Manchester

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MANCHESTER LODGE

Location: Manchester

Chartered By: Arthur D. Prince

Charter Date: 01/17/1921 1921-447

Precedence Date: 12/15/1920

Current Status: Active


PAST MASTERS

  • George F. Cooke, 1921, 1922; Mem
  • Thomas A. Lees, 1923, 1924; N
  • Allen S. Peabody, 1925, 1926
  • Arthur E. Olson, 1927
  • Raymond C. Allen, 1928
  • Frank C. Rand, 1929
  • Harry W. Purington, 1930
  • Edmund J. Semons, 1931
  • George S. Sinnicks, 1932
  • George J. Noirie, 1933
  • Ellsworth L. Brown, 1934
  • Byron P. Roberts, 1935
  • William Cragg, 1936
  • Walter H. Diamond, 1937
  • Roy E. Keller, 1937, 1938
  • Theodore S. Burnham, 1939; N
  • Harry B. Collins, 1940
  • L. Allan Andrews, 1941
  • Harry G. Cleveland, 1942
  • James M. Dunton, 1943, 1944
  • Frederick N. Bragdon, 1945
  • George A. Sinnicks, 1946; N
  • Whitefield F. Kimball, 1947
  • George W. Story, 1948
  • Albert W. James, 1949
  • Arthur L. Kehoe, Jr., 1950
  • G. Stilson Cleveland, 1951
  • Norman G. Crafts, 1952
  • Charles A. Fritz, Jr., 1953; N
  • George H. James, 1954
  • George C. Rice, 1955
  • William H. Baxter, 1956
  • George A. Burchstead, 1957
  • William J. Crane, 1958; N
  • William M. Toivainen, 1959
  • Fred P. Nickless, Jr., 1960
  • John A. Truesdale, 1961, 1999; N
  • Lloyd E. Wilson, 1962
  • Willard H. Dame, 1963
  • Thomas G. Howarth, 1964
  • M. Peter Gibbon, 1965
  • Kenneth Watson, 1966
  • E. Ray Kelley, 1967
  • Charles W. Wallis, 1968
  • Lester G. Strangman, 1969
  • John A. Eaton, 1970
  • Michael G. Nahatis, 1971
  • Russell C. Lucas, Jr., 1972
  • Robert C. Sibley, 1973
  • Archibald Somerville, 1974
  • Norman J. Bennett, 1975
  • Edward R. Parsons, 1976
  • Rodney C. Burgess, 1977
  • Eric H. Ericson, Jr., 1978
  • Everett P. Burnham, 1979
  • Lewis E. Gates, 1980
  • Jerry L. Young, 1981
  • William C. Nichol, 1982
  • Augustus G. Means, 1983
  • Harry T. Parsons, 1984
  • Robert M. Irving, 1985
  • Barrie L. Glover, 1986
  • Joseph W. Corley, Jr., 1987
  • William P. Alboth, 1988
  • Gordon M. Elwell, Jr., 1989
  • Edwin E. Bjork, 1990
  • Peter C. Milner, 1991
  • Michael E. Burnham, 1992
  • John E. Riggs, III, 1993
  • Christopher G. Brown, 1994
  • Peter J. Judd, 1995
  • Todd P. Crane, 1996, 2010, 2011
  • Lewis E. Gates, 1997
  • Robert C. Sibley, 1998
  • Timothy G. Loring, 1999; PDDGM
  • Fred P. Nickless, Jr., 2000
  • John C. Milner, 2001-2003
  • Michael H. Burnham, 2004
  • Brett J. Crane, 2005, 2006
  • Jeffrey S. Bullock, 2007, 2008
  • Christopher J. Thomas, 2009
  • Eric F. Bergengren, 2011; DDGM
  • Gary G. Lucas, 2012

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Dispensation: 1920
  • Petition for Charter: 1921

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1946 (25th Anniversary)
  • 1971 (50th Anniversary)
  • 1996 (75th Anniversary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1937 1945 1958 1960 1963 1968 1974 1977 1988 1992 1995 1998 2012 2015

HISTORY

  • 1946 (25th Anniversary History, 1946-30; see below)
  • 1965 (History at hall dedication, 1965-257; see below)
  • 1971 (50th Anniversary History, 1971-217; see below)
  • 1996 (75th Anniversary History, 1996-171; see below)

25TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, JANUARY 1946

From Proceedings, Page 1946-30:'

By Right Worshipful Thomas A. Lees.

Manchester Lodge is tonight celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. In terms of years, twenty-five is not historically a long space of time, yet it has been a quarter century of significant history of our nation and the world. In 1921 we had just emerged from the first World War and entering a period called at that time normalcy. We had ended a great war that we were told and led to believe was the war to end all wars. Lasting peace, security and happiness was to be our destiny. Masonry was at an all time peak in membership, activity and enthusiasm. Such were the days twenty-five years ago when Manchester Lodge was born.

Manchester was a town considered highly organized, having many orders, lodges and clubs, and although many Masons, it did not have a local Masonic Lodge and the time seemed propitious to organize and successfully institute a Lodge. The Town of Manchester was in the jurisdiction of Beverly and Gloucester, but due to transportation convenience, practically all desiring Masonic affiliation received their degrees in Liberty Lodge of Beverly. It is difficult to realize that with our present day ease of transportation that only twenty-five years ago travel was a problem. While we did have the automobile, winter travel was difficult as roads were not being cleared and most cars were put away in winter months. Consequently very few, if any, individuals from Manchester affiliated with the Lodges in Gloucester as no convenient train connections were available in the evening while reasonably good connections were available with Beverly. A survey indicated that there were over fifty local Masons which, if interested, was a sufficient potential for a successful and going local Masonic Lodge.

During the fall of 1920, George F. Cooke, Everett L. Edmands and myself organized ourselves as a committee to prepare a petition which we circulated and obtained the signatures of forty-nine Masons. This was presented to the Grand Master, then Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, and a dispensation was requested permitting the institution of a Lodge in Manchester. On December 20, 1920, a meeting of the signers of the petition was held in this hall and it was announced that the Grand Master had approved and that the dispensation would be presented on Monday evening, January 17, 1921, by R. W. Harry E. Jackson, District Deputy Grand Master. R.W. Brother Jackson installed the following officers under dispensation:

  • Wor. George F. Cooke, Master
  • Everett L. Edmands, Senior Warden
  • Bro. Thomas A. Lees, Junior Warden
  • Frederick J. Merrill, Treasurer
  • Frank C. Rand, Secretary
  • Rev. Herbert E. Levoy, Chaplain
  • Ernest H. Wilcox, Marshal
  • Allen S. Peabody, Senior Deacon
  • Fred R. Tibbetts, Junior Deacon
  • Frank A. Willis, Senior Steward
  • Alfred E. Parsons, Junior Steward
  • Harry T. Swett, Inside Sentinel
  • William W. Soulis, Tyler

At this first meeting, twenty-one applications for degrees were read by the Secretary — a most auspicious start and evidence of the need and a desire for a Lodge in Manchester.

The next event in the progress of the Lodge was on December 19. 1921, when the Lodge received its Charter. This was an occasion which is still cherished in the memories of those of us who attended. A reception was tendered to the Grand Master and his Suite at Horticultural Hall at 5:30 o'clock, followed by a dinner at six o'clock, with one hundred seventy-five being seated. Following the dinner, all repaired to Odd Fellows Hall for the constitution ceremonies at 7:45 o'clock, which were most ably and impressively conducted by Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, assisted by:

Music for the occasion was furnished by the Lotus Male Quartet of Boston.

