- 1 WILLIAM WHITING LODGE
- 2 REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- 2.1 ANNIVERSARIES
- 2.2 VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 2.3 BY-LAW CHANGES
- 2.4 HISTORY
- 2.5 OTHER
- 2.6 EVENTS
- 2.7 GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- 2.8 OTHER BROTHERS
- 2.9 DISTRICTS
- 2.10 LINKS
WILLIAM WHITING LODGE
Chartered By: Dana J. Flanders
Charter Date: 12/08/1909 1909-200
Precedence Date: 01/07/1909
Charter suspended by the Grand Master, 09/09/1997.
- Abraham Davis, 1909, 1910
- Isidor W. Davis, 1911; SN
- Frank Murray, 1912
- Arthur B. Thorpe, 1913
- George J. Shumway, 1914
- Edgar M. Osgood, 1915; N
- William D. Fortune, 1916
- Arthur G. Wylie, 1917
- Ernest S. W. Bishop, 1918
- Arthur Mitton, 1919
- Robert M. Thompson, 1920
- Ralph H. Morrill, 1921
- Robert W. Ely, 1922
- E. Ray Ashley, 1923; N
- Daniel Love, 1924; N
- Frank G. Webber, 1925
- Raymond H. Miner, 1926
- Fairfield Whiting, 1927
- Douglas T. Dixon, 1928
- Irving L. Tinker, 1929
- William M. Marshall, 1930
- George D. MacDonald, 1931
- Charles H. Boettcher, 1932
- Charles E. Whitmore, 1933
- Thomas Neil, 1934
- Fredercik G. Keller, 1935
- Lewis J. White, 1936, 1937
- Richard G. Mathieson, 1938
- Earl L. Ironside, 1939
- Abner D. Bray, 1940
- Frank A. Riley, Jr., 1941
- George W. Shaw, 1942
- Lloyd M. Mitchell, 1943
- Charles D. Stallmann, 1944
- William C. Stewart, 1945
- Harold Wrigley, 1946
- George Gordon, 1947
- Douglas J. Rawlinson, 1948
- Samuel E. Parents, 1949
- William G. Vogel, 1950
- Alvin W. Ironside, 1951; N
- Robert W. Peterson, 1952; SN
- Harold R. Peterson, 1953
- Ralph R. Ironside, 1954
- Raymond C. Gibbs, 1955
- Warren E. Barber, 1956
- Frank A. Geissler, 1957
- Maurice F. Allen, 1958
- Harold L. Vigneux, 1959
- Stevenson T. Nelson, 1960
- Theodore J. Day, 1961
- Robert H. Jenkins, Jr., 1962
- Robert T. Farrand, 1963
- Earl A. LaFlamme, Jr., 1964
- Earl L. LaRose, 1965
- Medric A. Allair, 1966
- Robert E. Toomey, 1967
- Walter V. Cordes, 1968
- John F. Felsentrager, 1969
- George A. Milne, 1970
- Malcolm P. Hynd, 1971
- Frederick C. Hersey, 1972
- John W. Hardaker, 1973
- Erwin A. Berndt, 1974
- Windel R. Harman, 1975
- Robert A. Theroux, 1976
- Clarence L. Seaver, 1977
- David A. Levin, 1978
- Mitchell W. Vincent, 1979
- John E. Delay, 1980
- Lonnie E. Wall, Jr., 1981, 1984
- Francis M. Clark, 1982
- Adolph Krassler, 1983
- Robert K. MacKay, 1985
- John J. Gajewski, 1986
- Bradford J. Buchanan, 1987
- Frank E. Tokas, Jr., 1988
- Robert K. MacKay, 1989, 1997
- James M. Kane, 1990, 1991
- Michael J. Leclair, 1992
- John J. Hayes, 1993
- Justin G. G. Kahn, Sr., 1994, 1996
- James M. Osborne, 1995
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- Petition for Dispensation: 1909
- Petition for Charter: 1909
- Consolidation Petition (with Mount Nonotuck Lodge): 1939
- Suspension of Charter: 1997
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1910 (Flanders; Constitution of Lodge and installation)
- 1939 (Perry; Consolidation; Special Communication)
- 1959 (A. Jenkins; 50th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1984 (Richardson; 75th Anniversary)
- 1989 (Ames)
- 1991 (Darling; Church service)
- 1959 (50th Anniversary History, 1959-3; see below)
50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, JANUARY 1959
From Proceedings, Page 1959-3:
By Bro. Henry C. Mallon.
Fifty years is not a long span in the life of a man or a Lodge, but usually it is observed as an anniversary, which we are delighted to do. So as we arrive at the half-century mark it might be well to pause as we retrace our steps to our beginnings.
Mount Tom Lodge, our mother Lodge, was growing fast in the immediate years preceding 1909 and was approaching the 500 mark in membership. A number of its members felt that with this rapid growth the formation of a new Lodge should be considered. As this sentiment grew, it gradually solidified in the fall of 1908 when a number of the more enthusiastic gathered at the camp of Wor. Bro. Abraham Davis at Hampton Ponds for discussions on the matter. As the group became larger, further meetings were held at the Pequot Club, also at Hampton Ponds, where suppers were served which put all in good humor for the discussions ahead. As a result, thirty-four Masons (one withdrew before the Charter was granted) signed a petition to be sent to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts requesting a Dispensation to form a new Lodge in the City of Holyoke. There remained one more requirement to insert in the petition and that was the name for the proposed Lodge. The one that appealed to most of the petitioners was that of Holyoke's most outstanding citizen and a Mason for forty-four years: namely, William Whiting. The next step was to obtain Brother Whiting's consent, which was graciously and modestly given after a few meetings in his library adjacent to his home on Elm Street. The next hurdle was an unusual one: to ask the Grand Lodge for permission to name our Lodge after a living person, which is rarely ever given. However, after reviewing Brother Whiting's outstanding accomplishments, the Grand Lodge was pleased to grant this request.
The first regular communication of the Lodge was held on Monday, February 1, in the Masonic lodge-room at 280 High Street at which twenty-two members were present. It was voted that the Finance Committee make arrangements with Mount Tom Lodge to secure the use of the lodge-rooms. This was done during the month at a monthly rental of $37.50.
At this same meeting the first applications for degrees were received, numbering forty-one, and on March 1 the Lodge balloted for the first time on the petitions received the previous month. The members must have felt amply justified in their decision to form a new Lodge when such a large number of applications was received.
On the same evening, William Whiting was elected an Honorary Member. When it was considered that he was a Charter Member of a Lodge named in his honor, it undoubtedly constituted one of the rarest triple honors in Masonry. It truly indicated the great esteem in which he was held by the Fraternity and as a distinguished citizen.
Evidently Monday evening was not a satisfactory meeting night and it was decided to confer with Holyoke Council R. & S.M. regarding an exchange as we preferred Wednesday as our regular night. This was agreed to, and since March 3, 1909, we have met on that evening. Incidentally, the Lodge initiated its first candidates at that meeting. They were Howard Conant, Wallace L. VanValkenburg and Victor Guyott. On May 12 the first candidates to be raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason were Howard Conant, Wallace L. VanValkenburg, Victor Guyott, Lewis F. Peck and George J. Shumway. No doubt they felt justly proud of being the first candidates to receive the degrees in the new Lodge.
The last meeting in June was the occasion of conferring the Master Mason degree on William F. Whiting and Samuel R. Whiting, sons of William Whiting, which was witnessed by a large gathering.
One can realize how busy the officers were during this month as the records show that nine meetings were held at which twenty-four candidates received the Master Mason degree and sixteen were passed to the degree of Fellow Craft.
The chain of "all work and no play" was broken when the Lodge voted to hold its first annual dance. This was held on November 17, 1909, at Windsor Hall and brought out a large number of members with their beautifully gowned ladies. In those days the newspapers used to describe the dresses worn by the ladies and many a man never learned until the next day that the creation in which his wife or partner was gowned was of mousseline de soie, peau de soie or some other rich fabric. Every member appeared in full dress, tails, white tie and white kid gloves, except one. He wore a tuxedo but had a grand time too.
GRANTING OF CHARTER
On January 12, 1910, the granting of the Charter or Constitution of the Lodge after working a year under a Dispensation, brought out an overflowing attendance of 365 Masons, including 241 visitors from forty-one Lodges. The Grand Master and his suite were met at the railroad station at 5:30 p.m. by a committee from the Lodge and escorted to the Hotel Hamilton, where a reception was held, after which the Grand Lodge Officers, invited guests and members of William Whiting Lodge formed a line and marched to the banquet hall where a bounteous dinner was served by Landlord Bowker to 155 guests.
Wor. Abraham Davis presided with Grand Master Dana J. Flanders seated at his right. There were no speeches because of the limited time, but music was furnished for the occasion by Day's orchestra. Special trolley cars were provided and the party conveyed to the Masonic rooms. On arrival, a reception was held for the large group of Masons who did not attend the dinner.
The Grand Lodge opened in Ample Form in an ante-room of the Lodge. The officers chosen as Master and Wardens of the new Lodge were admitted and announced to the M. W. Grand Master that the petitioners to whom a charter had been granted under the name of William Whiting Lodge were assembled and requested that they be constituted into a regular Lodge. The M. W. Grand Master responded that the request would be granted and that he would immediately proceed with the ceremony.
(Note: for account of ceremony, see 1910 Mass. 1-6)
The prosperity of the Fraternity kindled the desire for a Masonic Temple and the subject was brought up at various Lodge meetings for the next few years. A lot had been purchased for $13,000 and the desire became stronger as time went on, but no action was taken immediately. In the same year, 1910, we adopted an innovation whereby all Fellow Crafts were required to supply their photographs before receiving their Master Mason Degree. A good Brother, Gilbert A. Waters, a local photographer, offered to do this work gratis and as a result, we accumulated so many photos that it became necessary to purchase a large cabinet in which to display them. The custom eventually died out, but we still have an interesting collection.
In June of that year we issued our first Lodge Calendar and these have been issued regularly up to the present time. A few years later a proposal was made to discontinue printing them but was overwhelmingly defeated. The records do not show for what reason the proposers wished to discontinue its issue.
A little excitement was created when it was learned that a clandestine lodge was operating in the city. Possibly the promoters felt that they had a fertile field to work in among the curious following the publicity given to the chartering of our Lodge. Accordingly a committee was appointed by our Master to investigate the meeting place of this spurious lodge and reported that it held meetings in the rooms of Hampden Lodge, K. of P., which on learning of its nature, ordered it out.
Two firsts during the year: namely, the setting up of a Sick Visiting Committee by wards and our visit to the newly-acquired Masonic Home at Charlton. Mount Tom and Mount Holyoke Lodges with their ladies were invited to accompany us. The trip was made by special trolley cars and greatly enjoyed. The Home was originally built for a summer hotel, but the venture was not successful. The owners found it necessary to dispose of it and the Grand Lodge was able to purchase the property at a greatly reduced price.
Honorary Memberships were voted by the Lodge to Worshipful Brothers Abraham Davis, Wilbur H. Stedman, Frederick N. Ricker and William M. Engle. These no doubt were given for their services in organizing the new Lodge. They were also Past Masters of Mount Tom Lodge.
On January 9, 1911, our Lodge and the City of Holyoke sustained a great loss in the passing of our honored Brother and leading citizen, William Whiting. A largely attended funeral was held at the Second Congregational Church, to which the family invited the officers and members of William Whiting to act as an escort to the body from the church to the cemetery. Our Master extended an invitation to all local Masons, and on January 12, they assembled in the lodge-room and proceeded to the church, where seats were reserved for them, and after the services, to the cemetery. It was not a Masonic funeral in the Masonic sense, as the Brothers were present in an unofficial capacity.
During the year, the social activities were quite varied, as the records show a dance, a clambake, a reunion and a banquet of the class of 1910 and a dinner affair at the Mountain House on Mount Tom. Musically, we were making progress when soloists, quartettes and an orchestra supplemented the degree work. We were fortunate in having a number of members who sang in various church choirs and were usually available when their services were solicited.
During the first decade of our existence when social affairs were given much attention, a Masonic ball was held on February 20, 1914, which was probably the most elaborate affair ever held in Holyoke.
To quote the Holyoke Transcript, "Amid the most magnificent decorations that Holyoke has ever seen and to the strains of exquisite music, over 1200 of the city's prominent citizens enjoyed themselves to the full at the brilliant Masonic ball given last night in the State Armory." William Whiting and Mount Tom Lodges joined forces to assure its financial success as the proceeds were to go toward the Masonic Temple fund. Wor. George H. Sinclair, a master in the art of floral decorations was assigned the task of decorating the Armory. With the assistance of twelve Masonic helpers and after three weeks' work, they produced the most startling results. Guests, as they stepped over the threshold of the ballroom, were transplanted to a woodland fairyland of flowers and lights. The bare walls were first covered with decorative fabric and tall cedars were set up at intervals to form what might be termed green pilasters. At the rear of the Armory, cedars from ten to twenty-five feet in height were arranged in the form of a cascade in which were intertwined lights of various colors. Above the trees was a magnificent sunburst effect in Masonic colors reaching to the ceiling. This was augmented by an arrangement of five-foot azaleas placed several feet apart at the base of the trees. At the side of the building was constructed a pond in which were placed water lilies and other water flowers, and as a final touch, goldfish were placed in the pond. Silver birch vases filled with yellow rambler roses were used on the balcony rail and on either side were immense clusters of scarlet geraniums. A balcony was suspended in midair from the ceiling by chains and here a four-teen-piece orchestra was stationed. A novel feature was the placing of lettered booths about the hall thus making it quite easy to find one's partner in the big throng of people. Again quoting the Transcript, "The modern dances were allowed in their proper form and the members of the younger generation who were present danced them to their hearts' content." Not the least of the features that went to make the ball a distinct success were the gowns worn by the ladies. The new gowns with their graceful draperies and overdresses are generally becoming, and there were any number of beautiful costumes seen at the dance. Seldom if ever were so many beautiful flowers seen at a local dance and the air of the ballroom was fragrant with perfume.
The grand march was led by Bro. Joseph H. Potts, President of the Holyoke Masonic Association, and Mrs. Potts, followed by former Mayor and Mrs. Nathan P. Avery and Bro. Howard Conant and Mrs. Conant.
Word had gone around of the marvelous setting for the ball, and as a result, many citizens stopped in before and after the affair to admire the wonderful setting, which was the talk of the city for some time. Because of the time, labor and expense involved, ;t is doubtful if the city will ever see such elaborate decorations and settings again.
Another ball that was long remembered but for a different reason Y^as held at the City Hall Auditorium. Socially it was a grand affair, but an incident happened towards the close of the event which at the time seemed serious but a week later was the cause 0f many jokes. It seems that the caterer's helper who went out to bring in some jugs of orange juice to replenish the punch bowl, picked up some near the office of the Board of Health and poured tJicm into the remains of the punch bowl. Suddenly some of the dancers who had partaken of the concoction ran around the Hall with their mouths wide open gasping for breath. No one knew the cause of the trouble, not even those who had drunk it. It was soon discovered that the helper had brought in some jugs of formaldehyde used by the Board of Health for fumigating. Hacks were called for and the sufferers taken home for medical attention. All recovered in a few days, but were the objects of much joshing later 0n when asked how they enjoyed "formaldehyde cocktails" or "embalmers' highballs." One humorous incident was a member kneeling on the floor in full dress trying to bite off a piece of ice from a sixty-pound cake to cool off his throat. What a picture if a camera-fiend of today had been there!
Among the early actions taken by the Lodge were the raising 0f the candidates' fees to $50 and the dues to $5 annually; the elimination of smoking in the lodge-room; the purchase of 100 shares of stock of the Masonic Building Association for $1,000 and assigning $15 of each candidate's fees to the Building Fund. This indicated a strong revival of the old subject, a Temple of our own.
In fact the raising of fees and dues was the consequence of this desire.
Our first visit from an out-of-town Lodge was paid by Jerusalem of Northampton with 139 Masons in attendance. The visitors were complimented on the excellent work of the evening. Our present Treasurer, Wor. Robert W. Ely, was one of the candidates, and an orchestra added much to the work of the evening.
Unfortunately a group picture of our first staff of officers was never taken, but in 1912 it was decided to take a photograph of the officers who served that year. It now hangs in the smoking-room adjacent to the lodge-room.
In 1914 an amendment to our By-Laws was voted that all Past Masters of the Lodge be made Honorary Members at the expiration of their term of office. This was submitted to the Committee on Charters and By-Laws of the Grand Lodge which would not approve the same as it was not in accordance with the Grand Lodge Constitution.
In 1915 the Lodge was very active and held meetings throughout the year with no summer close-down. We entertained Ionic Lodge of Easthampton with an attendance of 167, Mount Holyoke of South Hadley Falls with an attendance of 100, and Jerusalem of Northampton with 157 on the sidelines. Something new was tried that year, a Masonic pageant called "The Chosen King," which played for three nights, April 12, 13 and 14, at the Holyoke Opera House. It required a cast of 400, which was drawn from the several Masonic bodies and the Eastern Star. While it required a great deal of time for rehearsals, it yielded a large sum for the Building Fund.
About this time, what might be termed an extra-curricular activity was born when Bro. Edward Docherty and five friends who were having dinner together brought up the subject of encouraging more sociability among the members. It resulted eventually in the formation of the Cryptic Club, whose By-Laws stated "its object is to promote the welfare of Masons in Holyoke," and "in the creation of greater sociability among members of the Order." Several members of Mount Tom Lodge of like disposition joined the William Whiting members and soon it became an active force in what it set out to do. One of its important undertakings was to help the Holyoke Masonic Association in its drive for funds for a proposed Masonic Temple. To make its purpose definite, the Club pledged to raise $3500, one hundred for each member, exclusive of their own personal pledges. This was accomplished by dances and concerts of which the Orpheus Club of Springfield was a leading factor in its success. This group of 168 trained male voices, claimed to be the largest male chorus in the world, was engaged on four occasions. Its first concert was held on January 26, 1916, at the City Hall Auditorium before an enthusiastic audience. As evidence of its continued popularity the three succeeding concerts filled the City Hall to capacity. These concerts netted the Cryptic Club substantial sums and it was with a great deal of satisfaction that it paid off its obligation to the Association.
At a January meeting in 1916 the Lodge minutes show that a quartette rendered music of a "high order" and the "singing section of the Cryptic Club added greatly to the pleasure by the many songs rendered." The attendance was recorded at 77 upstairs and 18 downstairs, total 95. Perhaps the card players had not finished their games and wished to be recorded "in absentia."
On February 22, 1916, the Blue Lodges started the Washington's Birthday Observance, which eventually grew into an important affair. It usually includes card and pool tournaments with a noon-time dinner and evening supper. A number of minstrel shows were given, which brought out some real talent. Our late Brother Jack Toole was a grand performer and greatly enjoyed his parts. During five years of the depression the observance was omitted, but since 1949 it has grown to be a big event with an increasing attendance that looks forward not only to the dinner and entertainment, but to the opportunity it affords of meeting and visiting with old friends.
In 1917 when the call for volunteers in what later was called World War I was made, Bro. Edward Docherty was the first man in the Lodge to answer the call and joined up with the Fourteenth Engineers.
Later on the draft was put into effect and both Lodges proudly displayed many stars on the service flag which hung from our old quarters at 280 High St. Later the Lodge voted to remit all dues of those entering the service and to extend the same to the semiannual period after peace was declared; also to provide traveling cards to the same. Members were urged to write frequently to our Brothers in the Armed Forces.
Camp Bartlett near Westfield was an assembling camp for new recruits which numbered several thousand men; and, to help provide entertainment, the Lodge appropriated a sum of money for the Holyoke Central Committee for that purpose.
On June 22, 1917, shortly after war was declared, our beloved first Master passed away at the age of fifty-one. R. W. Abraham Davis was a very capable officer, sincere in his efforts and indefatigable as a worker for the Lodge and the Fraternity. His early death was a great loss to Masonry and was beautifully expressed in the resolutions drawn up and sent to his family.
The war continued into 1918 and funds for war relief and the Red Cross by various means including concerts, a big minstrel show and Lodge appropriations. Liberty bonds were purchased and suitable gifts were made to members in the Armed Services by the Lodge.
Our tenth anniversary was observed in a fitting manner, which was the occasion of our first Past Masters' Night on January 15, 1919. Wor. Master Arthur Mitton welcomed the Past Masters who assumed their stations with Wor. Wilbur H. Stedman presiding in the East. The Master Mason degree was conferred in a dignified and impressive manner in the presence of 321 Brethren who overflowed the lodge-room. R. W. Isidor W. Davis gave a brief history of the formation of the Lodge, and Bro. William F. Whiting made remarks fitting the occasion.
After the war a great interest in Masonry was evident and during the Mastership of Wor. Robert M. Thompson in 1920, the Master Mason degree was conferred on ninety-three candidates; in 1921 when Wor. Ralph H. Morrill presided as Master, sixty-nine candidates received their Master Mason degree. Because of the numerous applicants, it became necessary at times to open the Lodge at 6:30 p.m.
LAYING OF CORNER-STONE
The day of days arrived on September 11, 1920, the culmination of the efforts and desires of the Craft for the previous ten years, when the corner-stone was laid of our new Masonic Temple. "The Grand Lodge was opened in Ample Form in an apartment next to the Lodge room and was immediately received in the Lodge room by the Wor. Master and members of Mount Tom Lodge. Following the reception, the members of the Grand Lodge in automobiles were escorted by the Lodges of Holyoke and surrounding cities and towns, together with Springfield Commandery, Knights Templar, to the site of the new Masonic Temple. There were 4200 Masons in line, making a far greater display than was ever seen in this part of our State on such an occasion. The exercises were opened with the singing of the national anthem, followed by an address by His Honor John P. Cronin, Mayor of the City of Holyoke. A silver trowel being presented to the Grand Master by Bro. Chipman, the corner-stone was laid in full form in accordance with ancient usage. The M. Wor. Grand Master Arthur D. Prince was assisted in spreading the cement by the Wor. Masters of Mount Tom, William Whiting and Mount Nonotuck (U.D.) Lodges, and His Honor the Mayor. The Grand Master made a beautiful and soul-stirring address which was followed by the Proclamation. A reception was held at the home of Bro. William F. Whiting, after which the Grand Lodge repaired to the Masonic Apartments where it was closed in Ample Form at six o'clock p.m."
The use of questionnaires as aids to the Investigating Committees was put into effect in 1920. This has been a great help to the Committees as the supplemental information permits a more thorough job in investigating candidates.
During 1921 the Lodge purchased 580 shares of Association stock amounting to $5800 and a $1000 Liberty Bond. It also donated $200 to the Salvation Army and $100 to the Nurses' Home Fund. We also contributed liberally to the Rainy Day Fund in support of the Masonic Home at Charlton.
The next great event was the dedication of our Temple on October 22, 1921. All the Grand Lodge Officers were in attendance headed by Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master, who also delivered the dedicatory address in which he "warmly congratulated the Brethren on the success of their undertaking and impressed upon them the splendid opportunity and the great responsibility coming with their new, beautiful and splendidly located Temple." During the ceremony, very delightful music was furnished by the Mendelssohn Male Chorus of sixteen members, with organist and director, all members of the Craft.
October 26th was a gala night for the Lodge, for on that evening it worked for the first time in the large lodge-room. Wor. Ralph H. Morrill was the presiding Master, Bro. Robert W. Ely as Senior Warden and Bro. E. Ray Ashley as Junior Warden. It was also the occasion of the official visitation of R.W. Archibald A. Brooks. The work of the evening was the Fellow Craft degree, which was splendidly done. This was followed by an address by Bro. William F. Whiting. A turnout of nearly three hundred was attracted by this affair. The first Master to be installed in the new Temple by our Lodge was Wor. Robert W. Ely, which took place on November 2, 1921, and the first Fraternal Visit was made by Pacific Lodge of Amherst on May 24, 1922, when they worked the Master Mason degree in the presence of 207 members of the Craft.
Two funds which received the generous attention of the Lodge during this period were the Rainy Day Fund in support of the Masonic Home at Charlton and our Permanent Charity Fund. As our expenses became greater, the dues were raised from $7-50 to $12.00 a year. Our annual rental was a prime factor in making this step necessary.
The year 1922 was notable for attendance at church services when the Brethren attended the Second Congregational, Second Baptist, First Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal Churches during the first six months.
A feature of the 1923 Masonic year was the working of the degrees by various factory degree teams, including the Farr Alpaca team and the Eagle A group of the American Writing Paper Co. At the latter affair Bro. Galliver, President of this concern, gave an interesting talk on his Masonic experiences.
An innovation during the year was an Annual Roll Call which brought out a good attendance including many old-timers.
During the Christmas seasons of our early years in the new Temple Dr. William C. Hammond and his Second Congregational Church choir favored us on several occasions with very enjoyable concerts. These were open to Masons, their families and friends. The full choir of the First Baptist Church likewise rendered its Easter music in 1924 under the direction of Bro. Norman J. Dash to a very appreciative audience.
In the following year a very successful ladies' night encouraged the Lodge to attempt a larger social affair, which resulted in a ball that filled our Auditorium and netted a sizeable sum.
The Grand Lodge felt a need for an Employment Bureau and accordingly set up the same with committees appointed by the various Lodges throughout the State to take care of local requirements.
On October 8, 1924, a notable feature of the visitation of our District Deputy Grand Master, R. W. Isidor W. Davis, was the presence of every living Past Master of the Lodge except one, who was unavoidably absent as he was living out of the State.
We were honored on November 1, 1924, with the presence of over 100 members of New Hope Lodge No. 730 of Schenectady, New York. After the work of the afternoon, when the Eagle A degree team of the American Writing Paper Co. worked the third degree on two of their fellow workers, we proceeded to the Auditorium where a fine banquet was served at six o'clock. This was followed by the exemplification of the Master Mason degree by the degree team of New Hope Lodge, using the New York State ritual. This was greatly enjoyed by nearly three hundred Masons. At the banquet New Hope Lodge presented the Masonic Lodges of Holyoke with $50 to be used toward the furnishings of our Temple. It was gratefully received and demonstrated a fine spirit of fraternal feeling.
The first Charter Members' Night was held on May 20, 1925, and was attended by 162 including seventeen of the original charter members. Prior to the work a banquet was served in the Auditorium and was followed by the working of the Master Mason degree in the lodge-room. Five of the stations were occupied by Charter Members as follows:
- Wor. Master, Wilbur H. Stedman
- Sen. Warden, Isidor W. Davis
- Jun. Warden, Arthur B. Thorpe
- Jun. Deacon, Robert A. Ramage
- Secretary, Charles H. Wolfe
One of the rare visits by a Grand Master was on May 12, 1926, when we received Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, at a fraternal visit. On this occasion the chairs were filled in a novel manner, being occupied by the Presiding Masters of the Lodges in the Seventeenth Masonic District as follows: Jerusalem, Northampton; Pacific, Amherst; Mount Tom, Holyoke; Ionic, Easthampton; Hampshire, Haydenville; William Whiting and Mount Nonotuck, Holyoke.
During the term of Wor. Fairfield Whiting in 1927, his father, R. W. William F. Whiting, presented a much appreciated gift in the form of three organ attachments, harp, viola and chimes, which added much to the versatility of our fine organ.
Wor. Irving L. Tinker and his Officers for 1929 were honored by being installed by the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Dudley H. Ferrell, and suite.
The year 1930 saw our youngest Worshipful Master presiding in the East. Wor. William Malcolm Marshall was only twenty-eight year old when he was elevated to this high office.
In spite of the increasing gloom of the depression, the officers felt that a cheerful note at this time would not be amiss and accordingly arranged for a series of six dances to be held in the auditorium. The other two Lodges joined in this undertaking during the winter of 1930-1931. These dances proved very popular and the charge was but fifty cents with free refreshments included.
A pleasant and instructive occasion during the term, of Wor. George D. MacDonald was the Fraternal Visit of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Herbert W. Dean, in 1931, when a joint meeting of the three Blue Lodges, William Whiting, Mount Tom and Mount Nonotuck, was held. The evening was closed by a fine address by the Grand Master in which he set forth the activities of the Grand Lodge, what Masonry is doing and hoping to do in the future. During the year we first began to feel the financial pinch as shown by the action of the Lodge which voted to withdraw $2000 from the Permanent Fund in June and $1000 in September. In October it was voted to pay all initiation fees from candidates into the Permanent Fund less the amounts due the Grand Lodge.
Wor. Charles H. Boettcher was the presiding Master during 1932 and during that time the Masonic year was changed to end August 31st from September 30th. The date of the annual communication was changed to the first Wednesday in September.
At the annual Past Masters' and Charter Members' Night it was quite evident that our Charter Members were slowly passing on when ten were present of a total of sixteen. They were given a fine welcome by the 165 Brothers present.
A large attendance greeted the officers at a meeting of the three Blue Lodges in observance of the Bi-Centennial of Bro. George Washington later in the same year. We were honored by the presence of the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Curtis Chipman, who was introduced by R. W. Allen T. Treadway, Congressman from this district. The Grand Master delivered a short address on the topic "George Washington the Mason." Selections and solos were given by Bros. Lippmann, Ashley, Webster, Knapp, Foote and Silsby. This indicated the wealth of musical talent which we could call upon for special occasions.
During the year 1933 it was voted to pay to the Treasurer of the Lodge the accrued incomes of the Relief and Permanent Funds for use of the Lodge. We were fortunate in having put aside moneys during more prosperous days to meet the emergencies which then arose.
Little did we anticipate at the time how long the depression era uould last and the work that would devolve on the Lodge. Dues collections became slow; Masters and Officers found it necessary to call on members who were delinquent; others would pay in installments ; and some were unable to pay at all. In worthy cases dues were remitted. Some took demits and others were suspended but not before being interviewed at their homes. Naturally the number of applicants for degrees fell off and consequently our income. It was a very difficult time for the officers who loyally stuck to their task. They even brought refreshments from their homes, which were prepared by their wives to serve after the meetings in order to keep down the expenses. Flowers were provided for the sick Brethren from collections taken up at the monthly meetings for the Flower Fund.
An indication of the urgency of the situation may be drawn from this extract from the Master's page in our Calendar which reads:
During the month your Officers have traveled the highways and byways doing the disagreeable duty of interviewing delinquent members, giving the Brother the benefit and opportunity of stating his reasons for his delinqency. This is an added burden on your Officers and would not be necessary under normal conditions. However, they have cheerfully assumed this added duty so that their Lodge and the Brother may get a square deal.
In spite of all these troubles they never ceased to keep up the interest of the Brethren as indicated by the social activities. In 1934 Nationality Nights attracted many members and their wives. These nights included English, Scotch, German, Jewish and Yankee Nights, the latter also called All Nations Night. Dances, card parties and a minstrel show helped to increase our funds to a small extent. The big event of the year was the celebration of our Twenty-fifth Anniversary. This was a modest affair, which included a seventy-five cent banquet but worth much more; also the Pizzitola Strummers, the Temple Singers and the Westfield Hill Billies. Our guest speaker, Rev. Bro. Orville E. Crain, gave an encouraging address, which was much enjoyed. Our honored guest was R. W. William F. Whiting, whose interesting talk was most inspiring. A minstrel show helped to finance this anniversary.
In the early 1930's the Grand Lodge decided that candidates should receive official information regarding Masonry and its history. Many had but a meagre knowledge of the Fraternity in this matter. To correct this situation it had three small books published which are not only interesting but authoritative. These are presented to the candidates after taking each degree. As a result, our members are now well posted on matters Masonic. One of the largest attended Nationality Nights took place on December 5, 1934, when our Lodge held German Night, which was attended by about 400 Masons and their ladies, who enjoyed a fine dinner and the entertainment which followed.
We had the pleasure of entertaining Columbia Lodge No. 36 of Brattleboro, Vermont, on October 30, 1935, when the visitors conferred the Master Mason degree under Vermont ritual before over 200 Brethren, in which thirty-seven Lodges were represented. Needless to say, it was a big night for all.
Our most important event in 1936 was held on January 8 with an unusual affair in which we were the host to twenty-two presiding Masters in the Connecticut Valley, who were welcomed by our Master, Wor. Lewis J. White. The Valley Masters assumed the chairs and conferred the Third Degree in faultless form. During the evening Honorary Memberships were conferred on R. W. Archibald A. Brooks and Bro. John W. Toole. The visitors' book showed 155 Masons from forty-five Lodges present, and from the following jurisdictions: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, California, Ontario, Canada. Scotland and China.
A novel meeting under the name of Orchid Night was held September 18, 1937, under the direction of Wor. Lewis J. White, which was attended by over 200 Masons. Quoting the elaborate program issued for the occasion, "even as the orchid, from the variety of its species, its multitude of colors and its regal beauty, is chosen as a symbol of reward for deeds well done, so we chose this flower tonight to symbolize our desire to thank you who are here tonight, both on the side lines and in the chairs, for your friendship and loyalty to William Whiting Lodge."
Officers from twenty different Lodges in the Connecticut Valley occupied the chairs and conferred the Master Mason degree in a very impressive manner. Twenty-six Lodges from six Grand Jurisdictions were represented. This was our biggest night of the year and an evening long to be remembered, not overlooking the excellent turkey dinner served before the festivities began.
After a great deal of planning and arranging by Wor. Earl L. Ironside, our presiding Master, the Brethren were treated to an outstanding event on November 19, 1938, when Continental Lodge, No. 76, of Waterbury, Connecticut, conferred the Master Mason degree on their own candidate, using Connecticut ritual.
Prior to the work, 300 sat down to a bounteous turkey dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the Temple auditorium, which was prepared by the "Sons of the Widow" under the direction of Bro. Henry Ensling.
Following the dinner they marched to the State Armory, our own lodge-room being inadequate for the size of the gathering, where another large group had assembled to witness the degree work. After receiving the D. D. Grand Master and his suite, the Scottish Rite Team, including fifteen Fellow Crafts all in full Highland costume and led by their piper, entered the lodge-room and assumed their stations with Wor. James Abercrombie presiding in the East. Then followed as fine a rendition of the degree as one may ever see. At the conclusion of the splendid work of the evening, the intensely interested gathering showed their appreciation by great applause.
This was a great occasion for William Whiting Lodge and we believe it was the largest attended special communication for degree work ever held in this section of the state. There were 665 present, representing 100 Lodges from thirteen jurisdictions. Wor. Earl L. Ironside was congratulated afterward for the time and effort put into it in making the affair such a great success.
During the months following, our activities continued as shown by a Scotch Night, an English Night, a German Night and a Jewish Night, which indicated the efforts that were made to maintain the interest of our members in spite of the economic situation at that time. One evening we even held a spelling-bee, in which the three Blue Lodges participated, and proud to say, our Lodge won. The records do not state whether the contest was confined to four-letter words.
Another important event was the Past Masters' Night which was held on May 24, 1939, when twenty-three Past Masters attended. On this same evening the Living Charter Members and the class of 1909 were honored by being escorted into the lodge-room with the D.D. Grand Master and his suite.
We have made frequent references to the very large attendance on special occasions in the early and middle years of the Lodge as compared to the present day turnouts which are affected by the many diversions and numerous forms of entertainment, However, it has had no effect on the steady and healthy growth of the Lodge.
A committee which had previously been appointed to consider the advisability of annulling a motion passed on January 6, 1926, creating the Permanent Relief Fund, reported at the September 6, 1939, meeting that the vote be annulled and that the Relief Fund be combined with the Permanent Fund. A motion to that effect was made, seconded and passed and since that time we have maintained this one Fund.
At the June meeting a communication was received from Mount Nonotuck Lodge stating that at their May meeting it was voted to consolidate with William Whiting Lodge if its officers and members were willing. Our action on this matter was to have the two Lodges jointly petition the Grand Lodge for permission to consolidate.
As a result of the petition to the Grand Lodge in which permission was requested and granted to consolidate Mount Nonotuck Lodge with William Whiting Lodge, a special communication of the Grand Lodge was held in our Temple on September 16, 1939, at which all the Grand Officers were present. This proposal brought out a large assemblage, including the D.D. Grand Masters of the seventh nearby Masonic Districts. The meeting was preceded by a dinner in the banquet hall.
(Note: For account of ceremony, see 1939 Mass. 336-346.)
Wor. Earl W. Ironside, after being informed of the favorable action by the Grand Lodge, undertook a laborious task when he trekked afoot to the homes of the newly-united members of Mount Nonotuck Lodge to extend the greetings and a welcome into William Whiting Lodge. In only one instance was he informed by a member that he had no desire to become a member of our Lodge.
Our meeting of February 14, 1940, was enlivened by a Masonic debate on the subject: "Closed or Open Installations," Holyoke versus South Hadley Falls. The record mentions no decision, perhaps in the interest of harmony and brotherly love.
In January 1942 Bro. George D. Stalker, a member of the Holyoke Fire Commission, addressed the Lodge on fire protection and suggested that fifteen volunteers act with an equal number from Mount Tom Lodge for the purpose of protecting the Holyoke Hospital and the Home for the Aged during the blackouts which were frequent during World War II. This was agreed to, following which they were requested to report for duty promptly at these institutions when required. From time to time they were instructed at Fire Headquarters in the handling of fire equipment and fires. One thing they enjoyed in connection with their duties was riding on the fire apparatus. We also supplied men to man the observation posts at Scott Tower as airplane spotters for the duration of the war.
The year 1943 might be termed the beginning of the Westover Era, for it was in this year that Bro. Oscar L. Bolin, the first candidate from Westover Air Force Base, received the Master Mason degree, and later in the year, Bro. Cuno Bender was raised to that degree. Two Majors and a Captain assisted in the work. Since that time, the lodge has conferred the degrees on seventy-five men from the Base, including Captains, Majors, Lieut. Colonels and Colonels.
Some of our members felt that as soon as they left this vicinity or the service they would affiliate with their home-town Lodge. However, we are pleased to say that only one has ever taken a demit and that for the good reason of returning to his home abroad where he affiliated with a Lodge in his native city. Evidently our Westover Brethren are proud to retain their membership in William Whiting Lodge, even though scattered around the world.
On Washington's Birthday in 1944 we invited 100 men from the Base to be our guests regardless of any Masonic connections. They enjoyed the dinner and entertainment and declared it a happy affair.
A solemn occasion was the funeral service of Bro. Capt. John C. Turney, who was killed in a flight over Newfoundland. A large number of our members and a delegation from the Westover Square Club attended the rites in Skinner Chapel in December 1947, which were conducted by Rev. Bro. Ronald J. Tamblyn and Wor. Douglas J. Rawlinson. Chaplain Capt. H. C. Gober was the Military Escort assigned to accompany the body to its last resting place.
Our Past Masters' Nights in 1943, 1944 and 1945 were notable for the large attendance of Past Masters at these events when twenty-four, twenty-five and twenty-eight respectively took part in the work.
On September 4, 1946, the Lodge voted to raise the fee for a Life Membership whereby "a fully paid Member shall pay into the Treasury the sum equal to the annual dues for twenty-five years." This amounts to $300 and was approved by the Grand Lodge in December 1946. This is quite different from the early days of the lodge when the annual dues were $3.00 and a Life Membership cost $45. The bonds of the Secretary and Treasurer were raised to $2500 each and the three Trustees to $1000 each.
We were honored on March 30, 1949, by the presence of Bro. Col. Stanley O. Wentz of Hawthorn Lodge, No. Ill, of Portland, Oregon, and Worshipful Master of Oregon Military Lodge of Frankfurt, Germany, and E.A. Bro. Capt. Bill Gray Fendall of Corvallis Lodge, No. 14, of Corvallis, Oregon, who gave the Second Degree lecture according to Oregon ritual. Later Bro. Fendall received his Master Mason degree in our Lodge as a courtesy to Corvallis Lodge, No. 14, on the following month.
Our Fortieth Anniversary celebration was combined with Past Masters' Night on April 27, 1949, and observed in a modest manner. Our special guests were our remaining Charter Members who could attend and those who received their Master Mason degree in 1909. As they arose to be recognized, they were accorded a hearty round of applause by the Brethren.
An interesting Thanksgiving service was held on November 20 of the same year at the First Presbyterian Church under the direction of Rev. Bro. Daniel A. Thurston, with Capt. Bro. William McNeil of Westover Air Force Base as the speaker. At the close of the service, Holyoke Assembly, Order of the Rainbow for Girls, conducted their Candlelight Ceremony in an impressive manner.
Following the custom of holding Nationality Nights, we had the pleasure of attending our first Greek Night held on January 18, 1950, which included a delightful collation and an interesting entertainment. Our Jewish Night was held on February 15 and included a large array of tempting Jewish delicacies. This was followed by a fine concert at which the attendance taxed the capacity of our auditorium.
We received notice on December 1, 1950, that our rent would be raised to $4000 a year, which was not unexpected considering the general rise in prices and operating costs.
We had long felt that we had neglected collecting the photographs of our Past Masters, a task which was becoming more difficult as the years rolled by. So on December 6 Bro. Henry C. Mallon was appointed to collect the same and arrange to have them framed. Within a few months the collection was complete and each retiring Master has furnished his photo ever since; so the collection is kept up-to-date.
The biggest event of 1951 was the visit of Continental Lodge, No. 76, of Waterbury, Connecticut, on May 19, which presented its Caledonian Degree Team and worked the Master Mason degree attired in kilts. This Degree Team is famous for its uniqueness and the excellence of its work. As a large attendance was expected, the High School gymnasium was engaged for the event. It was well that we did, as 474 Masons witnessed the beautiful rendition of the degree in Connecticut ritual. Wor. Alvin W. Ironside received many compliments for his planning and efforts in making this event an outstanding success.
An excellent chicken dinner prepared by the women of St. Luke's Mission was enjoyed prior to the degree work.
In June 1951 a committee was appointed to look into the matter of improving the appearance of our Lodge calendar. Chiefly through the suggestions of R.W. Robert W. Peterson, our present calendar was brought out. This shows the East of our lodge-room with its impressive Greek architecture with fluted Doric pillars and pediment. This supersedes the older calendar which showed a rough sketch of the exterior of the Temple. The new issue came out in September 1951.
In view of the 199 members who had been Masons for twenty-five years or more, a Long Timers' Night was held on January 7, 1954, and these were invited as guests of the Lodge. Following an excellent dinner, we had the pleasure of hearing the late Bro. George Fingold, Attorney General of Massachusetts, who gave a stirring address. The Brothers were seated at tables marked 25, 30, 35 and 40 years or more. It proved a delightful evening with many renewals of old friendships.
Mount Holyoke College, which had carried the mortgage on our Temple for a number of years, decided it would carry it no longer. This made it imperative for the Holyoke Masonic Association to take immediate action. A campaign for funds among the Craft yielded $43,000 and the two Blue Lodges made loans without interest which enabled the Association to make a sizeable immediate payment. Our Lodge loaned $17,000 to the Association, which eventually reduced the loan to $11,000. As the outlook for repaying the remainder looked dubious, the Lodge on October 7, ■953. voted to cancel the balance due. Mount Tom likewise cancelled the unpaid portion of its loan. As a result, the Temple is now free from debt.
Our members were pleasantly surprised on January 25, 1956, when the Springfield Greek Square Club worked the Master Mason degree on three candidates under the Mastership of Wor. John Hasapehs in an excellent and dignified manner. The applause which followed the working of the degree indicated our appreciation of an outstanding presentation of this degree.
We were favored by another conferring of this degree on February 22, 1956, by the Hiram Associates, a Scottish Degree Team from Worcester, Massachusetts. The entire team appeared in kilts, accompanied by three bagpipers and drummer which imparted a touch of Old Scotland. The degree was put on in dramatic form, which added to its impressiveness and was enjoyed by 234 Brothers.
Owing to the increasing membership of the Lodge and the amount of work involved, the salaries of the Treasurer and Secretary were increased to $150 and $400 respectively by vote of the Lodge on September 5, 1956.
As many of our members had failed or were unable to witness the degree work of the Scottish Hirams of Worcester when they appeared in our lodge-room on February 22, 1956, they were again invited to confer the Master Mason degree on November 16, 1957. This time we engaged the auditorium of the West Springfield High School, and it was well that we did, as 499 members of the Fraternity turned out for this enjoyable affair. At the close of the meeting, the Degree Team, District Deputy's Suite and the Officers of William Whiting Lodge marched out of the lodge-room singing Auld Lang Syne with the assistance of three bagpipers and a drummer amid the enthusiastic applause of the Brethren.
At the close of the Entered Apprentice degree work on November 20, Open House was held for Westover Masons and their wives. First came the Oriental Band of Melha Temple Shrine, which was introduced by Noble Herbert W. Scott. They filled the auditorium with the music of their pipes and drums and gave an entertaining snake dance and water-pitcher act. Then followed Bill Harry's pupils with their tuneful accordions. Finally the Hosaga Indians of Springfield College interpreted several Indian dances, which was followed by a tasty collation.
The Fraternal Visit of our new District Deputy Grand Master, R. W. John R. Lundgren, on January 22, 1958, brought out a sizeable attendance which witnessed the work of the Varsity Club. Bro. Samuel Resnic, Mayor, extended the greetings of the city, and R. W. Ronald Astley was presented an Honorary Membership Badge in William Whiting Lodge. Later in the evening he conferred the degree of Master Mason on Richard Thomas Saltman, son of R. I. Abraham Saltman, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Council, R. & S. M. of Massachusetts, who was present to witness the degree. This being a cold January evening, the members were treated to an enjoyable clam chowder collation.
An exceptional rendering of the Master Mason degree was portrayed by Manchester Lodge, No. 73, of Manchester, Connecticut, on April 19, 1958. This nearly 150-year-old Lodge had an unusual cast for presenting the degree in full dramatic form, aided by its own choir. Their fine looking corps of officers in full evening dress made an impressive appearance and their Connecticut ritual, which varies somewhat from ours, added much interest and enjoyment to the occasion. The Lodge opened at 5:00 p.m. and at 6:00 p.m. when the first section ended the Brethren repaired to the auditorium, where a roast beef dinner was enjoyed, followed by a social period. They then returned to the lodge-room at 7:30 for the completion of the work. One could readily understand why this Lodge is invited frequently by other Lodges to dramatize this degree. It was a rare treat for those fortunate enough to witness their performance.
Bro. Harold L. Vigneux was elected Worshipful Master of the Lodge on September 3, 1958, and upon him will fall the task and honor of arranging for the celebration of our Fiftieth Anniversary in January 1959. He will be ably assisted by several committees which should produce a commemoration of which we shall be proud.
We have had several members whose services to the Lodge are worthy of mention even though their work has not called for ritual or degree work, but has been performed behind the scenes. These worthy Brothers have served at various times as follows:
- Wor. William J. Agambar, Auditor 25 years
- Bro. Arthur H. Burgess, Auditor 23 years
- Wor. Thomas Neil, Auditor 20 years
- Bro. Wallace M. France, Secretary 22 years
- Wor. Robert W. Ely, Treasurer 28 years
- Bro. John Oliver, Tyler 28 years
- Wor. Frederick N. Ricker, Treasurer 14 years
- Wor. Richard G. Mathieson, Secretary 14 years
- Bro. Thomas C. Auld, Organist 36 years and 8 months
Bro. Auld served as organist for four Masonic bodies: namely, Mount Tom and William Whiting Lodges, Mount Holyoke Royal Arch Chapter and Holyoke Council Royal and Select Masters until his death September 23, 1945. His services to Mount Tom Lodge covered a period of thirty-nine years. He had the honor of presiding at the organ at the funeral service of President Calvin Coolidge at Edwards Congregational Church in Northhampton. The funeral was attended by many notables, including President and Mrs. Herbert Hoover, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Governor Joseph B. Ely of Massachusetts and others.
The work of Wor. William G. Vogel should be given special mention as head of the Masonic Blood Bank for the amount of time and effort he has put into it. Likewise Bro. Herbert Utley as Chairman of the Sick Committee, who has given up many of his evenings visiting sick members at the hospitals and their homes.
The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has appointed five of our Past Masters to serve as District Deputy Grand Masters during the past fifty years: namely, R. W. Abraham Davis, 1911-1912, R. W. Isidor W. Davis, 1923-1924; R. W. Edgar M. Osgood, I93I-I932; R. W. E. Ashley, 1942-1943; and R. W. Robert W. Peterson, 1956-1957.
We are proud to say that we still have with us on our membership roster two of our Chapter Members, Brothers Creighton W. Whiting and Edmund H. Friedrich. Two other Chapter Members are still living: namely, Brothers Earl C. VanValkenburg of Florida, who was our first Secretary, and Walter P. Crosby of Springfield. Both demitted some years ago, but Bro. Crosby, who is ninety-nine years old, is still a member of Mount Tom Lodge. We also have on our membership roster six Brothers who received their degrees during the first year of our existence: namely, Howard Conant, Herbert L. Baldwin, William H. Lippmann, Ralph W. Lyman, Richard G. Mathieson and Henry C. Mallon. It is interesting to know that on November 1, 1958, our membership numbered 590.
Our Lodge has the unique record of having had three brothers serve as Master of the Lodge. Wor. Earl L. Ironside served during the Masonic year of 1939, Wor. Alvin W. Ironside served during 1951 and Wor. Ralph R. Ironside in 1954. They all served with distinction. In addition, Earl has presided as High Priest of Mount Holyoke Royal Arch Chapter, Alvin as Commander of Saint Andrew Commandery, Knights Templar, and Ralph as Illustrious Master of Holyoke Council, Royal and Select Masters.
Another distinction of which we are proud is the fact that four generations of the Whiting family are or have been members of the Lodge. William Whiting, after whom the Lodge was named, received his degrees in Mount Tom Lodge in 1866 and became a Charter Member of our Lodge in 1909; his two sons, William F. and Samuel R., received their degrees on June 30, 1909, and William and Fairfield, sons of William F., received their degrees in January 1916 and December 1920, respectively. William's son, George Fowler Whiting, was made a Mason in January 1955.
Other unusual records which we are pleased to record were the raising of his two sons, Kenneth D. and Richard F., by Wor. Frank A. Geissler, who was the presiding Master at the time. Wor. Richard G. Mathieson also raised his two sons, Richard J. and John T., but as a Past Master.
We have had two instances where father and son received their degrees together. Bro. Leonard O. Goodwin, Sr., and his son Bro. Leonard O., Jr. received their Master Mason degree on December 29, 1943; and Bro. Fayette F. Read and his son, Bro. Richard C, were made Masons on May 29, 1952.
During the fifty years of our existence, the Lodge has seen fit to elect the following members of the Craft as Honorary Members, not alone for services to the Lodge, but for their efforts and accomplishments for Freemasonry in general:
- William Whiting†, 1909
- Abraham Davis†, 1910
- Wilbur H. Stedman†, 1910
- Frederick N. Ricker†, 1910
- William M. Engle†, 1910
- Lewis M. Richards†, 1913
- Robert Gillette, 1922
- William F. Whiting†, 1927
- Newton F. Holmes†, 1928
- John W. Toole†, 1936
- Archibald A. Brooks†, 1936
- Frederick W. Cope, 1936
- Matthew A. Herbert†, 1937
- Wallace M. France†, 1938
- Henry Ensling, 1939
- Edward F. Day, 1945
- Abraham Saltman, 1957
- Ronald Astley, 1958
During the years the Lodge has established various funds such as the Rainy Day Fund, Relief Fund, Charity Fund and Permanent Fund. All have been discontinued or combined into the Permanent Fund, which is administered by a Board of Trustees consisting of three members elected for three years, with the term of one expiring each year. The Fund is entrusted to the care of the Hadley Falls Trust Co. as agent, which renders an annual statement to the Trustees, and they in turn report to the Lodge at the annual communication. Any amount may be withdrawn from the same by a two-thirds vote of the Lodge after the intention has been inserted in the previous month's Calendar.
While the Lodge has an unwritten rule that no Master shall serve more than one term, there have been two exceptions. R. W. Abraham Davis served from the date of institution, January 7, 1909, while we worked under a dispensation, until January 12, 1910, when he was installed under the Charter for a well-deserved second term. Wor. Lewis J. White, Master in 1936, was re-elected in 1937 because of an emergency which arose at that time.
As we look back over the years, many pertinent facts stand out: such as the fortunate selection of our name contrary to usual Masonic custom, but honoring a distinguished citizen and benefactor while living rather than his memory after death; the untiring efforts of the thirty-three Charter Members in establishing the Lodge on a firm foundation; the great sacrifices made, services rendered and the tenacious loyalty shown by the Masters and officers during the long and dark days of the depression and the spirit born of Masonry which drove them on in the hope of brighter days ahead; those leaders of later days who have worked hard to bring the Lodge forward to its present prosperous position both numerically and financially; the long services rendered by several of the officers and Brothers, both past and present; the large number of visitors entertained from Lodges across the country as well as from foreign jurisdictions, and the praise so frequently received for the excellent presentation of the degrees.
As we look forward into the future, we feel that sound growth lies ahead, not only for ourselves, but for the Fraternity throughout the land.
As we close the book on this chronicle, a feeling of pride in this great Fraternity comes over us; pride in its principles, its charities and its spread throughout the world which leads men of many nations and races to its doors to seek its Light.
- 1920 (Participation in a cornerstone laying, 1920-281)
- 1924 (Participation in a cornerstone laying, 1924-336)
- 1936 (Reduction of fees approved, 1936-130)
- 1936 (Memorial for William F. Whiting, 1936-175)
CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, JANUARY 1910
From New England Craftsman, Volume V, No. 5, February 1910, Page 168:
Most Worshipful Dana J. Flanders, Grand Master, and other officers of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts constituted a new Masonic Lodge at Holyoke, Mass.. Wednesday, January 12th.
The lodge is named for Ex-Congressman William Whiting and it is regretted that this brother was prevented by ill health from being present at the consecration.
Hotel Hamilton, Holyoke
Previous to the ceremony the guests were welcomed to the city by Mayor N. P. Avery and provided with a dinner at Hotel Hamilton. The following officers of the lodge were installed: Abraham Davis, Master; Wilbur H. Stedman and Isidor W. Davis, Jr.. Wardens: Frederick V. Kicker, Treasurer; Charles H. Wolfe, Secretary; William M. Engle, Chaplain; Walter P. Crosby, Marshal; Frank Murray and Robert A. Ramage, Deacons; Arthur B. Thorpe and J. Edward Wilson, Stewards; Ernest L. Hughes, Inside Sentinel; Thomas C. Auld, Organist; Newtown F. Holmes, Tyler; R. C. Chapin, A. F. Hitchcock and C. B. Sampson, Trustees.
After the installation there were addresses by the visiting Masons and others and a collation followed in the dining hall.
Mr. Whiting is confessedly Holyoke's first citizen and the naming of the new lodge in his honor was considered most fitting. It is nearly 60 years ago that the first Masonic lodge was formed in Holyoke, Mt. Tom Lodge, several of whose members become officials in the new lodge. The new lodge will have Wednesdays for its meeting night.
75TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, JANUARY 1984
From TROWEL, April 1984, Page 19:
In one of the first official functions of his term as Grand Master, Most Worshipful David Borden Richardson journeyed to the Holyoke 17th Masonic District on January 7, 1984, to honor William Whiting Lodge, A. F. & A. M., on their 75th anniversary.
M.W. Bro. Richardson presided and gave a most informative talk on the life of Worshipful William Whiting, for whom the Lodge was named. He explained that by a special dispensation granted by the Grand Lodge a living individual's name was attached to a new Masonic Lodge, something not usually done.
A Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Bro. Herbert O. Utley, Sick Committee Chairman for 43 years. Two Joseph Warren Distinguished Service Medals were presented, one to Bro. Elwyn L. Hughes, who is serving his 30th year as Secretary, and the other to Wor. Harold L. Vigneux, in appreciation for 36 years of distinguished service to Masonry.
A banquet and a dancing period followed at the Wycoff Park Country Club. A Sunday morning breakfast was served at the Temple, and a Church Service was attended by many Lodge members and their families, with Rev. and Wor. Gordon R. Naser officiating at the Grace United Church of Christ. Bro. Naser is from Seneca Lodge No. 55, Torrington, Conn., where he served as Master in 1960.
First row: Wor. Harold L. Vigneux, General Chairman; Most Worshipful David B. Richardson, Grand Master; Bro. Herbert O. Utley; and Wor. Lonnie E. Wall, Jr., presiding Master of the Lodge.
Second row: R. W. Robert E. Godbout, Jr., Grand Marshal; Bro. Elwyn L. Hughes; and R. W. Ronald E. Jackson, D. D. G. M., Holyoke 17th Masonic District. (Photo and information from Harold L. Vigneux.)
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- E. Ray Ashley, DDGM, District 18 (Chicopee), 1942, 1943; N
- Isidor W. Davis, DDGM, District 17 (Holyoke), 1923, 1924; SN
- Alvin W. Ironside, DDGM, District 17 (Holyoke), 1977, 1978; N
- Daniel Love, DDGM, District 18 (Chicopee), 1939; N
- Edgar M. Osgood, DDGM, District 18 (Chicopee), 1931, 1932; N
- Robert W. Peterson, DDGM, District 18 (Chicopee), 1956, 1957; SN
- Abraham Saltman, Memorial