Brethren were added to the Fraternity by the work of the Lodge under Dispensation. The rooms used by the Lodge then were over the horse-sheds attached to the store of Abel S. Wood, which stood upon a portion of what subsequently became the lawn of our late Bro. Alvin M. Greenwood. Your historian records with pleasure that he there first beheld 'the "form of a Lodge," and received his first instructions as the youngest Entered Apprentice thereof.

The first official visitation by the Grand Lodge to Hope Lodge was made Dec. 6, 1864. The Most Worshipful William Parkman was attended by the following suite:

  • R. W. WENDELL T. DAVIS, Senior Grand Warden
  • R. W. WILLIAM D. STRATTON, Grand Marshal, as Junior Grand Warden.
  • R. W. FREDERICK J. FOSS, Grand Treasurer.
  • R. W. CHARLES W. MOORE, Recording Grand Secretary.
  • Bro. EBEN F. GAY, Grand Tyler.

On that occasion the Lodge exemplified the work of the Third degree, Bro. Albert Lovejoy being the candidate.

The Lodge soon outgrew its accommodations and a new Hall was fitted up in the upper portion of the Town Hall building. Most of the older members will remember that we used to reach those rooms by a stairway on the outside of the building; and that we were often reminded (in winter) that "sinners stood upon slippery places." Those rooms were dedicated and consecrated to the uses of Freemasonry on the third day of May, 1865, by appropriate ceremonies, and its officers publicly installed by the Most Worshipful William Parkman and suite.

The Worshipful Masters have been:

  • Charles Heywood
  • Charles N. Edgell
  • Henry C. Hill
  • Henry H. Adams
  • Edward J. Sawyer
  • Charles A. Cowee
  • John D. Edgell
  • Arthur P. Derby
  • Frank W. Cummings
  • Charles O. Plautier
  • Charles F. Read
  • Calvin H. Hill
  • William Stone
  • George E. Walker
  • Marcus H. Howe
  • Volney W. Howe
  • Florus D. Ramsdell

The oldest member of the Lodge is Seth Heywood, a Brother upon whose head the frosts of more than four score winters sit lightly. One of whom it may be truly said, "the almond-tree doth flourish, yet the grasshopper is no burden." The weight of years permits only occasional visits to the Lodge, but his interest in Masonry, and in Hope Lodge in particular, is still unabated. May many more years of usefulness be added to his already long life!

The Lodge held its first Masonic Festival July 2, 1866; voted aid to the sufferers by the Portland fire, Sept. 18, 1866; attended the dedication of the Masonic Temple, Boston, June 24, 1867; suffered the first death of a member, March 31, 1871; participated in the Centennial celebration of the town, June 27, 1885, entertaining as guests Artisan Lodge, of Winchendon.

From the organization of the Lodge until the present time 277 Brethren have signed its By-Laws. The number of members in good standing to-day is 185. Since the date of organization we have lost by death forty-five members. The following-named Brethren have passed on to "that bourne whence no traveller returns:"

  • CHARLES HEYWOOD
  • HENRY C. HILL
  • EDWARD J. SAWYER
  • ALONZO B. CLARK
  • JOHN W. HILL
  • JAMES H. GREENMAN
  • ALVIN M. GREENWOOD
  • LEVI HEYWOOD
  • GEORGE GREENWOOD
  • O. C. GARDNER
  • B. S. MASON
  • SAMPSON STONE
  • JOHN W. WORK
  • CHARLES EVERETT
  • D. A. NEWTON
  • JOHN C. BRYANT
  • WILLIAM A. PUTNAM
  • E. A. LAMB
  • THOMAS GREENWOOD
  • ARTHUR W. BROWN
  • LYMAN M. DRURY
  • NATHANIEL C. HOLMES
  • FRANCIS CONANT
  • GEORGE W. LUSK
  • CHARLES A. PERLEY
  • MARCUS WRIGHT
  • LEVI N. SMITH
  • V. P. PARKHURST
  • HARRISON CLOSSON
  • JAMES EMERSON
  • E. A. DAMON
  • R. S. BLODGETT
  • A. S. HILL
  • ELIPHAS BALLARD
  • FREDERICK PARKER
  • F. L. SARGENT
  • L. M. BAKER
  • CHARLES H. VAN DURAN
  • CHARLES S. TRAVERSE
  • ETHAN W. HOLDEN
  • GEORGE W. BLACK
  • EDWARD S. KENDALL
  • ALBERT W. HOWARD
  • EDWIN W. HART
  • LYMAN WOODWARD

Truly

"There is a reaper whose name is death
And with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain with a breath
And the flowers that grow between."

We have always held in grateful remembrance the first three Masters of the Lodge, — its three strong pillars. To maintain the high standard of work set by them has always been the aim of their successors in office; and very much of the prosperity enjoyed may be directly traced thereto.

The establishment of a charity fund was one of the first things attended to; and year by year our fund has increased until now it shows a balance of $3,218.23. A little more than $1,900 was paid into the building fund for the erection of the new Masonic Temple in Boston. We have an efficient Charity Committee whose ministrations are of the quiet, "distilling" kind that refreshes and blesses. I have asked of them no statistics.

The Lodge-room in the Town Hall building, owing to the increase in membership, had for a long time been too small for the Lodge, and they embraced the first opportunity for a change for the better. The result is evident in these beautiful rooms, to-day dedicated to the uses of Masonry. "Hope ends in fruition." So, to-day, Hope Lodge sees the fruition of her hopes for new quarters, in their realization. Upon this thirty-third anniversary of the organization of the Lodge, we can look back with satisfaction over the past and its noble and honorable record. The Thirty-third degree is the highest in Masonry. The Lodge has reached that number in the rolling years of its existence, yet it is still incumbent upoii us to press on to still greater perfection in everything that pertains to true Masonry, remembering that the rough ashler only becomes the perfect by constant labor.

My Brethren: Let us never forget the boundary line of our duty, observing unwaveringly all of its obligations. When we are asked by our friends, not Masons, questions that indicate their honest interest, let us guide them in the light of truth. If they ask us to define Masonry, let us tell them frankly that Masonry is not a religion, but that it is a beautiful system of morality veiled in allegory; and that it is so far interwoven with religion as to lay us under obligations of reverence and homage, and that those obligations are vividly impressed upon the mind of the novice.

Let the Mystic Tie that binds find its exemplification in our daily lives. Let us not grope in the darkness of our own passions and prejudices, but be guided by the three great Lights, and thus we shall not materially err.

"Who, looking backward from his manhood's prime,
Sees not the spectre of his misspent time?
Yet, who, thus looking backward o'er his years,
Feels not his eyelids wet with grateful tears,
If he hath been permitted, weak and sinful as he was,
To cheer and aid, in some ennobling cause,
His fellow-men?

"He has not lived in vain, and while he gives
The praise to Him, in whom he moves and lives
With thankful heart,
He gazes backward, and with hope before,
Knowing that from his works he nevermore
Can henceforth part."

75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, FEBRUARY 1939

From Proceedings, Page 1939-13:

by R. W. Fordyce T. Reynolds.

It has now become my duty and privilege to give you a short history of Hope Lodge. I fully realize that I may make omissions and commissions in what I may say.

I will begin by reading a very important communication sent to the Grand Lodge sometime prior to February 22, 1864.

To the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the State of Massachusetts:

The undersigned petitioners, being Ancient Free and Accepted Master Masons having the prosperity of the Fraternity at heart, and willing to exert their best endeavors to promote and diffuse the genuine principles of Masonry, respectfully represent —

That for the convenience of their respective dwellings, and for other good reasons, they are desirous of forming a new lodge in the Town of Gardner to be named Hope Lodge.

They therefore pray for letters of dispensation, or a warrant of Constitution, to empower them to assemble as a legal Lodge, to discharge the duties of Masonry, in a regular and constitutional manner according to the original forms of the order, and the regulations of the Grand Lodge.

They have nominated and do recommend Brother Charles Heywood to be the first Master. Brother Henry C. Hill to be the first Senior Warden, and Brother Edward J. Sawyer to be the first Junior Warden of said Lodge.

If the prayer of the petition shall be granted, they promise a strict conformity to all the constitutions, laws and regulations of the Grand Lodge.

  • Levi Heywood
  • Horace Whitney
  • Henry C. Hill
  • Edward J. Sawyer
  • James A. Larkin
  • George Nichols
  • Nathaniel J. Holmes
  • Andrew J. Moore
  • Charles Heywood
  • George E. Woodman

The following reply was received from the Grand Master.

To all persons to whom these presents may come Greeting:

Whereas a petition has been presented to me by sundry Brethren, to wit, Levi Heywood, Horace Whitney, Henry C. Hill, Edward J. Sawyer, James A. Larkin, George Nichols, Andrew J. Moore, Charles Heywood, George Woodman, and Nathaniel Holmes — praying to be congregated into a regular lodge under the name and title of Hope Lodge with permission to hold the same in the Town of Gardner, and whereas, said Petitioners have been recommended to me as Master Masons in good standing by the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of Aurora Lodge holden in the Town of Fitchburg; and their petition having been countersigned and approved by our District Deputy Grand Master for the Third Masonic District.

Therefore I, William Parkman, Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, reposing full confidence in the recommendation aforesaid and in the Masonic integrity and ability of the Petitioners, do, by virtue of the authority of my office, and of Ancient Masonic usage, thereby grant the Dispensation, authorizing and empowering our trusty and well beloved Brethren aforesaid to form and open a Lodge, after the manner of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons and therein to admit and make Freemasons, according to the Ancient Custom and not otherwise. And this Dispensation is to continue in full force until the regular Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge aforesaid to be holden in the City of Boston in the month of March A.D. 1865, A.L. 5865, unless sooner revoked by me, or by authority of our said Grand Lodge.

And I do hereby appoint Brother Charles Heywood to be the First Master, Brother Henry C. Hill to be the First Senior Warden and Brother Edward J. Sawyer to be the First Junior Warden of our said Lodge. And it shall be the duty of said Master and Wardens and their associates and they are hereby required to return the Dispensation, with a correct transcript of all proceedings, had under the authority of the same, together with an attested copy of their By-Laws to our Grand Lodge aforesaid at the expiration of the time herein specified, for examination, and such further action in the premises as shall be deemed wise and proper for the advancement of the general interests of the Craft.

Given under our hand and the Seal of the Grand Lodge, aforesaid, at Boston, this Twenty-second day of February A. D. 1864 A. L. 5864.
William Parkman, Grand Master

Attest, Charles W. Moore, Grand Secretary

1864

The first regular communication of Hope Lodge was held in
 Freemasons Hall, Gardner, on Tuesday Evening, March 22, 1864.
 Present
:

  • Charles Heywood, Master
  • Henry C. Hill, Senior Warden
  • Edward J. Sawyer, Junior Warden

and others The organization of the Lodge was completed by the appointment of the necessary officers by the Worshipful Master as follows:

  • Treasurer, Alonzo B. Clark
  • Secretary, George Heywood
  • Senior Deacon, George E. Woodman
  • Junior Deacon, George Nichols
  • Senior Steward, L. S. Stowe
  • Junior Steward, Andrew J. Moore

Forty-six meetings were held in 1864. Six meetings were held in 1865 and then a petition was sent to the Grand Lodge informing them that the petitioners had worked for a year under a Dispensation.

The petitioners now requested that they, and such others as may join them, may be erected and constituted into a regular Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, under the name and title of Hope Lodge and that a Charter be issued. This request was granted, and Hope Lodge was given a Charter. The Charter was signed March 9, 1865, Anno Lucis 5865.

M. W. William Parkman, Grand Master, with a delegation from the Grand Lodge visited Hope Lodge December 6, 1864.

On May 9, 1864, a petition signed by Brother J. G. Folsom and others from Winchendon to the Grand Lodge for letters of Dispensation was presented for endorsement by Hope Lodge which after a discussion was not granted.

A Committee was appointed to secure subscriptions to pay for building and furnishing the Hall.

On July 18th, 1865, Star Lodge invited Hope Lodge to be present on Thursday July 20, 1865, to join with them in the dedication and consecration of their new Hall. It was voted to accept the invitation.

August 1, 1865. The Committee to solicit funds for new hall reported that $2687.50 had been secured.

August 29, 1865. A petition of twenty-seven Master Masons of Winchendon to the Grand Lodge for a Dispensation for a Lodge in Winchendon was presented for the endorsement of Hope Lodge. It was voted to endorse the petition.

March 27, 1866. Voted to have treasurer invest $200. in United States 7-3/10 Bonds.

June 26, 1866. Lodge voted to hold a social festival.

July 24, 1866. Lodge voted to pay for expenses of recent social festival held by voluntary contributions.

September 18, 1866. A communication from the Grand Master was read in which the Grand Master asked for aid for the Brethren who suffered loss in the fire at Portland, Maine.

October 23, 1866. Committee on Charity reported that they had sent $50.00 to aid Brethren in Portland, Maine.

December 18, 1866. A financial circular was read from the Grand Lodge. A Committee was appointed to consider the same.

January 15, 1867. Committee appointed at previous meeting recommended a loan of $500. to the Grand Lodge.

September 19, 1881. Death of President James A. Garfield was announced and a Communication received from the Grand Master.

December 18, 1888. Voted to observe Twenty-fifth Anniversary of Hope Lodge.

April 9, 1889. Voted — that the thanks of the Lodge be given to John D. Edgell for his excellent historical address. By vote of the Lodge Secretary John D. Edgell was instructed to lay upon the records of the lodge in full his historical address. This was evidently not done, as I have been unable to find any account of the same.

LOCATIONS OF LODGE-ROOMS

The first Lodge-room was located in Freemasons' Hall north of the house now owned by Richard N. Greenwood on Elm Street. There was a store in the downstairs part occupied by Abel Wood. The sign over Abel Woods' store is now safely stored in the School Department's Supply Room downstairs in City Hall. The building was torn down during the years 1865 or 1866.

"Hope Lodge then secured quarters in the upper story of the Town Hall, the dimensions of which were 55 x 35 feet exclusive of ante-rooms of which there were four. The Main hall was finely frescoed and appropriately ornamented and handsomely carpeted; as are all the rooms." "The furniture, including the altar, pedestals, chairs and settees, we believe were all made by the Heywood Chair Manufacturing Company of Gardner expressly for the Lodge, and do great credit, in the excellence of their workmanship, to the skill and good taste of that popular establishment." (Quoting from the Levi H. Greenwood Historical Address on the fifteenth anniversary.)

The Lodge was constituted in the upper Town Hall by the Grand Master and his officers. There were about sixty Brethren present.

In the evening there was a public installation of Hope Lodge officers by the Grand Master at which time there were present more than two hundred of the ladies and gentlemen of the village. An able and appropriate address by the Grand Master followed. He complimented Hope Lodge and said it was one of the best and most perfect in its work in this jurisdiction.

The furniture which was In use during the time the Lodge was in the Upper Town Hall is now in a room adjacent to the present Lodge-room in the Syndicate Building. The old organ is also located there. The electric light fixtures in our present ante rooms were installed in the old Lodge-room in 1889.

In the early days of Hope Lodge candles were to some extent used for lighting and on February 28, 1882, it was voted "that suitable lights be procured to take the place of candles now in use." Five kerosene brackets had been purchased however in 1864 at a cost of $11.25. It may be interesting to the Brethren that due to the recent hurricane, the Lodge building and rooms were so damaged that electricity was not available and the present officers were installed by the District Deputy Grand Master by the sole and only light obtained from candles.

On May 14, 1895, a Special Meeting was called to consider what action would be taken to secure new quarters in the New Syndicate Block to be erected at the head of Chestnut Street.

Under date of June 4, 1895, a letter was read from the syndicate corporation offering the use of the hall for $350.00 including water and heating two nights a month. If heat is desired more than that it will be furnished at cost.

FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY

At the regular meeting of Hope Lodge held June 17, 1913 It was voted to observe the Fiftieth Anniversary of Hope Lodge on February 22nd and 23rd, 1914. Worshipful Master J. Herbert L. Smead appointed the following as a Committee.

  • Bro. Merton H. Greene, Chairman
  • Wor. Bro. J. Herbert L. Smead, Vice-Chairman
  • Bro. Frank B. Edgell, Secretary
  • Bro. Charles B. Boyce, Treasurer
  • Wor. Bro. John D. Edgell
  • Wor. Bro. Charles E. Whitney
  • Wor. Bro. John H. Jenkins
  • Bro. Fred L. Butler
  • Bro. Charles A. Brown
  • Bro. Seth Heywood

Invitations were sent to the members of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge and all the Brethren of the Thirteenth Masonic District to join in the Semi-centennial of Hope Lodge.

The celebration was financed through the sale of tickets, and voluntary contributions by Lodge members, almost half of the $1101.50 being made up of such voluntary contributions. The very large number of Brothers who contributed, and the generous response to all requests of the Committee, and the energy and care of the finance Committee enabled the Lodge to report a balance of $2.03.

A Special Communication of Hope Lodge was held Sunday, February 22, 1914, in Masonic Hall for the purpose of attending Divine Worship at the First Congregational Church at 10.30 A.M. The Lodge was escorted to and from the Church by Eminent Commander C. H. Hartshorn and a detail of Sir Knights from Ivanhoe Commandery No. 46. At the Service, prayer was offered by W. Rev. Edward A. Horton, Grand Chaplain. The Sermon An Interpretation of Masonry was preached by Rev. Bro. F. F. Ramsdell. After the Church Service the Lodge was escorted to the site of the first meeting place of Hope Lodge located north of the residence of Honorable Levi H. Greenwood at the intersection of Elm and Pearl Streets where the

Dedication of a Tablet,

presented by the Lodge and Brother Levi H. Greenwood was participated in by the following:

Tablet Tested by the Worshipful Master, Senior, and Junior Wardens of Hope Lodge.

Tablet Dedicated by R. W. Chauncey E. Peck, Senior Grand Warden, assisted by R. W. Thomas W. Davis, Rec. Grand Secretary, and R.W. Albert N. Ellis, District Deputy Grand Master.

  • Prayer, W. Rev. Edward A. Horton, Grand Chaplain
  • Address, by R.W. Chauncey Peck, Senior Grand Warden,
  • Proclamation by Grand Marshal
  • Benediction by Grand Chaplain


The inscription on the tablet is as follows:

Hope Lodge, A. F. & A. M.
was here Instituted February 22, 1864
and Constituted March 9, 1865
Charles Heywood W. M.
Henry C. Hill, S.W. Edward J. Sawyer, J. W.
Erected Feb. 22, 1914.

Sunday Afternoon: The Lodge-rooms were open during the afternoon for an informal reception to the Members of the Grand Lodge.

Monday, February 23, 1914: A Special Communication of Hope Lodge was opened in Masonic Hall for the purpose of celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of Hope Lodge.

Order of Exercises

  • Reception of Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and Grand Officers.
  • Selection: Corinthian Quarttete
  • Address of Welcome: Brother Charles A. Brown, Senior Warden

Grand Ball: Mondav Evening, Feb. 23, 1914.

I quote Secretary Frank B. Edgell's report in full.

"The fiftieth anniversary was brought to a close by a Grand Concert and Ball in the Town Hall which was attended by about 200 Brother Masons with about 400 guests who were welcomed on entering by Wor. Bro. John D. Edgell, the oldest living Past Master of Hope Lodge. The Hall was transformed into a scene most beautiful by the elaborate decorations and electrical effects furnished by the Atlantic Decorating Co. of Boston, Mass.

"On the stage was seated the Hardy Orchestra of seventeen pieces and two vocalists who rendered excellent music.

"After a fine Concert of five numbers by the orchestra partners were taken for the Grand March which was led by Senior Warden Charles A. Brown and wife followed by about 112 couples.

"Although not able to participate in the activities of the evening we were all pleased to have our Worshipful Master Greene present. His illness during the entire celebration was regretted by all.

"During intermission refreshments were served by caterer Seiler. One o'clock A.M. brought to a close the celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Hope Lodge and one and all pronounced it the grandest event in the history of the Lodge."

The Brethren may in interested in a number of expense items listed for the celebration.

  • H. P. Glasheen, Hacks, $12.00
  • W. H. Hinds, Hacks $3.50
  • Mass.-Northern St. R.R. Co. $7.30
  • H. J. Seiler, Caterer, $529.21
  • Hardy Orchestra, $170.00
  • Atlantic Decorating Co., $100.00
  • Rent of Town Hall, $15.00

Meeting of Hope Lodge March 17, 1914. Lodge voted to extend the thanks of the Lodge to Jessamine Chapter No. 75, O.E.S., for the beautiful bouquet of white carnations sent on occasion of Fiftieth Anniversary.

Mrs. Louis E. Carlton was also thanked for bouquet of flowers sent.

Mrs. Volney W. Howe and other ladies were thanked for decorating the Masonic Emblems.

The Lodge voted to thank Bro. Levi H. Greenwood for the most interesting talk given, and interest taken by him in the celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary.

OFFICERS OF HOPE LODGE FEBRUARY, 1914.

  • W. M., Merton H. Greene
  • S. W., Charles A. Brown
  • J. W., Seth Heywood
  • Treas., George A. Matthews
  • Sec., Frank B. Edgell
  • Chap., Pro tem., Elwin J. Sawyer
  • Marshal, John W. Hunting
  • S. D., Harrison Greenwood
  • J. D., Charles T. Carswell
  • S. S., Stanford H. Hartshorn
  • J. S., Silas M. Wheeler
  • Sentinel, Fred W. Shippee
  • Organist, Byron A. Stanley
  • Tyler, Albert L. Potter
THE FLIGHT OF STEPS

At a meeting of Hope Lodge held October 20, 1914, the following motion was made: "Voted. That a Committee be appointed to see the Water Commissioners of the Town of Gardner, and the State Hoard of Health to ascertain if there would be any objection to the use of the top of the Gardner reservoir by the Public as a place to enjoy the exceptionally fine view which can be obtained from there. Also to get estimates on the cost of a flight of steps from the base to the top of the reservoir and to attend to any preliminaries incident to the construction and gift of these steps to the Town of Gardner by Hope Lodge."

The following brothers were appointed by the Wor. Master.:

  • Wor. Bro. J. Herbert L. Smead, Chairman
  • Wor. Bro. Merton H. Greene
  • Bro. John W. McVine
  • Bro. Levi H. Greenwood
  • Bro. Elmer W. Crouch
  • Bro. Roy E. Tarr

On May 18, 1915, Wor. Bro. J. Herbert L. Smead, Chairman of the Committee on the Flight of Steps to be erected,reported that no serious objection was made by the State Board of Health, and the Gardner Water Commissioners to the erection of the steps up to the reservoir. It was voted to build the steps if the cost did not exceed $500.

Four new members were appointed to the Committee:

  • Bro. Stanford H. Hartshorn
  • Bro. George E. Priest
  • Bro. Edwin F. Brainard and
  • Bro. Herman D. Bone.

A Special Communication on June 9, 1915, was held for the purpose of celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of Wor Bro. John D. Edgell, he having become a member of Hope Lodge June 6, 1865. Worshipful Master Charles W. Brown presented Wor. Bro. Edgell a Henry Price medal. All the living Past Masters with the exception of Wor. Bro. Charles N. Edgell who was ill, were present.

Interesting remarks were made by Brother Nichols, the only living Charter Member of Hope Lodge, also by Wor. Bro. John D. Fdgell and Charles A. Read.

On November 15, 1916, Bro. George A. Matthews made a financial report as Treasurer of the Masonic Steps Committee. A Committee of three was appointed by the Wor. Master to arrange for the presentation and present to the Town of Gardner the Masonic Steps built at the reservoir. The following members were appointed.

  • Wor. Bro. Charles N. Edgell
  • Bro. Amasa B. Bryant
  • Bro. Fred L. Butler

At this meeting, Resolutions were read in which a more liberal policy in considering names for membership be adopted. The Resolutions were signed by all the Past Masters of Hope Lodge.

Presentation of Masonic Steps at reservoir to Town of Gardner, Mass.

Gardner, Mass.
March 8, 1916

To the Honorable Board of Selectmen of the Town of Gardner.

Gentlemen:

In recognition of a half century of prosperous existence under the protection of the Town of Gardner, and in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of its institution, Hope Lodge A. F. & A. M. desires to present to the Town the concrete steps recently constructed at the head of Reservoir Street.

It is the hope of the donors of these steps that their free use by the citizens of the Town may bring about a broader appreciation of the beauties of nature revealed from the vantage point to which they lead, and thereby make for a greater feeling of contentment and satisfaction with the community in which we all have a common interest and pride. Hope Lodge A.F.& A.M.

Charles N. Edgell
Amasa B. Bryant
Fred L. Butler
Committee

1919-1939

During the Masonic years of 1919, 1920, and 1921 there were many new members initiated into Hope Lodge, and its greatest growth occurred at that time. In 1919 and 1920 there were held during the term of Wor. Master Fordyce T. Reynolds, eleven regular, one annual and thirty-four special meetings. There were sixty-eight candidates balloted upon during the year. There were six meetings during one week. The Worshipful Master being ill, the work was carried on by Senior Warden George N. Archibald.

May I, at this time, again thank the officers who served with me. We all enjoyed many happy meetings together.

I wish to express my appreciation to Wor. Bro. John H. Jenkins who acted as District Deputy Grand Marshal and Wor. Bro. J. Myron Moore who served as District Deputy Grand Secretary.

When I held the office of District Deputy, due to their help and inspiration the official visits were conducted in a very proper manner. On June 17, 1924, Worshipful Master Clifford W. Shippee had the rather unique distinction of conferring the third degree upon his son, Roland F. Shippee. Few presiding masters have done this.

Hope Lodge has been happy on various occasions to have the officers of Charles W. Moore Lodge, of Fitchburg, visit and confer degrees for us. Also Middlesex Lodge, of Framingham. On other occasions the chairs have been filled by representatives of the Heywood-Wakefield Co. Also by employees of the Florence Stove Co. These special occasions all make for good fellowship.

On March 17, 1925, some flowers were sent to Wor. Bro. Herbert T. Adams as he was ill at his home. This was the first time that Wor. Bro. Adams had missed a Third Degree meeting since his connection with the Lodge. May I mention that the Master's Lecture as given by Wor. Bro. Adams for many years past has been a perfect piece of work. The Brethren have always enjoyed hearing him.

The work done by Hope Lodge during the past years has been well done. The officers have been efficient in the ritual and interest has been kept. Owing to lack of time I must necessarily omit many items of interest during many years which are very familiar to many.

The following are listed as Past Masters of Hope Lodge:

  • Charles Heywood
  • Henry C. Hill
  • Edward J. Sawyer
  • John D. Edgell
  • Frank W. Cummings
  • Charles F. Read
  • William Stone
  • Marcus H. Howe
  • Charles N. Edgell
  • Henry H. Adams
  • Charles A. Cowee
  • Arthur P. Derby
  • Charles O. Plautier
  • Calvin H. Hill
  • George E. Walker
  • Volney W. Howe
  • Florus D. Ramsdell
  • Elwin C. Wheeler
  • Harlan P. Upham
  • Herbert T. Adams
  • Charles O. Miller
  • Charles B. Boyce
  • Charles E. Whitney
  • J. Myron Moore
  • John H. Jenkins
  • J. Herbert L. Smead
  • Merton H. Greene C
  • Charles A. Brown
  • Seth Haywood
  • Harrison Greenwood
  • Stanford H. Hartshorn
  • Fordyce T. Reynolds
  • George N. Archibald
  • Silas M. Wheeler
  • Leslie R. Williams
  • Clifford W. Shippee
  • George H. Heywood
  • Harold F. Brown
  • C. Amasa Whitney
  • Edgar L. Bugbee, Jr.
  • Frank E. Lavallee
  • Alvin R. Walker
  • Paul A. Bassett
  • Harold E. Walker
  • Frederick P. Bell
  • Henry L. Brooks
  • Roy C. Bruce
  • James W. H. Baker
  • Linwood C. Gates

= Deceased.

The following have been District Deputy Grand Masters.

  • Edward J. Sawyer
  • John D. Edgell
  • Elwin C. Wheeler
  • Fordyce T. Reynolds
  • George H. Heywood
  • Harold F. Brown

Most Worshipful Grand Master and friends, having recorded the past to my best ability and with reverence to those who have passed beyond, and honor to the living, I wish to thank you all for your kind attention.

CENTENARY HISTORY, FEBRUARY 1964

From Proceedings, Page 1964-6:

by Worshipful Hervey F. Bowden.

It has seemed fitting as we are about to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of Hope Lodge to review its history and to pay tribute to that farsighted little band of Masons who had the necessary initiative to lay its foundations, and whose enthusiasm, fortitude, and untiring labor with eyes ever on the chartered course, made it possible for us to enjoy the privileges of Masonry in the City of Gardner.

I deeply appreciate the honor and also the confidence shown by my brethren in assigning me this task of historian. I approach it with sincerity and deep humility, fully realizing that I may make omissions and commissions in what I shall write. Our history opens in the winter of 1864, a year of decisions in United States History. President Lincoln had just united all the armies of the Union under General Grant and he was about to carry out the so-called Anaconda Policy that would squeeze the life out of the Confederacy's armies and bring the war to a successful conclusion.

On February 1864 the following important communication was sent to the Grand Lodge in Boston:

"To the most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the State of Massachusetts.

The undersigned petitioners, being Ancient, Free and Accepted Master Masons, having the Prosperity of the Fraternity at heart, and willing to exert their best endeavors to promote and diffuse the genuine principles of Masonry, respectfully represent — That for the convenience of their respective dwellings, and for other good reasons, they are desirous of forming a new lodge in the town of Gardner to be named Hope Lodge.

They, therefore, pray for letters of dispensation, or a warrant of Constitution, to empower them to assemble as a legal Lodge, to discharge the duties of Masonry in a regular and constitutional manner according to the original forms of the Order and the regulations of the Grand Lodge.

They have nominated and do recommend Brother Charles Heywood to be the first Master, Brother Henry C. Hill to be the first Senior Warden, and Brother Edward J. Sawyer to be the first Junior Warden of said Lodge.

If the prayer of the petitioners shall be granted, they promise a strict conformity to all the Constitutions, laws and regulations of the Grand Lodge."

Signed:

Levi Heywood, George Nichols, Horace Whitney, Nathaniel J. Holmes, Henry C. Hill, Andrew J. Moore, Edward J. Sawyer, Charles Heywood, James A. Larkin, George E. Woodman.

In due time the following reply to the petition was received from the Grand Master:

To all persons to whom these presents may come

Greeting:

"Whereas a petition has been presented to me by sundry Brethren, to wit, Levi Heywood, Horace Whitney, Henry C. Hill, Edward J. Sawyer, James A. Larkin, George Nichols, Andrew J. Moore, Charles Heywood, George Woodman, and Nathaniel Holmes — praying to be congregated into a regular lodge under the name and title of Hope Lodge with permission to hold the same in the Town of Gardner, and whereas, said Petitioners have been recommended to me as Master Masons in good standing by the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of Aurora Lodge, holden in the Town of Fitchburg; and their petition having been countersigned and approved by our District Deputy Grand Master for the Third Masonic District.

Therefore, I, William Parkman, Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, reposing full confidence in the recommendation aforesaid and in the Masonic integrity and ability of the Petitioners, do, by virtue of the authority in my office, and of Ancient Masonic usage, thereby grant the Dispensation, authorizing and empowering our trusty and well beloved Brethren aforesaid to form and open a Lodge, after the manner of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons and therein to admit and make Freemasons, according to the Ancient Custom and not otherwise. And this Dispensation is to continue in full force until the regular Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge aforesaid to be holden in the City of Boston in the month of March A.D. 1865 A.L. S86S unless sooner revoked by me, or by authority of our said Grand Lodge.

And I do hereby appoint Brother Charles Heywood to be the First Master, Brother Henry C. Hill to be the First Senior Warden and Brother Edward J. Sawyer to be the First Junior Warden of our said Lodge. And it shall be the duty of said Master and Wardens and their associates and they are hereby required to return the Dispensation, with a correct transcript of all proceedings, had under the authority of the same, together with an attested copy of their By-Laws to our Grand Lodge aforesaid at the expiration of the time herein specified, for examination, and such further action in the premises as shall be deemed wise and proper for the advancement of the general interests of the Craft.

Given under our hand and the Seal of the Grand Lodge, aforesaid, at Boston, this twenty-second day of February A.D. 1864 A.L. 5864.

William Parkman, Grand Master
Attest Charles W. Moore, Grand Secretary

The first regular communication of Hope Lodge was held in the Freemasons Hall, Gardner, on Tuesday evening, March 22, 1864. The first lodge rooms were over the horse sheds attached to the store of Abel S. Wood, located on Elm Street north of the present American Legion Building.

The three top officers having been selected by the original petitioners, the appointive officers were now chosen as follows: Alonzo B. Clark, Treasurer; George Heywood, Secretary; George E. Woodman, Senior Deacon; George Nichols, Junior Deacon; Luke S. Stowe, Senior Steward; Andrew J. Moore, Junior Steward.

Forty-six meetings were held in 1864 and six in 1865.

On the 6th of December 1864, occurred the first official visitation of the Grand Lodge, when William Parkman, Grand Master and his suite were present. Albert Lovejoy was then raised to the degree of Master Mason and it is most interesting to read the following from the Grand Master's report:

"A few days since, in company with several grand officers, we paid a visit to Hope Lodge of Gardner, now under dispensation. The work was absolutely the most perfect I have ever seen; all the officers are excellent workmen and skilled lecturers; and no Brother is permitted to be advanced from one degree to another until he can pass a critical examination in presence of the assembled lodge; a most excellent provision, which is earnestly commended to all lodges both old and new, and which will be found to largely advance the interest of every lodge in which it may be adopted."

The Lodge soon outgrew its accommodations and a new hall was fitted up in the upper portion of the old Town Hall.

March 3, 1865, the members of Hope Lodge met for the last time in the lodge room over Abel Wood's Store.

Older members have recorded that the new rooms in the Town Hall were reached by a stairway on the outside of the building; and one Brother declares that in winter we were often reminded that, "Sinners stood upon slippery places."

The new rooms were dedicated and consecrated to the uses of Freemasonry on May 3, 1865, by appropriate ceremonies. Its officers were publicly installed at this meeting by the Most Worshipful William Parkman and suite. The only account of this ceremony, which included the Lodge's official constitution, is found in Moore's Freemasons Magazine. A portion of the account follows, "This new Lodge was duly constituted under its Charter on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 3rd, by a delegation of the officers of the Grand Lodge. The ceremonies took place in the new hall, which the Lodge, since the expiration of its dispensation in March, has fitted up for its accommodation. There were about sixty Brethren present including visitors from the neighboring towns. At the conclusion of this ceremony, the Lodge took a recess until the evening, when the ladies and invited guests were admitted and the new hall was dedicated in accordance with the ancient customs of the Craft. The company then repaired to the Town Hall, where in the presence of more than two hundred ladies and gentlemen the officers of the new Lodge were installed by the Most Worshipful Grand Master. Following the usual ceremonies an able and appropriate address was delivered by the Grand Master and was listened to by the large audience present with apparent interest and satisfaction."

In the early days of Hope Lodge candles were used to some extent for lighting. However, in 1864 five kerosene brackets were purchased at a cost of $11.25. It was not until February 28, 1882, that kerosene lights took the place of the candles completely.

It is of some interest to note the cost of operation in those days. Rent of quarters $25 a year, heating $8.50 a year, Treasurer's salary $10. In the Treasurer's report of March 7, 1869, we read that the cost of entertaining District Deputy Hardy was $1.50.

The following are a few interesting notes on Hope Lodge History.

August 1, 1865; the committee to solicit funds for the new hall reported that $2,687.50 had been secured.

December 18, 1888; voted to observe the twenty-fifth anniversary of Hope Lodge.

April 9, 1889; voted that the thanks of the Lodge be given to John D. Edgell, Lodge Secretary, for his excellent historical address.

The Lodge rooms in the Town Hall building, owing to the increase in membership, had for a long time been too small for the Lodge. May 14, 1895, a special meeting was called to consider what action would be taken to secure new quarters in the Syndicate Block about to be erected at the head of Chestnut Street.

June 4, 1895, a letter was read in the Lodge from the Syndicate Corporation offering the use of the hall for $350 a year including water and heating two nights a month. If heat is desired more often than that, it will be furnished at cost.

DEDICATION OF THE NEW HALL OF HOPE LODGE

On Monday, February 22, 1897, a special communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge was held in the new Lodge rooms for the purpose of dedicating the new hall. The Grand Master, Most Worshipful Charles C. Hutchinson, accompanied by a full corps of officers was present. This event also marked the thirty-third anniversary of Hope Lodge.

The Grand Lodge was opened in Ample Form in one of the anterooms of the new hall at 1:55 P.M. A procession of the Grand Officers was formed and escorted by a committee of Past Masters to the Lodge room where the Brethren were in order as Master Masons.

The Worshipful Master, Brother Florus D. Ramsdell, cordially welcomed the Most Worshipful Grand Master, who responded in a few fitting words and accepted the chair and the gavel, the Grand Officers at the same time assuming their appropriate stations.

The exercises were commenced with the singing, by the Columbian Quartette, of the Anthem "Hark! Hark! To The Voices Exulting That Rise." Prayer was offered by the Grand Chaplain. The Working tools were then surrendered by Wor. Bro. Volney W. Howe as Architect.

The customary examination of the new building was made by the Grand Officers, and the report being satisfactory the Grand Master proceeded to dedicate the apartments to Freemasonry, to Virtue and to Universal Benevolence, in accordance with ancient form and usage, and the Ritual of the Grand Lodge. He then delivered a stirring address to the Brethren.

This was followed by an address on the history of Hope Lodge delivered by Wor. Brother Charles F. Read.

Upon the conclusion of the services the Grand Lodge withdrew to the place of opening and was closed in Ample Form at 3:45 P.M.

FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY

The size and strength of Hope Lodge steadily increased during the early years of the twentieth century. 1914 would be its fiftieth anniversary. Preparations for a proper observance took definite form at the regular meeting June 17, 1913, when the then Senior Warden, Merton H. Greene, introduced a motion: "That we observe the fiftieth anniversary of Hope Lodge on February 22-23, 1914, and that a General Committee be appointed by the Worshipful Master, for the purpose of arranging an appropriate program for this event."

Invitations were sent to the members of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge and all the Brethren of the Thirteenth Masonic District to join in the Semi-centennial of Hope Lodge.

A Special Communication of Hope Lodge was held Sunday, February 22, 1914 in Masonic Hall for the purpose of attending Divine Worship at the First Congregational Church at 10:30 A.M. The Lodge members were escorted to and from the Church by Eminent Commander C. H. Hartshorn and a detail of Sir Knights from Ivanhoe Commandery No. 46.

A sermon, The Interpretation of Masonry, was preached by Rev. Bro. F. E. Ramsdell.

After the church service the Lodge was escorted to the site
of the first meeting place of Hope Lodge at the intersection of
 Elm and Pearl Streets, where a tablet was dedicated by the
 Worshipful Master, Wardens and Representatives of the Grand
Lodge. The inscription on the tablet is as follows:


"Hope Lodge, A. F. & A. M.
 was here Instituted February 22, 1864
 and Constituted March 9, 1865

Charles Heywood, W. M.
 Henry C. Hill, S. W. Edward J. Sawyer, J. W.
Erected February 22, 1914

Sunday afternoon the Lodge-rooms were opened for an informal reception to the members of the Grand Lodge.

Monday, February 23, a Special Communication of Hope Lodge was opened to continue the Anniversary program.

ORDER OF EXERCISES

  • Reception of Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and Grand Officers.
  • Selection — Corinthian Quartette
  • Address of Welcome — Brother Charles A. Brown, S. W.
  • Grand Ball, Monday Evening, February 23, 1914
MASONIC STEPS AT THE RESERVOIR

October 20, 1914, the following motion was made in Hope Lodge:

That a committee be appointed to see the Water Commissioners of the Town of Gardner and the State Board of Health to ascertain if there would be any objection to the use of the top of the Gardner Reservoir by the public as a place to enjoy the exceptionally fine view which can be obtained from there.

Also to get estimates on the cost of a flight of steps from the base to the top of the reservoir and to attend to any preliminaries incident to the construction and gift of these steps to the Town of Gardner by Hope Lodge.

March 8, 1916, a duly appointed Committee consisting of Wor. Bro. Charles M. Edgell, Bro. Amasa B. Bryant, and Bro. Fred L. Butler made the official presentation.

The Masonic years of 1919, 1920 and 1921 saw the greatest growth of Hope Lodge.

In 1919 and 1920 there were held during the term of Worshipful Master Fordyce T. Reynolds, eleven regular, one annual and thirty-four special meetings. Sixty-eight candidates were balloted upon during the year. There were six meetings during one week. The Worshipful Master being ill, the work was carried on by Senior Warden George N. Archibald.

HURRICANE OF 1938

On September 21, this section of New England was visited by a devastating tropical hurricane, and the Lodge quarters were seriously damaged. A portion of the roof of Syndicate Block was blown off exposing the interior to the fury of the elements. The Installation of Officers was slated for the following night.

On the evening of September 22, as the electrical power had been put out of commission, the Lodge Room was lighted by candles. The Worshipful Master announced that due to conditions of travel, Wor. Roy Perry Miles, Grand Lecturer, who was to have installed the officers was unable to be present. As a result Right Worshipful Harold F. Brown, District Deputy Grand Master, would officiate. He was presented to the East and with Wor. James W. H. Baker as Marshal, and Rev. Brother Mont Thornbury as Chaplain, proceeded with the Installation.

SEVENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY

A Special Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was held in the City of Gardner on Thursday, the 16th day of February 1939 for the purpose of celebrating the Seventy-fifth anniversary of Hope Lodge, under the direction of Most Worshipful Joseph Earl Perry and his suite.

The Grand Lodge was opened in Ample Form in a convenient apartment in the First Congregational Church at five minutes before eight o'clock, in the evening, and proceeded under suitable escort to the main audience room of the Church, where Hope Lodge was at labor with the Presiding Master, Wor. Robert M. Crouch, in the East. After the Grand Officers had been received, the Worshipful Master surrendered the Oriental Chair and the gavel to the Grand Master, who presided during the exercises.

A history of Hope Lodge was presented by Right Worshipful Fordyce T. Reynolds. The Grand Master made an interesting and inspiring address. Brief remarks were made by all the Grand Officers present.

The very successful observances were concluded by a ball given at the City Hall.

HOPE LODGE BRINGS THE MOUNTIES TO GARDNER

Whenever and wherever the history of Hope Lodge is reviewed, one event will stand out as a distinct highlight — the visit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Degree Team of Ottawa, Canada, on April 24, 25, and 26, 1954. To the members of the Committee and the Lodge Officers of 1953 who played a part in the ceremonies, and who came into close comradeship with these brothers from our good neighbor to the North have been planted deep and warm memories that can never be forgotten.

Churches offered their services to put on suppers as well as Jessamine Chapter O.E.S. Help and cooperation were offered from all sides, not only from the Craft but everyone in the community. The assistance of our Gardner citizens in this undertaking was a wonderful exemplification of good fellowship. Three thousand six hundred Masons came into Gardner from all parts of New England, New York and New Jersey. The visitors came quietly, without fuss or noise, witnessed the Exemplification and as quietly departed without any kind of incident. This is a credit to everyone who attended. Special groups who attended were Nortons of Worcester, General Electric of Fitchburg and Lynn, and the Harvard Square and Compass Club.

Comments from visiting Brethren complimented the handling of the crowds and how everything was on schedule. Particular mention was made of the prompt and efficient service at the doors. At each of the three Exemplifications 1200 Masons were completely identified, examined and seated in less than thirty minutes.

The Mounties exemplified the Canadian ritual with all of their snap, color and military precision, holding the rapt attention of the brethren. It was a most impressive presentation. I am sure that no brethren of Hope Lodge will ever hear the strains of the Colonel Bogey March without seeing once again those Red Coats come swinging down the aisle.

The Testimonial Banquet, Saturday noon, April 25, was highlighted by the presence of Brother and Lieut. Governor Sumner G. Whittier. Also present from the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts were: Deputy Grand Master, Right Worshipful Dillenback; District Deputy Grand Master, Right Worshipful Arthur E. Williams; Grand Secretary, Right Worshipful Earl W. Taylor; and Worshipful Chester Shepherd, Director of Service.

Saturday night at the close of the final exemplification Worshipful Brother Peter Adams presented to Worshipful Master Lloyd Steeves three gavels emblazoned with the Mounties' crest. These have been given an honored place in Hope Lodge.

The visit of the Mounties was not only a highlight in the history of Hope Lodge but it adds a new stone to our International Temple of Masonry and helps to cement firmly that spirit of Brotherly Love and affection so essential to all liberty loving people.

Thus was born the Gardner Masonic Charity and Educational Society, Inc., an organization to better carry out the Charitable and Educational purposes of Masonry and to construct or secure a new Temple.

Thus in the ninetieth year of the history of Hope Lodge the brethren dedicated themselves to the building of a new Temple of Masonry in Gardner. On June 5, 19S4, the Grand Master of Masons for Massachusetts, Whitfield W. Johnson, accompanied by a distinguished suite of grand officers from all over New England, was escorted to the new temple site by the Aleppo Temple Shrine Band of Boston and in an impressive and appropriate manner proceeded to lay the corner-stone according to the ancient rites and usages of Masonry.

The ground breaking ceremony took place November 18, 1954.

THE DEDICATION OF THE NEW TEMPLE

Back in 1953 the brethren of Hope Lodge had made a resolution: "We are going to do it." On Saturday, October 1, 1955, they were able to say: "We have done it."

At one-thirty on that date the Worshipful Master, Hervey F. Bowden, announced that this meeting was called for the purpose of receiving the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons of Massachusetts, who would be present with Grand Lodge officers to dedicate our New Masonic Temple.

In a solemn and dignified ceremony resplendent with all of the ritualistic traditions of the Order, the Grand Master and suite dedicated the new Temple to Masonic usage. The drama was an inspiration and revelation to all present.

During the last eight years, installed in its new Temple, Gardner Masonry has grown and prospered. All the bodies have cooperated splendidly in reducing the financial obligation and strengthening the Order. Real progress has been made.

A highlight of this period was a second visit of the R. C. M. P. Degree team from Ottawa, May 6-7-8, 1960.

Hope Lodge had received a most cordial invitation to return the visit of the R. C. M. P. degree team in Ottawa.

Plans and arrangements were accordingly made and in June 1963, thirty-nine brethren made the trip to Ottawa by bus and truly received a royal reception. On Saturday evening Hope Lodge exemplified the third degree in Dalhousie Lodge to a large and most receptive group of Canadian brethren.

It is interesting to note that our new Lodge seating was manufactured by Heywood-Wakefield Co., as were the original chairs and settees manufactured by the Heywood Chair Mfg. Co. in 1865.

We have now reached the Centennial year, 1864-1964, one hundred years of Masonic service in Gardner. Let us consider this year not merely one of celebration but one of dedication to the ideals and principles for which this great Fraternity stands. A feature of the ancient Greek games was the relay race in which the runner at the end of his lap handed on a lighted torch to his successor. This is a parable and a symbol of the ever-renewing life of our Order's leadership. The torch of Masonry was kindled at the sacred altar of Service to Humanity. Let it be the pledge of all of us present and future to bear it high.

150TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORICAL ADDRESS, SEPTEMBER 2013

Special Communication of eight lodges November 16th, 2013, Celebrating their 150th Anniversary
Wor. Daniel E. Madru

We will start off with a very brief overlook of the mid 1800’s of the Gardner area and the immediate surrounding towns such as Winchendon and Templeton; each town had a population of around 2400 to 2800 people. The closest lodges back then were in Fitchburg, Athol and Barre, all being about 16 to 18 miles away. As you are all aware, the automobile was not put into production until the early 1900’s so I am sure the major source of transportation for individuals was the horse and buggy making the trip to a lodge meeting about 2 to 2.5 hours one way.

Somewhere in Late 1863 or early 1864 (I have not been able to find the actual evidence of the original letter) a group of local Masons in the Gardner area got together and created a petition asking Grand Lodge to start a Masonic Lodge in Gardner. It was signed by: Levi Heywood, Horace Whitney, Henry Hill, Edward Sawyer, James Lakin, George Nichols, Andrew Moore, Charles Heywood, George Woodman, and Nathaniel Holmes. All these men had been made Masons in Fitchburg, Athol and elsewhere around the area, and all they were asking was to form a lodge closer to their home. This petition was also supported by the other lodges in Fitchburg and Athol.

A short time afterward, a letter arrived and was from The Grand Master at the time, M. W. William Parkman, and he issued a letter of dispensation on February 22, 1864, “authorizing and empowering the aforesaid brothers to form and open a lodge after the manner of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and therein to admit and make Free Masons according to the ancient customs and not otherwise”. This dispensation was allowed to continue until the next regular communication of Grand Lodge in the month of March, 1865. March 9th, 1865 was when Hope Lodge was formally constituted and received its official Charter.

Most of the petitioners were made officers of the newly formed lodge. Of the first three names, Levi Heywood was Master, Henry C. Hill was S. W. and Edward J. Sawyer as J. W. (also they became the first three past masters as well).

The very first regular communication as Hope Lodge was held on March 22, 1864 in Freemason’s Hall, in rooms over the horse’s shed that was part of the town's central store owned by Abel S. Wood. Forty-six meetings were held in 1864 and six in 1865.

The first official visitation by Grand Lodge was held December 6, 1864. The Most Worshipful William Parkman and his suite made the trip. On that occasion, the lodge exemplified the work of the third degree on Bro. Albert Lovejoy. M. W. Parkman was most impressed with the lodge's work that evening as was written in his Grand Master’s report soon after his trip.

So that was the first year for Hope lodge, I will now hit some of the highlight for the next 149.

Hope lodge has had a total of 4 homes in Gardner

  1. Abel Wood's Store - Freemasons’ Hall from the 1st year to 1865
  2. Rooms in the Town Hall for 32 years to Feb. 1897
  3. Top floor of the new “Syndicate Building” as it was named for 58 years
  4. Where they are now, what is known as Hope Lodge since 1955 for the last 58 years.

The building and grounds are now owned, operated and run by the Gardner Masonic Charity & Educational Society and is funded by the most generous donations of our forefathers. They have also established a scholarship program for our children.

50th Year Anniversary

As we all know, the Henry Price Medal was named after our first Grand Master and is awarded by Grand Lodge. It was first created in 1888 so that members could purchase and wear it.

In 1914, M. W. Melvin Johnson, Grand Master, found the box of medals and decided to use them for presentation to distinguished brothers.

At a special communication for the purpose of celebrating Hope Lodge’s 50th anniversary, he requested that Brother George Nichols be presented before him. M. W. Johnson then congratulated him for being the only living signing Charter member of Hope Lodge and thus, the very first Henry Price medal presented by a Grand Master went to Brother George Nichols on February 23, 1914 at Hope Lodge.

The busiest year for Hope Lodge was 1919-1920. They had 11 regular meetings, 1 annual meeting, and 34 special meetings that Masonic year. 68 candidates were balloted upon. It was written that on some occasions, they held 6 meetings one week.

In 1954 at its 90th Anniversary, Hope Lodge brought the Mounties to Gardner. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Degree Team of Ottawa, Canada on April 24, 25, and 26, 1954 paid a very special and memorial visit to our lodge and community and exemplified the third degree on the 3 special days. Churches and Jessamine Chapter, OES offered their services to put on suppers. Help was offered from all sides, not only from the craft, but everyone in the community. Three thousand six hundred Masons came into Gardner from all parts of New England, New York, and New Jersey. The visitors came quietly, without fuss or noise; witnessed the Exemplification and quietly departed without any kind of incident.

At its peak Hope lodge had a membership of around 600, today we are at around 180 and growing. We support to charities, the Masonic Angel Fund as well as our own local charity to support children and distressed worthy brothers, widows, and orphans.

Today our building supports a total of six organizations, Hope Lodge, St. Paul Lodge, OES, Shrine Club, Rainbow and DeMolay Chapters.


EVENTS

CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, MAY 1865

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly Magazine, Vol. XXIV, No. 8, June 1865, Page 228:

HOPE LODGE, GARDNER. This new Lodge was duly Constituted, under its Charter, on the afternoon of Wednesday, the 3d of May last, by a delegation of the officers of the Grand Lodge. The ceremonies took place in the new Hall, which the Lodge, since the expiration of its Dispensation in March, has fitted up for its accommodation. There were about sixty Brethren present, including visitors from the neighboring towns. At the conclusion of this ceremony, the Lodge took a recess until the evening, when the ladies and invited guests were admitted, and the new Hall was Dedicated in accordance with the ancient customs of the Craft. The company then repaired to the Town Hall, where, in the presence of more than two hundred of the ladies and gehtlemen of the village, the officers of the new Lodge were Installed by the M. W. Grand Master, with the usual ceremonies, interspersed with appropriate music. An able and appropriate address by the Grand Master followed, and was listened to by the large audience present with apparent interest and satisfaction. At the conclusion of which he stated that he had been commissioned by Brother Edward Maynz of this city to present, in his behalf (he being necessarily absent), the new Lodge with a large quarto and beautifully-bound Alta-Bible: which duty he performed in a very graceful and appropriate manner. The Gift was received by the Chaplain of the Lodge, the Rev. Wm. D. Herrick, in suitable terms, and placed upon the altar. Singing by the choir concluded the ceremonies.

We took occasion some time since to speak of this Lodge as one of the best and most perfect in its work, in this jurisdiction; and we have now the great satisfaction of adding, that its new Hall is one of the most beautiful in the Commonwealth, alike in its conveniences, decorations, and furniture. No expense has been spared in fitting it up, and good taste is everywhere manifest in its appointments. It is located in the upper story of the Town Hall building (which is itself an ornament to the village), and is about 55 by 35 feet, exclusive of ante-rooms, of which there are four. The main hall is finely frescoed and appropriately ornamented, and handsomely carpeted; as are all the rooms. The furniture, including the altar, pedestals (representing the three orders of architecture), the chairs and settees, we believe were all made by the Heywood Chair Manufacturing Company, of Gardner, expressly for the Lodge, and do great credit, in the excellence of their workmanship, to the skill and good taste of that popular establishment.

The officers of the new Lodge are as follows:-

  • Charles Heywood, W. M.
  • Henry C. Hill, S. W.
  • Edward J. Sawyer, J. W.
  • Alonzo B. Clark, Treas.
  • George Heywood, Sec.
  • William D. Herrick, Chaplain
  • George E. Woodman, S. D.
  • George Nichols, J. D.
  • John W. Hill, S. S.
  • James H. Greenwood, J. S.
  • Alvin M. Greenwood, Marshal
  • F. C. Whitcomb, Tyler

OFFICER LIST, JANUARY 1868

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly Magazine, Vol. XXVII, No. 3, January 1868, Page 95:

Officers of Hope Lodge, Gardner, 1868. —

  • Edw. J. Sawyer, W.M.
  • George E. Woodman, S. W.
  • George Nichols, J. W.
  • Alonzo B. Clark, Treasurer
  • Charles F. Head, Secretary
  • Harrison Closson, Chaplain
  • F. C. Whitcomb, M.
  • John D. Edgell, S. D.
  • F. W. Cummings, J. D.
  • James H. Greenwood, S. S.
  • O. C. Gardner, J. S.
  • Albert Lovejoy, Tyler
  • Levi Heywood, Seth Heywood, G. F. Ellsworth, Committee on Charity

VISIT, APRIL 1882

From Liberal Freemason, Vol. VI, No. 2, May 1882, Page 63:

The members of Hope Lodge, F. and A. M., of Gardner, visited Artisan Lodge of Winchendon, Tuesday evening. April 25th. The occasion was the conferring of the degree of Master Mason upon Mr. Joseph C. Nichols, Conductor of the B. B. & G. R. R. Having formerly lived in Gardner, his old friends of the mystic tie, to the number of fifty or more, made this the time to return the friendly visit of Artisan Lodge, made some time ago. It was a very social meeting, made doubly so, from the fact that quite a number of the members of Hope Lodge are also members of North Star Royal Arch Chapter of Winchendon.

AmericanHotelWinchendon.jpg
American House, Winchendon

After the business of the evening, speeches and the exchange of friendly greetings, by W. Bro. A. S. Lamb, Master of Artisan Lodge, and W. C. N. Edgell, Master of Hope Lodge, the brethren were invited by Bro. Lamb to a supper that was awaiting them at the American House. Nearly one hundred participated, after which the brethren of Hope Lodge returned home by special train, of which Bro. Nichols was conductor. These gatherings seem to unite the brethren in good will and kindly offices toward one another, cheering them on over the rough and rugged pathway of life. — Gardner Record.

INSTALLATION, OCTOBER 1882

From Liberal Freemason, Vol. VI, No. 8, November 1882, Page 252:

At a Regular Meeting of Hope Lodge of Gardner, held on Tuesday evening, October 24th, the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: Henry H. Adams, W. M.; C. A. Cowee, S. W.; A. P. Derby, J. W.; J. W. Hill, Treas.; John D. Edgell, Sec.

On the same evening, the officers of Artisan Lodge, F. and A. M., were installed at Masonic Hall in Winchendon.

ANNUAL MEETING, DECEMBER 1883

From Liberal Freemason, Vol. VII, No. 9 December 1883, Page 190:

At the recent annual meeting of Hope Lodge, F. and A. M., hold at Masonic Hall, the following officers were all re-elected for another year; H. H. Adams, W. M.; C. A. Cowee, S. W.; Arthur P. Derby, J. W.; John W. Hill, Treasurer; John D. Edgell, Secretary. The following is the Committee of Charity: E. A. Cowee, M. H. Howe, and John Dustin. We learn that this Lodge is in good condition, and doing good work under the present officers.


GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1864: District 3

1867: District 8 (Greenfield)

1883: District 12 (Fitchburg)

1911: District 13 (Fitchburg)

1927: District 13 (Barre)

2003: District 22


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges