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Location: Paraiso, Canal Zone

Chartered By: Melvin M. Johnson

Charter Date: 12/12/1917 1917-382

Precedence Date: 1916

Current Status: merged with Canal Zone Lodge to form Canal Zone Isthmian Lodge, 07/27/1977.


  • Lewis E. Williams, 1918
  • Benjamin F. Hess, 1919
  • Richard G. Taylor, 1920
  • Oliver Bullock, 1921
  • Charles A. Palmer, 1922
  • Gilbert D. Bullock, 1923
  • James G. Cook, 1924
  • Allen S. Boyd, 1925
  • Armand C. Wood, 1926
  • Wallace B Ames, 1927
  • Burton H. Mead, 1928, 1929
  • Arthur R. Grier, 1930
  • Joseph b. Sampsell, 1931
  • David J. Evans, 1932
  • Newell N. Shaw, 1933
  • Frank J. Gershow, 1934
  • Ed Brown, 1935
  • Herbert R. Judson, 1936
  • James A. Ross, 1937
  • Eugene Provost, Jr., 1938
  • Adrian W. Web, 1939
  • Fred W. Brown, 1940
  • T. N. Etchberger, 1941
  • Joseph A. Farr, 1942
  • Harland V. Howard, 1943
  • Edward W. Schanke, 1944
  • Charles F. V. Steenberg, 1945
  • George A. Sausel, 1946
  • Emerson A. Gilmore, 1947
  • William F. Young, 1949
  • Robert L. Malone, 1950
  • Gerald J. Fox, 1951
  • Lawrence S. Myers, 1952
  • Bernice A. Herring, 1953
  • Winters A. Hope, 1954
  • Max M. Schock, 1955
  • Harry F. Shannon, 1956
  • Ernest B. Curling, 1957
  • Harland V. Howard, Jr., 1958
  • James O. Catron, 1959
  • George O. Kruse, Jr., 1960
  • Charles W. Hammond, 1961
  • Robert E. Lee, 1962
  • John R. McGlade, 1963
  • Leroy B. Wilson, Jr., 1964
  • Joseph W. E. Bourgeois, 1965
  • Raymond E. Allen, 1966
  • Frederick R. Call, 1967
  • Verlin B. Shelton, 1968
  • Richard H. Crowell, 1969
  • 'Harold H. Harp, 1970
  • Franklin A Balmas, 1971
  • David A. Hope, 1972
  • W. Eugene Bondurant, 1973
  • Ray S. Witt, 1974
  • Walton G. McGee, 1975
  • Charles A. McGlade, 1976
  • Virgil L. Peters, 1977


1916 1917 1920 1921 1922 1924 1925 1928 1934 1937 1939 1941 1949 1951 1952 1956 1957 1958 1965 1967 1971 1972 1973 1974 1976



From Proceedings, Page 1967-26:

By Wor. William F. Young.

The Charter of Isthmian Lodge is dated December 12, 1917, but the Lodge was really organized in the year 1915. It was in the latter part of 1915 that a group of old-fashioned Masons, who had the desire for good fellowship and Brotherhood, banded together to organize the "Twin City Masonic Club". The meetings of this Masonic Club were held in the Lodge Building in Paraiso, C. Z., the first meeting being held on January 21, 1916. Meetings were held regularly each month thereafter, until May 4, 1917. The club's meetings were real Masonic Meetings, for much serious thought and discussion took place.

In the latter part of 1916, there originated a Petition for a Dispensation to erect a Blue Lodge. This Petition with fifty signatures was forwarded to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge. Their prayer was answered by permission to form Isthmian Lodge. The first meeting of the Lodge was on February 9, 1917, and was held in the Lodge Hall at Paraiso, Canal Zone. The Lodge met regularly under Dispensation and by permission of the Grand Lodge until May 31, 1918. Officers under Dispensation were: W. A. Raymond, Master; B. F. Hess, Senior Warden; R. G. Taylor, Junior Warden; E. J. Garcon, Treasurer; W. A. Morgan, Secretary; L. E. Williams, Marshal; A. S. Boyd, Senior Deacon; R. N. Norris, Junior Deacon; Oliver Bullock, Senior Steward; Fred Bradley, Junior Steward; and Fred E. Nehls, Tyler.

The first petition received by the Lodge was that of Brother H. H. Murray. The first Master Masons raised were Brothers H. H. Murray and Gilbert D. Bullock. During the time the Lodge worked under Dispensation, ten Master Masons were raised.

Unfortunately there are no records of the proceedings when our Charter was presented. The records indicate that on Friday evening, May 31, 1918, Right Worshipful Ralph Osborn constituted Isthmian Lodge. Isthmian Lodge was then opened on the Third Degree. The District Grand Master was received and he installed the following Officers: Lewis E. Williams, Master; Benjamin F. Hess, Senior Warden; Richard G. Taylor, Junior Warden; Allen S. Boyd, Treasurer; James C. Cook, Chaplain; Edward C. Schoning, Marshal; Fred W. Bradley, Junior Deacon; Gilbert D. Bullock, Senior Steward; Byron C. Webber, Junior Steward.

Of the original petitioners who signed the Petition for a Dispensation to form a new Lodge, the following signed the By-Laws of Isthmian Lodge: R. G. Taylor; B. F. Hess; F. W. Brown; A. C. Wood; A. S. Boyd; F. W. Bradley; Frank Heald; B. C. Webber; Fred Sommer; Oliver Bullock; Neil McLean; M. V. Ruggles; R. N. Norris; B. J. Evans; W. R. Holloway; A. V. Losea; W. A. Raymond; L. E. Williams and Ed. Schnake.

In 1918 the Panama Canal moved the Lodge Building from Paraiso to Pedro Miguel, Canal Zone. Isthmian Lodge held its meetings in this building, as a tenant of the Panama Canal. In those days it was customary for the Canal Zone Government to furnish, for a nominal fee, a Lodge Hall in each community for meeting places for employee groups, unions, community meetings, Lodge meetings, etc. By 1934 the Lodge Hall in Pedro Miguel had become so termite eaten and in such a dilapidated condition that extensive repairs were required. The Lodge was notified that the policy of the Panama Canal furnishing a Lodge Hall in Pedro Miguel was to be discontinued and that it would be necessary for the Lodge to make other arrangements for a meeting place. After much thought and discussion, the Lodge Hall in Pedro Miguel was purchased from the Panama Canal by Isthmian Lodge and Fern Leaf Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. The necessary repairs were then made to the building by the new owners.

In 1935 Worshipful Ed. Brown was Master; followed by H. R. Judson in 1936; James A. Ross in 1937; Eugene Provost in 1938; A. W. Webb in 1939; F. W. Brown in 1940; T. N. Etchberger in 1941; Joseph A. Farr in 1942 and H. V. Howard in 1943.

On May 28, 1943 the Lodge celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the presenting of the Charter to Isthmian Lodge. Previous to the opening of the Lodge, dinner was served to 184 Brothers. After the Lodge was opened, the District Grand Master, Right Worshipful Lewis B. Bates and his Suite of Officers, were received into the Lodge.

A History of the Twenty-five years of Isthmian Lodge was read by the Secretary, Worshipful Fred W. Brown. The early years of Isthmian Lodge were lean years financially. The Lodge really began to grow in numbers and to prosper financially during the years just prior to and during World War II. The influx of construction forces and the increase in Military personnel helped Isthmian Lodge in its growth.

Worshipful Fred W. Brown in his address at the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of Isthmian Lodge stated that the Lodge was fortunate in the kind of building we had. It was such that it was always in need of something. Often times we were unable to afford the needed articles or repairs, so Brothers of Isthmian Lodge and Sisters of Fern Leaf Chapter would form work parties and make the necessary repairs at little or no cost to the Lodge. Thus under the guidance of these frugal, conservative hard-working Masons and their wives, the building fund of the Lodge grew. Some far-sighted members, to name a few, Brothers Ed. Schnake, F. W. Brown and H. V. Howard, knew that some day Isthmian Lodge would have to move from the Lodge Hall in Pedro Miguel. It was the aim of all the members to conserve the Lodge funds. One way this was done was by the members furnishing" refreshments for the table down stairs after the meetings. These were happy occasions.

In later years when meetings became more frequent and the attendance increased, a voluntary refreshment box was placed on the table, thus the Brothers present dropped in a few coins to help defray the refreshment expense. This practice is still carried out.

The frugal and conservative traits paid off. The Lodge funds and the Building Fund continued to grow. In 1954 when Isthmian Lodge was notified by the Panama Canal that the town site of Pedro Miguel was to be demolished and that the Lodge would have to demolish its Lodge Hall, Isthmian Lodge had to find a new meeting place. The Lodge now had a nice reserve in the Building Fund. After many months of negotiations, Isthmian Lodge was accepted as part owner of Ancon Temple. Isthmian Lodge purchased an equity in the Temple Association for $20,000. Some thought that the Lodge should build its own Temple, but the majority felt that the Lodge could not afford such a large undertaking. Thus the move to Ancon Temple. This move was accomplished in April 1955. The first meeting in Ancon Temple was held on April 15, 1955 with Worshipful Max M. Schoch as Worshipful Master. On April 18, 1955, Worshipful Max M. Schoch; Brothers Harry Shannon, Senior Warden; H. Vance Howard, Jr., Junior Warden; Worshipful William Forest Young, Secretary and Worshipful Gerald J. Fox, Isthmian Lodge's representative to the Ancon Temple Association, met with all the representatives of the owning bodies of Ancon Temple to approve and sign the contract agreement between Ancon Temple Association and Isthmian Lodge, whereby Isthmian Lodge by the payment of $20,000. became one of the joint owners of Ancon Temple.

We could not close this brief history of our Lodge without paying tribute to all those gallant Masons who have contributed so much of their time and talents to furthering the interest of Isthmian Lodge and the aims of Free Masonry.

A special note of thanks is due to our Sister Lodge, Canal Zone Lodge, and to Abou Saad Temple and the York Rite Bodies, who assisted so greatly during our move to Ancon Temple and in the months following while Isthmian Lodge was endeavoring to settle in its new Masonic Home. Our associations have been most gratifying.

With faith in the future, with devoted and loyal membership, with the direction of its continuing line of capable Officers, Isthmian Lodge will continue to guard and nurture that with which it has been so solemnly entrusted, the teachings and principles of Freemasonry.


1916: Canal Zone District

1927: Canal Zone District


District Grand Lodge web site

Massachusetts Lodges