- 1 SIMON W. ROBINSON LODGE
- 2 REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- 2.1 ANNIVERSARIES
- 2.2 VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 2.3 BY-LAW CHANGES
- 2.4 HISTORY
- 2.4.1 50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORICAL SKETCH, OCTOBER 1920
- 2.4.2 75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, OCTOBER 1945
- 2.4.3 CENTENARY HISTORICAL SKETCH, NOVEMBER 1970
- 2.4.4 125TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, NOVEMBER 1995
- 2.5 OTHER
- 2.6 EVENTS
- 2.7 GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- 2.8 DISTRICTS
- 2.9 LINKS
SIMON W. ROBINSON LODGE
Chartered By: William Sewall Gardner
Charter Date: 09/13/1871 1871-153
Precedence Date: 08/07/1870
Current Status: Active
Belmont-Beaver Lodge merged here, 06/19/2004.
- John C. Blaisdel, 1870, 1871
- George O. Davis, 1872, 1873, 1877
- Augustus E. Scott, 1874-1876; SN
- Everett S. Locke, 1878, 1879
- James C. Crone, 1880, 1881
- Quincy Bicknell, Jr., 1882, 1883, 1886, 1887; SN
- Charles G. Kaufmann, 1884, 1885
- Edwin J. Nourse, 1888, 1889
- Alfred Pierce, 1890, 1891
- Herbert T. Richardson, 1892
- John C. Goodwin, 1893
- George W. Sampson, 1894, 1895
- Charles W. Swarn, 1896, 1897
- Frank H. Locke, 1898
- Frank Peabody, 1899, 1900
- John McKay, 1901, 1902
- George A. Warner, 1903, 1904
- Charles F. Nourse, 1905, 1906
- William H. Whitaker, 1907, 1908
- Arthur D. Stone, 1909, 1910
- Edward C. Stone, 1911, 1912
- George F. Smith, 1913, 1914
- Charles H. Miles, 1915, 1916; N
- Clifford W. Pierce, 1917, 1918
- Albert Burnham, 1919, 1920
- Albert I. Carson, 1921
- George E. Smith, 1922
- Joseph R. Cotton, 1923
- Henry C. Cotton, 1924
- Robert M. Stone, 1925
- Howard E. Custance, 1926; SN
- William S. Scamman, 1927
- Sheldon A. Robinson, 1928
- Franklin H. Pike, 1929
- Hubert E. Broderic, 1930
- J. Lawrence Miles, 1931
- George S. Barton, 1932
- Hazen W. Hamlin, 1933
- Arthur M. Roberts, 1934
- William L. Burnham, 1935
- Everett E. Morrill, 1936
- Carl Hauck, 1937
- Pierre A. Northrup, 1938; SN
- Fred Bailey, 1939
- Charles E. Mathaurs, 1940
- William C. Paxton, 1941
- Leonard F. Foss, 1942
- Geoffrey L. Pippette, 1943
- Walter G. Black, 1944
- George B. Gosbee, 1945
- James C. Shaw, 1946
- Harry Knight, 1947
- Edward L. Mears, 1948
- Clayton M. Hager, 1949
- Clyde A. Booker, 1950
- Elton B. McCausland, 1951
- Norman H. Royle, 1952
- Lyle J. Morse, 1953
- John Maclachlan, 1954
- G. Laurie Wallace, 1955
- Charles H. Peirce, 1956
- Robert W. Custance, 1957
- Albert B. MacKay, 1958
- Donald J. Shaw, 1959
- Kenneth M. Smith, 1960
- Milton F. Hodgdon, 1961
- Robert W. Hunter, 1962
- Edward C. Mann, 1963; SN
- Mark Moore, Jr., 1964
- Raymond E. Borden, 1965
- Alden W. Jefts, 1966
- Donald E. Legro, 1967
- Ernest F. Stokes, Sr., 1968
- Raymond B. Barnes, 1969
- Norman E. Norcross, 1970
- William G. Urquhart, 1971
- Laurence A. Larssen, 1972
- John E. Airey, 1973
- Donald F. Albertine, 1974; N
- Irving A. Rich, Jr., 1975
- Stephen G. McConnell, 1976
- Douglas A. Bryson, 1977
- Carl M. Hogan, 1978
- Edward B. Lloyd, 1979
- Warren C. Hutchins, 1980
- Keith A. Hutchins, 1981
- Earl C. Blount, Jr., 1982
- Paul C. Davidson, 1983
- Bruce A. Jordan, 1984
- Jonathan P. Doran, 1985; PDDGM
- Jeffrey B. Hodgdon, 1986
- Joseph M. Kurey, 1987; PDDGM
- Geoffrey Davies, 1988
- Steven W. Custance, 1989
- Kenneth M. Cox, 1990
- Robert J. Bryan, 1991
- George B. Wilson, Jr., 1992
- Ronald C. Higgins, 1993
- David M. Feuerstein, 1994
- Ernest A. Bean, 1995; PDDGM
- James V. Neufell, 1996
- Robert W. Bean, 1997
- Paul H. Fraser, Jr., 1998
- Robert R. Corkum, 1999
- Robert B. Shor, 2000
- Donald Yankovich, 2001
- Robert N. Cann, Jr., 2002
- Andrew T. Barnes, 2003
- Kenneth Laurence, 2004, 2005
- Bruce A. Jackson, 2006
- Jonathan S. Sriberg, 2007, 2008
- Marc S. Reymone, 2009, 2010
- Matthew S. Gerrish, 2011, 2012
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- Petition for Dispensation: 1870
- Petition for Charter: 1871
- Consolidation Petition (with Belmont-Beaver Lodge): 2004
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1913 (Benton)
- 1918 (L. Abbott; Hall dedication; Special Communication)
- 1920 (Prince; 50th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1931 (H. Dean)
- 1945 (Wragg; 75th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1950 (Keith; reception for Deputy Grand Master Joseph R. Cotton)
- 1962 (Eaton; reception for Junior Grand Warden Geoffrey L. Pippette)
- 1970 (Jaynes; Centenary; Special Communication)
- 1972 (Vose)
- 1974 (Vose)
- 1975 (Maxwell; reception for Deputy Grand Master Robert W. Custance)
- 1976 (Maxwell)
- 1977 (Maxwell)
- 1979 (Melanson)
- 1981 (Berquist)
- 1983 (Berquist)
- 1984 (Richardson)
- 1986 (Richardson)
- 1987 (Ames)
- 1988 (Ames)
- 1989 (Ames; 3 visits, including Ladies' Night and reception for Deputy Grand Master Jeffrey B. Hodgdon)
- 1995 (Lovering; 125th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 2004 (Hicks; 2 visits, including Consolidation; Special Communication)
- 2005 (Hodgdon; 4 visits, including reception for Grand Master)
- 2006 (Hodgdon; 4 visits)
- 2007 (Hodgdon; 3 visits)
- 2011 (Stewart; installation)
- 1918 (Historical Address at Hall Dedication, 1918-346)
- 1920 (50th Anniversary History, 1920-337; see below)
- 1945 (75th Anniversary History, 1945-300; see below)
- 1970 (Centenary History, 1970-505; see below)
- 1995 (125th Anniversary History, 1995-269; see below)
50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORICAL SKETCH, OCTOBER 1920
From Proceedings, Page 1920-337:
By Wor. Bro. Fred Smith Piper.
We have been hearing considerable, recently, about John Robinson and the lives and purposes of the Pilgrims in relation to the present character and expansion of our great country. So in a similar modest measure we may well consider the character and purposes of the founders of this Lodge and estimate how far their characters and purposes have been realized and expressed by this Institution and how far the underlying principles of Freemasonry have benefited its members and improved this community. Institutions are of doubtful value unless they contribute to our welfare and improve our conditions of life to better advantage than otherwise might be accomplished.
Freemasonry, in one form or another, quite unlike our present Lodges, was centuries old when the first Grand Lodge was formed. The word Lodge is of Norman and Gothic origin and meant originally a shed or lean-to used as a shelter by Operative Masons in the construction of great buildings.
The word Freemason was used in England as early as 1376 in a title,—"The Freemason's Company" of London —and was first applied to a craftsman in a contract written in Latin and dated 1396, where its English origin is apparent.
Freemasons' Lodges, probably consisting of only one degree and that comparatively simple in form, were common in England and Scotland early in the eighteenth century. Each Lodge was then supreme and independent of every other Lodge.
Four Lodges in London formed a Grand Lodge in 1717, which was the origin of the present Grand Lodge of England, the first Grand Lodge in the world.
The first definitely known Freemason in America was Jonathan Belcher, Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, who was made a Mason in London in 1704. We have good reason to believe that the first Lodge to meet, as such, in this country was in King's Chapel, in Boston, in 1720. Lodge meetings were held later in Philadelphia and Annapolis, but all these meetings were without warrant from any established authority.
In 1733 Henry Price, of Boston, then sojourning in England, was appointed by the Grand Master of England, Lord Viscount Montague, to be Provincial Grand Master for New England, and the following year Price's Commission was extended to include all of North America. Grand Master Price organized the first Grand Lodge in America at Boston on July 30, 1733, and also on the same day chartered the First Lodge in Boston, now St. John's Lodge.
In 1769 Earl Dalhousie, Grand Master of Scotland, commissioned Dr. Joseph Warren, of Boston, to be Provincial Grand Master over a territory within thirty miles of Boston and in 1773 Warren's Commission was extended, like Price's,to embrace all of North America.
Thus there existed in Boston from 1769 to 1792 two Grand Lodges, independent of each other, having the same territorial jurisdiction, and both were active and prosperous.
Grand Master Warren was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill, but his character as a man and a Mason lives in the spirit of America.
In 1792, these two Grand Lodges, having declared independence of their mother countries, united and formed the present Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Inasmuch as both Grand Lodges had chartered numerous Lodges in Massachusetts it was decided to omit Lodge members in order to avoid any conflict or question of priority, and accordingly in Massachusetts, unlike most Grand Jurisdictions, Lodges are known by names only, without numbers.
So much, in outline, for ancient history.
The second phase claiming our remembrance at this time is early Freemasonry in Lexington. Tradition tells us, through our late Brother Albert W. Bryant, that the first assembly of Freemasons in Lexington was on the top of the hill in the rear of Munroe Tavern. In 1797 ten Masons gathered at Munroe Tavern and signed a petition to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a Charter. Dispensation was granted December 12, 1797, for the Institution of Hiram Lodge. Colonel William Munroe, well known as the stalwart orderly of Captain Parker's Minute-Men, was the first Master and served, in all, six years. This Lodge met at Munroe Tavern for thirty-three years, during which time one hundred and ninety members were recorded, of which number one hundred and fifty were Raised in the Lodge. The Lodge was dormant for several years during the anti-Masonic period and finally moved to West Cambridge, now Arlington, in 1843.
Lexington possessed no Masonic Lodge from 1843 to 1870, when Simon W. Robinson Lodge was instituted under a Dispensation dated November 7, with John C. Blasdel, Master. The first meetings were held at the residence of Brother Sargent C. Whitcher, who lived on Hancock Street where Brother Crowther now lives. (No. 23 Hancock Street.) The Lodge was duly Constituted, the hall in the town hall building, which we vacated two years ago, was Dedicated, and the officers installed on October 20, 1871, by R. W. Gideon Haynes, District Deputy Grand Master. Our esteemed Brother Payson, the founder of the original Temple Male Quartette, was present with his quartette and furnished music for the occasion. Brother Payson is now the worthy possessor of a Henry Price medal for good Masonic behavior.
Simon W. Robinson, for whom this Lodge was named, was an honored citizen of Lexington who lived where Brother Tilton now lives, on Elm Avenue. Brother Robinson was made a Mason in Mount Lebanon Lodge in 1819, where he was made an honorary member in 1849. He was Grand Master in 1840, Grand High Priest in 1837, 1838, and 1839, at one time Grand Commander of Knights Templars of Massachusetts and Rhode Island; was given the 33° by the Supreme Council at Boston in 1851, and became the Most Puissant Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of America in 1865. Brother Robinson was born in New Hampton, N. H., in 1792 and died at Lexington in 1868.
As we participate in this festival tonight let us, in our minds at least, drink to the health and happiness of our one surviving charter member, Brother George D. Harrington, and to the memory of the other fourteen charter members who have joined the silent majority. The charter members were as follows:
- John C. Blasdel
- George O. Davis
- Leonard G. Babcock
- Josiah Bryant
- Charles G. Goodwin
- Horace B. Davis
- George D. Harrington
- Warren E. Russell
- Augustus B. Scott
- George S. Butters
- Asa Cottrell
- Sargent C. Whitcher
- Bradley C. Whitcher
- George E. Muzzey
- Charles K. Tucker
While we gladly proclaim our fraternal esteem here and now for our senior member, it is but honest to mention that many a Craftsman on his Masonic travels has not relished Brother Harrington's interference at the East Gate of the Temple.
Again, it is our honor and our pleasure to salute our oldest Past Master, who is also our oldest member who was Raised in this Lodge, not alone because he has been with us so many years, but also because of his true Masonic virtues and faithfulness to the Craft: Wor. Brother Everett S. Locke, Raised November 20, 1871.
Trusting to catch something of their spirit and receive their benediction, I have arranged such pictures of our charter members as I could borrow about town—all represented except Captain Tucker—and to these pictures I invite your attention later in the evening.
In the past fifty years this Lodge has Raised four hundred and fifteen Masons and admitted to membership sixty-seven who were Raised elsewhere, besides fifteen charter members, making a total membership of four hundred and ninety-seven. Sixty-eight applications were rejected and seven applicants withdrew after election or failed to present themselves for the degrees. The per cent of rejections is about twelve, which may seem large to some of you, but in looking over the names rather carefully it seems to me that the Lodge has generally acted wisely and justly. Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty are the abiding supports of any Lodge and not the multitude of its members. A brook can rise no higher than the source and a society can rise no higher than the average appreciation of its members.
This Lodge suffered misfortune and sacrificed its influence in the community for a dozen years or more because of indiscretion among a few prominent members. But as truth cast down shall rise again and claim its own, so do we now rejoice in good fellowship, harmony, and prosperity within our portals. More than this: "We hope, that as the years come and go, this entire community, our patrons and our critics alike, will feel the benefit of the great moral and ethical principles which are taught and supported within this Temple.
