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Location: Newtonville

Chartered By: David B. Richardson

Charter Date: 03/12/1984 1984-1

Precedence Date: 04/20/1920

Current Status: in Grand Lodge Vault; formed by the merger of Norumbega and Brookline Lodges, 03/12/1984; merged with Fraternity & Fuller Lodge to form Norumbega Fraternity Lodge,10/05/2001.


  • David A. Libby, 1984
  • Manuel A. Jasus, 1985, 1989
  • Robert M. Roche, 1990
  • Robert J. Adams, Jr., 1987 PDDGM
  • Robert W. Tennant, 1988
  • Walter Peterson, Jr., 1990, 1991
  • Anthony J. DeNicola, 1992, 2000
  • Walter H. Hunt, 1993, 1994
  • Earl A. F. Stockham, 1995
  • Preston L. Neff, 1996; N
  • Gordon N. Matheson, 1997
  • Mark S. Sylvia, 1998
  • David R. Hearn, 1999
  • Roy C. Larkin, 2001



  • 1996 (75th Anniversary)



1990 1997


  • 1996 (75th Anniversary History, 1996-110)


(A complete version of this history is on file in the Library.)

By Wor. Walter H. Hunt.


Constituted U. D. May 3, 1920
Chartered May 2, 1921 Merged with Brookline Lodge, March 12, 1984

SAGA OF THE TOWER: 1920-1945

In 1920, with the world war behind, the Masons who met in the quarter-century-old Newton Masonic building were feeling the press of a large number of applicants for the symbolic Degrees. In that year, according to the returns from the particular Lodges in Massachusetts, 11,851 men were raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, and Freemasonry counted 92,418 men as members of the Fraternity-extraordinary numbers to us, looking back from the other end of the century. In the Fifth Masonic District, the twelve constituent Lodges counted more than five thousand members.

The demands on Lodges to confer Degrees was so great that Grand Lodge considered an amendment to the Grand Constitutions that would have limited Lodges in the number of candidates they might work, ranging from 35 (for a Lodge of 200 to 599 members) to 25 (for a Lodge of over 1,000, of which there were five in the state at that time). The committee offering this proposal suggested that the Fraternity's larger Lodges were afflicted by a case of "elephantiasis," and that fewer Lodges were needed. Ultimately, however, this legislation was set aside due to the large number of Lodges working under dispensation (seventeen, including Norumbega at the end of 1920), seeking a charter or "in contemplation," a more palatable alternative than simply limiting the number of good men who could receive the Light of Masonry.

Interest in membership was extremely high. According to Bro. (later Wor.) Alfred N. Miner, author of a little book on the founding of Norumbega Lodge, "the need of another Blue Lodge {in Newton} became more and more apparent. Many applications were before the Lodges in Newton, and apparently there was a great desire ... to seek admission." In response to this need, a prominent Past Master of Dalhousie Lodge of Newtonville, Wor. (later Rt. Wor.) Fred M. Blanchard, wrote to the Grand Master of Massachusetts and received an indication that the creation of a new Lodge would be favorably received. Accordingly, Brother Blanchard wrote the following letter to every living Past Master and current officer of Dalhousie and Fraternity, the two Newton Lodges:

My dear Brother:

The demand for a new Blue Lodge in Newton is more and more insistent. From the large number of applicants now before both Lodges, some of whom cannot receive their degrees for many months, and the apparent great desire of good men to receive admission throughout this jurisdiction, it would seem in the interest of Masonry, that such a Lodge should be established. If such a Lodge is established, it would also assist, materially, in sharing the expense of our quarters, and bring nearer the time we all look forward to, when the large obligations against our building may be materially reduced.

Having talked with many, but without the least authority on my part, except to state an open consideration of the matter, I am sending this letter to all Past Masters and Officers in both "Fraternity" and "Dalhousie" Lodges, and urge you to be present at Masonic Hall, Newtonville, Monday evening, March 15, 1920, at 8 P. M., to talk the matter over, and, if possible, come to such decision as may be best for our beloved Order.

Please come.
Yours fraternally,
Fred M. Blanchard

The meeting took place that Monday night in March in Prelates' Hall in Newtonville with 26 brothers present, including twelve Past Masters. Won Blanchard was clearly the leader of this group from the very start and during the first few gatherings of the new association, was elected Worshipful Master and Treasurer pro tern of the Lodge to be. On March 18, the membership chose the name Norumbega, as representative of all of the boroughs and villages of Newton, it being the name of a prominent landmark in the area Norumbega Tower, a depiction of which appears on the Lodge's seal to this day. The charter membership was limited to 100 applicants to be drawn primarily from the lists of the two Newton Lodges.

The Proceedings of the Grand Lodge record that many petitions for new Lodges were received in that year. At a Quarterly Communication, Most Wor. Arthur Prince commented as follows: "Forced by conditions as well as by a well-defined impression that smaller Lodges will more surely cement the ties of friendship, an unusually large number of Dispensations have been granted in response to requests by the Brethren." On the list of Dispensations below the Grand Master's comments appears the name of Norumbega Lodge; the Dispensation was granted to "Fred M. Blanchard and ninety-nine others" on April 20. On May 3,1920, Rt. Wor. James Young, Jr., District Deputy Grand Master, visited the new Lodge to present the Dispensation from Most Wor. Arthur D. Prince and to install the officers in their stations. The initial membership of the Lodge, about 70 Charter members, was present for this first meeting.

Of the original charter membership (faithfully recorded by Bro. Miner) there were 52 brothers from Dalhousie Lodge, 26 from Fraternity Lodge, and 22 from other Lodges, including several from other states. Eight of the first nine Masters of Norumbega Lodge were on this list. Ten months later, at the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge in March 1921, Norumbega Lodge was granted a Charter, which was presented at Constitution Ceremonies on May 2 of that year in Newtonville. "After the installation ceremony," Bro. Miner records, "the Grand Master gave a most interesting and instructive charge." Rt. Wor. Frederick Hamilton, Grand Secretary, called the address "wise, impressive, and inspiring." This auspicious meeting marks the beginning of Norumbega Lodge in Newton.

From the very beginning of Norumbega's history, the figure of Fred Blanchard is prominent. Not long after the chartering of the Lodge, Bro. Blanchard was appointed as the District Deputy Grand Master of the (then combined) Fifth Masonic District, and is thus the first man of either of our two constituent Lodges to be so honored. He had served as Master of Dalhousie Lodge in 1913 and was well-known and respected in Newton and throughout the District. In particular, he had a great interest in the retirement of the mortgage debt for the Newton Masonic Apartments; the addition of Norumbega Lodge as a tenant there allowed a further contribution to be made toward that effort. In 1924, under his guidance, the Lodge moved to pledge a payment of $1,000 to a fund to pay off the indebtedness of the building.

For more than 20 years, his opinions and his judgment were frequently sought by everyone from fellow sideliners to presiding Masters. He did not live to see Norumbega Lodge celebrate its 25th anniversary, but it is clear that his presence was still felt, as the brethren who attended that event in 1945 rose to observe a moment of silence in his memory. Even at the fiftieth anniversary in 1971, Wor. Herbert Downs, historian for the Lodge, acknowledged the enormous debt owed by Norumbega Lodge to Rt. Wor. Fred Milliken Blanchard.

Interest in the new Lodge was so great that the membership had doubled to over 200 by the end of the 1925 Masonic year. During the first few years, there was a special Communication nearly every month to work candidates; 28 were raised in the chartering year, 38 in 1922, and 25 in 1923 and 1926. By the end of the decade, total membership had reached nearly 300-extraordinary growth by any measure. Still, the records indicate a fair number of demits, many of them by Charter members for whom the additional dues payment and extra meeting night had proved a burden. In order to better accommodate those who remained, the Lodge even changed its meeting night from the first Monday to the second Monday, where it has remained to this day.

The young Lodge suffered other losses as well. Rev. Bro. Mcllyar Lichliter, Norumbega's first Chaplain and a renowned man of letters, moved out of state in 1924, depriving the Lodge of his counsel. Later in the same year, just a few weeks prior to the beginning of the Masonic year, Bro. Robert Douglas, the Lodge's first Treasurer and its Junior Warden-elect, died suddenly requiring a special election; the junior officers, led by Bro. Harold Morill (who would be the first non-Charter Member to serve as Master) advanced a station to fill the gap. Other early officeholders, such as Bro. Elwyn Snyder, Norumbega's first Tyler, and Bro. Kenneth Usher, the Organist, were removed from the Lodge by death or illness. In each case, new Brothers came forward to fill the vacancies, allowing the work to proceed.

Norumbega was truly a community Lodge from the first. Its members often traveled far and wide to bring home a piece of some foreign experience to share with their brethren. In 1927, a Brother visited the Holy Land and returned with a piece of stone from the quarries near Jerusalem, which he fashioned into a gavel for the Lodge's use. When the cornerstone of the George Washington Memorial was laid in the early 1920s, a piece was presented to Norumbega Lodge as a souvenir of that occasion. Bro. Gerhard Zedren, a Charter Member of the Lodge, traveled widely in the 1930s, particularly in Europe, and always returned with "lantern slides" to bring a portion of the distant place to the Newton Lodge room. Working tools made of wood, also from the Holy Land, were presented to the Lodge in the fall of 1937, bringing the brethren closer to the symbolic history of our Fraternity.

As an interesting departure, the Lodge decided in late 1923 to commemorate the mythical discovery of Norumbega Tower by Norsemen in the form of a pageant. This drama, intended to coincide with an annual memorial meeting for departed brethren, was a gala affair, featuring singing, recitation, and according to the preserved script, an orchestra. The pageant was written by Rev. Mcllyar H. Lichliter, Chaplain of Norumbega Lodge, and was first presented in the spring of 1924. Most Wor. Dudley H. Ferrell, who affiliated with the Lodge that year, Most Wor. Arthur D. Prince, his predecessor, and Rt. Wor. James Young, Jr., District Deputy Grand Master in the year that Norumbega was chartered, were all in attendance.

This melodrama linked the departed members of the Lodge to the tradition, long held in New England, that the New World had not been discovered by southern European explorers in the fifteenth century but rather by roving bands of Norsemen four to five hundred years earlier. Wor. Bro. Miner's informative book describes the researches of a certain intrepid Professor Eben Horsford, who was convinced that the legendary settlement of Norumbega, the "Lost City of New England," was located near modern-day Watertown. Accordingly, through the professor's efforts, a tower was erected on the Weston-Newton line in 1880 bearing an inscription attesting to that assertion.

In the presentation, a scale model of Norumbega Tower appears in the Lodge room, bearing the names of the departed, framed by the spring of Mimir and the world-tree Yggdrasil; Odin ("God of the Past"), Baldur ("God of the Present"), and an entire Viking guard participate, liberally mixing Wagnerian oration and references to the organization, petitioning, dispensation and finally chartering of Norumbega just a few years before. This pageant was repeated at least once a year, to the great applause and entertainment of the brethren. In October 1928, Bro. George Loud, the Lodge's Organist, contributed an original "Norumbega March" to the performance, playing it on the recently dedicated new organ in the Lodge hall.

The continued popularity of the 'Saga of the Tower,'in fact, its very existence demonstrates how much Norumbega Lodge was devoted to the evolving heritage of its Lodge. At the tenth and fifteenth birthdays of the Lodge in 1930 and 1935, each of which featured a performance of the pageant, Norumbega took pains to recognize and honor the men who had contributed to the Lodge's growth and especially its birth. In addition to Blanchard, the patriarch of Norumbega, the early Masters and important contributors, such as William Osborne, Walter McCammon, Gerald Zedren, and Christian Petersen were most esteemed by the brethren of the Lodge. In turn, the Charter Members who remained and the Past Masters were very active in the affairs of Norumbega. At Past Masters' Night in April 1937, the Lodge worked five candidates in the Sublime Degree and involved every Past Master of Norumbega Lodge but one Wor. John Knudsen, who had died two months earlier.

During the first quarter century of the Lodge's existence, no event had a greater effect on the conduct of its affairs than the Great Depression. As the third Lodge in Newton, a substantial number of its early members had come from Dalhousie and Fraternity Lodges and the economic catastrophe that had struck America had forced them to reexamine their participation in an additional Masonic body. Even among those men who had been raised in Norumbega, there were those for whom the burdens of Masonic membership were too great. Accordingly, in the 1930s, the Lodge raised fewer new members and witnessed a larger number of demits and suspensions. Between 1932 and 1943, the total membership decreased every year but one.

This was a difficult period for Norumbega Lodge and for the Fraternity at large. In his message in December 1933, Rev. and Wor. Raymond Lang, presiding Master, wrote "many of us may be apprehensive about the matter of having a Merry Christmas." Yet, in order to level the distinction between prosperity and poverty among members of the Lodge, he suggests that having a joyful holiday rested in the preservation and exemplification of the Masonic ideals of brotherhood and charity. Rt. Wor. Frederick Hamilton, the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, gave a speech in various Lodges during 1932 and 1933 on "Masonry in Its Most Trying Times."

In 1931, the members were urged by Wor. William Jones to pay their dues promptly "due to the low state of Lodge finances." Grand Masters Herbert Dean, Curtis Chipman, and Claude Allen all presided over a Fraternity that had been reduced in stature and importance because of the arduous social and economic situation, and the bicentenary of the birth of George Washington in 1932 and of Grand Lodge in 1933 were celebrated in a somewhat more somber mood than previous anniversaries.

Notwithstanding, Freemasonry and Norumbega Lodge still survived. While the Lodge's members dealt with the problems outside its tyled door, it also admitted candidates who would come to be identified with it in the years to come. During the thirties, Norumbega raised Philip Enholm, Master in 1940 and 33rd Degree honoree ten years later; Thomas Walters, later District Deputy and Deputy Grand Master; C. Evan Johnson, later Grand Tyler for many years; and Carl Peterson, also later District Deputy and Deputy Grand Master. The addition of these members and many others who took active roles in the Lodge for years to come demonstrates admirably that it is the quality and not the quantity of new Masons that define the success of the Craft.

It was not until the middle of the Second World War that the Lodge began to regain strength and numbers. It had become customary by this time to hold one or more "Senior Wardens' Nights," in which all officers would advance one station to exemplify the work; the Lodge could thus see the caliber of the line of officers to serve the following year. Despite the loss of members to death, demit, or service to the country, the Lodge continued to welcome new Masons and by late in the war had begun to grow once again.

Despite trying times, Norumbega Lodge continued to demonstrate the characteristics about which Wor. (later Rt. Wor.) Thomas Walters wrote in his Master's Message in October 1941:

Masonry is an adventure in friendship. Everything about it is pivoted around this thought. Happiness, contentment and satisfaction spring from the impulse to meet all men on the common level of friendship. Never lose sight of the privilege we enjoy- to meet in Unity - to have the blessing and comfort of Brotherly Love - to be able to administer Relief and practice Truth - all this, without fear.

By the end of World War Two, the membership of Norumbega Lodge had reached 270, nearly as many as had been members at its previous peak level in 1931. As 1945 ended, Thomas Walters was appointed District Deputy Grand Master by Most Wor. Samuel Holmes Wragg to coincide with Norumbega's 25th anniversary. Despite the trials of war and depression, Norumbega had reached the quarter-century anniversary stronger than ever and was about to begin its period of greatest growth.


In May of 1945, with victory over the Axis powers imminent, Norumbega Lodge celebrated its 25th anniversary. Many of the men of the Lodge had been touched by the war; even the previous year's Master, Wor. Owen Murphy, Jr., had not been able to complete his term in the East due to the, as he put it, "greetings" he had received from Uncle Sam.

Wor. Carl C. Peterson was in the East to receive Most Wor. Samuel Holmes Wragg and his distinguished suite on the anniversary night; Wor. Alfred Miner, a charter member of Norumbega, presented a brief history and the brethren stood to honor the memory of Rt. Wor. Fred Blanchard, who had died less than a year earlier. Most Wor. Wragg had also experienced all of the highs and lows of the last 25 years; he had been in the East of his own Lodge in 1921 and had been in attendance when Norumbega Lodge was chartered.

1945 was neither a watershed nor a turning-point for Norumbega. Its survival through lean times had made it stronger, and the renewed interest in the Craft late in wartime had brought it eight new Masons in 1942 and 1943, and sixteen more in 1944. 1945 simply continued the trend; fifteen men were raised in that year, fifteen more in 1946 and 20 or more in each year from 1947 to 1954. Freemasonry in Massachusetts was growing significantly in popularity, but Norumbega Lodge's growth was phenomenal. In the space often years the membership roster grew by nearly 75 percent.

A Lodge is more than a membership list, of course; it is most closely identified by the caliber of the work, and the people who perform it. Recently raised men demonstrated exceptional skill as they moved through the line of officers; the successful expansion of membership is testament to the capability of such men as Carl Peterson, Raymond Church, Walter Howe, C. Evan Johnson, Olaf Halvorsen, and many others. Thomas Walters, who had served as Master during the war, and Carl Peterson were both appointed to serve as District Deputies during this period, and other members were active in Grand Lodge, York and Scottish Rites, and the Shrine.

In the spring of 1946, Most Wor. Joseph Earl Perry, past Grand Master of Masons, spoke at our Lodge of Instruction on "Masonry's Place in Today's World." Whatever Most Wor. Perry might have said to the assembly that night, it is clear that Masonry had a significant place for the dozens of men who knocked at Norumbega's door during the late forties and early fifties. By mid 1946, most of the men who had served in the military had returned to civilian life, finding a welcome environment in their growing Lodge; indeed, some of the extra candidate classes scheduled during the busy years after the war were completely filled with veterans anxious to gain further light in Masonry. These men found their fellow veterans welcome company.

Norumbega was frequently able to display an entire team of twelve Fellow Crafts for the Master Mason degree. With Raymond Church, Ben Louis, Donald Frail, Herbert Chapman, Walter Howe, C. Evan Johnson, Olaf Halvorsen, Edmund Sundin, and Ernst Seyfarth in the East, we can only imagine how busy Norumbega Lodge must have been every second Monday and, frequently, one extra night every month. Its membership swelled to more than 400, as large as it had ever been and nearly twice the count in the difficult years before the war.

In addition to the new candidates and the progress of the active line of officers, Norumbega's Past Masters were present and numerous. As Wor. Ben Louis wrote in 1947, the Past Masters of Norumbega had "borne the heat and burden of the noon day. . . {and had} contributed much to the past glory of Norumbega Lodge." Of course, this past glory was less than forty years, the blink of an eye by Masonic standards of time; yet the Past Masters' roster covered a considerable span, from the first decade of the Lodge, represented by men such as Walter McCammon, Gerald Zedren, and Luther Eastman, to the most recent occupants of the Oriental Chair, and many in between.

Interesting programs, excellent ritual, candidates aplenty, and strong Past Masters-these are all components for a successful Lodge, and Norumbega had all of them for a decade after the Second World War. Yet something was be-ginning to happen. The number of candidates raised each year had dropped by late in the 1950s, and in comparison to earlier in the decade, the Lodge was experiencing virtually no growth.

Norumbega was nearly 40 years old, and the Lodge membership had begun to age. Between 1955 and 1961, total numbers declined slightly, and the Lodge lost a number of prominent Past Masters. Rt. Wor. Walter McCammon, the third occupant of the East and Treasurer for two decades, died in 1958; Wor. George Owen in 1959; Wor. Alfred Miner, the Lodge's anniversary historian, in 1960; Wor. Luther Eastman, the long-time Proxy to Grand Lodge, in 1961. These men had all served in the first ten years of Norumbega's existence. But other losses were more surprising and nearly as difficult to bear. Norumbega lost Wor. Herbert Chapman in 1955, just a few years after his year as Master; Wor. Philip Enholm at a young age, just after he completed his term as Most Wise Master of Mount Olivet Chapter of Rose Croix; Lester Hilton and Carl Somers while they were still in the midst of their usefulness. The loss of eight active Past Masters in six years was a severe blow to the Lodge, as their participation had been critical to the success of the Lodge.

The Scythe of Time was unsparing across the membership, not restricting itself to the former occupants of the Chair. Even Norumbega's long-time organist, Bro. George Loud, who had "filled in" due to the illness of Bro. Kenneth Usher in 1925, had died by the fall of 1961 after a long illness; Bro. Burton Moore, who had tyled Norumbega's door since its Constitution in 1920, died a month later; and by the end of the year, the brethren of the Lodge had risen to honor the memory of Rev. Bro. Mcllyar H. Lichliter, the Lodge's first Chaplain and the author of the Tower saga so popular in the Lodge's early years. The Lodge keenly felt the loss of these and other individuals as well.

Gaps in the officer line are a fact of life in Masonry. The commitment to the many lodge nights, rehearsals,and other activities, along with the time required to be proficient, makes the duty of Masonic officer one to which many good and true men are simply unequal. In 1957 and 1958, Wor. Raymond Church, who had served in the East in 1946, was elected Junior Warden of Norumbega Lodge, filling in for brothers who were unwilling or unable to take that position. Bro. Paul Fuchs, Senior Steward in 1958, found himself in the East of his Lodge three years later. Similarly, Bro. Eliot Richardson, Senior Steward in 1956, was himself elected Master in 1959. Matters came to a head in 1962 and 1963, when Wor. Walter Howe, who had been in the East in 1950, and Wor. Olaf Halvorsen, Master in 1952, took the reins of leadership in back-to-back Masonic years.

Wor. Howe was 60 years old at his second installation; Wor. Halvorsen was nearly 50. Both brought a wealth of Masonic experience and dignity to the Oriental chair. During Wor. Howe's term, he constructed a new line of officers, including Norval Stewart, Robert Pollard, Ben Evans, George Smith, and David Donald. "We have a fine group of officers," he wrote in November 1961, "all working in new stations, some with their first experience in line." Under his guidance, Norumbega raised ten candidates, the most it had seen in recent years. It was a critical success and contributed to the viability of the Lodge for years to come.

Similarly, the work of Wor. Bro. Halvorsen was exemplary. Olaf Halvorsen was a friendly and personable man, though a strict and demanding taskmaster when the Lodge door was tyled. Many Senior Deacons had reached the flight of winding stairs in the Fellow Craft lecture only to find him on the sidelines, paying rapt attention to each word in the ritual. For many years he had been involved as a Trustee of Lodge funds, and he held Norumbega's welfare in high regard. Now, in the time of the Lodge's need, he had returned to the line, elected to each Warden's chair and finally again as Master.

Unlike the early 1950s, when Masonry was at a level of enormous popularity, the Lodge was facing a situation common to many Masonic bodies: a declining, aging membership, distractions from the outside, and a Masonic world that was changing. The cachet attached to the Fraternity had begun to disappear, and the social and economic upheavals happening across the country were affecting the perception of its members.

There had not been a new Lodge chartered in Massachusetts since 1959. Indeed, the number of Lodges had only grown by a dozen since Wor. Olaf's first term. (Only two more Lodges would be chartered at all during the entire decade, following which the number would begin to decline.) It was a far more difficult environment than it had been a dozen years earlier.

Still, Wor. Olaf Halvorsen imposed high standards on the officers he chose to serve the Lodge and held them to performance while the door was tyled. Those who remember serving with him praise his work in this regard, and every officer in the line that year went on to become Master of Norumbega Lodge, from Bro. Norval Stewart, his Senior Warden and successor, to Inside Sentinel Bro. Fred W. Fogg, who would sit in the East in 1969. As other Lodges in the same district struggled with the problems that beset them, Norumbega Lodge began to turn the corner in 1963 and never looked back.


"Three years ago, when Wor. Paul Fuchs was going into the East," Wor. Olaf Halvorsen wrote in his last Master's Message, "I was asked to step in as Junior Warden, with Wor. Walter Howe as Senior Warden. During these years, Paul, Walter, and myself, with the help of some of our members, have tried to bring Norumbega Lodge back to its former self. We have made progress in some fields, but in others we have a long way to go."

Wor. Halvorsen then went on to describe the good news and the bad news for the Lodge as he "retired to {his} Past Master's station again." Finances were in excellent shape, and the officer line was the first full one in years; yet there were no candidates for the upcoming year and the membership was dropping due to demits and deaths and Lodge attendance, while "encouraging," was not as good as might be hoped. "To all members," he wrote, "I would ask for your support. When you are asked to serve, do so willingly - offer your help to the Master now."

The members of Norumbega Lodge appear to have heeded Wor. Bro. Halvorsen's admonition. Whereas his leadership and that of his fellow Past Master Walter Howe, had been firm and according to principles that they had been taught in a more active time for the Fraternity, the newer occupants of the Chair brought enthusiasm and vitality back to the Lodge. In some measure, while the careful stewardship of Past Masters Howe and Halvorsen looked toward past and present, righting the ship of Norumbega Lodge from the storms outside its door, the new Masters - Stewart, Pollard, Evans, and their successors-looked toward the future, ushering in a sea change in the atmosphere and direction of the Lodge.

These new Masters were not all cut from the same mold, either. For example, Norval Stewart was the oldest man ever to be installed Master - he was 63 when he took the oath of office in the fall of 1964; by comparison, Bob Pollard, a professional in the emerging world of computer science, was not quite 32 when he took up the gavel. Contemporaries of the two men, who died within a year of each other, speak of Wor. Bro. Stewart's enthusiasm and devotion to the Lodge and mention with pride the outstanding memory and speaking voice of Wor. Bro. Pollard. Under their capable administration, Norumbega began to turn the corner toward success.

As the decade moved on, Norumbega began to add candidates once again, though total numbers continued to decline due to the advancing age of the membership. This trend was no less alarming then than it is now. Outside influences also played a part in the decline in interest in the Fraternity. From a purely numerical point of view, the work of the Lodge officers did little to stem the tide of decline as the decade continued.

Numbers can be somewhat deceiving, however. The cadre of Past Masters, so devastated late in the previous decade, had heeded the request of Wor. Bro. Halvorsen and taken an active part in the affairs of Norumbega Lodge. As the Lodge welcomed new brothers who would soon come to be closely identified with it - men such as Bro. (later Wor.) Robert Dustin, Bro. (later Rt. Wor.) Lowell Hammett, and Bro. (later Wor.) Stan Gibbs (who affiliated with the Lodge in 1963), it was able to compensate for the loss of older, less active members, such as Wor. and Rev. Raymond Lang, Wor. Harold Morill, and Wor. Edwin Morse, all of whom died during the middle part of the decade. Still, the departure of men such as Ben Louis (died in 1968 in his sixties), Allan Acomb (died after a long illness in 1966 at age 57), and one of Norumbega's most celebrated members, Carl C. Peterson (at age 68 in 1969, after a severe heart attack a few years earlier) was a loss that any organization could ill afford. As the 50th anniversary of Norumbega approached, the Lodge's membership had again dipped toward 300. "Deaths and demits have far outnumbered new members," Wor. Fred Fogg wrote in his first Master's Message to the brethren in the fall of 1968. The "very real problem" of which he spoke was not going away.

In January 1969, Norumbega Lodge was privileged to receive the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Most Wor. Herbert H. Jaynes, at a reception for Rt. Wor. Thomas G. Walters, who had been named Deputy Grand Master for that year. Rt. Wor. Walters was a devoted laborer in the vineyards of Masonry and with this appointment reached the highest office ever achieved by a Past Master of Norumbega Lodge. Only Rt. Wor. Carl Peterson had ever been appointed to that office, nine years earlier. The event was shared with Garden City Lodge, an offshoot of Norumbega that Walters and Peterson had helped to found.

More than 200 filled the Lodge hall in Newton that Wednesday night in January to honor Bro. Walters, including a large Grand Lodge Suite with six Past Grand Masters. That night, Most Wor. Herbert Jaynes presented him with the highest honor achievable in Massachusetts Masonry: the Henry Price Medal.

Walters had made many friends in the Craft, and in many ways truly exemplified the ideals of Masonry - Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. No matter what appointment took him afield from his home Lodge, he had always remained faithful and loyal to it as a participant in its month-to-month affairs, as a respected Past Master and mentor to newer and younger members, and as a committeeman. As a Mason and a private citizen, he had contributed generously to the continuing education of many of his students from the Newton school system, and as a member of his Lodge, he had never refrained from upholding the standard of truth. By the time he had received the high honor of Deputy Grand Master, Thomas Guy Walters was the preeminent Past Master of Norumbega Lodge and one of the most prominent Masons in the jurisdiction.

Two years later, Norumbega Lodge celebrated its 50th anniversary. By the standards of the Masonic fraternity, the span of half a century is really not that great. Our jurisdiction boasts a history of more than 250 years. We have a long legacy of heroes, patriots, and "ornaments to the craft." Compared to the length of time that separates us from Henry Price, Paul Revere, or even Samuel Crocker Lawrence, 50 years seems a very small time. It is certainly fair to say that the connection that Norumbega's members had in 1971 with the beginnings and early history of their Lodge was a personal one. There were still a few Charter Members alive, including Norumbega's youngest installed Master, Gerald Zedren. There were also a considerable number who had known the early days of the Lodge and the first craftsmen who had laid its foundations. In that sense, the 50th anniversary was not so distanced from the past being honored that night in May.

But like all such anniversaries, the 50th anniversary of Norumbega Lodge was, by its very nature, as much looking forward as backward. There had been no new Lodge chartered in Massachusetts since 1966, and membership was continuing to decline across the state. Norumbega had 298 members at the end of 1971, despite an influx of newly made Masons. Members from the greatest period of expansion, during and after the Second World War, had brought enthusiasm and vigor to the Lodge, made their mark in Norumbega and elsewhere, aged, and in some cases those members had already retired, moved out of the state, or died. The future of the Lodge was now in the hands of the postwar generation, and the problems it faced-declining, aging membership, outside interests, and an essentially changing world - were the Masonic world they had always known. The nostalgic portrait of the first 50 years of Norumbega's history, while much respected and admired, stood in contrast to what the coming 50 years might hold.

More than 200 Masons filled the great Lodge room that Wednesday night in May, 1971, to honor the Grand Master, Norumbega Lodge, and those who had gone before them. Without doubt, there were even more formidable challenges yet to come.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Norumbega Lodge began to feel its age in two ways. First, as a Lodge more than 50 years old, it began to lose its last few Charter Members as well as many Past Masters from its periods of greatest growth. Second, its members could look to the sidelines, to the District and to the Grand Lodge, and see influential Norumbega Past Masters in positions of authority.

The most distinguished Past Master of Norumbega Lodge during this period was Rt. Wor. Lowell Underwood Hammett, who was appointed as District Deputy Grand Master by Most Wor. J. Philip Berquist in 1980. Most Wor. Bro. Berquist had long felt "at home" in Norumbega Lodge; his father had been a Charter Member, and he had visited it many times during his terms as Master and District Deputy, and as a distinguished visitor. His appointment of Bro. Hammett just two years after his term as Master indicated the high regard in which he was held in the Fifth District. Rt. Wor. Hammett received the jewel that had been worn by Rt. Wor. Thomas Guy Walters during his term as District Deputy a quarter century earlier; he had died in 1977 after a long illness.

Norumbega also claimed another distinguished Past Master in Rt. Wor. C. Evan Johnson, who had occupied the Oriental Chair in 1951 and had traveled with Rt. Wor. Carl Peterson as his Marshal in 1952 and 1953. From 1970 until 1983, Bro. Johnson had served as Grand Tyler of the Grand Lodge, giving Norumbega Lodge an ear and a voice in the governing body of Massachusetts Masonry. At Norumbega, Bro. Johnson was a regular fixture, a cheerful, hard-working member of the Craft who served his Lodge in any needed capacity for nearly 40 years.

The history of Norumbega Lodge during the 1970s and early 1980s most closely revolves around four extremely active members of the Fraternity, three of whom took the East of the Lodge during each of two years: Lowell Hammett, Robert Dustin, Christopher Kohler, and Elmer Reese. Their efforts, their diligence, and their leadership kept Norumbega vital and strong during a difficult period for Massachusetts Masonry, during which membership declined and many Lodges gave up charters or merged.

Rt. Wor. Lowell Hammett was raised in 1969 and was first appointed to the officer line the following year. Bro. Hammett served in each chair from Senior Steward to Master during a period in which Norumbega lacked some officers, and he occupied the East for two consecutive years in 1976 and 1977. In 1980, Most Wor. J. Philip Berquist appointed him as District Deputy Grand Master for the Brighton 5th Masonic District, and he has subsequently served as Grand Marshal and as Senior Grand Warden. He ranks among the most distinguished members of Norumbega and Brookline Lodge.

Wor. Robert Dustin was raised in 1966 and was first appointed to the officer line in the fall of 1968. In June 1973, he was elected Master of Norumbega, using his affable wit and great strength of character to lead his Lodge. After a year as Marshal, he served again as Senior Warden during Wor. Hammett's first year, succeeding again to the Oriental Chair after his second. During all of his 30 years in the Craft, Wor. Dustin has always been available as a worker, a mentor, and an advisor to younger officers. He has frequently consented to participate as a line officer since his terms as Master, most recently as Marshal for Wor. Walter Peterson, Jr., and as Senior Warden for Wor. Walter Hunt.

Wor. Christopher Kohler was raised in 1962 and served a year in each position in line, finally succeding to the East in 1972. Agreeably to the design of his fellow Past Masters, Wor. Kohler agreed to enter the officer line in 1978 as Senior Deacon and again served four years in the officer line, culminating in his election as Master in 1981. He, like his father Wor. Julius Kohler, is admired for his meticulous attention to ritualistic detail and his devotion to the craft and to Norumbega Lodge.

Wor. Elmer Reese was raised in 1966 and was first appointed to the line in the fall of 1969, serving five years as an officer before his election as Master in 1975. While he did not occupy the East a second time, he did serve as Senior Warden for Wor. Lowell Hammett in 1977, and his voice has been closely identified with the office of Chaplain since that time. Wor. Reese is a gentle, caring man who is much admired and loved by his brethren.

The engagement of these four men between 1973 and 1981 allowed Norumbega Lodge to accommodate the many changes and upheavals occurring within the Lodge and outside its door. It is, of course, unfair to credit the success of the Lodge to these individuals alone; Norumbega's active involvement with the Masonic Home and the other charitable pursuits of the Fraternity was a strong and common thread through the entire membership. In particular, Norumbega was an early leader in the creation of the Masonic blood program, at first organizing blood donation visits in Boston and ultimately establishing the regular donation events that are now well-known in our Fifth District. But just as the Master must be responsible for the acts of his Lodge, so should he also be credited with its success; and Norumbega Lodge owes a great deal to the men who governed it during the dozen years between the 50th anniversary and the approach to merger with Brookline Lodge in 1983.


Constituted U. D. November 15, 1920
Chartered November 14, 1921 Merged with Norumbega Lodge, March 12, 1984


As the Masonic year of 1919-20 was drawing to a close, it was apparent that the Masonic Fraternity was enjoying an enormous increase in popularity across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The new Grand Master, Most Wor. Arthur D. Prince, had granted an "unusually large number" of Dispensations to form new Lodges, since he possessed a "well-defined impression that smaller Lodges will more surely cement the ties of friendship." This trend was particularly evident in Brookline, where the single Lodge, Beth-Horon (just celebrating its 50th anniversary), was unable to process the large number of applications before it. The end of the world war and the general prosperity of the United States had made Masonry extremely attractive to many men. Beth-Horon membership had risen to 384 that year, including 38 men raised that year alone.

In June of 1920, with an extremely busy Masonic year behind them, a group of prominent Brookline Masons met at the apartments at 1 Harvard Street to consider the possibility of constituting a second Lodge for the town. This group included two past Grand Masters- Most Wor. Leon Abbott and Most Wor. Edwin B. Holmes and the junior past District Deputy for the Fifth Masonic District, Rt. Wor. Emery Gibbs. The roster of names, dutifully recorded by Wor. (later Rt. Wor.) Fred B. Richardson on the first few handwritten pages of Brookline's book of records, contains many names that would be closely associated with the early history of Brookline Lodge and the district including Bro. Richardson himself (whose diligent recording of the first fifteen years of the Lodge's meetings forms an invaluable record for the historian).

This group chose Wor. J. Everett Brown as its Worshipful Master pro tem and Richardson as its secretary, and the seventy men present elected to petition the Grand Lodge for the right to form a new Lodge to be called Brookline Lodge. By November of 1920, the petitioners had received dispensation from Most Wor. Prince to work Under Dispensation, one of five Lodges recorded as working U.D. during the first quarter of the 1920-21 Masonic year. On the 15th of November, 1920, Rt. Wor. James Young, Jr., the District Deputy Grand Master of the Fifth District, assumed the East to read the Grand Master's Dispensation. Wor. Brown, Past Master of Beth-horon Lodge, was installed as the first Master of Brookline Lodge.

Seventy-five men signed the original petition to form the new Lodge; among their number were both Past Grand Masters, two Past Deputy Grand Masters, and numerous other Masonic luminaries including all but the two oldest Past Masters of Beth-horon Lodge. Ten of the original 75 eventually became Worshipful Masters of Brookline Lodge.

Brookline Lodge held its first regular Communication on December 16, 1920, at which time it received five applications for the Degrees. Rt. Wor. Henry S. C. Cummings' remarks in his Lodge history Fifty Years of Masonry, "the Lodge started off with all bills paid." That evening concluded with a musical program and a speech by Capt. Byron C. Brown, USA, who related his experiences during "Six Months in Honduras."

The early meetings of Brookline Lodge, U. D., in 1921 show the workings of a growing, active Lodge: applications and committees, ballots, resolutions, and directions from the East. Wor. Fred Richardson, as Secretary, recorded it all, page after page. This glance within Brookline Lodge's tyled door that first year is so remote to us at the other end of the century; yet it is so familiar, since they did then much as we do now. From the Worshipful Master in the East to the Inside Sentinel at the other end of the room-both Charter Members - they were Masons as are we, but their Lodge was bright and new that spring and summer. Their work constituted the first foundations of Brookline Lodge.

At the last meeting of the Masonic year, the Lodge received an application from a 23-year-old Brookline resident, originally born in Portland, Maine: Henry Savage Chase Cummings, whose future contributions to the Lodge would ultimately distinguish him as one of the most eminent laborers in Brookline Lodge's vineyard.

"A special communication of Brookline Lodge, A. F. & A. M., U. D., was held this evening in the Masonic Apartments, #1 Harvard Street, at five o' clock ...; [for the purpose of] constitution of the Lodge by Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts." The details of what was seen and said are lost to us, but the evening must have been extraordinary: 69 members of Brookline Lodge and 106 visitors. Three Grand Masters were present - Arthur Prince, Edwin Holmes and Leon Abbott (who "addressed the brethren in his usual happy and entertaining manner") and two future Grand Masters: the current Deputy Grand Master, Claude Allen, and Samuel Wragg, then a presiding Master. Most Wor. Prince was also accompanied by twenty Past District Deputy Grand Masters. The Lodge did not close until half past ten, following Most Wor. Prince's words of "wisdom and encouragement."

During the first few years, Brookline Lodge grew by leaps and bounds, raising 76 men by the end of 1926. Massachusetts had grown to 318 Lodges; Masonry was more popular than ever. Much of the business of the Lodge, often meeting twice a month, was the initiating, passing, and raising of candidates. It is clear that Lodges all over the state were doing welleach meeting produced a number of requests for release of jurisdiction over Brookline residents seeking to petition elsewhere for entrance into the Fraternity. During this period, Wor. Richardson's leather-bound book also sets aside single pages, otherwise blank, with memorials to departed brethren, often bearing the legend "A Charter Member of Brookline Lodge Rt. Wor. Louis Southard, Bro. Ira Mowery, Bro. Edwin A. Robart, Wor. Frank Condon, Most Wor. Edwin B. Holmes, Bro. Frank Hatch, Wor. Charles Spencer, Bro. Frank Young". A moment of silence was recorded for each of these departed Brethren, in particular for Most Wor. Edwin Holmes, whose death in 1924 was particularly memorialized in the records of the Lodge. Brookline Lodge's first recorded Past Master's Night took place in June 1927. Brook-line's first Master, Won J. Everett Brown, reassumed the East, with the other six occupants of the Oriental chair also present in descending order of seniority. Rt. Won Rudolph Burrough, the District Deputy Grand Master of the Brighton Fifth District-the first to govern only one half of the District, now grown to fifteen Lodges-was present as well, offering "a few well-chosen words." A frequent entertainment at Brookline meetings, the Concorde Quartet, was also present this night, "furnishing musical selections, as always acceptably." Brookline Lodge customarily held its elections in December, at its annual meeting, changing administrations coincident with the Grand Lodge. At the end of 1928, Henry Savage Chase Cummings, one of the first candidates raised by the Lodge, was installed Worshipful Master. Cummings, only 31 at the time of his installation, immediately began a new tradition in January: a Flag Service, wherein the flags of the United States and the Commonwealth were escorted into the Lodge and the officers gathered around the Altar and sang one stanza of "America." Won Cummings's first meeting coincided with the first fraternal visitation of Rt. Won Fred Richardson as District Deputy Grand Master. In addition to the work that night, the Lodge celebrated "Charter Members' Night" by presenting each Charter Member with a facsimile copy of the Charter of the Lodge as a souvenir. For Won Cummings, it was a memorable evening.

By the spring of 1930 Brookline Lodge had more than 160 members, and there were more than 325 Lodges in the Massachusetts jurisdiction. Brookline Lodge had three other Lodges junior to it on the rolls of the Fifth District. That year, it was honored by the appointment of Won George Winsor, a Charter member of the Lodge, as Senior Grand Warden by Most. Wor. Herbert W. Dean, Grand Master of Masons. With Bro. Oscar Gallagher, the Lodge's Senior Warden, presiding in the East (with Won Eugene Tufts out of town!) on the night of March 6, 1930, Brookline Lodge celebrated this honor by hosting a reception that included Most Won Dean and his suite.

That evening was a memorable one for the young Lodge as well as for Bro. Gallagher, who would not be elected Master for another nine months. Regrettably, within two years of serving in the East, Won Gallagher would be cut down in the midst of his usefulness, dying in 1932 at age 58. The Secretary's record in that year included a memorial to Won Gallagher, who was recorded as "worthy of the name of Mason ...; genial, kindly, scholarly, beloved by a host of friends ...; whose sincere sorrow at his passing was a tribute to the esteem in which they held him."

Shortly before Ga lagher's death, Brookline Lodge also mourned the death of Most Wor. Leon M. Abbott, Past Grand Master and Charter Member. Rt. Wor. Richardson's record book contains the following inscription concerning Most. Wor. Abbott: "A man rare in personality, friendly, capable, loved by all and ever ready to stretch forth a helping hand to others. We shall miss him even though we have the happy memories of the past to guide us in our journey onward."

The Lodge records make little direct mention of the troubles happening outside the Lodge-room door. As the decade continued, Brookline Lodge continued to raise new Masons, though demits and the deaths of older members kept the total membership from increasing in size. The only concession to the problems in the world seemed to be the introduction of a relief fund in 1934. The Lodge's elections had by 1934 moved to September, giving the officers' line a year that more or less corresponded to the Masonic year, and in that season the records made the first mention of the Board of Masonic Relief represented by Wor. J. Everett Brown.

If the losses of Abbott and Gallagher were difficult blows for the still-young Lodge, there was another difficult loss yet to come. During the 1934-35 Masonic year, Rt. Wor. Fred Richardson was frequently absent from Lodge due to illness. Wor. Malcolm Morse, the presiding Master, usually appointed Wor. Brown to record the proceedings, which he accomplished with skill and assiduity.

Fred Richardson had been the witness and therefore chronicler of the birth and youth of the "second Lodge" in Brookline; he had been present for the constitution and chartering of Brookline Lodge; he had served as District Deputy Grand Master; he had survived Leon Abbott and Edwin Holmes, Brookline's two Grand Masters, and had witnessed the visit of Most Wor. Herbert Dean. In the fall of 1935, he was accorded Honorary Membership "in consideration of his long and faithful service as Secretary." He had chosen to resign in view of ill health; with his retirement, as well as that of Wor. Henry Varney as Treasurer, Brookline Lodge embarked on a new era of younger elected officers, with Laurence Jackson as Treasurer and Henry Cummings as Secretary. By June of 1936, Fred Richardson was dead at 66.


The Great Depression had an effect on all institutions in the United States including the Masonic Order in Massachusetts. In 1933, with Most Wor. Curtis Chipman in the East of Grand Lodge, the Craft in Massachusetts (and, by extension, in North America) celebrated its 200th anniversary in rather subdued fashion, with the Depression as a backdrop.

Brookline Lodge often took up matters of relief and remission of dues in these years, while the businessmen and professionals who met on the level in Brookline often discussed and heard presentations on the state of the economy. Nonetheless, the junior Lodge in Brookline continued to build the Temple as the 1930s progressed. New names appeared on the roster of officers and in the transactions of the Lodge, names of men who would ultimately occupy the East: Ernest Caverly, Laurence Jackson, Russell Hastings, Hubert Fortmiller, and Henry Harmon among them.

The Lodge began 1936 with its 150th Communication, at which there were a number of prominent guests and the celebration of a number of happy announcements for the Lodge and the District. Brookline Lodge was favored by the visit of a sizeable delegation from the National Sojourners, a Masonic organization for current and reserve servicemen. The President of that organization, Bro. Jesse B. Gay, was favored with a seat to the right of the Master, Wor. Morton Dunning, while the Lodge performed the Sublime Degree accompanied by original music written by Bro. Walter Hammett, himself recently raised by the Lodge. The Lodge notice announced a number of Grand Lodge appointments from the district, including Rt. Wor. Joseph Earl Perry as Deputy Grand Master (in two years, he would be Grand Master himself), and Wor. Henry S. C. Cummings as Junior Grand Steward. Despite the friendly and jovial atmosphere, the presentation of the guest speaker at dinner described the troubles in the Far East, where storm clouds of war were already visible. During 1936-37 and 1937-38, the Lodge dedicated each meeting to a Past Master of Brookline, beginning with Wor. J. Everett Brown. A photograph of each Past Master appeared in the Lodge notice, and each meeting featured a special theme a Sportsman's Banquet, a Yuletide Festival, a night on Fellow-craft Symbolism ... the writings and thoughts of Henry Cummings appeared on each notice as well, praising the pictured Past Master, offering philosophy or encouragement to the brethren, or (as the notices of 1938-39 show) reaching out to "Masonic Neighbors" in the 5th District. His extensive Secretary's records and carefully preserved Lodge notices give a colorful insight into an active, engaged and highly regarded Lodge. Also, beginning in the fall of 1938, Wor. Bro. Cummings's records are decorated with black and white photographs of the Lodge and its members. These pictures capture Brookline Lodge as a living entity more than half a century ago, frozen moments of regular Brothers at leisure and in formal pose.

By the spring of 1939, it was clear that the threat of war in Europe and concern over the dictators in Italy, the Soviet Union, and particularly in Germany were much on the minds of the brethren of Brookline Lodge. Saville R. Davis, news analyst for the worldwide broadcasting foundation of the Christian Science Monitor, made his second visit to Brookline as guest speaker, and his remarks provide a clear insight into the attitudes toward the international situation at the time. It was believed that the annexation of Czechoslovakia had caused great disillusionment with Hitler, who had up to that point been praised for his economic advances, and that this might prove a turning point in international relations. Germany's air power, Mr. Davis said, was significant for its psychological importance, but since it had not yet been tried in battle, the democracies "should be able to match it in time." The democracies, he said, "should expect further demands-and either should resist or surrender. In order to prevent anarchy, tragedy, and ruin, we should try to ... work toward peace, mercy and firmness, [and] stand against throwing ourselves to extremes and snap under the hatred of the times. Perhaps ... the dictators will fall of their own weight and the democracies will find themselves substantially united in a firm common stand."

Hindsight tells us that it was not to be, yet we must remember now that the world war was something with which many in the Lodge-room that March night were familiar. Their generation and their fathers' generation, had vowed that it would never happen again. Belief in the principles of the Masonic order made them look forward to resolution and a view of civilization that led steadily upward, like the flight of winding stairs. They could not conceive then what would sweep across Europe later that year, ultimately engulfing the entire world. Yet when it did, true Masonic attitudes came to the surface. In his message in September 1939, outgoing Master Wor. Russell Hastings wrote, "As we are about to enter upon another Masonic year, our thoughts are suddenly turned to those across the water who have just been plunged into the midst of another fearful conflict. At times such as these, the fundamental principles of Freemasonry seem to acquire new emphasis and even deeper meaning. May we find the comfort and inspiration which we most desire at our fraternal gatherings in the days to come."

At the end of 1939, Most Wor. Joseph Earl Perry appointed Wor. Laurence Jackson as District Deputy Grand Master for the Brighton Fifth Masonic District, the second Brookline Past Master to be so honored. In the January 1940 meeting, he was presented with the jewel that Rt. Wor. Fred Richardson had worn during his term, and Rt. Wor. Jackson expressed the hope that he might wear it "with as much honor and pleasure as when it was on the breast" of Bro. Richardson. Two months later, Rt. Wor. Jackson had the honor of presenting Wor. J. Everett Brown with the Lodge's first Joseph Warren Medal in token of his long and distinguished career.

The war in Europe continued to intrude upon Brookline Lodge during 1940 and 1941. Beginning with this period and continuing for many years to come, each gathering of the Lodge was accompanied by a speaker or other presentation, and the comments by, and about these entertainments give us insight into the extent to which the brethren were affected by the world's problems. For example, in February 1941, the Lodge's newest Master Mason, Karl Forsell (who would serve as Master in 1947) received a Charge from Rev. Bro. Samuel Lindsay of the Brookline Baptist Church, entitled "Candles in the Dark." There were four candles, he believed, that would continue to burn for all time: Democracy, Brotherhood, Religion, and Masonry. These four candles, Dr. Lindsay said, would continue to exhort men to a better life that they might never walk in darkness. As Rt. Wor. Laurence Jackson said later that night, "An idea cannot be killed with a gun." He was commenting on a number of Grand Lodges that had been eliminated and had had their property confiscated by dictators abroad. The candle of Freemasonry had been eliminated on the Continent except for Sweden, Greece, and parts of Switzerland. Bro. Walter Cunningham, European editor for the Christian Science Monitor, addressed the Lodge in April and exhorted them to believe that "we must never be afraid to take the initiative for the right." It was clear that some were already considering the role that America would play in the War.

Just a few weeks before, at Pearl Harbor, Brookline Lodge held a much more pleasant fraternal communication. The occasion was the final Official Visitation of Rt. Wor. Laurence Jackson, District Deputy Grand Master; more than 180 members of the Craft were present for the event, including 112 on Rt. Wor. Jackson's suite. Most Wor. Joseph Earl Perry, immediate Past Grand Master, was the guest speaker for the evening; Most Wor. Claude Allen and Rt. Wor. Arthur Coolidge (later Grand Master himself) were also present. Rt. Wor. Jackson brought the surprise of the evening by presenting Wor. Henry Cummings with a Joseph Warren Medal; though widely regarded as an outstanding speaker, Cummings found himself speechless on this occasion.

In March 1942, another very special night was hosted by Brookline Lodge, a Past District Deputy Grand Master's Night. Sixteen of the 23 living Past Deputies were present in Lodge that evening. Distinguished among this group were Rt. Wor. Laurence Jackson of Brookline; Most Wor. Melvin Johnson and Joseph Perry, who had served as Grand Masters of Masons; and Rt. Wor. James Young, Jr., who had delivered the Dispensation of the Grand Master for Brookline Lodge 21 years earlier. Each attendee was presented a memento listing all living Past Masters of the District, 366 in all, along with the names of all 23 living Past District Deputies.

Brookline Lodge during the war years was extremely active. While brothers were called away to service, the Lodge continued its Masonic work, not only raising new Masons who would sign its by-laws, but also a number of courtesy candidates whose journeys brought them to Massachusetts and whose Masonic progress passed through the West Gate at 1 Harvard Street, Brookline. The minutes of those wartime meetings faithfully record names and Lodges from across the country, usually of men taking their Fellowcraft or Master Mason degree who arrived as Brothers and departed as friends.

No new Lodges were constituted during the Second World War, but Masonry attracted a new generation of interested men. From 1942 to 1945, Brookline Lodge welcomed 40 new Masons as members, raising its total membership to over 200 for the first time in its history. In 1944, Brookline Lodge raised eighteen new members; its schedule was so busy that at the March meeting, there were eleven candidates present-four Fellowcrafts who did not participate in the work that night, three Entered Apprentices who witnessed the Fellowcraft degree, and four Fellowcrafts who were raised to the sublime Degree! One of the brothers raised that night, Bro. A. Carlton Warren, is still an active member of our Lodge today.

In the fall of 1945, with the Second World War over, Brookline Lodge celebrated its 25th anniversary. This first landmark in the history of a Lodge is a different sort of occasion than the anniversaries we celebrate today. Despite all of the events of the quarter century that constituted Brookline Lodge's history up to this point, it is not so long a time, a generation in which young men grow to middle age and middle-aged men reach their seniority. At the time of the anniversary, all but two Past Masters of Brookline Lodge - Henry Varney and Oscar Gallagher -were still alive, and sixteen of the 75 Charter Members were alive as well. Their recollections were of a period that was the immediate, rather than the distant past.

The night of November 1, 1945, Brookline Lodge was pleased and honored to welcome Most Wor. Samuel Holmes Wragg, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and his distinguished suite. Both Most Wor. Wragg, as well as his two acting Grand Wardens, Rt. Wor. George Winsor, a Charter Member of Brookline Lodge, and Rt. Wor. James Young, Jr., who had presented Brookline's dispensation in 1920, were well-known to the Brethren present; Wragg himself had been in attendance as a presiding Master when Brookline received its charter and had served recently as District Deputy Grand Master.

Most Wor. Wragg made gracious remarks complimenting Brookline, particularly for its service committee work in the District. The several Past Grand Masters present were also called upon for words of wisdom, and their comments were heavily burdened with thoughts about the war just concluded. The advent of the atom bomb, the recent strife in Europe and Asia, and the ways in which the universality of Freemasonry could be a force to reunite the shattered world were prominent in the speeches made by Most Wor. Joseph Perry, Most Wor. Albert Schaefer, and Most Wor. Arthur Coolidge.

In his history of Brookline Lodge presented that evening, Rt. Wor. Henry S. C. Cummings, recently named Senior Grand Deacon, wrote, "We cannot help but be reminded of the similarity of this moment to a quarter of a century ago, for the first World War had just been won ... We have again triumphed . . . and in a real sense enjoy much the same impulses that stirred then in the hearts of men, in their desire for a friendlier, more orderly, and righteous world. ... In the spirit of humility we turn over the pages of the past that we may start afresh on the new pages of opportunity that the tomorrows will bring to us... . We look forward to the day twenty-five years hence when we may again honor those who have worthily served."

As America turned again from war to peace, the Craft benefited from renewed interest. Each year from 1946 to 1959, Brookline Lodge raised ten or more candidates, causing membership to grow from 193 at war's end to a high of 287 at the end of the 1959 Masonic year. The Massachusetts Grand Jurisdiction added more than twenty new Lodges during the same period. Brookline Lodge was well enough off that, as the 1948-49 year began, the Lodge voted to create a "Reserve Fund" against, as Rt. Wor. Laurence Jackson put it, "the burdens of some future day when the ... Lodge might be less prosperous."

In order to grow at this pace, the Lodge often met two and even three times a month to handle degree work. For example, at the close of the 1948 year, Brookline Lodge met on Thursday, December 17 (opening Lodge at 4 P.M. to raise four candidates), on the following Monday to raise four others, and a week later to raise three others with the help of the Kilwinning Club, a Scottish degree team with four Brookline members, Wor. Mel Nicholson and Brothers Robert Burniston (later Master of Brookline) and Brothers Charles Cruickshank and John Carson. This was the first appearance of many for the Club at Brookline. In 1950, another Past Master of Brookline Lodge, Henry D. Harmon, was appointed by the Grand Master as District Deputy. He chose Wor. Henry Cummings as his Secretary and made his first visit to Brookline Lodge in January, accompanied by a suite of 53; 155 Brothers in all were in attendance that night. Rt. Wor. Harmon was reappointed by the new Grand Master, Most Wor. and Rev. Thomas Roy, during the following Masonic year. At the end of his term in 1951, he was awarded Honorary Membership in Brookline Lodge. Like "Larry" Jackson in the previous decade, Henry Harmon was the most prominent Brookline Lodge Mason during the fifties; after his term as Deputy, he became involved with Scottish Rite work, eventually serving as Thrice Potent Master of Boston Lafayette Lodge of Perfection, a position Jackson also held. He was elected to the 33rd Degree in 1962, nine years after Jackson received the same degree. Most prominent among the Worshipful Masters during the decade were John Mick and Robert Burniston. Wor. Bro. Mick originally received his degrees in Ohio and affiliated with the Lodge in 1942; during the 1949-50 Masonic year, he served as Master, raising ten new members and conducting an active program for the Lodge. During his time in the East and equally after he retired to the ranks of Past Masters, "Johnnie" was frequently mentioned in the records for his buoyant spirit, his superb ritual, and his friendly manner. Pictures always seem to show him smiling, and it is clear that he was much liked and respected by his Brookline brethren.

Wor. Bro. Bumiston was elected Master in June 1952, and his time in the East of Brookline Lodge had a distinct Scots flavor, beginning with his installation in September by the Kilwinning Club, of which he was a prominent member. During his administration, Brookline raised sixteen men, a total that the Lodge never again achieved. Burniston's delivery and style were highly regarded by the brethren, and he often delivered the charge to newly raised Masons after he became a Past Master.

During the 1950s Brookline Lodge reached its maturity. Membership was at its peak in this Lodge, in the Fifth District and in Massachusetts Masonry as well. Eighteen new Lodges were chartered during the administrations of Most Wor. Grand Masters Keith, Roy, Johnson, Jenkins, and Eaton. Each of these distinguished men, along with their predecessors Joseph Perry, Arthur Coolidge, and Samuel Wragg, appeared in Brookline Lodge as a guest speaker or for a testimonial dinner. Brookline was well represented in York Rite by John Mick (who served in the East of all three bodies), Elliott Holley (who would be elected Rt. Eminent Grand Commander of Knights Templars), and Henry Cummings (extremely active in the Royal Arch); and in Scottish Rite by Henry Harmon, Cummings (who had taken over as editor of the Scottish Rite Journal and would be elected to the 33rd Degree in 1959), and Laurence Jackson.

Most importantly, Brookline had an extremely active and devoted cadre of Past Masters. In addition to the recent occupants of the Oriental Chair, M ick, Holley, Umlah, Swanson, Burniston, Knowles, Custis, Burgess, and Martin -the Lodge was honored by regular appearances by its first Master J. Everett Brown, as well as Ernest Caverly, Morton Dunning, Winfield Nourse, Winfield Robart, and of course Harmon, Jackson, and Cummings. By 1959, the ranks of Past Masters had grown to twenty-six, though it no longer counted Rt. Wor. Jackson, who died in 1958. The fraternal feeling of the Lodge toward its members and particularly toward this group of Past Masters, is evident from the extensive records left us by the prolific Bro. Cummings.

Numerous degree teams were invited to participate in the work of the Lodge. In addition to the Kilwinning Club, groups from Stone & Webster, F.W. Woolworth, Hood Rubber, the Police Square Club, Raytheon, Brookline School Associates (with Wor. Ernest Caverly as Master and five other Brook- line members participating), and the Aleppo Shriners' Temple (who raised Red Sox pitcher Ike Delock on June 20, 1957) visited Brookline to present the Masonic Degrees.

In the spring of 1959, Brookline Lodge received news that would have a profound effect on the conduct of the Lodge: the requirement that it vacate the 1 Harvard Street apartments, along with all other bodies that met there,St. Paul's Royal Arch Chapter, Brookline Eastern Star, and particularly, Beth-horon Lodge, the organization that had given birth to Brookline Lodge nearly 40 years earlier. This came as something of a shock to the Lodge, which had met at 1 Harvard without interruption since its earliest gatherings and was made even more difficult by the nature of the Lodge itself: still young by Masonic standards, Brookline Lodge was clearly very community oriented, and few locations in Brookline presented themselves as logical alternatives for the Lodge to take up residence. As summer 1959 progressed, outgoing Master Arthur Martin and Master-elect Victor Woleyko directed and met with numerous committees charged with considering the problem.

It was the intention of the Lodge to work in harmony with Beth-horon to obtain a solution satisfactory to all Masonic groups. Lodge records make it clear that Brookline Lodge was in no position to underwrite alone the full cost of obtaining property and furnishing it appropriately, while any tenant situation would incur expense to the Lodge. The matter of new quarters was clearly much on the minds of the brethren during that Masonic year as it took up"temporary" residence in the Masonic building at 203 Chestnut Hill Avenue in Brighton, leaving Brookline behind. The members of the Lodge hoped that they might someday return to a site in Brookline, and began to actively accumulate money into a building fund. But this was never to be. The end of the Brookline apartments changed the direction of Brookline Lodge forever.


Forty years after the petitioners first met at 1 Harvard Street, Brookline Lodge began to move forward on the matter of settling its accommodations. It is clear that the members and Past Masters of the Lodge were much concerned with the situation, at least some of them, for the departure from a residence in Brookline had a severe effect on attendance and involvement. In the fall of 1961, the Grand Master granted a dispensation to move the regular meeting night to first Thursday, a necessary accommodation to fellow tenants at 203 Chestnut Hill Avenue (by-laws changed the meeting night officially in March 1966). Master's Messages were full of exhortations to members to attend, but the changes were clearly disturbing.

Still, Brookline continued to give a good accounting of itself as the Lodge became accustomed to its new surroundings. As old friends faded away, Everett Brown, admitted to the Masonic home, died in the autumn of 1962, Morton Dunning passed away in the spring of 1963, and Wesley Downer departed in the fall of the same year, new men stepped forward to take their places. Frederick Fortmiller, son of Wor. Hubert Fortmiller, took over the Treasurer's chair in 1963. Alexander MacMillan, John Corley, Henry Albo, and Thurston Ackerman served in the East in consecutive years and brought new vitality and new ideas to the Lodge. Also, in the spring of 1964, the Lodge received the application of Robert Collier Patey, younger brother of the Lodge's Junior Deacon, Edmund Patey. This would soon be a name known far beyond the confines of the Chestnut Hill Avenue apartments.

In 1965, Rt. Wor. Henry Cummings was elected as Senior Grand Warden, and Brookline Lodge held a reception in his honor. With Wor. Thurston Ackerman in the East, the Lodge entertained Most Wor. A. Neill Osgood, Grand Master of Masons, and a distinguished suite. It was the fourth time that a presiding Grand Master had come to Brookline Lodge: Arthur D. Prince had constituted the Lodge in 1921; Herbert W. Dean had attended a similar reception in 1930; and, most recently, Samuel H. Wragg had been present for the 25th anniversary of the Lodge in 1945. Other than the meeting of constitution, Cummings had been in the room for each one and he was a Fellowcraft at the time of the first meeting! He was now the most senior Past Master of Brookline Lodge, an invaluable link to its prestigious past. Secretary of the Lodge for 30 years, he had set new standards as a speaker, an observer, a recorder, and as a writer as well. The Lodge had not had a Sen ior Grand Warden since Rt. Wor. George Ryder Winsor, more than thirty years earlier, and was honored by Cummings's elevation to that post.

During the terms of Thurston Ackerman, Edward Parsons, and Edmund Patey, the matter of Brookline's permanent home continued to be a matter of prime concern. Their former co-tenants at I Harvard Street, Beth-horon and United Lodges, were also searching for a solution that might accommodate all three organizations, as well as the Eastern Star and Royal Arch chapters that had met there. However each possibility presented different, ultimately insurmountable difficulties. The property was too expensive or it was too unsuitable for Masonic meetings or the potential partners could not come to agreement. These intractable problems plagued the Lodge while it continued to reside on Chestnut Hill Avenue.

Membership in Brookline Lodge began to decline, first gradually and then sharply, as the sixties progressed. Each year, the Lodge raised new Masons and added affiliates, but the body of the Lodge was aging. Two thirds of the members were in their mid-forties or older, and a quarter of the men were 64 or older. The unsparing ravages of the scythe of time were taking their toll. Also, for the first time, the steady progress of officers from Inside Sentinel to Worshipful Master was being regularly interrupted when one or another man was unable to fulfill the duties of his station, requiring one more junior to step into the breach; Bro. Ed Patey was elected to serve as Junior Warden in October 1964, and Bro. Bob Patey stepped into the same role in 1967, less than three years after being raised. Bro. Ed became Wor. Ed in the fall of 1966 and was re-elected in June 1971 when another vacancy made a replacement necessary. That year, Bro. John Banner, a long-time member of the Lodge who had never served as an officer, was chosen from the sidelines to step in as Junior Warden. Through it all, the high standards of presentation and fellowship continued to be hallmarks of Brookline Lodge.

In the fall of 1969, Brookline prepared to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Wor. Robert C. Patey, already well liked and respected, had assumed the East of Brookline Lodge. At 26, he was the youngest man ever to hold that office. "The time is now," Wor. Patey wrote in the Lodge notice. "Masonry has provided the principles and ideals that many of us have built our lives upon."

The historian for the 50th anniversary of the Lodge, celebrated on May 7, 1970, was Rt. Wor. Henry Cummings. His remarks that evening harkened back to the 25th anniversary held in 1945. Speaking to Most Wor. Herbert H. Jaynes and a large gathering of extremely distinguished Masons, he related the way in which Brookline Lodge had traced its way through a quarter century that had completely changed the world. His written exposition rings with words that would be just as appropriate today as they were in 1970: "The Fraternity, as a whole, has faced a whole new set of circumstances to cope and contend with in bringing to aspirants the lessons of the ages. . . .Communication, transportation, technology ... have tended to lessen the close bonds of contact that characterized our earlier days. No real Mason will admit that Masonry has weakened, or become less relevant, or lost any of its potency in its ability to stretch the Mind, the Heart, the Spirit of Man. . . The problem we have had to contend with has been the multiplicity of diversions that we all have had to face. . ."

Cummings was no Luddite, however. The recent moon landing had impressed him greatly, and the advent of computers and the harnessing of the atom were important landmarks in his world view. Neither was he nostalgic for days of old; he believed Masonry to be a vital part of modern society and recognized the talents and contributions of new, up-and-coming leaders in the Lodge as well as those with whom he had worked in the past. But he belonged to a dwindling breed. In 1945, there had been sixteen Charter Members, but in 1970 there were only four remaining: Wor. Winfield Nourse, Master in 1933 and now 90 years old; Wor. Eugene Allen, the last Charter Member to serve as Master (in 1937) and now 84; Bro. Hiram Dexter and Bro. Dexter Young, both in their eighties. Similarly, of the men raised during the Lodge's first year, only four remained: Cummings (72 years old), Dr. Ernest Caverly (now 75), Bro. Ralph Kirk (79 and living in Florida), and Bro. Carlton Parker, the Lodge's long-time photographer, 74.

Of course, Rt. Wor. Henry Savage Chase Cummings knew everyone in the room that night, but far too many of them were closer to his age than to the age of the youthful Master who presided in the East. Perhaps he understood the passage of time all too well. At the end of the 1970-71 Masonic year, he gave up the Secretary's seat after 37 years, to be replaced by Wor. Bob Patey. Still, his "Masonic Thoughts" continued to appear in the monthly Lodge notice, and he was active on Lodge committees.

By the middle seventies, Brookline Lodge was more or less permanently ensconced in Brighton. It had been several years since the Lodge had taken up the matter of a building in Brookline. Though many of the Past Masters and prominent sideliners of the Lodge remembered the time when it had been at 1 Harvard Street, they were dwindling in numbers, interest, or ability to attend the meetings. The loss of long time Tyler Russell Spurr, former Chaplain Rev. Robert Coe, Past Masters Ed Booth, Hubert Fortmiller, James Lynch, Robert Mcllveen, Mel Nicholson, Winfield Nourse, and Eugene Allen, the last surviving Charter Member, along with a number of other sideline members placed the burden of governing the Lodge and conducting its affairs more and more on the shoulders of newer Masons.

By 1976, Wor. Robert Patey had become Rt. Wor. Robert Patey, the new District Deputy Grand Master for the Brighton Fifth District. The chairman of the committee that received him on the first Thursday in February was his older brother, Wor. Edmund Patey, and his younger brother, Frederick, occupied the East. He was the first Brookline member to serve in that capacity since Rt. Wor. Henry Harmon, and he was presented with the jewel that had been worn by Rt. Wor. Fred Richardson and Rt. Wor. Laurence Jackson before him.

It was a signal honor for Brookline, but the new District Deputy's Lodge had drifted below 200 members in 1976. It was a trend that was alarming, and irreversible. The Worshipful Masters of Brookline Lodge in the middle to late 1970s were young and recently raised, and lacked new candidates for the degrees. During the period 1975-1983, Brookline raised a total of twelve new Masons, with no candidates at all for three years and only one candidate in each of four others. The loss of so many members, particularly supportive Past Masters, made the task of governing the Lodge even more difficult. Brookline was not alone in its problems. The number of Lodges in the jurisdiction, which had peaked in 1966 at 349, had already dropped to 335 by the time Brookl ine began to consider the idea of a merger in the spring of 1982.

Other than the Masters' Lodge, chartered in 1983, the last year of Brookline's independent existence, there had not been a new charter granted by the Grand Master since the mid 1970s. Without an alliance with another Lodge and the opportunity for a return to better vitality, the Lodge that had produced so many distinguished Masons would fade into history. By the time merger was under consideration, the great chronicler and observer of Brookline's history, Rt. Wor. Henry S. C. Cummings, had also died; the flight of winding stairs that Brookline had been following and that he had been recording since its departure from its home in 1959 was almost at an end.


Precedence Date May 2, 1921
Chartered March 12, 1984


Near the end of 1980, Brookline Lodge was made aware that Bethesda Lodge, owners of the Brighton Masonic building, had decided to sell the property at the first opportunity. With the availability of a new meeting place in the Watertown apartments, the Lodge voted to petition the Grand Lodge to change Brookline's regular stated meeting time and location. Grand Master Melanson approved this change on November 25, 1980, ending Brookline's two decades of 'temporary' residence on Chestnut Hill Avenue.

With continued problems in attendance and in filling the officer line, the Lodge was already considering possible alternatives, particularly merger. The first suitor was Ebenezer Fuller Lodge, a Lodge with similar problems and an older charter, which had approached Brookline Lodge during that year to discuss the possibility. But the name change inherent in such a union, the loss of the Brookline charter that would result, and the logistical problems (Fuller belonged to the Waltham side of the district) made the idea unworkable, and it was set aside. Fuller eventually merged with Fraternity Lodge, one of Norumbega's founders.

Meanwhile Brookline continued to pursue merger with other Lodges, particularly Beth-horon, its progenitor, and fellow Brighton Fifth members Norfolk and Norumbega. The close relationship with Rt. Wor. Lowell Hammett of Norumbega, presiding District Deputy, made Norumbega a particularly attractive alternative. Further, it had one outstanding attribute: a permanent meeting place in Newtonville, a feature Brookline had lacked since 1959.

By the late fall of 1982, negotiations had proceeded far enough with the three possible merger candidates that a committee contacted all Past Masters of Brookline Lodge, inviting them to a meeting at the house of Rt. Wor. Robert Patey to discuss the future of the Lodge and consider alternatives. Thirteen Past Masters came to this meeting, and many others responded by mail.

Wor. Robert Ebaugh, Master in 1945 and now residing in California, wrote: "I write to express a few thoughts which are probably already known by all. Please believe me, your note was not unexpected. . . . When the old Brookline meeting place was removed ... it left a void which would be most difficult to replace.... Depending on the financial circumstances, it would, in my opinion, be wise to merge if possible with another Lodge . . . where we could fulfill our original mission."

The alternatives before the Lodge were threefold. First, there was the option of continuing as before-with Past Masters in the chairs, severely reduced attendance, and an aging membership whose residence was slowly getting farther and farther away from the original, small community of Brookline that had given the Lodge life.

Second, there was the option of dissolving Brookline Lodge entirely, leaving the "mission" of the Craft in the hands of other Lodges.

The third, most palatable, and obvious solution was to decide on a merger partner. As Wor. Jim Franklin wrote in the minutes of the December 2, 1982, meeting, the opportunity of merging into another Lodge might "create a stronger entity which can continue and can meet the original goals of the fraternity." Rt. Wor. Patey noted in later correspondence that the situation was such that Brookline Lodge was unable to continue its work and maintain its proud and distinguished heritage and he counseled in favor of merger as well. "As a combined Lodge we can ... go forward from this point as a larger, stronger Lodge." By raising one more candidate, and by placing one of the most honored Past Masters in the East- Wor. John Jay Mick - Brookline Lodge might be able to go out a winner.

His choice of merger partner was Norumbega Lodge.

Norumbega in Newton had suffered along with the rest of the Craft during the late 1970's and early 1980's and was open to the idea of a merger with Brookline. In correspondence and meetings with Brookline's representatives, both sides felt that the match was better for them than any of the other alternatives open to Brookline. By the fall of 1983, a number of points had been agreed upon, including by-laws, funds, and the status of members and Past Masters.

At regular business meetings, both Brookline and Norumbega adopted proposals to accept the merger of the two Lodges in accordance with Grand Lodge regulations. Norumbega and Brookline Masters were frequent visitors to each other's Lodges that fall and winter, and at a joint meeting in Watertown the two Lodges met in combined session to raise their last Master Masons: Walter Banfill for Brookline and Gordon Matheson for Norumbega. With Rt. Wor. Jim Franklin of Brookline as the new District Deputy Grand Master, all was in readiness for the merger.

On March 12, 1984, the Grand Lodge, headed by Most Wor. David B. Richardson, was received in the Newton Masonic apartments, and with a few raps of the ivory gavel of authority, the two Lodges, both chartered in 1921, joined into a single entity. A month later, Rt. Wor. Franklin, now visiting his home Lodge, presented the revised charter of Norumbega & Brookline Lodge to Wor. John H. Milson, last Master of Norumbega and first Master to preside over Norumbega & Brookline Lodge.

The new Lodge had added many distinguished Masons to its combined ranks, and Brookline's quarter-century ascent of its flight of winding stairs was at last at an end. Together, in strength, the new Lodge would establish its own identity in the years to come.


Together they allude to God's promise to David that in Strength would He establish His Kingdom in Israel.

Historians always face the dilemma of deciding when history ends and current events begin. At the beginning of this chronicle, at the opposite end of the 20th century, dedicated, distinguished men gathered to petition for the right to form new Lodges in Newton and in Brookline. Their motivations are apparent when the times are considered. The interest in Freemasonry was at an all-time high, and the existing bodies were unable to handle the number of worthy applicants. Mortgages and other financial obligations made the addition of partners desirable. Finally, there was a cachet associated with charter membership, enabling many to participate in the governance of a Lodge who might have otherwise had to wait years to do so.

We have followed the winding paths that each of these two Lodges, Norumbega and Brookline, followed from their earliest inception until the merger in 1984. It goes without saying that the world was a very different place than it had been in 1920. The eras of expansion were over, and Masonry had lost some of its public luster. The combined Lodge faced new perils and problems that had not even been conceived when Most Wor. Arthur Prince granted the two charters three quarters of a century ago.

Without a proper end to the story, it is hard to assess the post-merger period in a proper historical context. Norumbega & Brookline Lodge, chartered in 1984, is today led almost exclusively by men raised since the merger of its two predecessors. By and large, these leaders think of their Lodge not as the union of two distinct entities, but as a single entity that has two parallel, but distinct, historical trails, like paths traced by two jet airplanes against deep sky. We are blessed by twice as much history, and its richness and complexity make us more aware of those that have preceded us and more in debt for what they have done.

Now, with the arrival of the 75th anniversary of our charter, we are pausing to recognize those accomplishments and looking forward to what the future might bring to a single entity, an entity that did not exist at earlier celebrations. Our very recent past is the beginning of a stable foundation for the stones that have not yet been laid, by the Masons who have not yet been made.

Norumbega & Brookline has had nine Masters since its merger, with three of them serving two terms each. We have sought to recognize not only Past Masters for their Masonic work but also sideline members, for only with the work of both can a Lodge truly survive and prosper. The next few sections describe some of the most important programs of Norumbega & Brookline Lodge. These are but the most significant of the programs that have highlighted our years as a united Lodge, and it is the fervent hope of our membership that there are many pages of history yet to be written for Norumbega & Brookline Lodge.


The Lodge is indebted to the efforts of Wor. Manuel A. Jasus for his efforts in creating the Master's Book, a collection of photographs and letters from Past Masters, addressed to the incoming Master. In the spring of 1986, Wor. Bro. Jasus wrote a letter to each Past Master of our Lodge, asking for "specific advice and guidance to the next man to preside in the East." Its purpose, he wrote, would be to "allow each of us to speak to a succession of new Masters in our own words and express what we feel are the important things he must know."

In the Preface to the Master's Book, Wor. Bro. Jasus wrote, "We now share with you a collection of thoughts and experiences which have been accumulating over the years in this fine Lodge.... These have been written down so that you will not have to rely solely on your own experience for guidance in matters relating to the East. . . . The Worshipful Master is but a temporary guardian of a sacred trust, and promises to pass that office, safe and inviolate, to his successor. Your duties as Master will certainly be many and varied. Do not omit that special duty you owe to the man to whom you will hand our Charter one year from now - instruction. Pass your knowledge on to him, never allowing it to be lost."

The Master's Book is traditionally presented to the Worshipful Master-elect at our June communication. The Book has many letters from Past Masters of our Lodge, some of whom have now traveled on to that undiscovered country. It is an invaluable resource for new Masters and is faithfully transmitted each year.


Our Lodge is closely associated with the Charlton (Barclay) Railroad, serving the Craft for many years from a permanent site at the Masonic Home. This live-steam railroad provides entertainment many months of the year, and has its most shining moments at the Grand Master's Country Fair in June. The railroad is a living testament to another member of Norumbega & Brookline Lodge, the late Bro. Stanton DeWitt Barclay. This exemplary and much-loved man was devoted to the railroading hobby and was a driving force behind its operation. Bro. Barclay's road had been portable, setting up and running nearly every weekend for more than ten years, at sites all over New England from Cape Cod to Vermont. In 1988, Wor. Robert Dustin, at the request of Mrs. Dee Barclay, Bro. Stan's wife, undertook the search for a permanent home. Grand Master Ames accepted the offer and the railroad was moved to the Masonic Home in Charlton, where it has permanently run ever since, to the pride of our Lodge and the many friends of the Railroad across the district and the jurisdiction.

Years after its first run, the Railroad continues to delight children of all ages, a credit to Bro. Barclay and his vision. Several members of our Lodge have contributed extraordinary efforts in support of the construction and operation of the railroad, most particularly Wor. Robert Dustin. This fine ornament to the Craft has labored tirelessly to help make the Charlton Railroad what it is today, and writes regular articles on the effort for Trowel Magazine, the official publication of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.


In recent years, Norumbega & Brookline Lodge has honored sideline members with a special award and testimonial dinner. This award, the Mason for All Seasons, is awarded to a special member of the Lodge who "throughout his lifetime in Masonry extends himself beyond the normal limits of giving, of service to his Lodge and to his community." Men who have served as Master of our Lodge are ineligible for this award, as their service and efforts are recognized in other ways.

Masons for All Seasons are also presented a plaque bearing the complete testimonial, and have a nameplate placed on the Mason for All Seasons plaque that hangs in the Lodge hall. This year's recipient is Bro. Allan A. Seroll, our current Lodge Secretary.


The Fifth District Blood Program has served as a model for district-wide blood donation across the jurisdiction. Since its inception in 1974, Norumbega & Brookline Lodge has been very involved with this program, originally under the direction of our own Bro. Robert C. Davenport, who coordinated the first district-wide blood drives to replace regular evening "blood donation party" jaunts into Boston. Several members of our Lodge have been awarded pins for personal contributions, and each year, our Lodge's Blood Chairman has worked hard to assist the district in meeting its goals.

Since 1995, Bro. Gordon N. Matheson ofNorumbega& Brookline Lodge has been the District Blood Chairman and has made strenuous efforts to promote the blood donation and collection efforts of the Red Cross in our district. This has brought an even closer focus on the need for these efforts and the great benefits they provide for our fellow Masons and citizens.


In 1994, under the leadership of Wor. Walter Hunt, Norumbega & Brookline Lodge founded an Alumni Association, based on the highly successful model employed by colleges and high schools. By inviting back brothers who were raised during a particular time, our Alumni Association seeks to put members back "in touch" with their Lodge through a fraternal evening in the company of their contemporaries. Several meetings held during the 1994-95 Masonic year were the beginnings of an internal "awareness program" aimed at returning members of our Lodge to active participation.

This program was modestly successful, and formed the basis of a new effort at contact with our many members. It has helped provide material for this history, for the Norumbega & Brookline Lodge World Wide Web site, as well as for the construction of an extensive database of information on the Norumbega & Brookline community, expected to be available late in 1996. By starting with our own membership, the keystones that keep the arch of Norumbega & Brookline Lodge sturdy and in place, the Lodge hopes to improve itself and Masonry in general and make it a more attractive place for interested men who knock at its doors.

In 1994 and 1995, the Lodge held special communications in the Orlando, Florida, area by dispensation of the Most Wor. Grand Masters of Massachusetts and Florida. This cross-jurisdictional event allowed members of our Lodge residing in Florida to enjoy fraternal communication in a Massachusetts Lodge for the first time in many years. In addition to displaying work from both jurisdictions, the Master was able to present service pins and to make new friends. These meetings further emphasize the universality of Freemasonry and demonstrate that regardless of the differences in our presentation, it is the common bond of brotherly love and affection that unites us.



From TROWEL, Fall 1995, Page 31:

Meeting on the Level in Florida
By: Wor. Walter H. Hunt. Past Master, Norumbega & Brookline Lodge


Four years ago. when I was a Warden of my Lodge, I was reviewing the mailing list in order to get to know the membership. I noticed (and was not surprised to find) that one of every ten members lived in Florida; in most cases, these Brothers had retired to the Sunshine State, though they continued to retain their Masonic membership here in Massachusetts.

When we think of a Lodge, we usually think of a particular place, meeting on a particular night: it consists of those who perform the Work, those whom we receive at the door, and those who observe. Officers, candidates, sideline Brothers: indeed, these furnish and ornament the Lodge, but the Lodge is more than just these Brothers. There are many members of our constituency whose participation in their Lodge is reduced to dues bills and monthly notices.

Yet these are dues-paying members: they are fellow Craftsmen who have chosen to retain affiliation with the Lodge that Raised them. In most cases, they will not again be present on that regular meeting in that particular place. What can be done to acknowledge their support and recognize their value to the Lodge?

By the time I'd become Senior Warden. I had the answer to that question. With help from that mailing list, I wrote to every member of our Lodge in Florida, asking if they'd be interested in attending a special meeting of Norumbega & Brookline Lodge if it were held somewhere in Florida. When I was installed as Master, I requested dispensation from our Grand Master to hold the meeting. I asked to hold it in the Orlando area to encourage Brethren and families to come for the many vacation attractions in the area.

Attendees at the second annual Special Communication of Norumbega & Brookline Lodge, Winter Park, Florida, 25 March, 1995:
Seated: Bro. Ralph A. Paterson; Front row, L. to R.: Wor. Alfred Cortis: Wor. Paul Hamburg; Wor. Jerry Spruiel (Presiding Master, Winter Park Lodge #239); Wor. Walter Hunt (Presiding Master, Norumbega & Brookline Lodge): Wor. George Smith; Bro. Nassir Sofa; Bro. George Stameris; Bro. Robert Davenport.
Back row, L. to R.: Bro. Earl Slockham; Bro. Gordon Matheson: Bro. Philip Bloom; Bro. John Lytus; Wor. Martin Ellis; Wor. Russell Mead; Bro. Peter Jomides.

Those who have occupied the Oriental Chair understand that the Masonic Fraternity is powered by paper. In order to obtain permission for this event, my request had to travel from my desk to the Grand Master's; thence to the Grand Master of Florida; and thence to a Lodge in the Orlando 16th District. These things take time, and are particularly prickly when the request is unusual. Involving more than one Grand Jurisdiction made it even more complicated. As far as I was informed, this sort of event had no precedent at the Blue Lodge level.

First Meeting: 1994

On a cold February day, I received a telephone call from R. W. Charles Warren, the District Deputy Grand Master of the Orlando 16th District. It was the first word I'd heard about my request. R.W. Bro. Warren informed me that Winter Park Lodge #239, a Lodge in his district, had agreed to offer us their facility and their help in holding our meeting!

The planning now went into high gear. With the help of a local contact — Bro. John Lytus — we began to organize the meeting. It was to be a Special Communication, and as such was reported in our Notice; we publicized the event throughout our District, and as much as possible with our members in Florida: R. W. Bro. Warren mentioned it at all of his visitations. On 14 May, 1994, Norumbega & Brookline Lodge opened in form in Winter Park, Florida, and brought Massachusetts Masonry to members of our Lodge, and Florida members who had never sat in a Massachusetts Lodge. Both Massachusetts and Florida work was exemplified.

In my remarks to the Lodge. I observed that, as different as Florida and Massachusetts work might be. we were all still workers in the same Temple; our means, our motivations, our objectives were the same as fellow Masons. It demonstrated to me that, indeed, we were members of one great Fraternity, with more to unite us than to divide us.

Second Meeting: 1995

I had the honor and privilege to serve a second year as Master in 1994-95. We had been so cordially welcomed by Winter Park Lodge #239 in 1994, and had been invited to return; consequently, shortly after my installation in the fall of 1994,1 requested dispensation to hold a similar meeting at the same location. The incoming Master at Winter Park. Wor. Jerry Spruiel. went out of his way to make us welcome again.

It is a tautology in Masonry that the second time around is always easier; what had been a novelty in 1994 was a tradition in 1995. To my surprise, instead of anxious waiting, we received quick approval for our second meeting, and scheduled a Special Communication for 25 March, 1995, at Winter Park. We again held a very cordial gathering (see picture inset), and extended the hand of friendship to our Florida and Florida-resident brothers. Norumbega & Brookline Lodge was pleased to present our gracious host, Wor. Bro. Spruiel, with a book on American Freemasonry, signed by members present. The second meeting was a part of the activities of the Norumbega & Brookline Alumni Association, which seeks to put members back "in touch" with their Lodge through a fraternal evening in the company of their contemporaries.


Freemasonry is rich in tradition and great in diversity. When serving as Master of a Lodge, there is often so much to do merely for the month-to-month continuity of the Lodge that there is little time for special events such as our visits to Florida. Still, the hard work and generous efforts of members of our Lodge, and our fellow Masons in Florida, allowed us to create a new tradition. Thanks to Most Worshipful David Lovering of Massachusetts and Most Worshipful Wallace Dawson of Florida, we were able to spread the cement of Brotherly love and affection, and bring our Lodge to those for whom it might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance. These two events were among the greatest highlights of my term as Master, and represent some of what is best in our Fraternity. I hope that it is a tradition that will grow and prosper.




1984: District 5 (Brighton)


Massachusetts Lodges

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