The able and dignified manner in which Grand Master Prince and his officers performed the serious and impressive ceremony of constitution left a lasting imprint on the minds of those in attendance, and to this day the events of that evening are often recalled. On this twenty-fifty anniversary, there are but thirteen of the forty-nine Charter Members still enrolled as members of the Lodge, as follows: Leonardo W. Carter, William Cragg, Allan P. Dennis, Charles E. Dodge, Edward F. Height, John Jaffray, Thomas A. Lees, Alfred E. Parsons, Allen S. Peabody, Frank C. Rand, Harry T. Swett, Percival C. Veinot and Frank A. Willis. Twenty-four, or one-half of the Charter group, have been cut down by the Scythe of Time and raised to the Celestial Lodge above. They were all good and true Masons: Raymond C. Allen, Charles J. Allen, Benjamin S. Bullock, George F. Cooke, Chester H. Dennis, Joseph W. Dufton, Everett L. Edmands, Thomas Harvey, James Hoare, William W. Josephs, Gustave A. Knoerr, J. Alexander Lodge, Frederick J. Merrill, Clarence W. Morgan, Arthur E. Olson, Julius F. Rabardy, Charles A. Read, William W. Soulis, Chester L. Standley, Edwin T. Stanley, Senter Stanley, Addison G. Stanwood, Ernest H. Wilcox and George E. Willmonton.

During its twenty-five years, Manchester Lodge has had many interesting activities. During the 1920's, or until the depression years of the early 1930's, the Annual Ladies' Nights were considered one of the social events of the community. The annual family picnics at Tucks Point were occasions long to be remembered. For a number of years the Lodge enjoyed a reputation envied throughout the District for the social periods following all of its meetings. Visiting Brethren came from all over the District to our meetings.

An interesting and amusing incident occurred in April, 1924, when the Lodge officers were summoned to attend their first exemplification to be held at Liberty Lodge in Beverly on a Saturday at three o'clock in the afternoon. This was our first experience and we intensely prepared for our part in the work and duly arrived at Liberty Lodge in our full dress suits and regalia. We found that these functions were informal, and though implored to remain, we all sped back to Manchester, changed to civvies and returned to Beverly in time for our appearance in the work.

The membership of the Lodge in its earlier years was almost wholly local. Since the early thirties, we have been favored by the addition of many candidates from our neighboring town of Essex. Essex, which is bounded by Manchester, Ipswich and Gloucester, is in the concurrent jurisdiction of these three communities and to our satisfaction and profit, the trend in Essex has been for affiliation with Manchester Lodge, and we have profited by the addition of this fraternal fellowship with a fine group of loyal men from that town who have made a splendid contribution to this Lodge, both in membership, officers and Masters. Five of the Lodge's twenty Past Masters have been men from Essex.

Manchester Lodge has conferred the degrees on one hundred and fifty candidates, which has been a healthy record for a Lodge in a small community. During the depression years, however, this Lodge, in common with the experience of all Lodges, suffered a scarcity of candidates, but happily, a noticeable change is now evident by the increasing applications for Masonic degrees and the desire for fraternal fellowship. The Lodge has maintained an average membership of about one hundred twenty-five, the present membership being one hundred twenty-seven.

The success of a Lodge, as with any organization, depends in a large measure on the type of its leadership. Manchester Lodge has been fortunate in the selection of its leaders over the years. The Lodge has been presided over during its twenty-five years by twenty Masters, all of whom have made many contributions to its success. The first Master, George F. Cooke, was an ardent Mason. He came to Manchester from Salem — a member and Past Master of Essex Lodge of Salem. Through his activities in organizing this Lodge, he became its first Master and served during the years of 1921-22. He served as District Deputy Grand Master of the Ninth District in 1924—25, and continued his active interest in Masonry until his death February 4, 1929.

The second member of the organizing group, Worshipful Everett L. Edmands, served as the first Senior Warden. Wor. Brother Edmands, a long time resident of Manchester, having been in the ice business in the firm of Edmands & Crocker, was a true Mason and friend to all. He was a Past Master ot John Hancock Lodge of Methuen, Massachusetts. He did not care to assume the responsibilities of Master and declined election as the second Master, much to the regret of all. He served as District Deputy Grand Marshal to R. W. Brother Cooke in 1924-25, and upon his death, February 12, 1932, the Lodge lost not only a loyal supporter, but the town lost a substantial citizen.

The writer, who was the third member of the organizing committee, came to Manchester in 1916 and was a member of Orphan's Hope Lodge of Weymouth. It was a happy privilege to be closely associated with Worshipful Brother Cooke and Worshipful Brother Edmands and to have an active part in the preparation of the petition to the Grand Master for dispensation to organize and promote this Lodge. It was my honor to be the first Junior Warden and the second Master, which office I held in 1923-24. When retiring as Master in 1924, I was elected Secretary and have served in that office continuously since that time. It was my privilege and honor to have served as District Deputy Grand Master of the Ninth District in 1936-37.

The third Master, Allen S. Peabody, served in 1925-26. Worshipful Brother Peabody was a Charter Member, the first Senior Deacon of the Lodge, and an able officer, who excelled in the quality and delivery of the ritualistic work. Arthur E. Olson served as Master in 1927. Worshipful Brother Olson was a Charter Member and first Junior Deacon. He declined election for a second year, and since that time, one year terms as Master have prevailed. Worshipful Brother Olson became Treasurer of the Lodge in 1928 and served until his death, August 1, 1942. Raymond C. Allen served in 1928. He was a Charter Member and actively interested in the welfare of the Lodge. He served as District Deputy Grand Marshal to R. W. Brother Lees in 1936-37 and continued his loyal support of the Lodge until his death, June 20, 1941. Worshipful Brother Allen was an outstanding citizen of the town throughout his life. He served as Town Moderator for thirty-four years; Chairman of the School Committee for eighteen years; and his passing was a distinct loss to the community.

Frank C. Rand served as Master in 1929. Worshipful Brother Rand also was a Charter Member and the first Secretary of the Lodge, in which office he served for three years. He then accepted the office of Senior Deacon and continued through the line. Since retiring as Master, he has served continuously on the Board of Trustees.

Harry W. Purington served in 1930, and was the first Master to have received his degrees in Manchester Lodge.

Since 1930, the Lodge Masters have been Edmund J. Semons, 1931, George S. Sinnicks, 1932, George J. Norie, 1933, Ellsworth L. Brown, 1934, who became the first Master from among our Essex Brethren, Byron L. Roberts, 1935, William Cragg, a Charter Member, 1936, Roy E. Keller, 1937-38, Theodore S. Burnham, 1939, Harry B. Collins, 1940, L. Allan Andrews, 1941, Harry G. Cleveland, 1942, James W. Durnion, 1943-44, Frederick N. Bragdon, 1945, and our present presiding Master is Worshipful George A. Sinnicks, who is also a Past Master of Liberty Lodge. Each and all of these Past Masters have made their contribution to the Lodge. Worshipful Brothers George F. Cooke, Arthur E. Olson, Raymond C. Allen and George S. Sinnicks have passed to their reward and it can be truly said that each of them lived highly respected and died sincerely regretted.

Manchester Lodge can look back upon its first quarter century with satisfaction. It has maintained and upheld all Masonic tradition and punctually complied with all the rules and regulations of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. It has safeguarded its finances, yet provided liberally for all its obligations and necessities. As a matter of present record, its financial condition as of the annual meeting October 15, 1945, was as follows:

HISTORY AT HALL DEDICATION, MAY 1965

From Proceedings, Page 1965-257:

By Worshipful George C. Rice.

Shortly after the termination of World War I, it became apparent to a number of Masons in Manchester that the time was opportune for the creation and organization of a Masonic Lodge in the Town of Manchester. We had ended a great war that we were led to believe was "the war to end all wars". Lasting peace, security and happiness was to be our destiny. Masonry was at an all time peak in membership, activity and enthusiasm. In this year, 1921, Manchester Lodge, A. F. & A. M., was born into an era which has fulfilled its promise of growth and success.

Manchester was a town which was considered to be highly organized, having many fraternal orders and clubs, but it did not have a Masonic Lodge. The Town of Manchester was in the jurisdiction of Beverly and Gloucester, but due to transportation problems almost all desiring Masonic affiliation received their degrees in Liberty Lodge, Beverly.

A survey indicated that there were over fifty local Masons, which was a sufficient potential for a successful local Masonic Lodge. During the fall of 1920 George F. Cooke, Everett L. Edmands and Thomas A. Lees organized into a committee to prepare a petition which was circulated and the signatures obtained from forty-nine Masons and they then presented it to Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, requesting a dispensation for the Institution of a Lodge in Manchester. On December 20, 1920 a meeting of the signers of the petition was held in Odd Fellows Hall on the third floor of the Town Hall and it was announced that the Grand Master had approved the petition, and that the Dispensation would be presented on Monday evening, January 17, 1921 by District Deputy Grand Master, Harry E. Jackson. On that evening Right Worshipful Brother Jackson installed the following officers under dispensation: Wor. George F. Cooke, Master; Wor. Everett L. Edmands, Senior Warden; Bro. Thomas A. Lees, Junior Warden; Bro. Frederick J. Merrill, Treasurer; Bro. Frank C. Rand, Secretary; Bro. Rev. Herbert E. Levoy, Chaplain; Bro. Ernest H. Wilcox, Marshal; Bro. Allen S. Peabody, Senior Deacon; Bro. Fred R. Tibbetts, Junior Deacon; Bro. Frank A. Willis, Senior Steward; Bro. Alfred E. Parsons, Junior Steward; Bro. Harry T. Swett, Inside Sentinel; Bro. William W. Soulis, Tyler.

Twenty-one applications for the degrees as conferred by Manchester Lodge were read at this meeting, a most auspicious start and excellent evidence of the need and desire for a Lodge in Manchester.

The next event which is still remembered by a few living charter members was the occasion on December 19, 1921 of Manchester Lodge receiving its Charter from Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. A reception followed by a dinner at 6 o'clock with one hundred and seventy-five being seated. Following the dinner, the Constitution Ceremonies were held in Odd Fellows Hall and impressively conducted by the Grand Master, ably assisted by:

Music by Lotus Male Quartet of Boston.

There are but six of the original charter members, who recall this impressive ceremony, living and still enrolled in Manchester Lodge and with us today. There are only three of the initiates, who received their degrees in that first year, still living. The signers of the Charter (still living) are as follows: Leonardo W. Carter, Allan P. Dennis, Charles E. Dodge, Allen S. Peabody, Percival C. Veinot and Frank A. Willis. The initiates are: George R. Beaton, Harrison C. Cann and C. H. Sayre Merrill.

The membership of the Lodge in its earlier years was almost entirely from Manchester. Since the early thirties we have been favored by the addition of many candidates from our neighboring Town of Essex. Essex, which is bounded by Manchester, Ipswich, and Gloucester, is in the concurrent jurisdiction of each of these communities. Since the founding of Manchester Lodge the trend in Essex has been for affiliation with our Lodge and we have profited by the addition of fraternal fellowship with a fine group of loyal men, who have made a splendid contribution to the success of this Lodge in membership, officers and masters. Manchester Lodge has conferred the degrees on three hundred and thirty-three candidates in the span of forty-four years and has accepted forty-four members by affiliation. Except during the depression years, and during the years of the Second World War, Manchester Lodge has enjoyed a healthy growth year after year. When Manchester Lodge celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1946 the membership was one hundred and twenty-seven. Presently Manchester Lodge has two hundred and forty-six members.

The success of a Lodge, as with any organization, depends on the type of its leadership. Manchester Lodge has been fortunate in the selection of its leaders over the years. During its forty-four year history, Manchester Lodge has been presided over by forty-one Masters and all have made an appreciable contribution to its success. The first Master, Wor. George F. Cooke, was an ardent Mason, who came to Manchester from Salem, a member and Past Master of Essex Lodge in Salem. Through his activities and enthusiasm in organizing this Lodge, he became its first Master and served during the years of 1921-22. He also served as D.D.G.M. for the Gloucester Ninth Masonic District in 1924-25, and continued his active interest in Masonry and this Lodge until his death February 4, 1929.

The second member of the organizing group, Wor. Everett L. Edmands, served as the first Senior Warden of the Lodge. Wor. Bro. Edmands was a Past Master of John Hancock Lodge of Methuen, Massachusetts. He did not care to assume the responsibilities of Master and to the regret of all declined election as the second Master. He served as D. D. Grand Marshal to R. W. Brother Cooke in 1924-25 and upon his death February 12, 1932 Manchester Lodge lost a loyal supporter and the Town lost a substantial citizen.

The honor of being the second Master fell to Bro. Thomas A. Lees, who was the third member of the group who had an active part in preparing the initial petition for organization of Manchester Lodge. He served as the first Junior Warden and the second Master of the Lodge, which office he held in 1923-24. Upon retiring as Master he was immediately elected to the office of Secretary and faithfully served the Lodge in this office until his death February 7, 1949. He served the Gloucester Ninth Masonic District with honor and distinction as D. D. G. Master in 1936-37.

Our Senior living Past Master, Wor. Allen S. Peabody, served as our third Master in 1925-26. Wor. Bro. Peabody became noted throughout Massachusetts for the caliber of his Ritual Work. His delivery of the Master's Lecture, the 3rd section of the Third Degree, has been an inspiration to many candidates.

Arthur E. Olson served as Master in 1927. He was a charter member and first Junior Deacon. He declined election for a second year and since his time Masters have served in Manchester Lodge for only on« year. Wor. Bro. Olson was elected to the Office of Treasurer in 1928 and served in this office until his death August 1, 1942. Raymond C. Allen succeeded Wor. Bro. Olson as Master and served in 1928. He acted as D.D.G. Marshal for R.W. Thomas Lees in 1936-37. Wor. Bro. Allen was an outstanding citizen of the Town, serving in many civic capacities. He was Moderator of the Town for thirty-four years, Chairman of the School Committee eighteen years, and in private life a civil engineer, leaving his mark on much of the real property in the Town. Frank C. Rand served as Master in 1929. When Wor. Bro. Rand stepped out of the East upon the completion of his term of office, he assumed the duties of a member of the Board of Trustees until his death. He was also the first Secretary, serving for three years. Harry W. Purington served in 1930; he was the first Master to have received his degrees in this Lodge. Since 1930 the following Masters have served: Edmund J. Semons, 1931; George S. Sinnicks, 1932; George J. Norie, 1933; Ellsworth L. Brown, 1934; our first Master from the Town of Essex, Byron L. Roberts, 1935; William Cragg, a charter member, 1936; Roy E. Keller, 1937-38, who became Master upon the resignation of Walter H. Diamond in 1937; Theodore S. Burnham, 1939; Harry B. Collins, 1940; L. Allan Andrews, 1941; Harry G. Cleveland, 1942; Wor. Harry Cleveland had the pleasure, as Jr. Warden in 1940, of raising his son, Stilson G. Cleveland, who was later a Master of this Lodge. After Wor. Bro. Cleveland came James W. Durnion, 1943-44; Frederick N. Bragdon, 1945; and George A. Sinnicks, 1946. Wor. George A. Sinnicks had the honor of being Master when Manchester Lodge celebrated its Twenty-fifth Anniversary.

Wor. George A. Sinnicks served as D. D. G. Master in 1948-49. He was also a Past Master of Liberty Lodge and the son of one of our earlier Past Masters, Wor. George S. Sinnicks. Next in order of service was Whitefield F. Kimball, 1947, who also served as D.D.G. Marshal for R.W. George A. Sinnicks in 1948-49 and as Master of the 28th Lodge of Instruction in 1950; George G. Story, 1948; Albert W. James, 1949. Wor. Bro. James has served as Treasurer since 1954. Arthur L. Kehoe, Jr., 1950; G. Stilson Cleveland, 1951; Norman G. Crafts, 1952; Charles A. Fritz, Jr., 1953. Both Wor. Norman G. Crafts and Wor. Charles A. Fritz, Jr. are Past Masters of the 28th Lodge of Instruction. Wor. George H. James was Master in 1954; George C. Rice, 1955. Wor. Bro. Rice served as D.D.G. Secretary in 1956-57, as Junior Grand Steward in 1960 and as Secretary of Manchester Lodge since 1956. In 1956 he started lecturing on the Second Degree in the 28th Lodge of Instruction and has carried on since then. William H. Baxter became Master in 1956; George A. Burchstead, 1957; William J. Crane, 1958. Wor. Bro. Crane has been Degree Master for the Lodge since then and no Lodge picnic or clam bake could be complete without his planning and catering. William M. Toivainen was Master in 1959; Fred P. Nickless, Jr., 1960 and as Master of the Lodge of Instruction in 1963 and has served as Lecturer on the Second Degree in the Lodge of Instruction since 1960. John A. Truesdale was Master in 1961; Lloyd E. Wilson, 1962; Willard H. Dame, 1963. It was during Wor. Bro. Dame's term of leadership that our new Masonic Temple received its first real impetus. He appointed the original building committee and gave the necessary official encouragement. Under the leadership of our next Master in 1964, Wor. Thomas D. G. Howarth, the Temple became a reality.

Space does not permit a recording of all the accomplishments of each of our Past Masters; suffice it to say Manchester Lodge has been through the years a friendly Lodge, one where all visiting brethren have been made welcome and have enjoyed visiting. The Lodge is renowned for its tradition of high caliber ritual work and the sincerity with which the traditions of Masonry have been adhered to.

Since the end of the second World War, Manchester Lodge, A.F. & A.M., has grown tremendously, both with new initiates and what is tremendously important, with members moving to this community and thinking well enough of us to seek membership in this Lodge.

Manchester Lodge is firmly established in the Town of Manchester and its purpose has been justified in cementing the bonds of friendship and brotherhood among its members and its influence in the community. May its inspiration and influence for good last until time shall be no more.

No mention has been made as yet in this history, nor is there to be found an accounting in the Lodge records of why our Lodge was named "Manchester Lodge". In reading the records, both old and new, it is most interesting to study the personal records of the men who have been the leaders of this Lodge and who have contributed so much to our fraternity in Manchester. Without exception they have been men who have served their community, Churches and families as faithfully as they have served their Lodge. Pride for their Town, undoubtedly, moved our founders to adopt its name to designate this Lodge MANCHESTER LODGE, A. F. & A. M.

A glorious past may be examined with great pride, but only if it furnishes the inspiration for the future. The men of Manchester Lodge have picked up the challenge of the past and are carrying the traditions of our Lodge further ahead each year. On January 3, 1965, under the leadership of Wor. M. Peter Gibbon, Master of the Lodge, the Corner-Stone Laying ceremony was performed by Most Worshipful A. Neill Osgood, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. In a few more weeks the Grand Master will dedicate our new Temple. May our glorious fraternity flourish in our new Temple and with honor to Masonry and to our community.

Manchester Lodge's forty-four years is but a moment in the history of Freemasonry and may seem to be only a ripple on the river of our noble institution's life, but an active lodge, with this spirit, can not help but make an impression which will convince mankind of the goodness of our institution and enrich the history of our fraternity. In closing this history an accounting must be made of two incidents in the last few years which illustrate the spirit of Manchester Lodge and the leadership we have enjoyed over the years. Both of these outstanding events occurred during the term as Master of Wor. Charles A. Fritz, Jr. and within a period of one month. On May 4, 1953 at a Special Communication the members of this Lodge staged a Masonic Play, "Judge Not" in celebration of "Homecoming Night" at which time the twenty-five year or longer members were honored by the Lodge. This play, written by Carl Claudy, an eminent Mason, was directed by Doctor and Bro. Frank A. Willis, who also played one of the leading parts. The play was a tremendous success and received such acclaim that Wor. Bro. Fritz was invited to present the play in other Lodges. These invitations could not be accepted due to the busy schedules of the members of the cast.

On June 1st Wor. Charles A. Fritz, Jr. raised his father Charles Albert Fritz before the largest gathering of Brethren Manchester Lodge has ever had the pleasure of entertaining. Fifty-two lodges were represented by one hundred and twenty-two visitors and eighty-three members. To Wor. Charles A. Fritz, Jr., we now owe acclaim for the tremendous amount of work he has accomplished in the General Chairmanship of the Corner-Stone Laying Ceremony and the Dedication of our new Masonic Temple.

Mention has been made briefly of the appointment of a committee to study the possibility of a new meeting-place for Manchester Lodge. From the date of its Institution, Manchester Lodge met on the 3rd floor of the Manchester Town Hall in the Odd Fellows Quarters, until May of 1958, when they moved into Horticultural Hall in Manchester. They moved back to Odd Fellows Hall in May of 1962, when the owner decided to raze Horticultural Hall.

An article in the Annual Town Meeting, by vote of the Town, established a committee to study the building needs of Manchester and this committee recommended the razing of the present Town Hall. As a result of this committee report, although a new Town Office Building had not been voted into being, the Worshipful Master, Willard H. Dame, appointed the following committee in October 1962 to study the situation and make recommendations regarding Masonic Lodge Quarters: Bro. E. Ray Kelley, Chairman; Bro. Lester G. Strangman, Vice-Chairman; Wor. William M. Toivainen, Treasurer; Bro. Michael G. Nahatis, Clerk; Wor. L. Allan Andrews; R.W. Theodore S. Burnham; Bro. Hubert Adams; Bro. Senter H. Crane; Bro. Frederick Strenz, Architect.

In March 1963 a regular election was held and a duly organized corporation formed, known as "The Manchester Masonic Building Association, Inc." The above named committee with the addition of Wor. Ellsworth L. Brown were elected as directors of this Building Association; with Bro. Lester G. Strangman, President; Wor. William M. Toivainen, Treasurer; Bro. Michael G. Nahatis, Clerk; and Bro. Frederick Strenz, Architect.

Before it seemed possible, land was acquired, pledges for financial support were pouring in and the building became a reality. On January 3, 1965, the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, M. W. A. Neill Osgood, with his Grand Lodge Officers, performed the ancient, beautiful and dignified ceremony of Corner-Stone Laying with about 300 members and friends of Manchester Lodge in attendance. The trowel which he used for the spreading of the cement in the traditional ceremony was presented to Wor. Master M. Peter Gibbon, along with the Ceremonial Candles used. These will be cherished and suitably displayed in the Archives of Manchester Lodge.

On March IS, 1965, the Lodge held its 449th Regular Communication in our new Temple. The occasion was celebrated with a dinner at which many members and guests made this meeting a memorable one.

On May 22, 1965 at 8:00 p.m. the Manchester Masonic Temple will be dedicated by Most Worshipful A. Neill Osgood and the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. Prior to the Dedication Ceremony, the Most Worshipful Grand Master, his Officers and their ladies will be the guests of Manchester Lodge at a dinner held in the Manchester Memorial School. This is certain to be a most memorable occasion. The plans for this ceremony have been formulated and will be carried out under the direction of Wor. Charles A. Fritz, Jr. as General Chairman and his Committee of Past Masters.

50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, APRIL 1971

From Proceedings, Page 1971-217:

By Worshipful George C. Rice.

Capsuling fifty years of Masonic Lodge records into a few paragraphs results in a partial loss of the true picture of the character and spirit of that Lodge. This is especially true when the history of Manchester Lodge closely parallels the history of our beautiful town of Manchester. A study of the personal records of the men who have contributed so much to our fraternity in Manchester reveals that they also served their community, churches and families as faithfully as they have served their Lodge. This holds true as well for our members who live in the fair town of Essex. A survey of the rolls of elected and appointed officials of the towns of Essex and Manchester for the last fifty years reveals that our membership has had representation in all departments of the local governments.

Pride in their town undoubtedly moved our founding Brothers (all inhabitants of Manchester) to designate their Lodge as "MANCHESTER LODGE, A.F. & A.M."

Shortly after the termination of World War I, it became apparent to a number of Masons in Manchester that the time was opportune for the creation and organization of a Masonic Lodge in the town. Masonry was at an all-time peak in membership, activity and enthusiasm. In 1921 Manchester Lodge was born, in an era which has fulfilled its promise of growth and success. Manchester was a town which was considered highly organized, with many fraternal orders and clubs, but it did not have a Masonic Lodge. Manchester was in the Masonic jurisdiction of Beverly and Gloucester, but due to transportation problems, almost all desiring Masonic affiliation received their degrees in Liberty Lodge, Beverly.

A survey indicated that there were over fifty local Masons who constituted a sufficient potential for a successful local Masonic Lodge. During the fall of 1920, Brothers George F. Cooke, Everett L. Edmands and Thomas A. Lees organized into a committee to prepare a petition. The petition, carrying the signatures of forty-nine Masons, was then presented to Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, requesting a dispensation for the institution of a Lodge in Manchester. On December 20, 1920, a meeting of the signers of the petition was held in Odd fellows Hall on the third floor of the Town Hall. It was announced that the Grand Master had approved the petition and that the dispensation would be presented on Monday evening, January 17, 1921, by District Deputy Grand Master, Harry E. Jackson. On that evening, Rt. Wor. Bro. Jackson installed the following officers under dispensation: Wor. George F. Cooke, Master; Wor. Everett L. Edmands, Senior Warden; Thomas A. Lees, Junior Warden; Frederick J. Merrill, Treasurer; Frank C. Rand, Secretary; Rev. Herbert E. Levoy, Chaplain; Ernest H. Wilcox, Marshal; Allen S. Peabody, Senior Deacon; Fred R. Tibbetts, Junior Deacon; Frank A. Willis, Senior Steward; Alfred E. Parsons, Junior Steward; Harry T. Swett, Inside Sentinel; William W. Soulis, Tyler.

Twenty-one applications for the degrees as conferred by Manchester Lodge were read at this meeting; a most auspicious beginning and excellent evidence of the need and desire for a Lodge in Manchester.

The next event, which is well remembered by the three living signers of the Charter, was the occasion on December 19, 1921 of Manchester Lodge's receiving its Charter from Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. (1921 Mass. 457-460) A reception was held for the Grand Master and his suite at Horticultural Hall at 5:30. Dinner was served to one hundred and seventy-five at 6:00 o'clock. Following dinner, the Constitution Ceremonies were held in Odd Fellows Hall and impressively conducted by the Grand Master, ably assisted by:

Music was by the Lotus Male Quartet of Boston.

Only three of the charter members who recall this impressive ceremony are still living and enrolled in Manchester Lodge. Only two of the initiates who received their degrees that first year and one who was initiated prior to the closing of the Charter in March, 1922, are living today. The signers of the Charter still living are Senior Past Master, Allen S. Peabody, Bro. Percival C. Veinot and Bro. Frank A. Willis. These three Brothers are recipients of the Fifty-year Veteran's Medal. The 1921 initiates are: Bros. C. H. Sayre Merrill and Stephen C. Hoare. Both of these Brothers will receive their Fifty-year Medals from Most Worshipful Herbert H. Jaynes, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, on the occasion of the Jubilee Celebration on April 24, 1971. The 1922 initiate is Bro. Harrison C. Cann.

The membership of the Lodge in its earlier years was almost exclusively from Manchester. Since the early thirties the Lodge has been favored by the addition of many candidates from the neighboring town of Essex. Essex, which is bounded by Manchester, Ipswich and Gloucester, is in the concurrent jurisdiction of each of these communities. Since the founding of Manchester Lodge the trend in Essex has been for affiliation with Manchester Lodge.

Manchester Lodge has conferred the degrees on three hundred and sixty-six candidates in the span of fifty years and has accepted forty-six members by affiliation. Except during the depression years and during the years of the Second World War, Manchester Lodge has enjoyed a healthy growth year after year. When the Twenty-Fifty Anniversary was celebrated in 1946, the membership was one hundred and twenty-seven. As of January 1, 1971, there were two hundred and forty-six members. The success of a Lodge depends on its leadership. Manchester Lodge has been fortunate in the selection of its leaders over the years. During its fifty-year history, Manchester Lodge has been presided over by forty-seven Masters, and all have made an appreciable contribution to its success. The first Master, Wor. George F. Cooke, was an ardent Mason, a member and Past Master of Essex Lodge in Salem, who came to Manchester from Salem. Through his activities and enthusiasm in organizing the Lodge, he became its first Master and served during the years 1921 and 1922. He also served as District Deputy Grand Master for the Gloucester Ninth Masonic District in 1924 and 1925 and continued his active interest in Masonry and the Lodge until his death on February 4, 1929.

The second member of the organizing group, Wor. Everett L. Edmands, served as the first Senior Warden of the Lodge, but to the regret of all, declined election as the second Master. Wor. Bro. Edmands was a Past Master of John Hancock Lodge in Methuen, Massachusetts. He served as District Deputy Grand Marshal to Rt. Wor. Bro. Cooke in 1924 and 1925. Upon his death, February 12, 1932, Manchester Lodge lost a loyal supporter and the town lost a substantial citizen.

Bro. Thomas A. Lees, the third member of the group who had an active part in preparing the initial petition for organizing the Lodge, became the second Master. He served as the first Junior Warden. Upon retiring as Master in 1924, he was immediately elected to the office of Secretary and faithfully served the Lodge in this capacity until his death, February 7, 1949. He served the Gloucester Ninth Masonic District with honor and distinction as District Deputy Grand Master in 1936 and 1937.

The senior living Past Master, Wor. Allen S. Peabody, served as the third Master in 1925 and 1926. Wor. Bro. Peabody became noted in Massachusetts Masonic circles for the caliber of his ritual work, especially his delivery of the Master's Lecture, the third section of the third degree.

Lists of other members who served as Masters of Manchester Lodge, together with dates and other factual information, may be found elsewhere in this publication. The following is information about some not otherwise printed herein.

Wor. Arthur E. Olson was the first Master to decline election to a second term and since his time, Masters of Manchester Lodge have served only one year. He served as Treasurer from 1928 until his death on August 1, 1942. Wor. Raymond C. Allen acted as District Deputy Grand Marshal to Rt. Wor. Thomas A. Lees in 1936 and 1937. An outstanding citizen of Manchester, he was Moderator for thirty-four years and Chairman of the School Committee for eighteen years. In private life a civil engineer, he left his mark on much of the real property in town. Wor. Frank C. Rand was the first Secretary of the Lodge, serving for three years, and from the end of his term as Master until his death, he was a member of the Board of Trustees. Wor. Harry W. Purington was the first Master to have been raised in Manchester Lodge. Wor. Ellsworth L. Brown was the first Essex resident to become Master. Wor. Harry B. Collins is remembered for his beautiful and stirring charge to the candidates on the third degree. Wor. Harry G. Cleveland, while Junior Warden in 1940, raised his son, G. Stilson Cleveland, who later became Master, himself. Rt. Wor. George A. Sinnicks was a Past Master of Liberty Lodge, Beverly. Wor. Whitefield F. Kimball, Principal of Manchester High School for several years, served as District Deputy Grand Marshal to Rt. Wor. Bro. Sinnicks and was the first Master of Manchester Lodge to serve as Master of the 28th Lodge of Instruction.

Wor. Albert W. James, affectionately known as "Jess" by his many friends, served as Treasurer from 1954 till his death, November 3, 1968. Wor. Bro. James became Degree Master in 1950 and established a pattern of excellence in ritualistic work that continues to this day. Wor. Charles A. Fritz, Jr., had the pleasure of raising his father, Charles A. Fritz, Sr., before the largest gathering of Brethren Manchester Lodge has ever entertained. Wor. Bro. Fritz served as Senior Grand Steward in 1966 and as District Deputy Grand Secretary in 1968 and 1969. Wor. George C. Rice served as District Deputy Grand Secretary in 1956 and 1957, as Junior Grand Steward in 1960 and as Secretary of the Lodge from 1956 to 1970. He has also been a Second Degree Lecturer in the 28th Lodge of Instruction since 1956. Wor. William J. Crane has been Degree Master for the Lodge since 1959. No Lodge supper, picnic or clambake could be complete without Wor. Bro. Crane's superb and skillful direction. Wor. William M. Toivainen was District Deputy Grand Marshal to Rt. Wor. Theodore S. Burnham. Wor. Fred P. Nickless, Jr., has been a Second Degree Lecturer in the 28th Lodge of Instruction since 1958, and Wor. Thomas G. Howarth since 1960. Wor. M. Peter Gibbon was Master on the occasion of the cornerstone laying and dedication of the new Temple. Wor. Lester G. Strangmen was Master when, on September 15, 1969, Wor. John Kershaw, Past Acting Grand Director of Ceremonies (England), P. P. G. W. and Past Master of The Manchester Lodge, No. 2554, Manchester, England, visited Manchester Lodge, who presented him a plaque to be presented to his Lodge upon his return to England as a pledge of friendship and brotherly love. Wor. John A. Eaton for many years has been a quiet ambassador of brotherly love and affection to the sick and indigent in Manchester.

Manchester Lodge, through the years, has been a friendly Lodge where all visiting brethren have been made welcome and which they have enjoyed visiting. The Lodge is renowned for its tradition of high caliber ritual work and for the sincerity with which the traditions of Masonry have been adhered to.

To the presiding Master, Wor. Michael G. Nahatis, has fallen the honor of leadership during the Jubilee Year, celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Lodge. Wor. Bro. Nahatis sent the following letter to all members of the Lodge immediately following his installation.

"What Ahead for the Coming Year?"

For the past fifty years Masonry in Manchester has progressed to a position of great respect in our community. As your Worshipful Master, we will continue the progress started fifty years ago. We will seek a new determination to have every Mason a contributing part of its affairs. It is as we become "activated Masons" that we find a stimulated interest in others; that rewards are magnified for service and that we gain a new feeling for our institution.

"Brethren, because of your constant support in the past and because we know that your faithful and loyal participation in our work will be an important factor in the days ahead, we present our program for the coming year.

  • Dec. 21. Christmas Party — Ladies invited
  • Jan. 18. 1st Degree; Supper; Celebration of Institution date
  • Feb. 15. 2nd Degree; Supper
  • Feb. 20. Father & Son; Uncle & Nephew Banquet
  • Mar. 13. Table Lodge
  • Mar. 15. 3rd Degree; Supper
  • Apr. 19. 1st Degree; Supper
  • Apr. 24. 50th Anniversary Banquet with Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts as guest
  • May 8. Mother & Daughter; Aunt & Niece Banquet
  • May 17. 2nd Degree; Supper
  • June 21. 3rd Degree; Hellenic Supper
  • June 22. Bloodmobile, Masonic Temple
  • Sept. 18. Ladies Night, Surf Club


Fraternally, Michael G. Nahatis Worshipful Master

There may have been many Lodge activities that are worthy of note, but space will limit the accounting to only a few. In August every year we have a Masonic picnic at Tuck's Point on the outer harbor. Masons with their families come from miles around to enjoy Wor. William J. Crane's lobsters and steamed clams. Each summer as part of the Masonic Building Association Fund Raising program, the Lodge holds an auction with dinner following. This is attended, not only by Manchester citizens, but by many from surrounding communities. Manchester Lodge has been most active in the Masonic Blood Program for many years, receiving a Citation from Grand Lodge in 1970 for its fine record of blood donations. This program is directed by Wor. William J. Crane and Wor. George C. Rice, who have been Co-Chairman for many years. In 1970 Wor. Bro. Crane, Wor. John A. Eaton and Wor. George C. Rice received individual citations from the American Red Cross, each for donations of nine gallons.

On May 4, 1953, at a Special Communication, the members of the Lodge staged a Masonic play "Judge Not" in celebration of Home-coming Night at which time those members of the Lodge for twenty-five years or more were honored by the Lodge. The play, written by Carl Claudy, was directed by Bro. Dr. Frank A. Willis, a Charter Member, who also played one of the leading parts. The play received such acclaim that many invitations to present the play in other Lodges were received. The invitations could not be accepted because of the busy schedules of members of the cast.

The Lodge Christmas Bazaar is another annual event most popular with residents of the Town. This has been Wor. John A. Truesdale's responsibility. With the help of many of the Brethren this project has been most beneficial to the Building Program.

HISTORY OF THE MANCHESTER MASONIC BUILDING ASSOCIATION, INC.

By Worshipful L. Allan Andrews

The Manchester Masonic Building Association, Incorporated, was founded in a time of crisis.

Members of Manchester Lodge in 1962 learned that the Town was considering razing the Town Hall building and that the Lodge would have to vacate it quarters on the third floor. Because no other building with quarters suited to the needs of the Lodge was available, Worshipful Master Willard H. Dame in November appointed a building committee to study the problem and to make recommendations for acquiring other quarters for the Lodge.

In March, 1963, as a result of the findings of the Building Committee, the Lodge voted to form and organize a corporation, to be known as the Manchester Masonic Building Association, Inc., to erect a building for quarters and accommodations for the Lodge.

The members of the Building Committee appointed by Worshipful Master, Brother Dame, were elected to serve as a Board of Directors for the Corporation and organized as follows: E. Ray Kelley, President; Lester G. Strangman, Vice President; William M. Toivainen, Treasurer; Michael G. Nahatis, Clerk; Theodore S. Burnham, L. Allan Andrews, Hubert Adams, Senter H. Crane and Frederick Strenz, members. Willard H. Dame, Worshipful Master; Thomas G. Howarth, Senior Warden; and M. Peter Gibbon, Junior Warden, were members ex officiis.

The Directors initiated a fund-raising drive and considered several sites upon which a Temple could be located and erected. Frederick Strenz furnished his services as a professional engineer and architect to design and draw up plans for the building. In the next few months, progress was made. Although the fund-raising drive did not fully meet the financial requirements, the Board of Directors authorized and obtained a construction loan of $45,000 from the Cape Ann Bank and Trust Company. In June, 1963, a site of land off Church Street was purchased from Perry L. Allen.

The design and plans for the Temple as prepared by Brother Strenz were accepted. In October, 1964, a contract was entered into with the Gourdeau Construction Company of Beverly, Massachusetts, to construct the building.

On January 3, 1965, the cornerstone was laid. The first meeting of the Lodge was held in the new Temple on March 15, 1965, on the occasion of the 449th Regular Communication of the Lodge. On May 22, 1965, the Temple was dedicated. Most Worshipful A. Neill Osgood, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and his Grand Lodge Officers, officiated on the occasions of the cornerstone laying and the dedication ceremony. When these ceremonies had been completed, Manchester Lodge finally had its own building, known as the Manchester Masonic Temple, dedicated to Masonic use.

The outward appearance of the Temple with its beautifully landscaped grounds, ample parking and easy access is most attractive. The Lodge quarters, banquet hall, kitchen facilities and other accommodations, together with the furnishings and equipment, are in keeping with what a well-furnished Lodge should have.

Quarters in the Temple have been made available to Magnolia Lodge #149, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Liberty Rebekah Lodge #78; and the Manchester Horticultural Society and use of the facilities is also granted to other worthy organizations, such as the Scouts on suitable occasions.

Improvements to and the purchase of equipment to maintain the building and purchase cf additional land to enlarge the property lines for the protection of the present holdings have been made.

The holdings of the Manchester Masonic Building Association, Inc., presently represent an investment of $96,744.44 having an equity of $77,244.44 and liabilities of $19,500.00.

This undertaking represents the combined efforts of the Board of Directors of the Building Association, the officers and members of Manchester Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and friends of Masonry.

It is impossible to recount and record individual deeds and tasks performed by those who served and assisted in this undertaking. However, recognition is due the group of men who have served on the Board of Directors of the Building Association over the years and have given of their time, talents and energies toward this undertaking. They include Hubert Adams, L. Allan Andrews, Theodore S. Burnham, Senter H. Crane, William J. Crane, E. Ray Kelley, Michael G. Nahatis, Donald J. W. Rogers, Lester G. Strangman, Frederick Strenz, William M. Toivainen, John A. Truesdale and Eric H. Wetterlow.

The Presidents of the Building Association have been E. Ray Kelley from March, 1963 to October, 1964; Lester G. Strangman from October, 1964 to October 1965; Frederick Strenz from October, 1965 to October, 1966; L. Allan Andrews from October, 1966 to October, 1968; John A. Truesdale from October, 1968 to October, 1970; and Ellsworth L. Brown from October, 1970 to the present.

Two men have served as Treasurer of the Building Association: William M. Toivainen from March, 1963 to July, 1965; and Senter H. Crane from July, 1965 to the present.

Michael G. Nahatis has served as Clerk of the Association since its inception.

The present Board of Directors are: Ellsworth L. Brown, President; William J. Crane, Vice President; Senter H. Crane, Treasurer; Michael G. Nahatis, Clerk; and L. Allan Andrews, Donald J. W. Rogers, Lester G. Strangman, John A. Truesdale and Eric H. Wetterlow, members.

75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, JUNE 1996

From Proceedings, Page 1996-171:

THE BEGINNINGS

Manchester Lodge is one of the youngest in the North Shore area, at least that area north of Lynn, including Salem, Danvers, Peabody, Beverly and Cape Ann. Budleigh and Manchester were both initiated in 1920, New Meadows in 1958 and the North Shore Daylight in 1992. The Tyrian in Gloucester, founded in 1770, is the oldest. Amity in Danvers, Starr King in Salem, John T. Heard in Ipswich and Acacia in Gloucester were all started during or immediately following the Civil War. So when Manchester Lodge was established, a strong Masonic presence had long been felt in the area.

Manchester Lodge arose from the desire of local Masons for their own lodge. Up to 1920, they were in the jurisdiction either of Beverly or of Gloucester. Most joined Liberty Lodge in Beverly. With fifty Masons already living in town, the nucleus needed for a local lodge was present. George F. Cooke, Everett L. Edmands and Thomas A. Lees, serving as a committee in the fall of 1920 drew up a petition and presented it to Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. He approved the petition, and on January 17, 1921, District Deputy Grand Master Harry E. Jackson installed the officers with Wor. George F. Cooke as Master, Wor. Everett L. Edmands as Senior Warden and Bro. Thomas A. Lees as Junior Warden. Interestingly, of the thirteen officers installed that night, only three, Cooke, Lees and Allen S. Peabody ever served as Master of the lodge.

Proof that the lodge was successfully launched is the fact that at that same meeting, twenty-one applications for degrees were received.

Grand Master Prince presented the Manchester Lodge Charter at a special event held on December 19, 1921, with 175 in attendance.

Essex, bounded by Ipswich, Gloucester and Manchester, has had its share of Masons but no lodge of its own. Gradually, Essex men have tended to become members of Manchester Lodge, perhaps in part because of the ease of traffic between the two towns. Essex brethren to this day form a pillar of strength for Manchester Lodge. Wor. Ellsworth L. Brown, Master in 1933-34, was the first Essex resident to serve in that position and remained a faithful member until his death a few years ago.

CURRENT LODGE ACTIVITIES

Three events are held annually to benefit Manchester Lodge. On the first Saturday in February, provided that there is no snowstorm of major proportions, the so-called Sno Bazaar is held. A fundraising effort by the redoubtable Manchester Masonic Building Committee, it is a combined white elephant sale, silent auction and refreshment service. On the first Saturday in May that same committee, which also caters the dinner at each lodge meeting, sponsors the May breakfast, really a community event, for four hours in the morning drawing in people, many on their way to work, for a hearty breakfast of juice, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash brown potatoes, muffins and coffee.

In the summer, the lodge holds a lobster (steak for those who prefer it) cookout at Tuck's Point that draws Masons and their guests from all over the North Shore.

While these are fund-raising events to support the lodge, there is one other of major interest to Grand Lodge, the blood program. At one time run by R. W. William J. Crane and Wor. George C. Rice, it was taken over by the late Wor. John A. Eaton and currently is continuing its successful efforts under the direction of Wor. Lewis E. Gates.

Last year, 1995, inspired by the town's very successful 350th anniversary celebration, the lodge for the first time ever entered a float in the 4th of July parade and in August sponsored a two-day Civil War Encampment with attendance estimated at 3000. Wor. Fred P. Nickless and Wor. Christopher Brown co-chaired the Encampment.

Through financial support from a foundation, Manchester Lodge annually since 1988 has been making grants totaling between $4000 and $5000 to worthy groups and activities. The first grant, made in 1988, was to the Council on Aging for a radio dispatch station with mobile unit for use with the C.O.A. van. Grants to schools in Essex and Manchester have provided field trips for students to the Museum of Our National Heritage. Grants have been made to the DeMolay Scholarship Fund, the D.A.R.E. program, Special Olympics and STATUS, a community organization in Manchester seeking ways to tackle problems associated with AIDS, alcohol, drugs, abuse, stress and suicide. Libraries in Essex, Manchester and Beverly Farms have been helped, as has the Manchester Community Center. Over the last nine years, this program has attracted much good will for and interest in Manchester Lodge, which is grateful for the beneficence and trust of the foundation.

LODGE LOCATIONS

Manchester Lodge in its earliest years held its meetings on the third floor of Town Hall. Many a story has been told of the foibles of that building, such as the danger of the third floor collapsing, should lodge members walk in lock step. Nevertheless, the room served its purpose until 1959, when the town decided to raze the building and erect a new one which would not have a meeting room for fraternal groups.

Temporary accommodations were found in Horticultural Hall on Summer Street, and there the lodge settled in without giving much attention to the future. But, in a year or so, word was received that the owner planned to raze it and replace it with an apartment complex. Manchester Lodge now had to solve a difficult problem and do it quickly.

In November, 1962, newly installed Worshipful Master Willard H. Dame appointed a committee to study the problem and to report back with recommendations for action. By March, 1963, the Manchester Masonic Building Association was formed and given the responsibility of buying land and erecting a lodge building. One of the members of the association, Bro. Frederick Strenz, a professional engineer and architect, took charge of the technical aspects of the construction.

These activities all went smoothly except for one incident. After the contractor had erected the framework of the structure, a storm with violent winds flattened all that had been built. Disaster! And on the very evening that Wor. M. Peter Gibbon was installed as Master! But the contractor had adequate insurance to cover the costs and the determination to finish the project despite this untoward event.

The building was dedicated on March 15, 1965, with Most Worshipful A. Neil Osgood, Grand Master, officiating. A photographic portrait of M. W. Osgood hangs in the anteroom in remembrance of his participation in this event. The mortgage was soon paid off. On October 6, 1972, Most Worshipful Donald W. Vose, Grand Master, conducted the mortgage burning ceremony. Wor. Bro. Dame in 1962 would never have guessed that the project he initiated would have reached fulfillment in ten years.

The Grand Master took this occasion to present the Joseph Warren Medal to Wor. William J. Crane, father of the current Master, Wor. Todd P. Crane, and the Grand Master's Meritorious Award to five Manchester Lodge members for their sterling service as members of the Manchester Masonic Building Committee: R.W. John A. Truesdale, Wor. Lester G. Strangman, Wor. Michael G. Nahatis and Brothers Senter Herman Crane and Eric H. Wetterlow. William Crane and S. Herman Crane were blood brothers as well as lodge brothers.

Since its creation, the building has undergone a number of changes and renovations, not the least of which was the installation of air conditioning. Masters of the 28th Lodge of Instruction in recent years have scheduled the usually hot, end-of-June, last meeting of the year in Manchester Lodge to take advantage of that convenience.

Currently the lodge building is home to the Odd Fellows, the Rebekahs and the Manchester Horticultural Society and is used on major occasions by worthy town organizations such as the Boy Scouts.

The Manchester Masonic Building Association has provided yeoman service to the lodge over the years. While it is usually unwise to single out one person from a group on which to lavish praise, it must be recorded that R. W. John A. Truesdale has not only been a member of that association almost from the beginning but remains a faithful, hard-working member. With nearly 30 years of service to the group, he also is a leader who provides historical perspective for all that has gone on in the building.

PEOPLE

One cannot speak of a lodge without at the same time speaking of those who have been, or are, members, especially Past Masters who constitute the core of lodge support. Manchester Lodge has had 71 Masters in the past 75 years. 42 of them are now deceased. This does not include the nine affiliated Past Masters. The first four Masters each served a two-year term. Since then, each has served only one year, with the exception of Wor. James M. Durnion, who served a two-year term during World War II. Nine Essex men, six from Beverly and one from Rockport, have served as Master. Eight served as District Deputy Grand Master. Seven served as Master of the 28th Lodge of Instruction.

Two Past Masters, Wor. Augustus G. Means and Wor. William P. Alboth, were elected Potentate of Aleppo Temple, although Wor. Bro. Alboth tragically died of cancer shortly after his installation. Four have held Grand Lodge offices: R. W. Charles A. Fritz, Jr., as Deputy Grand Master and also as Senior Grand Steward; Wor. Augustus G. Means as Senior Grand Deacon; Wor. George C. Rice as Junior Grand Steward; and R. W. William J. Crane as Grand Standard Bearer. Affiliated Past Master R. W. William C. Loring also served as Deputy Grand Master.

During the last 25 years, ten members have received the Veteran's Medal: Wor. Ellsworth L. Brown, Bro. Arnold A. Cann, Bro. William L. Emslie, Wor. Eric H. Ericson, Jr., Bro. David P. Foss, R. W. Charles A. Fritz, Jr., Bro. Warren E. Heath, Bro. Edwin C. Perkins, Wor. Byron P. Roberts and Bro. Lawrence S. Shanks.

Three Past Masters had sons who also served as Master: Harry G. Cleveland and son G. Stilson Cleveland; Everett P. Burnham and son Michael H. Burnham; and William J. Crane and son Todd P. Crane.

The current Lodge Secretary, Bro. Robert Morris, in 1990 was first elected to that office, the oldest member to hold that position. In 1946, when he was only 23 years old, Bro. Morris was elected Secretary of Oregon Military Lodge in Frankfurt, Germany, which probably made him, at the time, one of the youngest secretaries in lodges world-wide.

While these statistics indicate to some extent the devotion Manchester Lodge members have demonstrated to the fraternity, they do not indicate the intense dedication of many to their churches, their communities and their country. Many are veterans, some decorated, of military service. Many have held responsible town and church offices, often over many years. While this is true of all lodges, it is still noteworthy that Masons tend to be caring and participating members of society, generous of their time and resources, and recognized leaders in their communities and at their work sites.

Manchester Lodge in 75 years has come a long way. One can hope that the next 75 will be at least as fruitful.

Credit for much of the material presented in this history must go to Wor. George C. Rice and Wor. L. Allan Andrews. I have drawn heavily from Bro. Rice's history of the lodge written at the time of the lodge's celebration of its 50th anniversary and from Bro. Andrews' history of the Manchester Masonic Building Association written at the same time. I am also indebted to Bro. Robert Morris, Secretary, for providing the basic facts needed to cover the last 25 years of lodge history, and to R. W. John A. Truesdale for checking the history for the accuracy of details.

ASSETS

  • Jewels and Regalia, $1,200.00
  • Special Fund, 2,433.87
  • E. L. Edmands Fund, 1,260.89
  • Permanent Fund, 618.98
  • U. S. Bonds, 1,000.00
  • Charity Fund, 873.58
  • Relief Fund, 688.75
  • General Fund, 1,191.40
  • Total, $9,267.47

While Manchester Lodge came into being following the close of a great world war ending in 1918, in a new and supposed era of security for all mankind, the events of the past twenty-five years have proven that the millennium was not at hand. A 
period of apparent normalcy and prosperity followed during the twenties, which was on a precarious and false foundation, ending in a total economic collapse in 1929 throughout the world. The greatest economic depression in both the world and in this country followed, culminating in 1939 in a far greater world war then twenty-five years ago. We have just emerged as a victorious people from this second world catastrophe, within one generation, and we again look forward with the renewed hope of better world understanding.

Manchester Lodge is firmly established as an institution in the town of Manchester and its purpose has been justified in cementing the bonds of friendship and brotherhood among its members and we hope in its influence in the community. It should continue as an institution in Manchester until time shall be no more.


EVENTS

75TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, JUNE 1996

From TROWEL, Fall 1996, Page 21:

On June 15, 1996. Manchester Lodge of Manchester-by-the-Sea celebrated its 75th Anniversary. The Lodge was opened by Wor. Todd P. Crane, Wor. Master, and after the ladies and guests were seated M. W. Arthur E. Johnson, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts and a distinguished suite were escorted by a committee of Past Masters with Wor. Fred P. Nickiess, Jr., as Chairman.

The Grand Master, assisted by R. W. Gregory A. Hill, D. D. G. M. Gloucester 9th District, presented Bro. Robert Morris. Secretary of the Lodge, with his 50-Year Veterans Medal and Pin. Bro. Morris is a third generation member and was one of the youngest to be elected Secretary of Oregon Military Lodge in Frankfurt, Germany in 1946 at age 23. Bro. Stanley B. Colson was unable to be present to receive his Veteran's Medal, due to illness. All joined in wishing him a speedy recovery.

M. W. Bro. Johnson presented Bro. William L. Emslie with his 65-year pin. Bro. Emslie was 90 years old on June 17, 1996. He joined the Lodge in 1932 and was presented his 50-Year Medal by M. W. J. Philip Berquist on March 15, 1982. Wor. Bro. Crane assisted the Grand Master in the presentation.

In what was certainly the most unique event of the evening and in the history of the Lodge, M.W. Bro. Johnson presented R.W. John A. Truesdale, and Wor. Fred P. Nickiess, Jr. the prestigious Joseph Warren Distinguished Service Medal for their unswerving dedication to the principles of Masonry, the preservation of their Lodge, and their unselfish concern for their fellow beings. Their surprise was complete and they responded with heartfelt thanks. R. W. Bro. Truesdale paid a moving tribute to his wife for her many years of devoted support.

The ceremonies were concluded with the reading of the Lodge history by Wor. Fred P. Nickiess, Jr., and the Grand Master congratulating the Lodge for its significant achievements and wishes for another 75 years. He thanked R. W. William L. Saltonstall for his assistance on Grand Lodge committees and activities.

After the closing a delicious Steak and Lobster dinner was served in the banquet hall.

Manchester1_1996.jpg
First row: Wor. Peter C. Milner; Wor. Archibald Sommerville; M. W. Arthur E. Johnson, Grand Master; Wor. Todd P. Crane, Master; R. W. John A. Truesdale; Wor. Robert C. Sibley; and Wor. Edward R. Parsons.
Second row: R. W. Louis A. Harmon, Grand Marshal; and Wor. Christopher G. Brown.
Third row: Wor. Fred P. Nickiess, Jr.; R. W. William C. Loring; Wor. Lewis E. Gates: Wor. Michael G. Nahatis; Wor. Kenneth Watson; Wor. Peter J. Judd; and Wor. Michael H. Burnham.

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Wor. Todd P. Crane, Master; Bro. William L. Emslie; and M. W. Arthur E. Johnson, Grand Master.

GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1920: District 9 (Gloucester)

1927: District 9 (Gloucester)

2003: District 10


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges