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From Proceedings, Page 1976-120:

In October 1870, a determined group of thirty-four Master Masons from Reading assembled in Ellsworth Hall for the purpose of forming a Masonic Lodge. Ellsworth Hall was on the third floor of the building at the corner of Main and Pleasant Streets in Reading Square. In October, 1871, the Officers of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts duly constituted Good Samaritan Lodge, dedicated the hall, and installed the officers.

An invitation was extended to the Lodge members in October, 1872, to be present for the installation of officers of the recently formed Reading Royal Arch Chapter, to be held in the same Lodge room.

In July, 1881, a committee was appointed to secure Lodge rooms in Lyceum Hall on Haven Street. Rent amounted to $250. per year. The new Lodge room was 36' x 50' and was located upstairs in the extension of the building.

At a special communication on July 19, 1893, it was voted to engage a portion of the third floor in the new building being erected at the corner of Main and Haven Streets. This location served as Masonic headquarters until 1975.

The Order of the Eastern Star, instituted on May 8, 1896, was granted the use of the Masonic Apartments.

In 1911, the Lodge wanted to lease the adjoining public hall with balcony (the former banquet hall) rather than rent it each month. It was offered to the Lodge for $1,200. per year, but this was considered too high a price to pay.

Exclusive use of the entire third floor was finally secured in April, 1920, for $840. annually. Later that year the Committee on Alterations reported the final cost of alterations totaling $14,141.93 and that a 20-year lease had been arranged. The balcony was to provide quarters for a new Commandery that was to be started in 1921.

In June, 1929, Good Samaritan Lodge approved the use of the apartments for Reading Assembly No. 29, Order of Rainbow for Girls. In June, 1948, Reading Assembly, Social Order of Beauceant, was constituted and granted the use of the hall. At the September, 1940 meeting, the Lodge discussed extensive repairs, to cost over $4,700. After listening to a report of the Repairs, Replacements and Alterations Committee, it was voted to accept the report, spread it on the records, and discharge the committee with thanks for its work.

A new carpet was laid in November, 1947, and it is reported that the floor work of the officers definitely improved.

Early in 1953, the Lodge considered acquiring the Odd Fellows property on Woburn Street. It had many of the necessary features, but after careful investigation it proved too costly to renovate and maintain. Good Samaritan Lodge, therefore, abandoned the move and spent $960. on new seating for the Apartments.

In January, 1966, a committee was appointed by Worshipful H. Sterling French to study the possibility of obtaining new quarters. At the June meeting, the Lodge voted to purchase property at 337 Haverhill Street, Reading, at a cost of $26,500. with plans to erect a new Temple there.

An architect was engaged to prepare sketches and plans of a proposed new Temple, and a variance of Zoning Laws was sought for erection of the building. After a hearing, the Reading Board of Appeals denied the application for variance, and the Haverhill Street property was sold.

In 1971, the property at the corner of Haven and Linden Streets was purchased for $50,000. by the Reading Masonic Building Association through funds obtained from Good Samaritan Lodge.

A major fund raising drive in the spring of 1972 provided the impetus to proceed with the plans. The house on the site was removed in September, 1973, and ground was broken for the new Temple in December, 1974.

Under the direction of Most Worshipful Stanley F. Maxwell, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, the cornerstone was laid on June 22, 1975. (1975 Mass. 121-125) The cornerstone was donated by Reading Council No. 1031, Knights of Columbus.

During the past year, much of the interior work was completed by members of the Lodge, volunteering their services. Many, many man hours have been spent raising funds and laboring at the Temple to make the quarters ready for use.

It was a proud night on January 7, 1976, when Worshipful Thomas W. Wilshere presided over the first communication of Good Samaritan Lodge held in the new Masonic Temple with more than 200 members and visitors present.