The Lodge has had twenty-five Masters in fifty years, although not uniformly of two years terms of office, as follows:
- John C. Blasdel, 1870-1871
- George O. Davis, 1871-1873, 1876-1877
- Augustus E. Scott, 1873-1876
- Everett S. Locke, 1877-1879
- James E. Crone, 1879-1881
- Quincy Bicknell, 1881-1883, 1885-1887
- Charles G. Kauffmann, 1883-1885
- Edwin J. Nourse, 1887-1889
- Alfred Pierce, 1889-1891
- Herbert T. Richardson, 1891-1892
- George C. Goodwin, 1892-1893
- George W. Sampson, 1893-1895
- Charles W. Swan, 1895-1897
- Frank H. Locke, 1897-1898
- Frank Peabody, 1898-1900
- John McKay, 1900-1902
- George A. Warner, 1902-1904
- Charles P. Nourse, 1904-1906
- William H. Whitaker, 1906-1908
- Arthur D. Stone, 1908-1910
- Edward O. Stone, 1910-1912
- George V. Smith, 1912-1914
- Charles H. Miles, 1914-1916
- Clifford W. Pierce, 1917-1918
- Albert H. Burnham, 1919-1920
It has been our honor during the past two years to furnish to the Grand Lodge an accomplished and courteous District Deputy Grand Master for the Sixth Masonic District—Right Worshipful Charles 11. Miles, the third member of Simon W. Robinson Lodge to hold this high office. The other incumbents were Right Worshipful Augustus E. Scott, many years ago, and Right Worshipful Quincy Bicknell.
There are today three hundred and twenty-one members of this Lodge and six Entered Apprentices.
During the past fifty years, we have had only three meeting places—the home of Brother Whitcher while working under Dispensation, the hall in the town hall building vacated two years ago, and the edifice where we are now assembled.
The Dedication of this building on June 24, 1918, marked a new epoch in our history. Pew suburban Lodges are more comfortably sheltered, surrounded by environment eloquent in history and honorable in tradition, situated on ground veritably made sacred to liberty and the rights of mankind.
When we recall all these things — yonder field sanctified by the blood of Lexington's Minute-Men — the early uses of this building in the causes of education and religion — the early owners of this property, Pelham, John Hancock, Jonas Clarke, John Augustus, and others, together with the sturdy citizenship and high purposes of our founders — we cannot fail to see how rich is our inheritance and how great is our obligation to this community and the throng of young men who are knocking at our portals in unprecedented numbers.
And this brings me to my final thought concerning this golden anniversary.
Vital changes are being wrought in the nations of the earth today faster than ever before and this sturdy old town of notable history is changing apace. When Masonry first organized in Lexington one hundred and twenty-three years ago, all transportation was carried on by horses and oxen. Communication was slow and difficult and villages comparatively isolated. Today we have the railroad, automobile, airship, telegraph, telephone, and wireless.
Ninety years ago Theodore Parker, the most notable man ever produced in Lexington, walked from his home to Harvard College over a road rough at all seasons and often deep in dust and mud. How different are our streets and travel today. In 1797 Lexington had a population of 940 and a valuation of $250,000.00, or, $265.00 per capita, Today the town's population is 7,776 and the valuation is $9,945 -296.00, or $1,150.00 per capita. Last Saturday's Herald announced that the wealth of the United States averages today $51.06 per capita, making Lexington about twenty-two times the national average.
The Great War hastened many changes, but the conditions which made most of these changes passible had been preparing a long time. There are still many preparing, and the end is not yet.
With all these changes, and confusion and uncertainty everywhere apparent, Freemasonry seems to be chosen today, more generally than ever before, as a common ground for Protestant men all over this broad land and our membership in the United States is now well beyond the two million mark.
While it is true there is strength in numbers, let us not lose sight of a higher ideal at the heart of Masonry.
On the other hand, what benefit has Freemasonry to offer to the thousands who are now seeking admission to the Order? For a poor man and modest Mason, I may be extravagant, but, rightly understood and truly practiced, I believe Masonry offers the greatest thing in the world. Brotherly love, service, democracy? Yes, and more. It offers loyal fellowship and every encouragement in man's search for the Lost Word. And while no institution may be permitted to emblazon that Word upon the understanding of its members as a body, the principles of Masonry will do much toward awakening individual discernment, by which alone the Word may be found.
"When man shall come to manhood's destiny, When our slow-toddling race shall be full grown, Deep in each human heart a chamber lone of Holies Holiest shall be builded; Each there must kindle his own altar fires, Each burn an offering of his own desires, And each at last his own High Priest must be." —David Starr Jordan.
And until we find the "Word, said to be lost, let us live among our fellow men of every land and creed according to that light at the heart of Masonry, sometimes represented by the Master's square, but always well expressed by one short word, Truth, peace-giving, satisfying, invincible Truth.
Take thou no thought for aught save truth and right,
Content, if such thy fate, to die obscure;
Wealth palls, and honors; fame may not endure,
And noble hearts grow weary at the light.
"Keep innocence, be all the true man ought;
Let neither pleasure tempt, nor pain appall.
Who hath this hath all things, having naught;
Who hath it not, hath nothing, having all."
Fifty years hence, when order, social justice, and goodwill shall be the ripe fruits of this present confusion in the world; when, in the words of Tennyson "all men's good shall be each man's rule and universal peace lie like a shaft of light across the land," when Simon "W. Robinson Lodge shall celebrate her centenary, this short word, Truth, which has been the light of Masonry for ages past, will still shine as the guiding star of destiny.
75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, OCTOBER 1945
From Proceedings, Page 1945-300:
History of Simon W. Robinson Lodge 1920-1945
By Worshipful Henry S. C. Cummings.
"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line
Nor all your Tears wash out a word of it."
So might be our thoughts as we open the pages of the past and pause to pay respect to the memories of the many yesterdays which have made up the life of Simon W. Robinson Lodge. Throughout many seasons — in all seventy-five — we have seen in the garden of our time many fine souls contributing to the fabric of our fraternity in a way that has brightened every corner of the past and made our whole membership everlastingly grateful for their inspired influence.
It seems but a short time ago that we met here to celebrate our 50th anniversary — actually, it has been a full twenty-five years from October 25, 1920. Inevitably and sorrowfully we meet without many who were with us then. Like a garden whose color and fragrance delights the senses — have good men and true stood out to inspire and uplift the sentiments of man. What stirred the hearts of men to generous and abiding friendship then still moves others with equally absorbing passion. The great truths of our Order and the constant cultivation of wholesome virtues has lifted many a wilting limb and made the whole group more sensitive to the welfare of others; more eager to learn how better to share and to serve; and more mindful of our relationship to that Divinity whom we all adore and from whom all light flows.
This part of our history takes up where the other left off. During these happy years much has been undertaken and proud are we that it has been fashioned through the loyalty and devotion of so many. Indeed, much of the inspiration of fellowship could never have been so well achieved had the membership not responded so faithfully by the regular and continuing support as evidenced by their ample attendance at all of our meetings. Were one to pass our way we would want him to know some of the personalities that we have learned to love so well; and who have, perhaps more than others, built up our faith in the essential goodness of man, and have thereby helped us to look upward in life. It is not always easy to pluck for remembrance— for each in his way has offered something most choice—his sincerity and enthusiasm, his time and effort, his example and friendliness. We wish we might have you know each of those we have named more intimately than space here permits.
Continuously throughout the last twenty-five years Right Worshipful Charles H. Miles has given to the Lodge everything that could be expected of a member of the Craft. He was the District Deputy Grand Master of the Somerville 6th District by appointment of Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, when we assembled here twenty-five years ago; he has delivered Charges that will long be remembered; he has many times installed the officers; served as a Trustee of the Lexington Masonic Associates for over twenty-five years; and on June 11, 1934, was presented the Joseph Warren Distinguished Service Medal by the Grand Lodge. Few have been more regular over the years or more devoted. Masonry has been made more vital in the lives of our members because of his influence.
Right Worshipful Howard E. Custance served the Somerville 6th District as the District Deputy Grand Master during 1933-1934; was the third Master of the 13th Lodge of Instruction; and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal on May 11,1942, by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
Brother Leroy Sunderland Brown stands out as one of our most loyal and generous members. Holder of the Veteran's Medal and associated with us by affiliation for twenty-nine years, it was through his foresight and energy that the Lexington Battle-Green and its surroundings have been preserved. His contributions to the Lodge and its Charity Fund, much of which is now invested in War Bonds, have been substantial.
The name of Most Worshipful Everett C. Benton has always reflected honor to Simon Robinson Lodge, for he took his degrees in our Lodge March 19, 1894, and held his membership for thirty years to his death in 1924. During this period he was Eminent Grand Commander of Knights Templar for Massachusetts and Rhode Island; Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in 1906; and the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts 1912 and 1913.
Right Worshipful Pierre A. Northrup served the Somerville 6th District as the District Deputy Grand Master very ably in 1941-1942; was for fourteen years an Instructor on the First Degree in the Lodge of Instruction; inaugurated the exchange of possession of the Simon W. Robinson "Past Master's Jewel" with Mount Lebanon Lodge.
Brother Byron C. Earle was made Secretary Emeritus on March 12, 1934. He served the Lodge as its Secretary for twenty years and was in his 80th year when he died on October 14,1935.
Rev. Brother Christopher W. Collier was honored by the Lodge December 14, 1931, when it presented him a "Chaplain's Jewel" in recognition of his years of untiring service, and on June 11, 1934, voted him an Honorary Life Member. He conducted the Divine Service in 1927 at the Hancock Congregational Church, which was one of the best attended services over the years. Accompanying the procession to the church on that day was a large delegation from the Sir Galahad Commandery, headed by the Waltham DeMolay Band.
Brother Lucius Charles Fairchild was elected to Honorary Membership June 8, 1931, for the conspicuous part he played in directing the dramatic talents of the Lodge through the Lexington Masonic Players. "An 18th Century Lodge" with a cast of over twenty members depicting a Lodge as it was conducted in 1723 made many appearances in Lexington, Winchester, Lowell and Boston and was attended by Masons high in the Fraternity. The most notable performance was on June 25, 1933, in Boston before the gathering of the Grand Lodge xid other distinguished Masons from England, Scotland and Ireland on the occasion of the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Proceeds from these performances were turned over to the Lexington Masonic Associates. This activity has been one of the outstanding successes of the Lodge.
Then, there is Rev. Brother Frank H. Thompson, who has served as Chaplain since September 10, 1934 — and previous to that for eleven years as Associate Chaplain, with such deep spiritual sincerity that on March 8, 1943, he was elected an Honorary Member of Simon W. Robinson Lodge. In the words of Right Worshipful Pierre A. Northrup: "He is the personification of the highest ideals of our ancient Institution." On June 12, 1944, the Brethren presented him a "Chaplain's Jewel;" and on June 11, 1945, the Lodge held a Special Communication, with Worshipful George B. Gosbee in the East, for the purpose of attending his reception on the occasion of the celebration of his twenty-fifth anniversary of ordination to the Ministry. As a token of the esteem of his Brethren, he was presented a metal box containing 150 silver dollars.
Brother Richard Engstrom had the rare distinction of having been presented a Distinguished Service Medal from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts through the hands of Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson, Past Grand Master, for his many years of exceptional service to Simon W. Robinson Lodge. Brother Engstrom was primarily responsible for the acquiring of our Temple, and as one of the original Trustees of the Lexington Masonic Associates, served in this capacity for over twenty-five years. It was also through his generosity that the Associates acquired the property adjoining the Temple, and on June 11, 1945, it was so announced to the Lodge. He purchased it and presented it free and clear, thus enabling the Associates to make plans for the future enlargement of our Temple.
Both Right Worshipful Charles H. Miles and Brother Richard Engstrom, who served as Trustees of the Lexington Masonic Associates from its organization June 11, 1917, to June 14,1943, were presented a Scroll from the Lodge in recognition of their Masonic Service. It stated in part:
Whereas, it was through their inspiration, devoted service and unselfish aid and assistance that our Temple was acquired, maintained, beautified and adorned ... we (shall be) ever mindful of the debt of gratitude owed by the Lodge to these Brothers for their service to the Lodge, to the memory of which this Temple will stand as a lasting monument . . . and extend . . . our deep and sincere thanks and appreciation for the lasting service rendered by them to the Lodge.
On December 14, 1925, the Lodge celebrated a memorable event — the burning of the mortgage on our Lodge building. Shortly after the installation of Worshipful Robert M. Stone as Worshipful Master, a Committee was appointed by the Master to raise funds to pay off this mortgage. All of the Brethren responded most generously and under the leadership of the Worshipful Master, the entire amount of the mortgage of twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars was raised. Following a banquet in the banquet hall, appropriate ceremonies were held, culminating in the burning of the mortgage by Worshipful Robert M. Stone, Right Worshipful Charles H. Miles and Brother Richard Engstrom.
Worshipful William I. Burnham served the 13th Lodge of Instruction as its 13th Master in 1940-1941.
The records show that Worshipful Edward C. Stone, Arthur D. Stone and Robert M. Stone, as well as Worshipful Carl Hauck, have all served the Somerville 6th District as District Deputy Grand Marshal; Worshipful Everett E. Morrill was appointed by Most Worshipful Joseph Earl Perry as Junior Grand Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1938 and also served as District Deputy Grand Secretary in 1937-1938. Worshipful Brother Morrill was responsible for the plan to secure a new organ for the Lodge, which was presented and dedicated June 30, 1938.
Worshipful Joseph R. Cotton was appointed by Most Worshipful Claude L. Allen as Senior Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge m 1935. Geoffrey L. Pippette was appointed District Deputy Grand Secretary for 1944-45. It is apparent that more than a few from our membership have worked for the good of the Fraternity over these past twenty-five years.
One of the important undertakings of this period was the sponsoring of Battle Green Chapter, Order of DeMolay in Lexington by the "High Twelve Club," composed of members of the Lodge. A committee headed by Worshipful Howard E. Custance recommended the institution of this Chapter on May 14, 1928, subject to the approval of the Grand Lodge. The institution of this Chapter took place on October 5, 1928. The boys have several times exemplified their work before our Lodge. In 1935 they gave a play and turned over the proceeds to the Trustees of the Lexington Masonic Associates—to help paint the Temple. The first member of this Chapter to become a Master Mason was Brother Bertram Fowler Whipple on February 10, 1930; and it is of further interest to note that much of the time since then, he has been and still is our Organist. Brother Alton M. Phelps was the first Master Councilor of this Chapter to become a Master Mason when he was raised in our Lodge on November 9, 1936.
Another outstandingly successful undertaking by Simon W. Robinson Lodge for Freemasons generally was the publication for over eight years, starting in 1925, of a monthly paper edited by Worshipful George S. Barton and Worshipful Fred Bailey called "High Twelve." It carried items of special interest to our Lodge, as well as inspirational, historical and factual information of interest to all members of the Craft. It did much to stimulate enthusiasm for the ideals and purposes of our Fraternity; and has indelibly left its imprint which will ever reflect credit to those who monthly composed its columns.
A significant activity was undertaken at the April 9, 1934, meeting when Worshipful J. Lawrence Miles urged the creation of a Masonic Library in our Temple. As a result, one of the first libraries of its kind in operation in the jurisdiction of Massachusetts came into being. In April 1935 the Grand Lodge loaned an elaborate exhibit of books and Worshipful J. Hugo Tatsch, the Grand Lodge Librarian, honored us with his presence. Right Worshipful Joseph W. Work, Brother Charles H. Valentine, Brothers Harry W. Davis and Frederick Hoxie and others have from time to time presented books to this Library. Upon the death of Brother Hallie C. Blake March 9, 1936, his widow presented the Lodge with new aprons and jewels for the officers, which were first used on January 11, 1937, and the previous regalia the Lodge had the pleasure of giving to Friendship Lodge in Wilmington. As far back as 1923, Brother Blake had been interested in keeping the regalia in perfect condition, for in that year the records show he defrayed the expense of repairs. On February 10, 1930, the Lodge received the Past Master's Jewel of Worshipful George O. Davis from his son, Brother Harry W. Davis, as a memorial, to be placed above his picture in the lodge vestibule. Worshipful Brother Davis was the second Worshipful Master of Simon W. Robinson Lodge and served as such in 1872, 1873 and 1877.
On December 13, 1937, Worshipful Carl Hauck received from Brother Reuben Leonard Seth the "Past Master's Jewel" of Simon W. Robinson, for whom our Lodge is named. As it will be remembered, Simon W. Robinson was the Grand High Priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts in 1837-1839; Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts between 1846-1848; and the Most Puissant Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council (Scottish Rite) 1865-1867; and was made a Thirty-third Degree Mason in 1851. Earlier in his Masonic career he was Worshipful Master in 1824, 1825 and again in 1845 of Mount Lebanon Lodge of Boston, from which Lodge he received this Past Master's Jewel. Through the initiative of Worshipful Pierre A. Northrup, it was decided that this Jewel should be exchanged each year because of the kindred interest of the two Lodges in this outstanding Mason. On April 10, 1939, at a joint meeting, the first formal exchange was made when it was presented to Worshipful Walter E. Duncan of Mount Lebanon Lodge. The tradition has been continued each year and has helped to cement the friendliest of relations between these two Lodges.
There have been many memorable occasions in the Masonic Apartments over the years. Some have been annual affairs, such as: Past Masters' Night, Installation of Officers, Entertainment of the Ladies, Public Procession to Divine Service and Visits of the District Deputy Grand Master. Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson, Past Grand Master, has visited us on at least three occasions and installed Worshipful Joseph R. Cotton as Worshipful Master in 1922. Most Worshipful Herbert W. Dean, the Grand Master, in the company of Most Worshipful Dudley H. Ferrell, Past Grand Master, Right Worshipful Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary, paid Simon W. Robinson Lodge an official visit on February 9, 1931, while Worshipful J. Lawrence Miles was officiating; and on the following evening, Most Worshipful Brothers Herbert W. Dean and Melvin M. Johnson visited to witness the play "An 18th Century Lodge." On other occasions we have been visited by such outstanding Masons as Most Worshipful Brothers Frank L. Simpson, Joseph Earl Perry and Albert A. Schaefer, Past Grand Masters; Right Worshipful Brothers Louis A. Jones and Edwin O. Childs, Past Deputy Grand Masters; and Right Worshipful Frederick W. Hale, Past Senior Grand Warden and now Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge. Most Worshipful Brother Perry assisted in the raising of Brother Harold M. Wilson on September 11, 1944; while Most Worshipful Brother Schaefer attended the installation of Worshipful George B. Gosbee on June 11, 1945.
A large reception was tendered Worshipful Joseph R. Cotton on February 10, 1936, in honor of his appointment as Senior Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge. Close to two hundred were present, with Worshipful William I. Burnham as host. It was made especially outstanding by the presence of Most Worshipful Joseph Earl Perry, then Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, and six other Grand Lodge Officers. It was a warm tribute to one who has filled many positions with distinction and honor. The Ladies' Night affair on December 11, 1939, while Worshipful Fred Bailey was Master, was a party held in connection with members and their ladies from Mount Lebanon Lodge, and over 300 attended this most successful occasion.
There have been meetings where we have entertained other Lodges, as on April 14, 1930, when the officers of Isaac Parker Lodge of Waltham occupied the various stations to initiate Brother Paul N. Barker; on January 18, 1932, when Mystic Valley Lodge, Winchester, did the work on Brother Clarence E. Bentley; on October 10, 1932, when the officers of Sagamore Lodge, West Medford, conferred the Fellowcraft Degree on Brother George E. Swanson; on January 8, 1934, when the Fraternity Male Chorus of Fraternity Lodge, Newtonville, provided the music for the degrees and again when this same Lodge, on April 19, 1940, held its regular monthly communication at one and the same time with us, which was a unique experience. Our officers have paid visits to Monitor Lodge, Waltham; Mount Lebanon Lodge, Boston; and Fraternity Lodge, Newtonville.
Sentiment plays a big part in our work—so it is a matter of interest when Brother Robert W. Custance was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in due and ancient form by his father, Right Worshipful Howard E. Custance; and when Worshipful George E. Smith received and raised his sons, Herbert and Kenneth; on the evening that Kenneth was received, his brother, Herbert, acted as Senior Deacon; also, when Worshipful Albert H. Burnham raised his sons, William and Lawrence — and later installed William as Worshipful Master; and again when Right Worshipful Charles H. Miles raised his son, J. Lawrence Miles, and later installed him as Worshipful Master of Simon W. Robinson Lodge. On September 10, 1934, Worshipful Everett E. Morrill had the unusual privilege of raising feis father, Brother William E. Morrill.
Our Temple was materially damaged by fire on November 17, 1940. Fortunately, however, the fire was confined to the lower floor and did not destroy furnishings nor our paraphernalia. It did require redecorating practically the entire building inside. We were profoundly grateful to the officers of Belmont Lodge, Mystic Valley Lodge, Fraternity Lodge, Sagamore Lodge, Amicable Lodge, Mount Lebanon Lodge, the Trustees of Arlington Masonic Temple, The Old Belfry Club, and the 1st Baptist Church of Lexington for their kind expressions of regret at our misfortune and for offering at that time the use of their quarters and properties. The repairs were completed in time so that we reoccupied the Temple for our December meeting.
We have had a number of our members at the Masonic Hone in Charlton, which has prompted several visits there, usually during the month of May. No finer service is offered by our great Fraternity than the Masonic Home and Hospital in Shrewsbury for our aged and afflicted members, and we am grateful that such a haven and a home are there to brighten their latter years!
The last surviving Charter Member, Brother George Dennis Harrington, died May 8, 1929, at the age of eighty-six. He had been a member of the Order for sixty years. He served as Corporal in Company F, 22nd Mass. Infantry during the Civil War, receiving his honorable discharge October 17, 1864. For almost twenty-five years he assisted in the work. After death, his daughter presented the Lodge his Henry Price Medal, so that it might be framed and placed in a suitable position in the Lodge as a memorial to him. A similar medal and portrait of Brother Leroy S. Brown was presented to the Lodge by his widow, as was a portrait of Rev. Brother Christopher W. Collier, our long time beloved Chaplain, at the meeting held oa April 9, 1945. Here we might mention the beautiful Bible used in part of our work which was presented on November 8, 1943, by our present Chaplain, Rev. Brother Frank W. Thompson.
It is of interest to members of Simon W. Robinson Lodge that thirty of its Past Masters have held membership in Menotomy Royal Arch Chapter. Worshipful John C. Blasdel was not only the first Worshipful Master of our Lodge, but was the first High Priest of Menotomy Royal Arch Chapter. Most Worshipful Simon W. Robinson was one of its Honorary Members. Since September 11, 1939, the front cover of our Lodge Notice has carried a design featuring our beautiful Masonic Temple. It was the conception of Brother Frank Martin of St. John's Lodge of Boston. The history covering the first fifty years of Simon W. Robinson Lodge was prepared by Worshipful Fred S. Piper and read when we celebrated our fiftieth anniversary on October 25, 1920. Brother Edwin B. Worthen wrote "The Story of the Temple of Simon W. Robinson Lodge"; and Worshipful George B. Gosbee and committee were assisted in the preparation of the history of the last twenty-five years by Worshipful Henry S. C. Cummings of Newton Centre — the Senior Grand Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.
During these twenty-five years, fifteen of our members have received Veteran's Medals. The first three were presented the Henry Price Medal, which was given before the Veteran's Medal was created in 1926. The group included the following:
- Name of Brother, Presentation Date (Years a Mason) Date of Death
- Edward Saxton Payson, Nov. 10, 1919 (66) Sept. 22, 1932
- Everett Stephen Locke, Dec. 12, 1921 (57) Mar. 2, 1928
- William Bowles Foster, Oct. 8, 1923 (61) Apr. 26, 1934
- Samuel Brooks Bigelow, Nov. 12, 1928 (52) June 8, 1930
- Leroy Sunderland Brown, Nov. 12, 1928 (59) June 11, 1940
- James Ernest Crone, Nov. 12, 1928 (59) Mar. 4, 1937
- Herbert Lyman Wellington, Nov. 12, 1928 (51) June 15, 1929
- Albert Wellington Stone, May 15, 1931 (53) May 21, 1934
- Alfred Pierce, Apr. 13, 1936 (54) Aug. 21, 1940
- Roger Irving Shermon, May 11, 1942
- Frank Henry Locke, Sept. 19, 1942 (53) Apr. 1, 1945
- Harry Wellington Davis, Mar. 8, 1943 (50) Apr. 27, 1943
- Fred Smith Piper, Mar. 13, 1944
- Horace Myrich Howard, Mar. 13, 1944
- John Stillman Spaulding, May 8, 1944
- Frederic Richards Galloupe, July 5, 1945 (50) July 7, 1945
In 1944, Most Worshipful Arthur W. Coolidge requested all of the Lodges in the Jurisdiction of Massachusetts to contribute $200,000 for the Masonic Military Service Activities, and indicated that each Lodge should try to turn in the equivalent of at Least two dollars per member. The funds so collected to help finance the new Masonic Service Center at Camp Devens, Ayer, Massachusetts, and assist in the operational expenses for similar centers in other parts of the country. Simon W. Robinson Lodge through the efforts of Worshipful Geoffrey L. Pippette, well oversubscribed this "informal quota" by turning in $1,244, and along with all the other Lodges, helped to swell the final total for this worthy fund to $264,500. The Lodge received a "Citation" from the Grand Master.
We have been especially proud of those who have entered Military Service in World War II. The "Honor Roll" carries the names of twenty-four in the Army, ten in the Navy, one in the Coast Guard, one in the Merchant Marine, as well as Sixty-three sons, daughters and grandchildren of members! Worshipful Brothers Leonard F. Foss and J. Lawrence Miles, it will be noted, are among this group. We are happy to record these names, as they exemplify the Spirit of America in its sobering struggle to regain for our time the freedoms of liberty, justice and truth. The Honor Roll includes the following names:
- Philip M. Caughey
- Leonard F. Foss
- Charles H. Franks
- Benjamin C. Freeman
- Earle W. Garland
- Leon E. Harriman
- Edward T. Howard
- William B. Ladd, Jr.
- Ernest E. Leavitt
- Cedric E. Lewis, Jr.
- Walter McCoubrey
- J. Lawrence Miles
- Clifton R. Price
- Thomas J. Rouner
- Donald J. Shaw
- Leonard V. Short, M. D.
- Ralph H. Wells, M. D.
- George B. Wilson
- Robert W. Custance
- George A. Davison
- George W. Nary, Jr.
- Walter T. Rix
- Orbert H. Simmons
- Kenneth M. Smith
- Thure H.Webber
- Fred A. Hoxie
- Edward M. Taylor
- William C. Powers
- Noel C. Phelps
- Floyd R. Parks
- Robert D. Mayo
- Walter T. Julin
- Edgar N. Josephson
- Phillip A. Nelles, Jr.
- C. Freeman Nourse
- Donald M. Hager
We take pride in rooting back these seventy-five years to the days when Masonry was so thrillingly vital to those who "took it up" and so much a part of their way of life. Little do we know which tree over the years will have the staunchest roots, the most spreading trunk, the most uplifted branches, or may stretch its lofty dimensions highest in a glorious sweep toward the heavens to add charm and beauty and joy to those who may later pass it by in their journey through life. Human beings have the capacity to add "charm and beauty and joy" to others along the way, for as they love life, do good, live honorably with men they find all the satisfaction intended for them, arid by their example help others to find happiness and the pathway toward the Celestial Lodge above. May God bless each of our membership for their loyalty to Simon W. Robinson Lodge and for their earnestness in support of the good that Masonry aims to give to all mankind. We have completed a long period of steady growth and service to our Community, and with the experience of the past, look hopefully to the tomorrows in the tasks and opportunities that lie ahead. Let us then all —forward go to higher ground!
THE STORY OF THE TEMPLE OF SIMON W. ROBINSON LODGE
From Proceedings, Page 1945-313:
By Brother Edwin D. Worthen.
One of the best informed residents of Lexington, Albert W. Bryant, a Freemason, born in 1814, has written it was an accepted tradition that the first gatherings of Freemasons in Lexington were held in a secluded spot on the hill back of Munroe Tavern. Of the actual institution of the first Lodge there is ample evidence. In September 1797, ten Masons gathered at Munroe Tavern and drew up a petition to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for the constitution of a Lodge ri Lexington. The Grand Lodge granted the petition on December 12, 1797, and the body was given the name of Hiram Lodge. Colonel William Munroe, proprietor of the Tavern, a member of the Lexington Minute-men, was the first Master and served in all, six years. All charter members had been raised in King Solomon's Lodge and were residents of this town. Six of the ten had seen service during the War for American Independence. The last survivor of those ten was Jonathan Harrington, the fifer boy of sixteen at the Battle of Lexington. He died in 1854, the last survivor of the Battle, and was buried with State and Masonic honors.
For about a year this little group met in the East Chamber at the Tavern, the room in which Washington dined on November 5, 1789. Business was good at the Tavern, the village was growing, and Colonel Munroe decided to enlarge his home, building on at the west side. The second floor of this large addition was a hall useful for dancing and general assemblies. It could be used, and often was, for additional beds when there were an unusual number of drovers and teamsters stopping for a night's lodging. No doubt Colonel Munroe had Hiram Lodge in mind when he enlarged the Tavern. The hall was formerly dedicated to their use by the Grand Lodge on October 17, 1798. During the following thirty-three years, 150 men were raised to membership. From 1831 on, during the anti-Masonic period, the Lodge was dormant and never regained any local position. It retained its organization and on December 4, 1843, James Russell, a member of a family long prominent in Lexington and Arlington, Master of Hiram Lodge, assembled the remaining members, presumably at his house, and it was voted to move to West Cambridge, now Arlington. Most of the members continued their membership and residents of Lexington took their degrees in Arlington for many years afterward.
Colonel William Munroe, after retiring from his active life at the Tavern, built a home on the Avenue nearly opposite the entrance to the Cemetery. This house was within fairly recent years moved back to No. 8 Rowland Avenue. Colonel Munroe's interest in Freemasonry must have been very sincere for he prevailed upon some of the members of Hiram Lodge to buy land upon which a Temple should be erected. They purchased the land almost opposite the Colonel's house on the lower corner of the entrance to the Munroe Cemetery — we know it today as the Robert Moore property. Title in the property was retained for some years, but with the growing feeling against Masonry, the Lodge decided to dispose of its holdings and on September 1, 1815, John Chandler of Lexington and John Kimball of Waltham, the Master and Senior Warden of Hiram Lodge, conveyed the property to Daniel Chandler.
There was then no Masonic body in Lexington from 1843 until Simon W. Robinson Lodge was formed under a dispensation of the Grand Lodge under date of November 7, 1870, an event which we now celebrate seventy-five years later. The first meetings were held with John C. Blasdel as Master at the home of Brother Sargent C. Whitcher. This was the house on Hancock Street occupied for many years by the family of Benjamin F. Brown, just this side of Edgewood Road. The house was demolished in 1930.
The old town hall on the Avenue opposite Waltham Street was then under construction and the third floor seemed to offer what were then palatial quarters. We, who climbed those stairs, fussed with the stoves and discouraged leaks, reserve our opinion! Celebrations were in order — the building, made possible through the generosity of Mrs. Cary, was dedicated on April 19, 1871, and six months later, on October 20,1871, Simon W. Robinson Lodge was duly instituted in its new quarters by Gideon Haynes, District Deputy Grand Master. There were but fifteen charter members:
- John C. Blasdel
- Leonard G. Babcock
- Charles C. Goodwin
- George D. Harrington
- Warren E. Russell
- George S. Butters
- Sargent C. Whitcher
- George O. Davis
- George Bryant
- Horace B. Davis
- Charles K. Tucker
- Augustus E. Scott
- Asa Cottrell
- Bradley C. Whitcher
- George E. Muzzey
Regular communications were held on the top floor until 1918. But the days of the old Town Hall were numbered, for it was known that the Town would be offered, under the Cary family wills, the gift of a new building. Brother Charles H. Miles was quick to appreciate that this would mean finding new quarters for Simon W. Robinson Lodge. He suggested to Brother Richard Engstrom the advisability of securing the old Normal School building. He heartily approved and immediately arranged to purchase the property for $6000. In order to clear the defects in a much clouded title, it was put through the Land Court and on July 17, 1917, Brother Engstrom deeded the real estate, at its original cost, to the Lexington Masonic Associates, which had been organized to receive and hold the property. The first Trustees were Brothers Charles H. Miles, Richard Engstrom and Clifford W. Pierce, and under their direction, funds were raised and the necessary alterations carried out. The first meeting of the Lodge in the new Temple was held at the time of its dedication, in June 24, 1918.
Furnished and ready for occupancy, the total cost of our Temple was $29,000. Members of the Lodge had made liberal contributions and the balance of $20,000 was raised by a mortgage. There were deficits in carrying the property during the first years so that the total cost and charges amounted to $33,000. In 1922, under the leadership of Brother Miles, the Lodge undertook the task of reducing this debt, and it was completely extinguished in 1925.
This Temple is one of the landmarks of America, for within its walls were conducted the experiments which ushered in a new era in education, one of the greatest steps ever taken in the development of our free public school system. The story of our Temple is intensely interesting.
Lexington was a reasonably prosperous growing community in 1820. Taverns and traffic over the roads were largely accountable, along with blacksmithing and some manufacturing. It was but natural that an academy should be founded here. This building was erected for that purpose in 1822. The Charter from the State stated that the Academy was "for the purpose of promoting religion and morality and for the education of youth in such of the liberal arts and sciences as the Trustees for the time being shall direct." This academy building had an assembly hall in the upper part which was heated by fireplaces at each end. Rev. Caleb Stetson, who married into the Merriam family, long residents in Buckman Tavern, was the first principal and the school opened with eighty-four pupils. Stetson's daughter married Sargent C. Whitcher. You will recall that the first meetings of this Lodge were held in his house. Perhaps the Trustees of this Academy were ahead of their times, for the school lasted but eleven years and then closed down.
It might be well to note here, before going on with the story of the building, something about the land upon which it stands. The very first grant of land within the present Lexington was made by the Cambridge Proprietors to Roger Harlarkenden in 1636. It comprised 600 acres at Vine Brook and included all the land now comprising Lexington center. Harlarkenden died and his widow married Herbert Pelham and this land remained in the Pelham family until 1693. In that year the title of a considerable part of the 600 acres, including this spot, passed to Benjamin Muzzey, ancestor of the present Lexington family. On September 16, 1699, he deeded lands along Hancock Street down to the Common to Rev. John Hancock, the second pastor of Lexington, who built the Hancock-Clarke House. He, in turn, in 1761, sold some fifty acres to his successor, the Rev. Jonas Clarke, our Minister during the Revolution and until his death in 1805. A few years after his death, the heirs sold this spot to that most interesting personage, John Augustus. He resided in the house facing the Common now occupied by Mrs. Leroy Brown and carried on an amazing work for the times— the attempted rebuilding of the down and out. To his home he brought the outcasts of Boston, and by instruction, precept and gainful outdoor work, tried to make them into useful citizens again. In some years he paid the poll-tax, in Lexington, for twenty or thirty of these waifs. The land for the Academy was bought from John Augustus by the Trustees April 4, 1822, for the sum of $325. Incidentally, John Augustus was a member of Hiram Lodge. The area purchased was about half an acre bounded in part by the "old road to Burlington" — the present Hancock Street and the "new road to Bedford" — for Bedford Street was not cut through until 1807. The title to our land precedes the incorporation of the Town by three quarters of a century.
The Trustees, immediately upon completing the purchase, leased back to John Augustus for a ninety-nine year term a strip of the land along the Bedford Street side; he agreed to erect no building thereon which would obstruct the view. Following the closing of the Academy, the Trustees sold the property on March 14, 1833, to Austin Chittenden, who then resided in Mr. Leroy Brown's house and carried on the business of manufacturing shelf clocks. No doubt he made some use of the building in connection with his business. In 1835 the building was taken over by the leaders of another adventure in education — the Lexington Manual Labor Seminary. Here was a real departure from the staid New England Academy, for its object was to "blend useful instruction and innocent recreation with habits of industry and profitable labor, to furnish youth with agreeable exercise, to make them acquainted with the use of mechanical tools and with mechanical operations also with horticultural pursuits." Thus one of the first attempts at instruction in the manual arts and industry was made in this building. The basement was fitted up as a shop and the adjacent land used for garden plots and experiments. But again the leaders were too far ahead of the times or lacked financial backing, for the "Trade School" lasted only until 1837. Chittenden in the meantime had given a $900 mortgage to the Trustees of the Lexington Ministerial Fund, and that lien was not discharged until 1885. He also sold off the back land in 1833 and the house which faces toward the Common was erected thereon, with a reminder of that troublesome stipulation that nothing should be erected on the Bedford Street land which would obstruct the view toward the Common.
That great citizen of Massachusetts, Horace Mann, now enters our story — one of the greatest leaders in education in all history. He had sensed that the fault with educational practices was largely due to unskilled and untrained teachers. The school teachers were not always college graduates, none had the slightest instruction in the art of imparting knowledge to the youth of the land. By amazing methods and great personal sacrifices, all a wonderful story, he succeeded in getting an appropriation from the Legislature, and with a sum of $10,000 matched by private subscription, he was ready for the great step forward—instructing young men and women how to teach. Fortunately for Lexington, we could provide an empty building reasonably suited for his purposes, and Lexington citizens subscribed $1000 toward the cause, so that on July 3, 1839, there opened in this building the first public normal school in America. Title had in the meantime passed, under date of July 7, 1835, to Timothy P. Ropers, the consideration being $1300.
Three great leaders of education, happily, constituted the State Board of Education, Horace Mann, Jared Sparks and Robert Rantoul. They were profoundly interested in making this experiment a success. Cyrus Pierce of Waltham was secured as principal, and on that first day he was faced by three pupils. His success as a teacher was remarkable for the period his health permitted him to carry on. He was later succeeded by Rev. Samuel J. May, who carried on from the foundations laid by "Father Pierce," as he was affectionately called.
There is no opportunity here to tell the story of the Normal School nor to dwell on its influence in educational affairs. Many books have been written about it; it is an epic in our history. Of interest, too, is the life of the fine young people who came here to mingle with the townspeople. Happily, their story has been preserved and printed. The building had been remodeled for their use; the basement into kitchen and dining room; the second floor a school room for the young teachers-to-be; the third floor cut up into sleeping quarters. On the ground floor was the "model school," for part of the instruction consisted in actual practice in teaching. The villagers were prevailed upon to send their children to this model school and the budding teachers practiced upon them the lessons learned upon the floor above.
The teachers paid $2.00 a week for board, washing, toward heating, etc.; school books were largely contributed by interested friends; tuition was free. The diaries kept by the young ladies abound with local references, such as walks to "Normal Hill"-—we call it "Granny Hill," picnics in "Seminary Grove"— that is the pines around Somerset Road; tea at Mrs. Muzzey's; review of sermons preached in the old church on the common; lack of heat and comforts; home sickness; papers read on all sorts of subjects. One, which especially caught my notice, was devoted to proving "that our climate had changed and our winters were warmer than 50 years ago." This has a rather familiar sound. The experiment was a success. Pupils overflowed the living quarters into nearby private homes until it was decided to seek larger quarters. The great experiment moved to Newton in 1844 and to Framingham in 1853, where the Normal School is still in operation.
For a rather brief period following the Normal School, a Mr. and Mrs. Waite used this building as a private school. That great son of Lexington, the late Governor George D. Robinson, attended this school. Then followed a few years of lowly existence for our Temple and it was cut up into tenements and a number of Irish families were its occupants. For a brief time there was a grocery store on the street floor.
It was, of course, for many years the only building in the town, other than the church on the Common, which would hold any considerable gathering. Much use of it for such purposes was made by the townspeople. We absolutely know that within these very walls were held public meetings to promote the cause of those active in anti-Masonic activities. A most remarkable statement to contemplate when we consider its present use.
In this period which I have referred to as a lowly existence the title to the property became further involved by a succession of small mortgages, assignments and foreclosures which were to cause trouble in later years—all a matter of record, but not necessary here.
In 1866 residents of Lexington who were of the Congregational denomination decided to attempt a parish in Lexington. On July 13, 1866, Rebecca Ann Randall of Woburn deeded the property to Deacons John Field and Oliver R. Clark. Such title as she had to the property came to her from her father, Thaddeus Munroe, who had held assignments of two mortgages valued at about $1250.
The two deacons on November 10, 1868, deeded the property to the newly formed Hancock Congregational Society, and the building was again completely remodelled, this time for church purposes. The greatest structural change was the removal of the second floor to make a full two-story auditorium. On December 28, 1893, the Society sold the property to Mr. John L. Norris, moving to a new edifice across the Common. Mr. Norris remodeled the building for general assembly purposes. I recall attending Mr. Eanta's dancing school here and seeing early "moving pictures." Such general use continued until 1917.
The location of our Temple, facing as it does the Battle-green where took place the stirring events of April 19,1775, its varied history, its use for educational purposes such that it is known throughout our land, combine to make a setting truly appropriate to the high purposes of Freemasonry and in which every member of our Fraternity may take a just pride.
CENTENARY HISTORICAL SKETCH, NOVEMBER 1970
From Proceedings, Page 1970-505:
By Rev. Bro. Harold T. Handley.
EXCERPT FROM THE FIRST BOOK OF RECORDS OF SIMON W. ROBINSON LODGE
"In November 1870 a number of Brethren of the Masonic Order, residents of Lexington, being desirous of forming a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Lexington, met for that purpose and among other business relative to the object was the selection of a suitable name for the Lodge. After some discussion it was thought eminently proper to adopt the name of our honored Brother and Mason Simon W. Robinson, who had been for many years a resident of this town.
"Brother Robinson was made a Mason in 1819 in Mount Lebanon Lodge of which Lodge he was made an honorary member in 1849 for his long and valuable service. Having filled the more important chairs in Royal Arch Chapter, also in the Grand Royal Arch Chapter, Grand Scribe of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts, Grand King in 1836, Grand High Priest in 1837-38-39 and also filling important offices in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts he was elected Grand Master in 1840 presiding during his term with marked ability and benefit to the Craft in that oldest Masonic jurisdiction in our country.
"For these and other valuable and important Masonic Services, as well as having through a long life ever sustained the character of an honest and upright man, living to the good old age of seventy-six years, the Brethren concluded that no better or more honorable name could be adopted than the Simon W. Robinson Lodge and application was consequently made to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, William Sewall Gardner, Grand Master, for a dispensation for Simon W. Robinson Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons."
EXCERPTS FROM THE DISPENSATION
Given By Grand Lodge On The Seventh Day of November, 1870.
"As a result of a petition presented to the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons of Massachusetts, William Sewall Gardner, by Brothers John C. Blasdel, George O. Davis, Augustus E. Scott, Charles C. Goodwin, W. E. Russell, Charles K. Tucker, Loring W. Muzzey, H. B. Davis, S. C. Whitcher, George D. Harrington, B. C. Whitcher, Leonard G. Babcock, Aso Cottrell, George S. Butters and J, Bryant, 'Praying to be congregated into a regular lodge under the name and title of Simon W. Robinson Lodge with permission to hold same in the Town of Lexington', the Most Worshipful Master 'Reposing full confidence in the Masonic integrity and ability of the petitioners' granted a dispensation 'Authorizing and empowering our trusty and well beloved brethren aforesaid to form and open a Lodge' and 'Therein to admit and make Free Masons according to the ancient custom, and not otherwise.'
"In this dispensation, Brother John C. Blasdel was appointed the first Master, Brother George 0. Davis the first Senior Warden and Augustus C. Scott the first Junior Warden. 'And it shall be the duty of said Master and Wardens' to 'Return this dispensation with a correct transcript of all proceedings had under the authority of same, together with an attested copy of their by-laws' before the Regular Communication of the Grand Lodge in the Month of September 1871."
The first meetings of Simon W. Robinson Lodge were held at the home of Bro. Sargent C. Whitcher who lived on Hancock Street, not far from where the present Masonic Temple is located. No record exists of these early meetings. We are indeed fortunate, however, to have all of the Secretaries' records from the First Regular Communication until the present, and from these records we have been able to highlight the important, interesting and sometimes unusual activities of our fust one-hundred years.
The first regular communication of Simon W. Robinson Lodge was held in the Lexington Town Hall on March 13, 1871. Three applications for initiation were read and investigating committees appointed.
At a special communication of the Lodge on May 8, 1871, "Bro. A. E. Scott on behalf of the Ladies of Lexington presented the Lodge with an elegant copy of the Holy Bible for the altar, and also a beautiful copy of the Holy Bible and a stand for the same, for use of the Worshipful Master and the Chaplain". This Altar Bible was in continuous use by the Lodge until 1968.
At this same meeting the Lodge voted to choose a committee of seven to "Get up a Strawberry Festival and such other entertainment as such committee might deem best for the benefit of the Lodge."
On September 8, 1871 "A code of by-laws was accepted to be submitted to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge."
Simon W. Robinson Lodge was Constituted, the Hall dedicated and Officers installed, October 20, 1871 by R. W. Gideon Haynes, D. D. G. M., 2nd District, accompanied by a full suite.
October 23, 1871—Brother Scott presented to the Lodge, in the name of the widow of Simon W. Robinson, a picture of Dur namesake. This picture presently hangs in the Tyler's Room. At this same meeting it was "Voted that the Tyler be instructed to provide a heating apparatus for the anteroom".
At a special meeting on July 15, 1872 "Voted that a committee be appointed to see what arrangements can be made as lo the purchase of an organ for the Hall". This committee reported back to the Lodge on December 9th and recommended the purchase of an organ for #150 and that the Secretary pay #25 down and the balance as soon as possible.
At this same meeting, it was voted to remit the dues of the Secretary and Tyler and pay the Tyler $25. per year.
June 9, 1872 — "Voted that the first three officers be authorized relative to the introducing of gas into the Lodge Rooms." In March of 1874 it was voted that one-half of the membership fee and dues for 1874 be remitted for all Masons living in Lexington who wished to affiliate with Simon W. Robinson Lodge.
At the May 1874 meeting it was voted that "A. E. Locke be appointed as a committee of one to take into consideration the best arrangement for properly heating the Hall." As the older members of Simon W. Robinson Lodge can attest, proper heating in the old Town Hall was a never-ending problem.
An innovation — for the first time, a collation was served after the Official Visitation in 1874 and the Worshipful Master and Secretary acting in connection with the Stewards prepared the same. It was voted that the Secretary raise by subscription the funds to pay for the collation.
The records show that on April 23, 1877, "The committee appointed for the purpose reported that after many tries, by vote of the Town Meeting, rent had been reduced from $144 to $100 per year."
November 19, 1877-—A Committee was appointed to "See the owners of certain scrip issued by the Lodge and endeavor to relieve the Lodge of payment of same." This scrip was issued at the time the Lodge was formed, proceeds being used to furnish and equip the Lodge.
The first recorded Masonic Funeral Service in which Simon W. Robinson Lodge participated was conducted on Sunday, February 24, 1878 using "The order of burial service suggested by Bro. Scott." Forty-seven Masons attended.
The records of the December 29, 1879 meeting indicate that Past Master, R. W. A. E. Scott installed the officers of Simon W. Robinson Lodge. There is no notation as to when R.W. Bro. Scott received his appointment as District Deputy Grand Master.
Wor. Bro. Locke was the first Master of Simon W. Robinson Lodge to have been made a Mason in Simon W. Robinson Lodge. He received his Third Degree on September 25, 1871.
On January 26, 1880 it was voted that the Treasurer of the Lodge pay the note held by the Lexington Savings Bank by "Borrowing such sums of the Brethren as he may require for the purpose, giving to them receipts, showing that he may use the same in payment of quarterages (dues) to become due."
December 13, 1880 — The first public installation of Officers was held. There were present thirty members of Simon W. Robinson Lodge, sixteen visiting Masons and 16S ladies and gentlemen as invited guests. This was the 100th regular communication of Simon W. Robinson Lodge and the Lodge had grown to 54 members.
On April 11, 1881 it was voted "That the carpets in the Lodge room and anterooms be taken up, shaken, and relaid provided the entire expense would not exceed $10."
December IS, 1881 —The Charity Fund was established by vote of the Lodge. The Treasurer was instructed to deposit 10% of gross receipts of the Lodge to said fund.
On October 23, 1882 it was voted to forward $5.00 to the Lodge at Pensacola, Florida, to aid the sufferers of yellow fever. November 20, 1882 — "Voted that the Secretary be paid $25 and his dues remitted."
On December 10, 1883 it was voted that in the future the expense of collations be paid from Lodge funds and the Lodge should vote when collations should be served.
On February 23, 1885 the Lodge voted to pay from the treasury the Simon W. Robinson Lodge share of the expenses of the Lodge of Instruction to be held at the Masonic Temple, Boston.
December 7, 1885 — Brother Walter Blodgett was elected Worshipful Master but declined serving. A second ballot resulted in the election of Wor. Quincy Bicknell, Jr. to serve as Master for a second time.
On October 11, 1886, the Secretary was directed to send $5.00 to the Masons of Charleston, S. C, to aid in the relief of earthquake victims.
May 21, 1888 "Voted that the thanks of the Lodge be given to Bro. H. T. Richardson for his beautiful and useful present of jewels for the Master and Wardens" (These are the "traveling jewels" worn by the Master and Wardens on visitations.)
October 8, 1888 "On motion of Wor. Bro. Crone, Bro. W. H. Davis was appointed a committee of one to have an article inserted in the Warrant for Town Meeting, asking the Town to provide toilet conveniences for the Lodge."
The records show that on March 11, 1889 the thanks of the Lodge were given to Miss Carrie Kauffman for her present of a book-mark for the Bible.
April 14, 1890 "The Secretary read a circular from Grand Lodge in regard to a proposed Masonic Memorial to Washington at Fredericksburg, Va."
New regalia was acquired in May 1890 from proceeds received from a concert held for that purpose.
On the 200th Regular Communication of the Lodge, held October 13, 1890, the Secretary gave a report showing a total membership in the Lodge of seventy members.
Wor. Herbert T. Richardson never presided in the East. He apparently became ill shortly after his installation. On June 20, 1892 a Special Communication was called to elect a Worshipful Master "In place of our late Wor. Bro. Herbert T. Richardson". In the eulogy to Wor. Bro. Richardson he was remembered for his gifts to the Lodge of "Beautiful regalia and various other emblems of Masonry contributed wholly or in part by him."
November 14, 1892 — The Master and Wardens were appointed a committee "To consider the subject of electric lighting and ascertain the cost of wiring the Lodge Room and adjoining rooms." On February 13, 1893 this committee reported back and recommended "Nineteen lights would be needed; one in the kitchen, four in the large anteroom, one in the Preparation Room and thirteen in the Lodge Room, the latter to be controlled by a switch, and that the cost would be #65 of which #15 would be for the switch."
September 10, 1894—R. W. Quincy Bicknell, Jr., District Deputy Grand Master for the Sixth Masonic District was introduced and congratulated by the Worshipful Master on his appointment.
On May 13, 189S a committee was appointed to consider and report on a plan for a suitable celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Lodge. This committee reported back on September 9th "That it was deemed inexpedient to hold such celebration."
April 13, 1896 — The Worshipful Master appointed a "Committee who shall be styled the 'Visiting Committee' and whose duty it shall be to visit all sick brethren." This was the first official Service Committee.
December 14, 1896 "On behalf of the donors, Wor. Bro. Swan was presented a Past Master's Jewel." It was voted "That in the future, jewels for Past Masters to be paid for from the Lodge Treasury at an expense of not over sixty-five dollars."
February 8, 1897 — The Secretary read a communication from the Grand Patron, Order of Eastern Star and a committee was appointed to investigate the advisability for forming an Eastern Star Chapter in Lexington.
Notice was given the Lodge on September 12, 1898 that the Senior Wardens of two constituent Lodges had been killed in the War with Spain. Suitable condolences were sent to the two Lodges.
At the Official Visit of R. W. George S. Litchfield on October 10, 1898, the District Deputy spoke of a plan to provide a Grand Lodge Charity Fund to be financed by assessing each Massachusetts Mason one dollar a year for ten years. For the first time, on November 3, 1899, the annual reports of the Treasurer and Secretary "Show the Lodge to be in very prosperous financial condition."
On November 12, 1900, it was moved that the salary of the Treasurer should be $15 per year. This motion was amended to make the salary $25, but the motion to amend was defeated and the Lodge finally voted to pay the Treasurer $15.
January 14, 1901 "It was voted to present Benton Lodge of Guildhall, Vt., a gavel made of wood from 'Old Belfry' in consideration of the fact that Wor. Bro. Benton, the first Master of Benton Lodge, was raised in Simon W. Robinson Lodge."
On February 10, 1902 an invitation was received from the Lexington Historical Society, inviting the Lodge to attend the next meeting of the Society when a paper on "The Anti-Masonic movement in the United States and particularly in Lexington would be read."
November 10, 1902 — It was voted to provide gloves for the officers at the expense of the Lodge.
December 8, 1902 — A committee was appointed to look into the matter of establishing "Paid Up Memberships".
February 9, 1903—The Committee on "Paid Up Memberships" reported back and recommended a change in the By-Laws that "Any member of this Lodge whose dues are paid in full shall, upon the payment of $60. be considered a Life Member and any Member who has paid dues for thirty consecutive years shall also be considered a Life Member." This change was subsequently voted by the Lodge.
May 11, 1903 "The matter of leasing new apartments was brought up and after considerable discussion the whole matter was indefinitely postponed."
At the January 8, 1906 meeting, congratulations were extended to Wor. Bro. Everett C. Benton on his appointment as Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.
May 14, 1906 "Motion was made and seconded that the sum of $25 be donated for the relief of sufferers of the San Francisco earthquake and fire."
December 10, 1906—It was voted "That a Committee be appointed by the Worshipful Master to ascertain the cost and advisability of purchasing two chairs for the right and left of the Worshipful Master." This Committee reported back favorably and the two chairs were acquired at a cost of $40.00.
February 11, 1907 — It was voted that a committee of three be appointed to organize a Ladies Night with banquet and music. After a favorable report, the Lodge held its first Ladies Night on June 10, 1907.
At the December 9th meeting it was voted to take #6.15 from the treasury and purchase a "Coffee Tank."
A Communication from Grand Lodge, dated February 25, 1908, stated that arrangements had been made with the railroads to give reduced rates to Masons desiring to attend the Quarterly Meeting of Grand Lodge on March 11th. Round trip from Lexington — 25¢.
In December 1908 the value of our Secretary became apparent. The Lodge voted to amend the By-Laws and increase the Secretary's annual pay to $50.00 (Byron Earle, the Secretary, made the motion which was subsequently passed.) At the same meeting, it was "Moved and voted that refreshments be .served at every communication and the amount to be expended be left with the Stewards subject to approval by the Worshipful Master."
February 10, 1910 — "Moved and voted that the Secretary he instructed to write the Selectmen protesting the lack of heat in the Lodge Room."
June 12, 1911 — It was voted to assess each member of Simon W. Robinson Lodge the sum of $5.00, payable at $1.00 per year for 5 years for the benefit of the Masonic Home. The Secretary was empowered to collect this assessment, "The said assessment being in the nature of a voluntary contribution which each member is to make so far as he can without injury to himself or family".
January 13, 1913—The committee on By-Laws recommended an increase in the initiation fee from $10 to $40; $10 to be paid with application and $10 before each degree.
December 15, 1913—The Most Worshipful Grand Master, Everett C. Benton, presented to Simon W. Robinson Lodge a gavel made from timbers "Felled and prepared in the forests of Lebanon". M. W. Bro. Benton installed Wor. George F. Smith as Master for his second term.
June 14, 1915 —"Voted that a committee be appointed to obtain pictures of Past Masters and have these framed for the anteroom". Because of this foresight, Simon W. Robinson Lodge has in its possession a photograph of all of its Past Masters.
The records show that Richard Engstrom, to whom Simon W. Robinson Lodge owes a continuing debt of gratitude, received his third degree on November 22, 1915. On November 28th, Bro. Engstrom paid his Life Membership fee and became a Life Member.
April 10, 1916 — The pictures of the Past Masters were placed on the walls of the anteroom for this meeting.
September 11, 1916 — The matter of new Masonic quarters was discussed and the Worshipful Master appointed a committee consisting of himself (Charles H. Miles), Leroy S. Brown, Hallie C. Blake, Richard Engstrom and Clarence P. Johnson to act on the matter.
At the meeting on December 11, 1916, Wor, Bro. Miles made a report of progress on the new Masonic Quarters. He stated that "Historic Hall" had been purchased by one of our members and that a full report would be made in January.
On January 8, 1917, Wor. Bro. Miles gave a lengthy report. Brother Littlefield, the architect, showed plans for the renovation of "Historic Hall". Wor. Bro. Miles asked for voluntary pledges from members toward the new quarters and between three and four thousand dollars was pledged.
At this meeting it was "Moved and voted that commencing in the year 1916 each retiring Master shall be presented with a Past Master's apron. Cost of same to be taken from Lodge funds".
February 12, 1917 —It was voted to change the By-Laws, increasing dues to $6.00, degrees to $55.00, Life Membership fees to $100.00 and membership fees to $10.00. It was also voted that all money received in payment of Life Memberships should be put in a separate permanent fund.
June 11, 1917 — The Trustees of the Lexington Masonic Associates was established "For the development and improvement of certain real estate at the corner of Bedford St., Elm Avenue and Hancock St."
September 10, 1917 — A committee was appointed to make suitable plans for the dedication of the new Masonic Hall. Most Wor. Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, formally dedicated this building. The formal dedication ceremonies were held on June 24, 1918 with 125 members and 150 visitors present.
"On account of the epidemic of Spanish Influenza, meeting No. 481 of October 14 and special meeting of October 22, 1917 were cancelled."
On March 10, 1919, the Lodge adopted a resolution eulogizing Brother Theodore Roosevelt. This eulogy indicates that a member of Simon W. Robinson Lodge, Brother Curtis Guild, participated at the time President Roosevelt was made a Mason.
November 10, 1919 —R. W. Charles H. Miles paid his first official visit to Simon W. Robinson Lodge.
On January 12, 1920 a committee of five was appointed to submit plans to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Lodge. This committee reported back on June 14th and it was voted to celebrate the occasion and assess each member $2.
Official 50th Anniversary celebration events occurred on October 24 and 25, 1920. (1920 Mass. 336-348)
Simon W. Robinson Lodge had grown to 274 members when it held its 500th regular Communication.
March 14, 1921— It was voted to change the By-Laws as follows: Treasurer shall receive $50. annually and his dues; the Secretary $150. annually and his dues and the Tyler $50. annually, his dues and $1. for each special meeting. Also the fee for degrees was increased from $55. to $65.
Returns for the year 1919-20 show forty-one men were made Masons in Simon W. Robinson Lodge. The records also indicate that it was a rare meeting that had less than one hundred members and visitors present.
On March 22, 1922, a letter was sent to all members of the Lodge asking for a pledge of $12.50 to wipe out the operational deficit of the Masonic Associates.
May 10, 1922 — The Lodge voted that the Trustees be asked to grant the use of the Lexington Masonic Temple to Lexington Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, at a reasonable rental.
May 14, 1923 "A rising vote of thanks was given to Bro. H. S. Blake for defraying the costs of repairs to Lodge Regalia." At this meeting a report was given on the Minstrel Show presented by members of Simon W. Robinson Lodge and $468., the proceeds of the show, was turned over to the Lodge.
On June 11, 1923, acknowledgement was given for the gift of a flag and pole by Bro. Richard Engstrom. This pole was placed in the center of the lawn.
At the October 8, 1923 meeting, a collection was taken for contributions toward furnishing Russell Lodge of Arlington.
September 8, 1924 "A letter was read from the Secretary of Russell Lodge of Arlington thanking Simon W. Robinson Lodge for donation of money for their new regalia".
February 11, 1924 — Resolutions were read and adopted on the death of Most Worshipful Everett C. Benton, Past Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts and a member of Simon W. Robinson Lodge.
On April 13, 1925, Bro. Byron C. Earle resigned his office of Secretary after having served the Lodge in that capacity for over twenty years. At the June meeting, he was presented with a gold watch and chain as a token of the esteem the Brethren held for him.
January 11, 1926 — Fees for degrees were increased from $65. to $75. A voluntary collection at this meeting netted nearly $400. for the benefit of a widow and two children of one of our late Brethren.
In April of 1926, a committee, under the direction of Bro. George S. Barton, presented a play "Are You a Mason" in the High School Auditorium.
A concert was held on March 30, 1927 to raise funds toward a greenhouse to be built and stocked at Masonic Home May IS, 1927 — The Lodge attended Divine Worship at the Hancock Congregational Church accompanied by Sir Galahad Commandery #52 and the Waltham DeMolay Band. 84 members of Simon W. Robinson Lodge and 35 members of the Commandery were in attendance.
May 14, 1928 "Wor. Howard E. Custance reported for the committee to institute a Chapter of DeMolay in Lexington and after favorable discussion it was voted to accept the report of the committee subject to approval of Grand Lodge." At this same meeting, Wor. Fred S. Piper gave a talk on the history of Masonry. Wor. Bro. Piper will long be remembered as an historian.
April 8, 1929 — A committee was appointed to draw up resolutions on the death of Bro. George D. Harrington, our last Charter Member.
At the June 1929 observance of St. John's Sunday, Simon W. Robinson Lodge was accompanied by Lexington Chapter #183, O. E. S.
January 13, 1930 — A bequest of Bro. Warren Batchelder was turned over to the Masonic Associates to be applied against the remaining indebtedness on the Temple.
November 10, 1930 — Wor. Howard E. Custance, Master of the 13th Lodge of Instruction, invited all to attend the next meeting of the Lodge of Instruction which was held in the Lexington Masonic Temple.
Wor. J. Lawrence Miles was installed by his father, R. W. Charles H. Miles. This was the first time a Past Master of Simon W. Robinson Lodge installed his son as Master of Simon W. Robinson Lodge.
On February 9 and 10, 1931, members of Simon W. Robinson Lodge presented a play entitled "An Eighteenth Century Lodge." The play depicted a Masonic Lodge as it worked at the time our Country was founded. It was very well received and later presented before the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts as a part of the 200th Anniversary Celebration of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
December 14, 1931 —An opportunity was given to members to contribute to a fund being raised to acquire "talking picture apparatus, radios, talking machines and a piano for the Masonic Home." The members contributed almost double the Simon W. Robinson Lodge quota established by Grand Lodge for this expenditure.
January 9, 1933—Rt. Wor. Howard E. distance paid his first Fraternal Visit as District Deputy Grand Master of the Somerville 6th Masonic District to Simon W. Robinson Lodge.
On April 3, 1933 a funeral service was held in the Masonic Temple. This is the only record of a funeral service being conducted in our Lexington Masonic Apartments.
On September 13, 1933 it was first proposed that the By-Laws be changed wherein the Lodge would elect officers at the June Communication instead of in November. This change was subsequently adopted.
At the April 9, 1934 meeting, it was suggested that a complete history of the Lexington Masonic Building be written. Wor. Fred S. Piper and Bro. Edwin B. Worthen were assigned this task. This history was published in the 75th Anniversary booklet of Simon W. Robinson Lodge.
June 11, 1934—Thirteen members were suspended for nonpayment of dues and the dues of fifty-four others were abated for the year 1933. The Great Depression was strongly felt by Simon W. Robinson Lodge. At this same meeting, R. W. Howard E. Custance presented the Joseph Warren Medal to R. W. Charles H. Miles for distinguished Masonic Service.
On September 10, 1934, Wor. J. Lawrence Miles reported on our newly created Masonic Library. It was the first of its kind in operation in the Massachusetts jurisdiction.
May 13, 1935 — Bro. Carl S. Hauck presented to the Lodge a new twenty-four inch gauge and a square, for the use in the Third Degree, which he had carved. These implements are still in use.
The Lodge abated the dues of fifty-nine members in 1934.
In October of 1935, the DeMolay Boys presented a play for three nights, the proceeds of which were turned over to the Masonic Associates to be used for painting the Temple. At the December meeting, acknowledgement was made of the fact that the Temple had been painted "The entire amount needed was raised by Battlegreen Chapter who contributed $40.80 and the Order of Eastern Star who contributed $175."
On February 10, 1936, Wor. Joseph R. Cotton was honored for his contribution to Masonry and Massachusetts. This meeting was attended by Grand Lodge Officers and it was the first time the Grand Lodge had participated in a reception for a member other than a Grand Officer.
The organ presently in use in the Temple was tried out at the November 9, 1936 meeting. The Lodge voted to buy this organ and present it to the Masonic Associates.
At the January 11, 1937 meeting, the officers were attired in new aprons and jewels, the gift of the widow of Bro. Hallie C. Blake. At the same meeting, the Worshipful Master spoke of the historic apron sent to the Lodge by the family of Bro. Seth Batchelder. This apron presently is displayed in the upstairs corridor of the Lexington Masonic Temple.
The Depression was still with us. In April, 1937, seven members were suspended for non-payment of dues and dues of twenty-two others were abated.
Worshipful Carl Hauck will long be remembered for his gifts of wood carvings to the Lodge. The records do not indicate the specific time when these gifts were presented, but we are indebted to Wor. Bro. Hauck for the carvings on the organ, over the altar and the individual emblem placques used by the Master during the Third Degree lecture.
June 30, 1937 — "A few selections were played on the organ before it was formally dedicated and turned over to the Masonic Associates".
October 10, 1938 — Rev. Bro. Harold T. Handley was installed Associate Chaplain. Rev. Bro. Handley has served Simon W. Robinson Lodge in the capacity of Associate Chaplain and Chaplain for over thirty-two years.
The announcement for Ladies Night dated February 1939, held at the Belfry Club, indicated a price of #2.00 per person. The meal included roast beef, banana and pineapple fritters and lobster salad.
A reception was held on March 13, 1939 honoring Wor. Joseph Cotton on his election to the Presidency of the Massachusetts Senate.
At the September 11, 1939 meeting, acknowledgement was made of the fine work done over the summer in redecorating the Lodge Room.
October 9, 1939 — Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson presented Bro. Richard Engstrom with the Distinguished Service Medal for his years of service to Simon W. Robinson Lodge.
The depression was not over. In 1939 the dues of twenty-four members were abated.
At an informal Ladies Night in December 1939, over three hundred members and guests were in attendance.
September 9, 1940 — Attendance at the Lodge of Instruction was urged by the Worshipful Master in support of Wor. William I. Burnham then serving as Master of the 13th Lodge of Instruction.
In December of 1940 there was a fire in the Lexington Masonic Temple. The fire was confined to the lower floor and fortunately the Lodge lost none of its furnishings or regalia. Cleaning and redecorating of the entire interior of the building was necessary.
The committee appointed for the purpose recommended the establishment of the "Leroy S. Brown Fund" from money bequeathed to the Lodge by Bro. Brown.
October 13, 1941— It was voted to abate the dues of all members of Simon W. Robinson Lodge serving in the Armed Forces below the rank of commissioned officer. At subsequent meetings, collections were received to defray the expenses of Masonic Service Centers which had been set up by Grand Lodge in the various military establishments in Massachusetts.
On May 11, 1942, Rt. Wor. Pierre A. Northrup presented to R.W. Howard E. Custance the Distinguished Service Medal in recognition of his many years of faithful service to the Fraternity,
On November 9, 1942, R. W. Pierre A. Northrup paid his last Official Visit to Simon W. Robinson Lodge as District Deputy Grand Master of the Somerville 6th Masonic District, lie was accompanied by the Senior Grand Warden, Senior Grand Deacon and five District Deputies from other Masonic Districts.
On December 14, 1942, one year after "Pearl Harbor" the Lodge voted to abate the dues of all members serving in the Armed Forces.
A resolution was adopted on June 14, 1943, honoring R. W. Charles W. Miles and Bro. Richard Engstrom for their many-years of service as Trustees of the Lexington Masonic Associates.
A celebration was held on June 25, 1943, commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the dedication of the Lexington Masonic Temple.
November 8, 1943 — Recognition was made of the gift by Rev. Bro. Frank W. Thompson of a Bible to be used when examining visiting brethren.
On April 10, 1944, 212 members and visitors were present. It was necessary to borrow extra chairs and tables from the First Baptist Church to accommodate the Brethren.
June 12, 1944 — Rev. Bro. Frank W. Thompson was presented with a Chaplain's Jewel in recognition of his years as Chaplain of Simon W. Robinson Lodge.
By October 1944, Masons in Massachusetts had contributed $264,000 toward the Masonic Military Fund. Simon W. Robinson Lodge received a citation from the Grand Master for its contribution.
June 11, 1945 — "R. W. Charles H. Miles spoke about the Masonic Associates having acquired the property adjoining the Temple through the generosity of Bro. Richard Engstrom who purchased it and presented it to the Lodge Associates absolutely free and clear." This property is where the addition to the Masonic Temple now stands.
October 8, 1945 — M. W. Samuel H. Wragg, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts paid Simon W. Robinson Lodge a Fraternal Visit on occasion of the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Lodge. He was accompanied by Grand Lodge Officers and Past Grand Master, M. W. Joseph Earl Perry. (1945 Mass. 298-321)
Twenty-five members who had served in the Armed Forces during World War II were honored at dinner on February 11, 1946.
March 11, 1946 — Brother Theodore A. Custance was presented a Distinguished Service Medal in recognition of his years of service to the Lodge as Trustee of the Masonic Associates and Chairman of the Service Committee.
The Lodge Notice for the month of February, 1947, gives recognition to the appointments, by the Grand Master, of R.W. Pierre A. Northrup as a member of the Board of Commissioners of Trials and Wor. Joseph R. Cotton as a member of the Committee of Records.
On April 12, 1947, a committee proposed to the Lodge that funds be raised to enlarge the Masonic Temple.
On April 12, 1948, the "Lexington Masonic Players" presented a play entitled "The Lodge in Friendship Village". Wor. Everett E. Morrill was responsible for directing the play and proceeds were turned over to the building fund.
In January, 1949, Wor. Joseph R. Cotton was appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the Somerville 6th Masonic District. He made his first Fraternal Visit to Simon W. Robinson Lodge on February 14th.
The Lodge was saddened by the death of Bro. George S, Barton who served as Secretary of Simon W. Robinson Lodge for over ten years and was Secretary at the time of his death.
On March 8, 1950, a reception was held honoring R. W. Joseph R. Cotton on his appointment as Deputy Grand Master. This reception was attended by M. W. Roger Keith, a full suite of Grand Lodge Officers and three Past Grand Masters.
Masonic Funeral Services were held on December IS, 1951 for Bro. Richard Engstrom. His obituary shows, that in addition to his Masonic accomplishments, he was a former New England billiards champion and played in national tennis tournaments at Longwood. Bro. Engstrom was born in Sweden in 1872 and came to the United States in 1879. He was the personification of a "self made man". He resided in Lexington for over forty years and his generosity to Simon W. Robinson Lodge will forever remain on perpetual record. In his will, Brother Engstrom bequeathed to the Lodge the sum of $10,000 to be used to provide a dinner in his memory each year for ten years. After ten years, any balance remaining was to become part of the Building Fund.
At the time Simon W. Robinson Lodge held its 800th Regular Communication on November 13, 1950, the Lodge had a total membership of 560.
Wor. Clyde Booker presented to the Lodge a carved plaque depicting the emblems of the Third Degree on February 12, 1951. This plaque is presently displayed at the left of the Master's Station in the East. The Lodge will be forever grateful to Wor. Bro. Booker for this excellent piece of workmanship and also for the carved plaque depicting the emblems of the First Degree (displayed at the right of the Lodge Room entrance) and the columns and emblems of the Second Degree which are located at the right of the Master's Station.
September 10, 1951 "A Bible marker was presented to the Lodge, in memory of Rev. Bro. Frank W. Thompson, by the Chaplain, Rev. Bro. Crawford O. Smith". This Bible marker is used at every meeting of Simon W. Robinson Lodge. Saturday, February 9, 1952 Lodge was opened at 1:45 P.M. Five candidates received on the first degree; at 5:00 P.M. four other candidates were passed to the degree of Fellowcraft. After a recess for supper, four other candidates were raised to the degree of Master Mason. This is the only time in the history of Simon W. Robinson Lodge that all three degrees were conferred on the same day.
On June 9, 1952 the Lodge formally established a building fund for the construction of an addition to the Lexington Masonic Temple.
May 12, 1952 — Wor. Albert H. Burnham was presented the Distinguished Service Medal for his work in Masonry. On November 18, 1952 the first "Richard Engstrom Night" was held.
The Lodge Notice for the month of January, 1953, makes note of the appointment of Wor. Verdie A. Dodds, Past Master of Washington Lodge and an affiliated Past Master of Simon W. Robinson Lodge, as District Deputy Grand Master for the Fourth Roxbury District.
The first mention of the Masonic Blood program was contained in the Lodge Notice for February 1953.
February 8, 1954 — Rt. Wor. Geoffrey L. Pippette made his first Fraternal Visit to the Lodge as District Deputy Grand Master for the Somerville 6th Masonic District.
June 14, 1954 — Announcement was made of new carpeting to be installed in the Lodge room during the summer.
At a special meeting on Saturday, November 20, 1954, Kilwinning Club of Boston, in Scottish costume, raised Bro. Irving A. Rich, Jr.
On November 8, 1954, "resolutions were adopted on the death of R. W. Charles H. Miles, who contributed so much to Simon W. Robinson Lodge." R.W. Bro. Miles is remembered for his charge to Third Degree candidates which, fortunately, has been recorded and is safely deposited in the archives of the Lodge.
The post-war period was one of intense activity for Simon W. Robinson Lodge. The Lodge met on almost every Monday of the month, conferring degrees on candidates, the majority of whom were veterans of World War II. It was not unusual for the Lodge to open in the middle of the afternoon and close after 10 P.M. in the evening, sometimes conferring more than one degree on different groups of candidates. This, in addition to many Masonic Funerals, made for a busy time for the Lodge.
September 12, 1955 — Wor. Fred S. Piper was honored for having been an active Mason for 65 years. Wor. Bro. Piper, the Lodge Historian, was raised in September 1890 in Peter-boro, N. H. and affiliated with Simon W. Robinson Lodge in 1917. November 14, 1955 — the officers to be installed in the newly chartered Lodge in Bedford, were introduced at this meeting. This Lodge has been named for our late Chaplain, Rev. Bro. Frank W. Thompson.
May 14, 1956 — R.W. Howard E. Custance presented a report of the Building Committee with a recommendation that an addition be constructed to the Masonic Temple. This report was accepted. It was hoped that construction could start in the Spring of 1957. At this same meeting, Wor. Albert H. Burnham presided in the East and raised one candidate. He was 89 years old.
On June 20, the day after he was installed as Master, Wor. Charles H. Peirce presided at a Masonic Funeral, reciting the Funeral Service from memory.
Announcement of the retirement of Rev. Bro. Crawford 0. Smith was made in the January 1957 Lodge Notice. Rev. Bro. Smith served Simon W. Robinson Lodge as Associate Chaplain and Chaplain for over twenty years.
September 9, 1957 — A committee was appointed to receive the approval of the Lexington Historic Sites Committee, obtain a building permit and supervise construction of the addition to the Masonic Temple. Pledges and cash received for the building fund to date exceeded $39,000.
December 9, 1957 — An historic gavel, made from a piece of one of the original beams of Buchman Tavern, was presented to the Lodge by Bro. Norton T. Hood. In accordance with the wishes of Bro. Hood, this gavel has been used each year at the meeting nearest the 19th of April.
January 3, 1959 — The trustees of the Lexington Masonic Associates met to discuss the possibility of Washington Lodge of Roxbury sharing the apartments in Lexington with Simon W. Robinson Lodge.
The Master of Simon W. Robinson Lodge requested a large turnout at the 13th Lodge of Instruction to honor Wor. Norman H. Royle, who served as Master of the 13th Lodge of Instruction.
May 23-24, 1959 — The officers of Simon W. Robinson Lodge, at the invitation of Wor. Albert J. Roberts, son of our late Wor. Arthur M. Roberts, enjoyed a very pleasant weekend at Friendship, Maine, when they exemplified the work of the Third Degree on the occasion of Meduncook Lodge No. 211 50th Anniversary celebration. Most Worshipful John M. Littlefield, Grand Master of Maine, delivered the evening address. Rt. Wor. Warren P. Eldridge, D. D. G. M., Somerville Sixth Masonic District, accompanied the officers. A cookout at Cranberry Island completed the week-end program.
During the years of 1959-1960 negotiations were completed and final agreements were made so that Washington Lodge of Roxbury could transfer their Charter to Lexington and meet in the Lexington Masonic Apartments.
September 12, 1960 — The Official Visitation of the District Deputy Grand Master was scheduled. Mother nature had a little to say about it when the "Hurricane Donna" arrived late that afternoon. The meeting was held by candlelight, but the District Deputy and Suite were unable to attend the meeting.
October 16, 1960—An Open House was held so that the Brethren could see the new furnishings in the Engstrom Room. Mrs. Richard Engstrom, widow of our late Brother, honored us with her presence during the "Open House".
September 21, 1960 — Washington Lodge held its first meeting in Lexington.
November 6, 1961—The tenth and final Engstrom Night was held at the Masonic Apartments. The entire amount of the bequest left by our late Bro. Richard Engstrom was turned over to the Building Fund. The Lodge had used only the interest from the monies and supplemented it with Lodge funds to carry out Bro. Engstrom's request.
February 26, 1962 — A reception was held for Rt. Wor. Geoffrey L. Pippette, Junior Grand Warden. Most Worshipful Laurence E. Eaton, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts was in attendance and made a Fraternal Visit to the Lodge for the purpose of presenting a Past Master's Fifty-year Certificate to Wor. Edward C. Stone, Master of Simon W. Robinson Lodge 1911-12.
In the year of 1961 the Grand Lodge issued a regulation that it was illegal for a Master to wear a Past Master's Apron until he had completed his term as Master. In order that Simon W. Robinson Lodge officers be properly attired when going on visitations, the Lodge purchased traveling aprons for the Master and Wardens.
October 14, 1963 — Notice was given the Lodge of a bequest from our late Brother William Leroy Jackson. This bequest was used to establish a fund for maintenance or replacement of the organ.
On December 9, 1963, a page was set aside in the records of Simon W. Robinson Lodge in memory of President John F. Kennedy. A moment of silence was observed and a prayer offered by Rev. Bro. Harold T. Handley.
January 13, 1964 — Announcement was made of the appointment of Rt. Wor. Robert W. Custance as District Deputy Grand Master for the Somerville 6th Masonic District. On his first Fraternal Visit to Simon W. Robinson Lodge, Rt. Wor. Bro. Custance was received by a committee headed by his father, R. W. Howard E. Custance.
At this same meeting, acknowledgement was made of a gift of "A point within a circle" emblem, presented to the Lodge by Bro. Harry A. Williams, now residing at the Masonic Home in Charlton.
May 10, 1965 — For the first time in Simon W. Robinson Lodge, recognition of those Brothers who had completed 25 years of service was given. 198 were eligible for recognition.
June 14, 1965 — The first "members night" was held. At this meeting, sideline members replaced line officers in the presentation of the Second Degree ritual.
The first annual Lexington Council #94 Knights of Columbus - Simon W. Robinson Lodge joint social evening was held on April 16, 1961.
The Lodge was accompanied to St, John's Sunday Divine Worship by the Lynn Village Drum Band on Sunday, June 5, 1966.
In 1966, the membership was given the opportunity to donate side line chairs for the Lodge room. These chairs were totally subscribed and were installed in the month of December.
June 18, 1967 — Lt. Governor, now Governor, Francis W. Sargent, addressed the Lodge at a breakfast prior to the Lodge again being escorted to St. John's Sunday Divine Worship by the Lynn Village Drum Band.
October 9, 1967 — An Altar Bible was presented to the Lodge by Brothers John E. Airey, Robert A. T. Nelson and William L. Broderick in memory of our late Brothers James Russell Cogswell and John Hossfield.
In April, 1969, as presiding Master of Simon W. Robinson Lodge, Wor, Ernest F. Stokes received three of his sons as Entered Apprentices; in May he presided when they were passed to the degree of Fellowcraft, and in June he had the rare privilege of raising his sons as Master Masons. This is the only time a presiding Master of this Lodge has had such a unique experience and possibly, one of the very few times three brothers have been made Masons by their father who was presiding Master of his Lodge.
In the Spring of 1969, it was decided to undertake extensive renovations of the Lexington Masonic Temple. During the summer, the first floor, stairway and upstairs corridor were redecorated. Carpeting was installed in the entry, stairs and corridor. Through the generosity of the family of our late Brother, Wor. James C. Shaw, the front lobby was beautifully furnished. Through the generosity of Bro. John C. Graham a bronze bulletin board was hung in the entry hall.
Work continued into the fall and winter. With a minimum of inconvenience to the Brethren, the lavatories were completely redesigned and modernized, the Lodge room redecorated and new drapes hung. The Lodge is deeply indebted to Bro. C. Harry Erickson for his planning and supervision of the work and also for the lighted Masonic Emblem which he made for the East.
Rev. Bro. Harold T. Handley was presented with the Joseph Warren Medal in recognition of his many years of service to the Lodge and to Lexington on September 8, 1969 by the District Deputy Grand Master of the Somerville Sixth District, Rt. Wor. H. Paul Hokanson, Jr.
Work on renovating the Temple continued into the summer of 1970. The officers' chairs were reupholstered, the Tyler's room, Engstrom Room and the preparation room were painted and new drapes were hung in the Engstrom Room. For its 100th Anniversary Celebration, Simon W. Robinson Lodge has a Temple of which it can be truly proud.
Masonic fellowship never ends! On October 17, 1970, the officers of the Lodge, and many of the Brethren, journeyed to Burlington, Vermont and conferred the second and third sections of the Master Mason's Degree on a Vermont candidate in Washington Lodge No. 3 of that city. This trip was undertaken at the invitation of Wor. Richard W. Parker, Master of Washington Lodge No. 3 and was part of the observance of their 175th Anniversary. Wor. Richard W. Parker is a native of Lexington and was raised in Simon W. Robinson Lodge.
Fifty years ago, Wor. Fred Smith Piper concluded his history of the first fifty years of Simon W. Robinson Lodge with these words: "Fifty years hence, when order, social justice, and goodwill shall be the ripe fruits of this present confusion in the world; when, in the words of Tennyson, 'All men's good shall be each man's rule and universal peace lie like a shaft of light across the land,' when Simon W. Robinson Lodge shall celebrate her centenary, this short word, Truth, which has been the light of Masonry for ages past, will still shine as a guiding star of destiny."
How shallow Wor. Piper's prediction seems to us today. Wc have not achieved the harmony he foresaw and we sometimes have the feeling that we are farther from the goals of peace and goodwill than ever before in our Nation's history. But, Truth still prevails. Masonry today, as in the past, still remains the guiding star of our destiny and, God willing, its influence, practiced by Masons throughout the world, will contribute in no small measure in achieving the goals we all seek. This is our prayer and hope for the future.
125TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, NOVEMBER 1995
From Proceedings, Page 1995-269:
by Worshipful Kenneth M. Smith.
Tradition tells us, through our late Brother Albert W. Bryant, that the first assembly of Freemasons in Lexington was on the top of the hill in the rear of Monroe Tavern. In 1797, ten Masons gathered at Monroe Tavern and signed a petition to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a charter. Dispensation was granted December 12, 1797 for the Institution of Hiram Lodge. Colonel William Munroe was the first Master, and served in all, six years. This Lodge met at Munroe Tavern for thirty - three years. The Lodge was dormant for several years during the "Anti - Masonic period," and finally moved to West Cambridge, now Arlington, in 1843.
Lexington possessed no Masonic Lodge from 1843 to 1870, when Simon W. Robinson Lodge was instituted under a dispensation dated November 7, 1870, with John C. Blasdel, Master. The first meetings were held at the residence of Brother Sargent C. Whitcher, who lived on Hancock Street. The Lodge was duly constituted, and the officers installed on October 20, 1871, by R. W. Gideon Haynes, District Deputy Grand Master. Simon W. Robinson, for whom this Lodge was named, was an honored citizen of Lexington who lived on Elm Street (now Harrington Road). Brother Robinson was made a Mason in Mount Lebanon Lodge in 1819, where he was made an honorary member in 1849. He was Grand Master of Massachusetts in 1846. Brother Robinson was born in New Hampton, New Hampshire in 1792, and died at Lexington, in 1868.
The fifteen charter members were: John C. Blasdel, Warren Russell, George O. Davis, Augustas E. Scott, Leonard G. Babcock, George S. Butters, Josiah Bryant, Asa Cottrell, Charles C. Goodwin, Sargent C. Whitcher, Horace B. Davis, Bradley C. Whitcher, George D. Harrington, George E. Muzzey, Charles K. Tucker.
Wor. Brother Everett S. Locke was the first man to be raised in this Lodge on November 20, 1871.
During the first forty-eight years, the Lodge only met in two places - the home of Brother Whitcher, while working under dispensation, and the hall on the third floor of the town hall. The first regular communication of Simon W. Robinson Lodge was held March 13, 1871, in the Lexington Town Hall. At the meeting on December 11, 1916, Wor. Charles H. Miles made a report of progress on the new Masonic Quarters. He stated that "Historic Hall" had been purchased by one of our members, and that a full report would be made in January. On January 8, 1917, Wor. Miles gave a lengthy report. Brother Littlefield, the Architect, showed plans for the renovation of "Historic Hall".
On June 11, 1917 the Trustees of the Lexington Masonic Associates was established for the development and improvements of certain real estate at the corner of Bedford Street, Elm Ave., and Hancock Street. Both Rt. Wor. Charles H. Miles and Brother Richard Engstrom served as Trustees of the Lexington Masonic Associates from June 11, 1917, to June 14, 1943. Wor. Howard E. Custance reported on May 14, 1928, for the committee to institute a chapter of DeMolay in Lexington, and, after favorable discussion it was voted to accept the report of the committee subject to approval of Grand Lodge.
Brother Lucius Charles Fairchild was elected to Honorary Membership June 8, 1931, for the conspicuous part he played in directing the dramatic talents of the Lodge through the Lexington Masonic Players. "An 18th Century Lodge" with a cast of over twenty members depicting a Lodge as it was conducted in 1723 made many appearances in Lexington, Winchester, Lowell, and Boston and was attended by Masons high in the Fraternity. The most notable performance was on June 25, 1933, in Boston before the gathering of Grand Lodge and other distinguished Masons from England, Scotland, and Ireland on the occasion of the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
On December 13, 1937, Wor. Carl Hauck received from Brother Ruben Seth the Past Masters Jewel of Simon W. Robinson, for whom our Lodge is named. As it will be remembered, Simon W. Robinson was Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts between 1846 - 1848. Earlier in his Masonic career he was Worshipful Master in 1822, 1825, and again in 1845, of Mount Lebanon Lodge of Boston, from which he received this Past Masters Jewel. Through the initiative of Worshipful Pierre Northrup, it was decided that this Jewel should be exchanged each year with Mount Lebanon Lodge. On April 10, 1939, at a joint meeting, the first formal exchange was made. The tradition continued for years and helped to cement the friendliest of relations between these two Lodges.
Our Temple was materially damaged by fire on November 17, 1940. The fire was confined to the lower floor, and fortunately, the Lodge lost none of its furnishings or regalia. Brother Richard Engstrom was primarily responsible for the acquiring of our Temple, and as one of the original Trustees of the Lexington Masonic Association, served in this capacity for over twenty five years. It was also through his generosity that the Associates acquired the property adjoining the Temple, and on June 11, 1945, it was so announced to the Lodge. He purchased it and presented it to the Lodge free and clear, thus enabling the Associates to make plans for future enlargement of our Temple.
On April 12, 1948, the "Lexington Masonic Players" presented a play entitled "The Lodge in Friendship Village". Worshipful Everett E. Morrill was responsible for directing the play, and the proceeds were turned over to the building fund. Worshipful Clyde Booker presented to the Lodge a carved plaque depicting the emblems of the third degree on February 12, 1951. This plaque is presently displayed at the left of the Masters station in the East. The Lodge will be forever grateful to Worshipful Booker for this excellent piece of workmanship, and also for the carved plaque depicting the emblems of the First Degree (displayed at the right of the Lodge Room entrance) and the columns and emblems of the Second Degree which are located at the right of the Masters station in the East.
Masonic funeral services were held on December 15, 1951, for Brother Richard Engstrom. He resided in Lexington for over forty years, and his generosity to Simon W. Robinson Lodge will forever remain on perpetual record. In his will, Brother Engstrom bequeathed to the Lodge the sum of $ 10,000 to be used to provide a dinner in his memory each year for ten years. After ten years, any balance remaining was to become a part of the building fund. The first dinner was held on November 18, 1952.
On Saturday, February 9, 1952, Lodge was opened at 1:45 PM. Five candidates were received on the first degree. At 5:00 P. M., four other candidates were passed to the Fellowcraft Degree. After a recess for dinner, four other candidates were raised to the degree of Master Mason. This is the only time Simon W. Robinson Lodge conferred three degrees on the same day.
On September 9, 1957, a committee was appointed to obtain a building permit and supervise construction of the addition to the Masonic Temple. On October 16, 1960, an Open House was held so that the Brethren could see the new furnishings in the Engstrom Room. Mrs. Engstrom, widow of our late brother, honored us with her presence during the Open House.
On January 3, 1959, the Trustees of the Lexington Masonic Associates met to discuss the possibility of Washington Lodge of Roxbury sharing the apartments in Lexington with Simon W. Robinson Lodge. Washington Lodge subsequently held their first meeting in Lexington on September 21, 1960. On November 9, 1970, Simon W. Robinson Lodge held their 100th anniversary, at which Rt. Wor. Lewis Lee Huston, Deputy Grand Master and his suite made a Fraternal visit to the Lodge. Reverend Harold T. Handley read a history of Simon W. Robinson Lodge at that time.
In 1965, Simon W. Robinson Lodge and the Lexington Knights of Columbus held the first Ecumenical get together which was a dinner dance. This tradition has continued for thirty years. On April 10,1972, Brother Norton T. Hood presented to the Lodge a gavel which he made out of a timber from the sill of the Buckman Tavern. He requested that this gavel be used each year at the meeting nearest to the 19th of April.
Over the years Simon W. Robinson Lodge has traveled to many places and conducted meetings there. The first one was on May 23-24, 1959, to assist in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Meduncock Lodge #211 in Friendship, Maine. Next, we traveled to Washington Lodge # 3 in Vermont, to celebrate their 175th anniversary on October 17, 1970. On April 3, 1970, Simon W. Robinson Lodge entertained a return visit from Washington Lodge # 3. The Master of Washington Lodge was Worshipful Richard W. Parker who received his degrees here in Simon W. Robinson Lodge. April 28, 1973, Simon W. Robinson Lodge journeyed to the county of Quebec, Canada, to enjoy a joint meeting with Prince of Wales Lodge #63 to confer the third degree on their candidate with Massachusetts ritual. On October 25-28, 1975, Simon W. Robinson Lodge traveled to Atlantic Phoenix Lodge # 224 G. R. E. in Hamilton, Bermuda. Again, on February 21, 1976, we had a return trip to Washington Lodge # 3 in Burlington, Vermont. The degree was conferred on their candidate with Massachusetts ritual. On May 3, 1980, West Shore Lodge #681 of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, came to Simon W. Robinson Lodge and conferred the Master Mason Degree on the candidates using Pennsylvania ritual.
At the conclusion of the meeting of December 11, 1978, the Charles A. Welch Players presented the Masonic Play "A Rose Upon The Altar" for the members of Simon W. Robinson Lodge.
On December 2, 1979, the Lodge established a practice of entertaining the members of the Lodge who were over 75 years of age by giving them a turkey dinner. This dinner was to be given at noon on the same day as the Lodge gave a Christmas party to the children of the lodge members and friends. This practice has continued each year since then.
On December 13, 1982, The Kilted Craft received four ol Robinson candidates on the first degree. On Monday, October 17, Worshipful Grand Master of Massachusetts J. Phillip Berquist raised Brother Steven Clifford Porter to the degree of Master Mason.
January 9, 1984, we were honored to have Illustrious Augustus G. Means, Potentate of Aleppo Temple with us to raise Brother Richard W. Shaw to the degree of Master Mason.
On September 25, 1985, Right Worshipful Robert W. Custance was elevated to the thirty-third Degree in Freemasonry. In the fall of 1988, Worshipful Carl M. Hogan was also elevated to the thirty-third degree.
On March 5, 1988, the Colonial Craftsman's Club of Colonial Massachusetts presented "On The Square 1775", a meeting of an "Ancients" chartered by "Ancients" Grand Lodge of Massachusetts which was deputized by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
During the summer of 1988 the remodeling of our kitchen started, which took several years to complete.
On May 13, 1990, Brother George D. Comley was presented Secretary's Jewel for the continued services he performed for the last 22 years as Secretary. During the course of the past 125 years, Simon W. Robinson Lodge has had a number of Masters of the Lodge who have had the privilege of Raising their sons to the degree of Master Mason. Starting with Right Worshipful Charles H. Miles raising his son Worshipful Lawrence; Worshipful Albert H. Burnham raised his sons, Worshipful William and Lawrence; Worshipful George E. Smith raised his sons, Herbert and Worshipful Kenneth; Right Worshipful Howard E. Custance raised his son, Right Worshipful Robert; Right Worshipful Robert W. Custance raised his son, Worshipful Steven; Worshipful James C. Shaw raised his son, Robert; Worship Milton F. Hodgdon raised his son, Right Worshipful Jeffrey; Right Worshipful Donald F. Albertine raised his son, Donald; Right Worshipful Edward C. Mann raised his son, Edward; Worshipful Earl C. Blount raised his son, Jonathan; Worshipful Ernest F. Stokes raised his three sons all on the same night. Worshipful Everett E. Morrill had the privilege of raising his father to the degree of Master Mason.
- 1871 (Constitution of lodge, 1871-209)
NOTE ON LODGE HALL, JANUARY 1917
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XII, No. 4, January 1917, Page 136:
Simon W. Robinson Lodge of Masons in Lexington is soon to have a new home. Historic Hall, facing the Lexington battlefield green, had been purchased by one of the members of the lodge for the purpose. This building was erected in 1822 for the Lexington Academy. July 3, 1839, the first normal school in America was opened there under the direction of the Rev. Cyrus Pierce.
The plans call for the remodeling of the hall and the addition of wings on either side, making a large hall with a seating capacity for about 500. The committee in charge is made up of Richard Engstrom, Hallie C. Blake, Leroy S. Brown, Clarence P. Johnson, Clifford W. Pierce and Charles H. Miles, ex-officio.
HALL DEDICATION, JUNE 1918
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XIII, No. 10, July 1918, Page 319:
Lexington Masonic Temple, the new home of Simon W. Robinson Lodge, A. F. & A. M., was dedicated with fitting exercises, about 300 members of the craft attending. The ceremonies opened with a banquet, over which the Worshipful Master, Clifford W. Pierce, presided. Grand Master Leon M. Abbott and suite were present. The dedication ceremony was conducted by Grand Master Abbott and Dr. Fred S. Piper of this town gave an historical address. The dedicatory speech was made by Rev. E. A. Horton, Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge. Clifford W. Pierce, in behalf of the local lodge, presented the Grand Master with a token.
The building faces the Lexington battle green, was formerly Historical Hall, erected in 1822, and was the first Normal School in America. It is located in the triangle formed by Bedford and Hancock Sts. The local lodge bought the building and made extensive alterations, preserving as far as possible, the outlines of the historic structure. The banquet hall is on the ground floor. A stage, banquet hall, kitchen and pantry have been built In the lodge room are 160 permanent seats, with accommodation for as many more. In the rear of the lodge room there is a large smoking room, candidates' room and council room. An organ has been erected in the lodge room.
The colonial style has been maintained throughout as far as possible and the xte-rior of the building has been painted white to harmonize with the other buildings in that section.
Walter F. Littlefield was the architect and the committee in charge of the new building was Richard Engstrom, C. H. Miles and Clifford W. Pierce.
50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, OCTOBER 1920
- See Histoircal Sketch above.
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XVI, No. 2, November 1920, Page 52:
The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Institution of Simon W. Robinson Lodge, A. F. and A. M. of Lexington, Massachusetts, Was held October 24-25.
On Sunday, Oct. 24, the following program was carried out at Hancock Church, Lexington, Mass., at 3 p. m. Organ prelude; hymn, Lord of All Being, Throned Afar; invocation, Rev. Brother C. W. Collier; music, Weber Quartet; responsive reading, Rev. Brother John M. Wilson; music, Weber Quartet; scripture reading, Rev. Brother George L. Thurlow; music, Weber Quartet; prayer, Rev. Brother John M. Wilson; hymn, O Worship the King, All Glorious Above!; address, Right Worshipful Frederick W. Hamilton, D. D. Grand Secretary; music, Weber Quartet; benediction, Rev. Brother George L. Thurlow; organ postlude. October 25, 1920, at 8 p. m., at Masonic Temple the program was as follows: Organ prelude; reception of Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince and Suite; music, Pilgrim Quartet; historical address, Worshipful Brother Fred S. Piper; music, Pilgrim Quartet; address, Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts; music, Pilgrim Quartet; organ postlude. Later refreshments, music and dancing were participated in in the Banquet Hall. The whole affair was extremely interesting and ably conducted and makes an important milestone in the history of this splendid lodge.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- Donald F. Albertine, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1984, 1985; N
- Ernest A. Bean, DDGM, District 14, 2006, 2007
- Quincy Bicknell, Jr., DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1895; SN
- Joseph R. Cotton, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1949; Deputy Grand Master 1950
- Howard E. Custance, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1933, 1934; SN
- Robert W. Custance, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1964, 1965; Deputy Grand Master 1975
- Jonathan P. Doran, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1992, 1993
- Jeffrey B. Hodgdon, Deputy Grand Master 1989, Grand Master 2005-2007
- Joseph M. Kurey, DDGM, District 2 (Boston), 2002; District 7, 2003
- Edward C. Mann, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1972, 1973; SN
- Charles H. Miles, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1919, 1920; N
- Pierre A. Northrup, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1941, 1942; SN
- Geoffrey L. Pippette, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1954, 1955; Junior Grand Warden 1962
- Augustus E. Scott, DDGM, District 17 (Woburn), 1879, 1880, 1881; SN