OLYMPIA LODGE No. 1, F. & A. M.
1852 – 1935
GEORGE E. BLANKENSHIP, Compiler
THE OLD MASONIC HALL
It is deemed advisable in compiling a history of Olympia Lodge No. 1 to avoid much of the routine business and Masonic work, which would be uninteresting to the reader and of little historical value. This work has attempted to emphasize the high lights of local Masonic history and connect up as far as may be possible the lives of our pioneer Masons with the history of the Territory and State of Washington; for almost without exception, those figures prominent in official life and those to whom so much credit is due for the development of our great commonwealth were members of the Fraternity. Their lives are a memory; their deeds are emblazoned on the journals of Olympia Lodge.
OLYMPIA LODGE U.D., OREGON JURISDICTION
OLYMPIA LODGE No. 5, A.F. & A.M., OREGON JURISDICTION
O LYMPIA LODGE No. 1, F. & A.M., WASHINGTON JURISDICTION
Olympia Lodge No. 1 (formerly No. 5 under the Oregon jurisdiction) F. & A.M., is the oldest organization, secular or otherwise, in the Territory now comprising the State of Washington. While the whites were contending with the Indians for supremacy, No. 5 was an active organization. While its members were clearing the land on which to make homes on the wooded shores of Puget Sound, where future cities were to arise, No. 5 was a virile body.
Before entering into a history of Olympia Lodge No. 1, it will not be amiss to give a brief account of the inception of Masonry in the Northwest.
Looking backward over the history of that county lying between the California border on the south to the British line on the north and from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, we find that when the American emigrants began to predominate, that inborn desire for law and order gave rise to a provisional government – – a government without a flag. Six years later, in 1849, this was succeeded by a territorial government under the authority of the United States, and with the new order sprang up in the breasts of the sturdy empire builders, who had blazed the trail westward, a yearning for those institutions that stood for a higher and more advanced civilization and for religious influence. This resulted in the organization of the Grand Lodge of Oregon Free and Accepted Masons, in 1851, the mother of Olympia Lodge No. 5 under the Oregon, now No. 1 under the Washington jurisdiction.
The first Masonic Lodge west of the Rocky Mountains was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Missouri, October 10, 1846, which charter was to Multnomah Lodge No. 84 on the charter register of Missouri and was located at Oregon City. The original jurisdiction of this Lodge was all the territory in the United States west of the Rocky Mountains. The charter came across the plains in a covered wagon. It was entrusted to two men, who, on the way, were taken with the gold fever and diverted their course toward California, and entrusted the charter to a third party who continued on to Oregon, reaching there in 1848. Four Lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Oregon: Olympia No. 1, Steilacoom No. 2, Grand Mound No. 3, and Washington (Vancouver) No. 4, met at Olympia December 6th, 1858, and organized the Grand Lodge of Washington Territory.
The Grand Lodge of Oregon granted a dispensation on November 25, 1852, to sundry brethren at Olympia, Puget Sound, to open a lodge under the name of Olympia, returnable at the communication of the Grand Lodge following that date, which return was promptly made by the Worshipful Master, T.F. McElroy.
The first minute book covering the period from December 11, 1852, to May 13, 1854, ever kept by a Lodge of Masons in this jurisdiction, must always be a memento of great interest to the Fraternity. It is a small volume of 88 leaves, 7_ X 4_, of white paper of good quality, lined by blue lines, substantially bound in leather, much of which is in the handwriting of T.F. McElroy, the first Worshipful Master. It is in a good state of preservation, considering its age of over eighty years. The minutes show that the practice of a separate ballot in each degree prevailed during the period covered by this book, and discloses one instance in which the advancement of an entered apprentice – a brother who was later a prominent member of the Grand Lodge – was delayed by a single blackball for many years.
The following extract is taken from this minute book:
“Olympia, Oregon Territory,
Saturday evening, December 11, A.D. 1852, A.L. 5852.
T.F. McElroy, J.W. Wiley, M.F. Simmons, N. Delin and Smith Hays of the petitioners with F.A. Clark, Master Mason, member of Willamette Lodge No. 2, and C.H. Hale, member of King David’s Lodge No. 62, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Maine, (Ira Ward and A.K. Skidmore of the petitioners being absent) having duly assembled this evening at the town of Olympia, proceeded to organize a lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons under the authority of a dispensation granted to the above petitioners by the Most Worshipful Berryman Jennings, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Territory of Oregon. The Lodge was opened in due and ancient form in the first, second and third degrees. Bro. T.F. McElroy, Worshipful Master; J.W. Wiley, senior warden; M.T. Simmons, junior warden. Thereupon the Worshipful Master appointed N. Delin, Treasurer; Ira Ward, senior deacon; Smith Hays, Tyler. Bro. F.A. Clark, junior deacon pro tem; Brother C.H. Hale, Secretary pro tem. A committee was appointed to draft by-laws and the Lodge fixed the first and third Saturdays of each month as regular meeting nights. No further business appearing the Lodge was closed in the first, second and third degrees in due and ancient form. C.H. HALE , Secretary pro tem”
At the second communication a petition for initiation into the mysteries of Free Masonry was received from B.F. Yantis. He was initiated Feb. 5, 1853, passed March 5th, and raised April 2nd, the first on whom this honor was bestowed in the territory north of the Columbia River. Col. B.F. Shaw’s initiation followed the same evening.
The charter was granted June 13, 1852, to Olympia Lodge No. 5, and bears date of June 5th, 1853. The minutes show the first meeting under the charter was held July 2, 1853. The minute book shows subsequent meetings U.D., but this is due probably to clerical error. The first meetings were held in a two-story building on what was Second Street, on the south side, midway between Main and Washington, in the same block in which the first legislature met. On April 15 a committee was appointed to report on the practicability of a building for Masonic purposes, and having resolved to build, at a meeting on May 8th, a committee was appointed to procure a suitable stone or block for a corner stone to be laid on St. John’s Day, June 24th, and an invitation was ordered issued to the Grand Lodge of Oregon and the Fraternity generally to attend the ceremonies, and to start the building a warrant was ordered drawn for $300.00. The structure was erected on the site of the present Masonic Temple on lots donated by Edmund Sylvester, the founder of the town, and was razed in 1911. Leading contributions to the building were:
T.F. McElroy ……………………………. $100.00
M.T. Simmons………………………….. 600.00
E. Sylvester ……………………………… 300.00
C. Etheridge (the builder) ………… 100.00
Permit me here to attempt a pen picture of the old Masonic Hall and its environments. The little village was located on a narrow peninsula, for the east arm of Budd’s Inlet then extended to Union Street. The town lay below what is now Fourth Avenue and from there on to the water. The new Masonic Hall stood in solemn grandeur on the border of a virgin forest, and along in front ran a trail, not worthy of the name of road, knee-deep in mud in the winter time. On either side lay dreary wastes of charred stumps and fallen timber, relieved here and there by a one-story frame house. The members of Olympia Lodge were diligent in attending meetings, for they had little in the way of diversion. On a dark winter night these faithful brothers might be seen by the light of the lanterns they carried, carefully picking their way over logs and stumps to the Lodge room, over the same ground the pampered brothers of today travel to this temple in automobiles and who feel themselves deeply aggrieved if they do not find parking place at the front door. The minutes of an early meeting note that an appropriation was made to build a garage (in their simplicity they called it a shed), where visiting brothers from the country could park their teams, but the minutes in primitive style state that the shed was merely a place to tie their horses.
Two sessions of the Legislature were held in the old hall, before the first Capitol building was erected on the hill. Men who later were destined to occupy prominent places in the future state received the rudiments of their education here. The door responded to the call of the statesman and the student.
It is the aim in a very brief review of the lives of the pioneer members of No. 1 to connect them with the early history of the territory. They founded a fraternity, but they did more, as empire builders, doing their part in gaining the west for the Union, adding a domain to the United States so vast that Atlas must square his shoulders to bear the burden of another world.
To the first Grand Master of Washington, Thornton F. McElroy, must be conceded the honor of being the father of Masonry in Washington. Mr. McElroy started the first newspaper in this section, called the Columbian, the principal purpose of which was to advocate the division of Oregon and the formation of a new Territory. The grand old man of Masonry, Thomas Milburne Reed, was a member of the Constitutional Convention and first State Auditor. His career as Grand Secretary of this jurisdiction was distinguished by faithfulness to duty and length of service.
Six members of No. 1 have served as Grand Master: Thornton F. McElroy, the first; James Biles, second and tenth; Selucius Garfield, third; Thomas M. Reed, fifth, sixth, and ninth; Elwood Evans, eighth; James R. Hayden, the seventeenth.
James Biles led a party in covered wagons over the Cascades, and here gave an example of his indomitable courage and perseverance. The party reached a point where they were stopped by a sheer drop of hundreds of feet. The stock was starving, provisions were meagre. The party could not turn back, they must go forward. There was not sufficient rope in the train to reach the foot of the precipice. Biles gave the orders to kill a steer, but the rawhide so procured was insufficient. Kill another, was the order. The wagons were taken apart and, by means of the rawhide strips so procured, the wagons were lowered piece by piece. The party, men, women, and children, then detoured afoot. The wagons were reassembled and the party proceeded. Of such stuff was the pioneer made. The traveler of today feels aggrieved if compelled to travel on else but a paved highway. Mr. Biles settled at Tumwater and started the first tannery on Puget Sound.
Elwood Evans was Secretary of the Territory from 1862 to 1867, a lawyer of ability and author of the most comprehensive history written of the Northwest.
Selucius Garfield, who served one term as Grand Master, was Surveyor General of the Territory from 1866 to 1869. He served as delegate to Congress from 1869 to 1872. He was a lawyer and a most eloquent orator, whose services were always in demand by the National Committees in presidential years. He never returned to the Territory after the expiration of his last term. He was succeeded in Congress by Judge Obadiah B. McFadden, another Mason of revered memory, and a member of the first Grand Lodge, representing the Vancouver lodge. He was Associate Justice of the Territorial Supreme Court from 1853 to 1858.
Noting the Masons who made history in the early days, no one stands out more conspicuously than Michael T. Simmons, first Junior Warden of No. 5. He led a party that started across the plains in the spring of 1845. Their destination was the Willamette Valley. The Oregon territory was then No Man’s land with doubtful claims by England and the United States settled, finally, by the preponderance of American emigrants. The pioneers had formed a provisional government, and made a law that no negro should be allowed to settle in Oregon territory. In Simmon’s party was a free mulatto, George Bush. On learning of the discriminating law, Simmons, with commendable loyalty to his party, and Bush, said, “We will go on.” They proceeded to tide water and reached Tumwater in the fall of 1845, and called their little settlement New Market, a name soon changed to the present one. Simmons’ life here was active politically and Masonically.
The first Mason made by No. 5, B.F. Yantis, served in the first legislative Council and subsequent legislatures. The second, Col. B.F. Shaw, served as colonel of volunteers in the Indian war in the Territory and distinguished himself in the service.
Edmund Sylvester was made a Mason in No. 5 in 1853. He came to this section with a partner named Smith. The latter was an epileptic and in a fit fell from a canoe and drowned. Thus Mr. Sylvester fell heir to the joint claims. The partnership had laid out a town site and named it Smither, later Olympia. The surviving partner donated twelve acres to the Territory for Capitol purposes, one block to the town for a park and two lots to Olympia Lodge of Masons, the real estate upon which this building stands. Mr. Sylvester’s original residence still stands across the street to the north from this temple. His place of business was on old Fourth and Main, where he played checkers and incidentally sold his wares. Such a devotee was he to his favorite game that should his opponent suggest that there was a customer in the front room he would reply, “Keep very quiet and perhaps he will go out.”
Courtland Etheridge, known among his friends as Chips, was made a Mason in No. 5 in 1853. He was the designer and builder of the old hall.
Edward S. Solomon was governor of the territory from 1870 to 1872, and was Master of No. 1 one term during his residence here. He was a Polish Jew. Upon retiring from office, he moved to San Francisco, there practicing law.
Major James Tilton, whose wife presented the lodge with a lock of General George Washington’s hair, a gift well authenticated, was the first Surveyor General of the territory, from 1853 to 1860.
At a meeting on June 21, 1854, a resolution was passed recommending to the Grand Master that he grant a petition for a dispensation to establish a lodge at Steilacoom. Steilacoom was a port on Puget Sound which, at that time, was better known than Tacoma or Seattle.
There is little to distinguish the meetings from 1852 to 1854 beyond petitions and ballots, which were distinguished by great discrimination in choice of members. By scanning the minutes the discerning reader may notice an ever-increasing list of visitors from other jurisdictions, as the population increased. Among these names was that of General Geo. B. McClellan, who figured largely in the rebellion later, but who came to the territory with Governor Stevens’ engineers, and Jay Butler Anderson, the first territorial marshal, who went east to take up arms with the Gray and lost his life for a lost cause.
A particularly noticeable feature of the proceedings of early meetings is the discipline maintained. These pioneer Masons were ritualists as far as their limited facilities permitted, but what was more commendable they were sticklers for what the ritual stood for, and frowned with puritanic severity upon hypocrisy. Those members who stepped beyond the bounds of propriety and violated Masonic teachings were haled before the bar and disciplined. A notable instance was that of James McAllister, a member of No. 5, who, while hunting cattle, killed two steers belonging to members of Steilacoom Lodge. Mr. McAllister, on discovering his mistake, went to the owners and offered to make a settlement, but the owners of the cattle were exorbitant in their demands, whereupon the two Lodges took the matter in hand and forced a settlement. No lawyers were feed nor courts called upon, but the settlement was effectual. Cases of intemperance were dealt with with patience and firmness, and one member who was known to frequent gambling places was hailed for judgment. His case was set for six months in advance, a probationary period in which to test the sincerity of his promise of reform. Two brothers who engaged in wordy conflict on the street were reprimanded, and a member leaving town without paying his creditors was expelled.
In later years we have erected magnificent temples in the name of Masonry, but they will mock high Heaven if they do not demonstrate the teachings of the Fraternity as exemplified by our predecessors. The incidents cited above were taken at random from the minutes to show how our antecedents lived their Masonry and set an example that Masons of today may well profit by. Masonry then meant more than commercial or political advantage and an emblem. The pioneer had a tear for pity and a hand open as the day for meeting charity, but he was an austere mentor.
May 7, 1859, the Lodge took steps toward building a sidewalk to connect with the town, which, when completed, was a boon for the juvenile population of the village who utilized it as a coasting course, furnishing a good steep grade from the hall to the old blockhouse, which stood where is now the marker for the end of the Oregon Trail.
There was much privation endured in those days, in everyday life, but there was some recompense. There is a notable contrast in comparison with the hold-up methods of today. No. 1 paid a bill for $33.78 for its Lodge room furniture; $1.12 per yard for its carpet, and it was a good carpet for it endured for years; 6 chairs for $9.00. These chairs were durable, for they are today in the hands of members of No. 1, who purchased them when the old hall was dismantled. It costs a great deal to live in these effete days of the automobile and enervating luxury, but it costs more to die. Now when one proposes to draw the draperies of his couch about him and lie down to pleasant dreams, he must leave an estate of at least $1,000.00 for funeral expenses or the obsequies will not be attended by the elect, while in 1850 to 1860 one could light out for that bourne from whence no traveler returns for about $36.00, as the record shows, and make a pretty good appearance at that. The necessary offices were performed by surviving brothers without price, and the deceased was taken out south of town in a dead-ex wagon rather than a gasoline hearse, but no one of the deceased was ever heard to complain about his conveyance.
One of the first funerals at which Olympia Lodge presided was one somewhat historic in the annals of the territory. The services were held over the remains of A. Benton Moses, of Steilacoom Lodge, and Joseph Miles. Moses and Miles had been shot from ambush by the Indians near Connell prairie, while in company with a small body of volunteers who were going to join the main body. These Indians were instigated in the murder by Chief Leschi, who was tried for the crime and eventually hung. Leschi was a fit subject for the hangman’s noose then. Today, thanks to Ezra Meeker, he is a hero and a martyr.
There was a tragedy in the funeral. The bodies were placed in one of the two wagons in the little settlement. In the other rode the bride of six months of Mr. Moses. The day was dark and dreary and the road almost impassible. To do honor to the men who had given up their lives to protect others, the citizens demanded a military funeral, and, as such, music was indispensable. The band consisted of a fife and drum. As the procession wended its way to the graveyard on the road leading to what is now Little Rock, near Belmore, over and over again the band played the strains of the “Girl I Left Behind Me.” This may have a ludicrous aspect now, but it was agony for a girl who was following a young husband to his last resting place. The people were simply doing the best they could to honor these Masons with the limited means at their command.
But the old order gives way for the new. Olympia Lodge is now a flourishing organization of over four hundred members, holding the proud title of No. 1 in a great jurisdiction. Harmony Lodge No. 18 was organized in 1871 and is a prosperous body of about one hundred sixty-five members. The necessities of these Lodges and the higher bodies demanded a better and a more commodious home and the old gave way for the building now occupied. Much credit is due to a committee composed of Frank Blakeslee, Chas. E. Claypool, and Robert Doragh, to whom was delegated the authority for financing and supervising the building. The corner stone for this temple was laid in 1911.
In such reverence was the old building held that many were loathe to have it destroyed. In the hope of preserving it, the Grand Lodge of Washington was offered a deed to the hall and the ground upon which it stood for use as a headquarters for the Grand Lodge archives and office of the Grand Secretary. But Tacoma influence was too strong, and brought about a removal of the office of Grand Secretary to the City of Destiny, after having been maintained here since the organization of the Grand Lodge. Much of this time Thomas Milburne Reed was Grand Secretary, a man who lived his Masonry and died a sincere and consistent Christian. His memory is cherished by all who were fortunate in having his acquaintance and friendship.
In such deep veneration was the old hall held that there were those in the membership of No. 1 that fought to the bitter end to save the old edifice. At last, the sentimental members offered to consent to the desecration on condition that a small lodge room would be included in the new building which would be a replica of the old Lodge room with its arch ceiling and starry embellishments. And the historic old building was razed, and an old door, the main entrance, was thrown into an abandoned barn and forgotten. The old order became a memory, with nothing to connect with the beginning of things except an old minute book and charter.
By merest accident, the old door was found and rejuvenated, and upon its surface on each panel is emblazoned the high lights of northwest Masonic history. The old door was home again and hung in the old Lodge room, and its return was celebrated by a special session of No. 1, when it was installed. The old hand rail was found that had guided the Masons of old up the stairs. It was made of a hard, not a native, wood, brought from an eastern state. When the old building was razed, a thorough search failed to reveal the old corner stone laid in 1854.
The door has been assigned a position in the smaller Lodge room, which in most respects is the one which it guarded, near the senior warden’s station in the west. It was the only place in the temple where wall space sufficient for its size could be found. There it will remain and as the years go by, additional history will be written upon its panels and stiles and thus through the generations will preserve, unimpaired, the history of the first Lodge in the state.
The original place of meeting of Olympia No. 5, was on Second Street, between Main Street (now Capitol Way) and Washington Street, in a two-story wooden building with an outside stairway. This was also the building in which was organized the Grand Lodge of Washington. The site is now marked by a plaque on which is inscribed:
“ORIGINAL MEETING PLACE
OLYMPIA LODGE NO. 1, F. & A.M.
DEC. 11, 1852
LAID BY THE M.W.
GRAND LODGE F. & A.M. OF WASHINGTON
DEC. 10, A.L. 5927
ROBERT A. WILSON
This location is a memorable one in the history of the state. In this block was held the first session of the territorial legislature in 1854. This site is also marked by a plaque installed by the Pioneer Society of the State. Here also stood an old hotel in which was held the official reception of Governor Isaac I. Stevens on his arrival in Olympia. The governor was accompanied by a party of engineers sent out by the government to locate a feasible route for a transcontinental railroad. They established their office in the block opposite. In fact, all of the little village of Olympia, made the capitol, by proclamation of Governor Stevens, of a vast domain extending from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and from the Columbia River to the British line, was located well down toward the waterfront, but the Masons built their first Lodge hall six blocks above, well surrounded by timber.
Members in good standing enrolled during 1853 and 1854 were: T.F. McElroy, J.W. Wiley, M.T. Simmons, N. Delin, Ira Ward, C.H. Hale, Smith Hays, F.A. Clark, I.B. Powers, B.F. Yantis, B.F. Shaw, J.R. Johnson, John M. Hayden, Edmund Sylvester, Courtland Etheridge, Levi M. Ford, T.W. Glasgow.
These were indeed the pioneer Masons of No. 1 that participated in the laying of the corner stone of the old building June 24, 1854. At 11 o’clock on that day a procession was formed and proceeded to the site of the new Lodge building, at which time and place the corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies, after which the procession moved to Brother Cock’s hall at the Pacific house, as stated by the minutes, and listened to an eloquent address by J.P. Anderson on Masonry. Evidently the pioneer had the same weakness as the more modern Mason, for the minutes further state that the brethren partook of a sumptuous entertainment prepared by Brother Cock for the occasion. The Pacific house, referred to, stood on the now vacant lot opposite the city hall. Brother Cock was later suspended for insubordination and finally expelled by order of the Grand Lodge.
At a meeting on August 4, a proposition to reduce the fees for the three degrees to $30.00 was discussed and rejected, the fees remaining at $50.00
The approaching Indian war had commenced, making inroads on the members of the Masonic Fraternity. As already stated, A. Benton Moses had been accorded a Masonic funeral by No. 5, and at the meeting held November 3, 1855, resolutions were passed deploring the death of A.J. Bolon. He was an Indian agent and was proceeding toward The Dalles accompanied by three Indians. One of the Indians on the trail dropped behind Bolon and shot him in the back. With the help of his companions, the murderer then cut Bolon’s throat, killed his horse, built a fire and burned the bodies of horse and man. This murderer was duly punished. His name was Kwalchen. One day he rode into Colonel Wright’s camp. The Colonel made this report of the affair, “He rode into my camp at 9 o’clock this morning and at 9:15 he was hung.”
At the meeting held November 11, 1855, resolutions of regret were adopted on the death of Brother James McAllister, killed by the Indians in White River Valley. His body was found two days after the killing of Moses, before mentioned, shockingly mutilated.
It may be stated in passing that the pioneer Masons spared neither space nor effort in expressing their sympathy. The resolutions commemorating the death of McAllister covered two pages of the minute book, closely written, closing with the following: “Resolved that a blank page be left in the record book of the Lodge and the name of our deceased brother be inscribed in the center thereof, with marginal black lines.” The secretary left two blank pages in the record book, but to this day they remain blank.
On December 8, 1855, a communication was read from Steilacoom Lodge announcing the death of Lieutenant Slaughter. He was killed by the Indians near White River. He had been a visitor to Olympia No. 5, though a member in Steilacoom, and Olympia was asked to participate in the funeral ceremonies. Lieutenant Slaughter was a West Point graduate and assigned to the 4th Infantry, to which Lieutenant Grant (later General Grant) was assigned. He was ordered to the West and was seasick every day of his trip here. On his arrival here he was ordered to return East, on account of a mistake in his assignment. Again he suffered from seasickness and, when Grant found him in Panama in 1852, still sick, he told his superior that he wished he had joined the Navy, for then he probably would not have to go to sea so much.
Closely interwoven with the early history of Washington is that of Masonry, for the outstanding characters that were bearing the burdens of pioneer life and carrying on contests with the Indians were Masons.
At a meeting on February 7, 1857, a resolution was passed urging the granting of a petition for the establishment of a Lodge of Masons at Grand Mound. The petitioners were: Charles Byles, James Byles, I. Axtell, W.B.D. Newman, C.E. Baker, B.C. Armstrong, Aaron Webster, B.F. Yantis, and R.S. Doyle. The petition was granted, and the Lodge survived for a few years.
The meeting of September 19, 1857, was notable for several distinguishing features. Among the visitors notes was Fayette McMullen of Catlett Lodge No 35, Virginia. This gentleman was the second governor of the territory. Selucius Garfield and W.W. Miller were balloted on and elected. Garfield was later to represent the territory in congress, and W.W. Miller was Adjutant General during the troublous Indian war times.
Thomas M. Reed, of Acacia Lodge No. 92, appeared as a visitor on January 16, 1858. This brother was destined to be a very prominent figure in future Masonic history. He affiliated here on June 5, 1858.
The first move toward selection of a Masonic cemetery was made on March 6, 1858, when a committee reported progress on the matter. The Lodge later accepted the donation of a tract of land made by Smith Hays, stipulating that the land was a donation on consideration of the Lodge’s clearing and cultivating the three acres given. On September 4, 1858, a contract was approved for clearing the cemetery ground.
At the same meeting was held the trial of a brother for making an assault on a brother Mason with intent to do bodily harm; he was found guilty and promptly expelled.
At this particular period in the history of No. 5, it is quite apparent that sinister motives actuated certain members in their ballots on petitioners. There was good material rejected without apparent cause – – men of good reputation who had borne their parts in the struggle against the Indians and were in every way good citizens, whose exclusion from the Fraternity reflected little credit on the guilty ones. As an evidence, Elwood Evans was rejected twice before admission, but was finally received and became Grand Master.
One examining the old records in the ‘50s is impressed witht he beautiful handwriting and neatness apparent in keeping the minutes. There were no typewriters then, and penmanship was an art.
Some time previous to 1860, J.W. Wiley, who was a charter member of No. 5, was indefinitely suspended for unmasonic conduct. On his death, at a meeting held March 30, 1860, the question of the propriety of permitting his remains to be interred in the Masonic cemetery was taken up and generally discussed. Finally permission was granted for such burial.
At the meeting, December 2, 1860, a committee was appointed to ascertain the cost of neat and uniform regalia for use of the members and additional supply for use of the visitors, but no action was taken, though the Tyler was authorized to keep a register and require all members and visitors to register.
In 1861 William Lyle was junior warden. At a meeting of the Grand Lodge held in September of that year, Mr. Lyle was expelled for unmasonic conduct and Olympia Lodge was so officially informed.
It behooved Masons to conduct themselves circumspectly in those days for the proceedings as recorded are replete with charges and trials, and little consideration was accorded the guilty. One member was severely disciplined for stating that a special meeting had been held by No. 1 with a view to taking action to influence the decision of a court in a case then being tried.
In June of 1864, a special communication was held to act upon the application of a parent for permission to bury his deceased child in the Masonic cemetery, which permission could not be granted without consent of the Lodge. The result was that the southeast corner of the cemetery was set aside for sepulture of strangers under certain restrictions. The cemetery committee was authorized to sell lots 20×20 feet at $20.00 per lot and to sell smaller lots at such price as they saw fit.
June 18, 1866, the Lodge passed resolutions of respect to the memory of Smith Hayes, whose death occurred in Kansas. Brother Hayes was Tyler at the meeting for the organization of No. 5.
At a regular meeting on March 18, 1867, resolutions protesting the action of Grand Mound Lodge No. 3, meeting at Tumwater, in conferring the Entered Apprentice degree upon N.S. Porter. Inasmuch as N.S. Porter had been already rejected by Olympia Lodge, they declared the action of Grand Mound Lodge as irregular and clandestine, and earnestly protested the advancement of Porter.
At a special communication held November 15, 1867, the Lodge passed resolutions of respect to the memory of M.J. Simmons, who died at this time in Lewis County. The Lodge also ordered paid bills as follows on account of Brother Simmons: For covering and trimming coffin, $13.12; for teams to cemetery, $12.50. One could afford to die then.
At the regular communication held August 3, 1868, Olympia Lodge rescinded the resolutions formerly passed censuring Grand Mound Lodge for conferring the Entered Apprentice degree upon N.S. Porter, and expressed a wish for amicable relations. A communication was received from Grand Mound Lodge asking Olympia Lodge to confer the Fellow Craft degree upon Brother Porter. This request was not complied with.
Grand Mound Lodge surrendered its charter September 19, 1868. As will be remembered, Olympia Lodge had by resolution declared the initiation of N.S. Porter by Grand Mound Lodge at Tumwater as irregular and clandestine, and such action was an infringement of the jurisdiction of Olympia Lodge. September 20, 1879, Olympia Lodge gave permission to Harmony Lodge to confer the Fellow Craft and Master Mason degrees upon Brother Porter, inasmuch as Porter, by surrender of charter by Grand Mound Lodge, had fallen under the jurisdiction of No. 1.
At the meeting of August 3, 1868, above referred to, a verbal request was made for a new lodge in the town of Olympia, which lodge would have joint jurisdiction with Olympia Lodge No. 1. The names of the brethren making such request were: J.L. Myers, F.M. Sargeant, C.H. Hale, L.G. Abbott, E.L. Smith, N. Crosby, and J.H. Munson. The Lodge refused to recommend such action. At a later meeting this same request was renewed. Much discussion ensued and the request was refused by a decisive vote.
On February 28, 1870, resolutions of condolence were passed on the death of Marshall F. Moore. Brother Moore had served a term as Governor of Washington Territory. A Masonic funeral was largely attended.
On February 4, 1871, the Lodge settled the vexed question of granting permission for a dispensation for a new Lodge in Olympia by a vote of 20 favoring and 18 against. Leave was granted for the new Lodge to meet in Olympia Lodge room at a rental of $15.00 per month. Necessary repairs to the building and rearranging same was ordered at a cost of $893.70, the lower floor being used at the time for church purposes on Sunday.
At a special communication held on October 7, 1872, resolutions of respect to the memory of Brother I.B. Thomas of Winfield Lodge No 581, New York, were adopted. Brother Thomas’ death occurred in Olympia, in which connection occurs an interesting episode in local history. The Northern Pacific Railroad was working westward, and great interest was manifested regarding the location of the Puget Sound terminus. Olympia had been promised it on credited authority. The following statement may serve to throw some light on the inside history of the location of the terminus of the first transcontinental line to reach the Northwest:
“Included in the directorate of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company were men who composed the Lake Superior and Puget Sound Land Company. They were sufficiently strong in the railroad company to dictate its policy. The railroad company was not interested in town sites; the land company – – so they had sent a man west to secure title to lands at the prospective terminus. That man was Ira Bradley Thomas, before mentioned. After having secured title to large tracts on Budd’s Inlet, he died. Thus, considering the time that would be consumed in probating the estate of Mr. Thomas, with the law’s delays, this land was withdrawn from the market indefinitely. Time was all in all. The result that in order to realize their financial expectations, the Lake Superior & Puget Sound Land Company secured lands a few miles from Old Tacoma, and went into the Northern Pacific directorate and located the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad.”
This story was current at that time, and I give it for what it is worth.
In 1872 Olympia was visited by the severest earthquake shock experienced here. It occurred on a meeting night, and the Lodge was conferring the third degree upon Ben Turner. Ben was typical of the early day logger. He was very profane, and anyone hearing Ben swear realized that while he, himself, might know the words, he failed miserably on the tune, for Ben swore by note. When the shock came, Ben was on his knees at the altar, and it might be stated parenthetically, that is was the only time that Ben was ever known to be on his knees. The shock was so severe that many in the hall thought discretion was the better part of valor and sought refuge outside. But, like Casabianca, Ben knelt, whence all but him had fled. The excitement over, the members returned, and on conclusion of the ceremonies asked the candidate if he was alarmed and why he did not fly. Mr. Turner, surprised, said he noticed a trembly sensation, but he came looking for Hell and was prepared for it. But for all his profanity, Ben was an honest man and did no discredit to the Fraternity.
On November 1, 1873, the Lodge sold three acres of its cemetery tract for Jewish cemetery purposes, for the sum of $50.00, and also leased the ground floor of the hall to the Grand Lodge for an office for the Grand Secretary.
A spirit of harmony now seemed to prevail for Olympia Lodge appointed a committee to act jointly with a committee from Harmony Lodge to raise necessary funds for a banquet and ball, each agreeing to stand half of any possible deficiency. The event was to be held in the old town hall.
It was not until 1874 that the Lodge decided on improving the lot on which the hall stood. On December 9, they appropriated $200 for such improvement and built a privy, and for this purpose authorized the engagement of a specialist.
On June 5, the secretary called attention of the Lodge to the proposed reunion of the Grand Lodges of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as subordinate Lodges in the several jurisdictions, to be held on the 16th day of August in Olympia. The Lodge appropriated $100 for entertainment, and the event proved a memorable one.
On June 25, 1875, the death of Judge O.B. McFadden was announced. Brother McFadden had been a prominent figure in the history of the territory.
On January 25, 1876, the Lodge attended the funeral of W.W. Miller, who had also been a prominent figure in local history.
Improvement of the Lodge property was undertaken to the extent of building a picket fence along the front and grading the lot, for which $25 was paid, and permission was given for divine service on the ground floor.
A petition for a new Lodge at Chehalis and asking for recommendation from No. 1 was made February 16, 1878, which was granted.
At this time maple trees were planted about the hall lot, which survived until the march of improvement called for their destruction.
By way of comparison, it is well to consider the cost of dying. At this time, the Lodge paid a bill of $51.00, which included a steamer to and from Tacoma for conveyance of visiting brothers.
On February 8, 1879, occurred the death of Judge B.F. Yantis, the first Mason made by Olympia Lodge No. 1, U.D., Oregon jurisdiction. Brother Yantis, as a delegate from Grand Mound Lodge, participated in the convention to form the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Washington, becoming its first Senior Grand Deacon.
The minutes of meetings in all these years recorded are replete with bills paid for charity.
The proceedings of meetings during the period covering 1880 to 1884 are not distinguished by important events, the Lodge devoting itself to routine business and work, though the membership during this time was considerably augmented.
On February 8, 1884, Olympia recommended the application for charter for a lodge at Montesano to be known as Wynooche Lodge, with Brother D.H. Mullen as Worshipful Master.
During this time, the following appears upon the minute book: “There were no meetings during the month of June. Reason: no quorum first Saturday evening, and last Saturday evening, neither the Master or Wardens were in town. I make this note deeming it necessary so all brethren may understand. N. Crosby, Secretary.”
The death of Thornton F. McElroy occurred February 4, 1885. His death was sudden, and Harmony Lodge No. 18 joined with Olympia Lodge in the Masonic funeral. Brother McElroy served as the first Worshipful Master of Olympia No. 5, U.D., under the Oregon jurisdiction and several subsequent terms, also as first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Washington.
Olympia Lodge, on August 1, 1885, approved a petition presented by Masons of South Bend for a charter for a Lodge to be known as Gavel Lodge.
The death of Brother Nathaniel Crosby occurred on December 18, 1885, and he was accorded a Masonic funeral. Brother Crosby had been the efficient secretary of the Lodge for several terms.
Harmony Lodge No. 18 and Olympia Lodge No. 1 held their first joint installation on December 28, 1885. The officers were installed by Past Grand Master T.M. Reed, R.G. O’Brien acting as Marshal.
Edmund Sylvester died in Seattle September 20, 1887. Brother Sylvester was made a Master Mason by Olympia Lodge U.D., in June 1853. Edmund Sylvester was closely identified with the history of Olympia from its beginning. He came to Puget Sound in 1846 and located on what is now known as Chambers Prairie. Sylvester had a partner named Smith, who located for his claim the half section where Olympia now stands. Brother Sylvester ran the first hotel the little village of Olympia boasted, a two-room building, 16×24, cloth-lined, with bunks for the accommodation of guests who possessed their own blankets. Brother Sylvester was not without a sense of humor, for he advertised in the modest little local paper that he had “imported a celebrated chef direct from Hongkong.”
It was in 1887 that the first and third Fridays of each month were adopted as dates for stated communications.
James Byles died February 5, 1888. He was the second and tenth Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Washington. He was held in high regard by the brethren and his fellow citizens generally, and was accorded a Masonic funeral, Harmony No. 18 participating.
At a meeting March 7, 1890, T.M. Reed, R.G. O’Brien, and R. Frost, as a committee, were appointed to confer with a like committee from Harmony Lodge regarding the building of a new temple. At a meeting in September of the same year, the Lodge resolved that Olympia Lodge take such steps toward the erection of a Masonic temple as may seem best to the Lodge. Further, that the Lodge will convey to a Masonic temple building association, for the purpose of erecting a temple on the lots on the northwest corner of Eighth and Main Streets, in the city of Olympia, and receive the price therefor in paid-up stock of such association and as a further consideration that a Lodge room, free from rent, be granted to Olympia No. 1, but twenty-one years were to intervene before a new temple was actually erected.
In September, 1891, the Lodge began to consider the advisability of lighting the hall with electricity, and gave a committee, already appointed, further time to report. On October 6, 1891, the Lodge paid a bill for wiring the hall, and the primitive method of lighting was then abandoned.
In 1894, movement was made toward securing the permanent location of the Grand Lodge at Olympia, but was not successful.
The death of Francis Tarbell occurred on December 20, 1894. Brother Tarbell had served as territorial treasurer from 1875 to 1880.
The Lodge appointed a committee consisting of Henry Sabin, Arthur Ellis, S.P. Winan, G. Kaufman, J.C. Rathburn, L.G. Abbott, Jno. F. Gowey, Wm. McMicken, R.G. O’Brien, Robert Frost, F.G. Deming, and A.B. Cowles, to have charge of the entertainment of the Grand Lodge, which held its 1895 session in Olympia.
In September, 1896, the death of George D. Shannon was announced, and a Masonic funeral was accorded him in which all Masonic bodies were invited to participate. Brother Shannon had long been identified with the affairs of the territory and state, as a trustee of the Western Washington Hospital for the insane and as a State Land Commissioner.
The period of financial stringency in the ‘90s made itself apparent in the affairs of the Lodge, and many applications were made for leniency in the matter of dues. All meritorious appeals were met with great readiness.
Representatives of Tenino Lodge F. & A.M. at this time appeared before Olympia Lodge and solicited this Lodge to take stock in the Masonic Building & Real Estate Association of Tenino, the object of which was to purchase the hall in which the Tenino Lodge then met. Olympia responded in a moderate way, to the extent of seven shares.
March 3, 1898, the death of Elwood Evans was reported, which occurred in Tacoma, to which city he moved from Olympia. Brother Evans had lived a long and distinguished career in civic as well as Masonic affairs. He represented the territory at the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia. He practiced law in Olympia for a number of years, and was the eighth Grand Master of the State of Washington.
In May of this same year occurred the death of Benjamin Harned. Brother Harned held the office of Territorial Treasurer from 1867 to 1870 and was for many years treasurer of the Grand Lodge of Washington. In such high regard was he held that a number of appealing addresses were made in Lodge on the announcement of his death. He held the office of Grand Treasurer at the time of his death.
Brother A.D. Glover’s death was reported on August 5, 1898, when it occurred at the Odd Fellows’ Home in Walla Walla. Brother Glover served one term as Postmaster of Olympia.
On March 3, 1899, a petition for membership by affiliation was received from Brother E.M. McClintie, with demit from Chehalis Lodge. Brother McClintie has proved himself a useful acquisition, as he has served No. 1 as Master for five terms.
The month of March, 1899, was marked by the death of Brother J.C. Horr, who was accorded a Masonic funeral. Brother Horr served in the State Senate from Thurston County, and also as Mayor of Olympia.
On May 17, 1899, the Lodge participated in the last sad rites for Brother Courtland Ethridge, who built the old Masonic Hall – – the first Masonic Hall erected on the Pacific Coast north of the Columbia River. He was made a Mason in the early days of the Lodge. Jacob Waldrip, a few days later, was consigned to a resting place in the Masonic cemetery.
The death of William McMicken occurred in September, 1899. Brother McMicken served as United States Surveyor General from 1873 to 1886 and as Territorial Treasurer from 1886 to 1888. He held the office of Grand Treasurer at the time of his death. As a man he was highly respected as a best type of citizen and a man who had lived his Masonry.
December 14, 1899, the typewriter is made apparent for the first time in the journal of the Lodge, and the minutes so recorded were the proceedings of the Lodge commemorating the centennial of the death of our illustrious brother, George Washington. Worshipful Master D.E. Bailey announced the object of the assemblage, rendered more interesting by the exhibition of a locket containing a lock of hair of Washington, presented to Olympia Lodge by Mrs. James Tilton – – a lock taken from the head of the General shortly after the battle of Brandywine. Reverend A.G. Sawin delivered the invocation, followed by an address on Washington, his public service and character; Washington’s Masonic history by N.S. Porter; the Influence of Masonry on the Founding of the American Republic, by Frank J. Browne, at the close of which, being about the time that Washington expired, the Lodge members were called to their feet and a beautiful anthem was sung by a quartet. The exercises closed by the reading of Washington’s Farewell Address, by Will D. Jenkins.
During the period covered by the minutes in the ‘80s, the Lodge seemed considerably disturbed over the matter of lighting the hall. Acetylene lighting was investigated by a committee, return to the old coal oil lamp was discussed, but the Lodge during this time appears to have adhered to the electric method first discovered by our illustrious brother, Benjamin Franklin.
A circular letter was read from Rosalia Lodge No. 84 of this jurisdiction, urging the establishment of a Masonic home. The secretary was directed to notify Rosalia Lodge that our delegation to the Grand Lodge would be instructed to favor the same.
The Lodge donated a block of land in the Masonic cemetery for the burial of the unclaimed dead of the first Washington regiment in the Spanish-American War. Governor Rogers, pleased with the generosity of the Lodge, visited the cemetery and made selection of a suitable location.
The Lodge was convened on May 20, 1900, for the purpose of attending the funeral of Brother John F. Gowey. Brother Gowey had been prominently identified with the development of Olympia and was later appointed as United States Counsel to Japan, and, while in the exercise of his duties there, he died, his remains being returned to his old home for burial.
The Worshipful Master of Olympia Lodge, as one of its representatives to the Grand Lodge, reported that he had pledged his Lodge for $100 toward the building of a Masonic home for the aged and infirm.
On December 21, 1901, the Lodge passed resolutions of respect to the memory or David E. Bailey, a Past Master of this Lodge.
The same date, the Lodge appointed a committee to attend the funeral of Governor John R. Rogers, whose interment occurred at Puyallup.
November 7, 1902, Grand Master Arthur issued a circular calling upon the brethren to attend the meeting at Olympia, commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the organization of this Lodge. He said:
“On December 11, 1852, when our brethren assembled at the head of Puget Sound and organized that Lodge, the territory of Washington was not yet formed; there was no Masonic Lodge north of the Columbia River west of the Rocky Mountains; none on the east nearer than Minnesota, nor on the west nearer than China. These pioneers of Masonry planted in the unconscious Capitol City of an unborn state, a branch of the great universal Brotherhood of Masonry.”
The record then shows that Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Washington opened on the third degree in ample form at 11:00 a.m., December 11, on special communication for the purpose of celebrating the semi-centennial anniversary of Olympia Lodge No. 1.
Ira Ward, a pioneer at Tumwater, and one of the petitioners for charter for a Masonic Lodge under the jurisdiction of Oregon, which became No. 5, died in February, 1903, at the advanced age of 87 years, and was accorded Masonic service.
Resolutions deploring the death of Brother Robert Bennett Morrell were passed at the May meeting in 1903. Brother Morrell was murdered while in the discharge of his duty as deputy sheriff of Thurston County. He was killed by a prisoner in his custody.
The minutes of May 15, 1903, state that a communication from the Masonic Temple Association inviting this Lodge to attend the ceremonies of the laying of the corner stone of the Masonic Temple on May 22 by the Grand Master, assisted by Brother Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, but fail to state where the corner stone was laid.
Louis Bettman, long a member of No. 1, died May 24, 1904. Brother Bettman was a pioneer merchant of Olympia, and was highly respected as a man and a Mason. Late in life he was afflicted with locomotor ataxia, but his infirmity did not diminish his loyalty to the Masonry to which he was so devotedly attached, and in order that he might attend meetings a rope was attached to the stairway by which means he was enabled to reach the lodge room.
The Lodge celebrated the semi-centennial anniversary of the laying of the corner stone of the Masonic Hall, which occurred June 24, 1854. Fitting addresses were made, one by a member who was present on the occasion fifty years ago.
The Olympia Hotel burned on the night of November 6, 1904. This building was located on the present site of the post office. It was a very large wooden building and its burning greatly endangered the old Masonic Hall. Heroic efforts were made to save the old building for it had an historic record that was dear to Masons and profanes alike. They were successful in saving the old structure, but it bore the marks of severe scorching. Thanks for its preservation were extended to J.K.L. Mitchell, Milton Gates, G.S. Prince, Robert Frost, Alex Wright, Alex Lang, Charles Burr, and W.M. Nunn. The loss to the insurers was reported at $40.00 A heavy rain assisted the fire fighters.
October 7, 1905, at low twelve, our esteemed brother, Thomas Milburne Reed, Grand Secretary, passed away. On the 10th, his remains were laid away in the family plot in the Masonic cemetery under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Washington. About three hundred Masons attended the ceremonies, to pay respect to his memory.
A photograph of T.F. McElroy, presented to the Lodge by his son, was ordered enlarged and given a place in the hall.
Memorial services for Brother T.M. Reed were held December 22, 1905. The following addresses were made: “Thomas M. Reed, the Citizen,” J.H. Schivley; “Our Elder Brother,” R.J. Prickman; “Thomas M. Reed, as a Christian,” Reverend R.M. Hayes.
Olympia Lodge donated the sum of $200 from the cemetery fund for relief of Masonic sufferers in the San Francisco fire and earthquake.
On December 21, 1906, Olympia Lodge tendered as a donation to the Grand Lodge, five acres of land of the tract owned by the Lodge immediately south of Olympia, for the purpose of maintaining a Masonic house thereon, the land to revert when it ceased to be used for that purpose. The minutes fail to specify the use to which the house was to be dedicated, though probably this donation was proffered with a view to the location of a Masonic Home, referred to later on.
The death of Past Grand Master W.H. Upton was reported January 4, 1907, which occurred at Walla Walla. Brother Upton was a Masonic scholar and a historian of national reputation.
The annual report to the Grand Lodge for 1907 showed a membership of 123 Master Masons.
Brother Robert Bruce Bryan died March 10, 1908. Olympia Lodge officiated at the last sad rites, though Brother Bryan was a member of Wynooche Lodge No. 43. Brother Bryan was twice Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Washington. His remains were accompanied to Montesano for interment.
During the years of 1908 and 1909 occurred the deaths of Judge O.V. Linn and William Billings. The former Brother was Superior Court Judge of Thurston County; the latter was a pioneer of Thurston County and had the unprecedented record of 25 years over consecutive service as sheriff.
At a suggestion by Brother Blakeslee, Brother E.L. Wolf was appointed to prepare a history of Olympia Lodge No. 1. If this duty were ever performed, the present compiler would have been delighted to have had access to it.
Olympia Lodge No. 1, desirous of securing the permanent location of the headquarters of the Grand Lodge at Olympia, offered a deed for a site on which to build a Grand Lodge home, on condition that the property would revert in case of removal by the Grand Lodge. The proposition was not accepted, and the permanent location was made at Zenith.
September 3, 1909, was commenced the agitation for a new Masonic building in Olympia, and a committee composed of Brothers Blakeslee, Prickman, and Doragh was appointed to make recommendations thereon, and, at a meeting on September 17, the committee reported that the Scottish Rite bodies contemplated the purchase of such portions of lots 1 and 2, block 18, Sylvester Plat, as may be necessary for their purpose. The committee recommended that conveyance be authorized to the Scottish Rite bodies of a tract not more than 90 feet nor less than 70 feet, for the ground, not including the building, at the rate of $41 per front foot on Main Street, Olympia Lodge to accept bond secured by a mortgage on the property so conveyed together with the building to be erected thereon. This proposition was accepted by both parties to the contract.
Mrs. Thomas M. Reed presented to Olympia Lodge the Masonic library of her late husband, which was gratefully received.
At the meeting on May 20, 1910, the Lodge voted to sell to the Scottish Rite bodies the remaining 30 feet, together with the building and its contents, with the exception of such relics as Olympia No. 1 might wish to retain, at the same rate of $41 per front foot under the same terms as set forth on September 17. Further, that after the new building was ready for occupancy, the old hall should be torn down and disposed of by cremation.
The Lodge ordered the purchase of one thousand dollars or more of the new Masonic temple bonds at 4 per cent.
The cemetery committee was authorized to expend the sum of $2100 for the purpose of erecting a suitable cottage for the cemetery superintendent and a waiting room for the public.
On December 27, 1911, Olympia Lodge No. 1, F. & A.M., held its first meeting in the new temple. The old hall of revered memory had been abandoned and razed. Many of the old members experienced a sense of regret that they must accustom themselves to a new environment, but this feeling was in a way relieved by the inclusion in the new temple of a lodge room that still looked familiar with its starry ceiling and the old familiar furniture. The old wooden armchairs had been sold to members as keepsakes. These old pieces bore the marks of the pioneer’s jackknives, with which they had carved, in their idle moments, the square and compass or other Masonic emblems. The seed planted in 1852 had taken on a sturdy growth. ‘Tis sad but nevertheless true that things revered by time must give way to decay and the spirit of progress.
At a meeting on December 4, 1914, the following brethren, old and faithful members, were placed on the honorary list: Nathan S. Morehead, M.D. Cleveland, Jacob Bolander, J.A. McKenzie, Milton Giles, J.B. Elliott, H.R. Hill, George Prince, P.M. Cole, and C.D. Springer.
The dues were reduced from $4.00 to $3.00, later rescinded.
Olympia No. 1 gave Masonic burial for Peter McKenzie, whose death occurred December 17 and for Alexander F. McKenzie, whose death occurred January 9, 1915. Both had been long and respected members of the Fraternity.
On April 16, 1915, an appropriation of $100 was made, to be forwarded to the Grand Secretary to be used for the relief of distressed brother Masons and their families in the war zone.
On Monday, July 5, 1915, a special communication was held to pay the last sad tribute of respect to the memory of Alfred S. Ruth, who died in California June 30, 1915. Brother Ruth had been a Past Master of Olympia Lodge. He represented Thurston County in the state senate and made an honorable record. His rugged honesty gained him universal respect.
Brother C.J. Lord presented to the Lodge an exposé of Masonry by William Morgan, printed during the year 1825. This came into possession of Brother Lord’s father about 1861 and was preserved by him, and later by his wife until the time of her recent death.
At the time, a telegram was received from the Masonic Board of Relief of San Diego, California, which stated that the widow of Edmund Sylvester, who became a Mason in No. 5, U.D., Oregon Jurisdiction, and who donated the property in Olympia upon which the Masonic Temple stands, was resident there and destitute. The Lodge authorized a remittance for her relief. Later a communication was received stating that the daughter of Edmund Sylvester was in the county hospital, stating that she could be cared for at the rate of $1.00 per day. A remittance was forwarded and further information asked.
An ivory gavel was presented to the Lodge by Reverend R.M. Hayes, with the request that it be used and not kept as a memento. The Worshipful Master accepted the gift and returned thanks to Brother Hayes for it.
December 1, 1916, attention of the Lodge was called to the fact that it had been customary for the Lodge to supply baskets of provisions for the needy at Christmas time, and, to continue such practice, a committee was appointed.
February 16, 1917, Olympia Lodge passed resolutions of respect for the memory of Milo A. Root, whose death occurred January 19, 1917. Judge Root was at one time a judge of the Supreme Court of Washington, from which position he resigned.
A special communication was called for the purpose of paying the last tribute of respect to the memory of Bennett M. Howell, who died in Tacoma on August 14, 1917, at the age of 92 years. Brother Howell had been a member of Olympia Lodge in good standing since 1864, a period of 53 years.
The Lodge named a representative of this Lodge to serve on a committee to look after the interests of “our brothers who are serving, or may hereafter serve,” in the army or navy of the United States during the World War.
Robert Frost, an old and respected member of Olympia Lodge No. 1, died December 16, 1917, and was accorded a Masonic funeral.
The Lodge ordered that no further patronage be given Conrad Klam, a local florist, on account of disloyalty and lack of patriotism.
The minutes give accounts of liberal purchases of Liberty bonds during the war period from time to time, in amounts varying from $500 to $1000.
Thomas Prather, a pioneer, who arrived in Oregon Territory in 1852 and who took part as a volunteer in the Indian wars in the Territory and who later served Thurston County in civil positions, died May 18, 1918, and was accorded Masonic rites.
September 20, 1918, the Lodge provided for bestowing life membership on any member who should, in one payment at the time of taking the third degree, turn into the treasury the sum of $80, or $4.00 as dues each year for a period of twenty years.
Brother George R. Bigelow, at this time in France, sent to Olympia Lodge a French Masonic flag he had secured in St. Nazare, France, and the same was ordered cased properly for preservation.
At the request of Mt. Moriah Lodge, Olympia Lodge on November 13, 1919, accorded funeral rites for Brother Lewis D. Shelton. Brother Shelton was a charter member of Mt. Moriah Lodge and remained an active member to the time of his death. He was a member of an old pioneer family, and the town of Shelton was named for one member of this family.
Brother Matt C. Eugley, a member of this Lodge for many years, died March 16, 1920, and was accorded a Masonic funeral. Henry R. Hill, former secretary of this Lodge, followed on the 12th of May.
April 30, 1920, Olympia Lodge laid the corner stone for building A of the state capitol group.
In January, 1922, Brother Theodore Parker assumed the office of secretary, a position he has held to the present time. It is merely an act of justice that he here be given credit for the remarkable accuracy and neatness with which he has kept the records of the Lodge.
On March 3, 1922, the Lodge approved a loan to the Knights Templar of $1250 on condition that the loan be secured by a promissory note signed by all members of the committee representing the Commandery, as individuals.
April 8, the Master requested the officers of No. 1 to vacate their stations, and invited Worshipful Master George A. Cooley of Royal A. Gove Lodge to the chair, who appointed members of that Lodge to fill the officers’ chairs, whereupon Alfred A. Camant, a Fellow Craft Mason of Royal A. Gove Lodge was raised to the degree of a Master Mason.
The Lodge, in April of 1922, voted to donate the sum of $300 to the Olympia Y.M.C.A.
In June, the Lodge performed the last sad rites for Brother R.F. Sturdevant, and old and highly respected member of the Fraternity.
Robert Doragh, whose death occurred August 27, 1922, was accorded Masonic burial. Brother Doragh had been secretary of this Lodge and was one of the building committee when the Masonic temple was erected.
The Lodge passed a resolution October 20, 1922, advocating free and compulsory education; taxation for support of schools in which children shall be instructed in the English language only, thus guaranteeing the perpetuation of our institutions and the support of the constitution.
About this time several resolutions were introduced with a view to regulating expenditure of Lodge funds, but like all efforts to regulate the weather, nothing seems to have been done about it at this time. The minutes indicate that Olympia Lodge has been liberal in its support of the local Y.M.C.A., also the Children’s Home.
On August 4, 1923, it was ordered that the jewels of this Lodge be draped in mourning for the period of ninety days for the death of Warren G. Harding, late President of the United States. R. Franklin Hart delivered an address to the Lodge, paying a touching tribute to Brother Harding.
December 21, 1923, the Finance Committee, commenting on application for help from several charitable institutions in the state, reported that there had been collected to the general fund during 1923 the sum of $2519.50, the total disbursements for the same period had been $3099.33, creating a deficit of disbursements over receipts of $579.83. This overdraft was met by drawing on the Lodge’s investment fund for $1400. The report showed the Lodge had expended $859.43 for relief besides $175 in donations to other organizations. The committee advised that the Lodge abandon the role of Santa Claus for the present, and the report was adopted.
January 4, 1924, the Lodge adopted an amendment to the by-laws as follows: No donations of funds from the treasury of this Lodge shall be made to any institution whatsoever except it be to an institution under the sole management of a regularly constituted Masonic body. Vote stood 30 to 1 for adoption.
On April 24, 1924, a special communication was called to pay the last tribute of respect to Nathaniel J. Redpath. Brother Redpath was Master of No. 1 in 1902-1903, a universally beloved brother.
On November 21, 1924, the Worshipful Master stated that this Lodge had the honor of being one of two Masonic Lodges of the State of Washington to be selected by the Equity Washington Masonic Bible Association of Chicago, to be sent the Equity Washington Masonic Traveling Bible, which is being sent to two Lodges in each state of the Union, upon which each Lodge is requested to obligate a third degree candidate. The Worshipful Master stated that this Lodge would obligate a third degree candidate on December 5, 1934, and brethren of Tenino, Camp Lewis, Shelton, Yelm, and Harmony Lodges were invited to be present. This ceremony took place on December 5, when Clinton M. Williams was raised to the degree of a Master Mason.
The Lodge placed an assessment of $1.00 per year upon each member, same to be placed in a special relief fund for Masons and their families. This was for 1925 only.
Olympia Lodge was subjected to a slight touch of $52.00 of Lodge funds, which theft occurred on April 28.
Upon motion, the Lodge authorized Brother McClintic to transport the old records to his residence, there to be sorted and arranged by him and returned to the Lodge. Later on it is evident that some unauthorized person has again disarranged them.
The financial condition of the Lodge on May 7, 1926, was stated as follows:
General Fund …………………………………. $ 9,477.00
Perpetual Care Fund ……………………….. 32,858.00
Lease Trust Fund …………………………… 1,000.00
The Lodge authorized the purchase of $5,000 worth of 5% serial gold notes.
W.M. Dunham of Oakville Lodge, on May 7, 1926, addressed the Lodge on the subject of erecting a monument to the memory of the extinct Grand Mound Lodge No. 3, and requested the Lodge to appoint a committee to act with a similar committee from Oakville and Tenino Lodges to formulate a plan for such purpose, and George T. McCoy and Earle McCroskey were so appointed.
The tedium of searching the Lodge records is relieved by reading of the troubles of Mr. and Mrs. Columbus Beary, whose appeals for help appear from time to time in two volumes of records, and from every section of the United States.
On December 11, 1927, Olympia Lodge No. 1 celebrated the 75th Anniversary of its organization, on which occasion the following Grand Lodge officers were present: Grand Master Robert A. Wilson, Deputy Grand Master John E. Fowler, Junior Grand Warden Roy S. Hayward, Grand Secretary H.W. Tyler, Grand Lecturer Charles D. Atkins, Grand Historian Charles M. Sherman, Past Grand Master T.W. Holman, Past Grand Master George Lawler. At the evening meeting Grand Master Wilson delivered an address, followed by Brother Roland H. Hartley. Brother Wm. C. Bates, chairman of the Board of Custodians, gave an address on the early history of Masonry on the Columbia River. George E. Blankenship read a paper on the early history of Washington Masonry. Past Master Frank L. Satterlee gave an interesting address entitled “Looking Backward.” At the close of his remarks, the Lodge room was darkened and the curtains of the stage drawn aside, revealing the replica of the old building mounted on a green hill surrounded by fir and cedar trees. The speaker spoke of the Tyler, who was the first to appear upon the scene with his lighted lantern traveling up the hill toward the hall and disappearing at the door, upon which the lights in the little temple shone through the windows into the outer darkness. And then the old organ was heard in the distance, upon which was being played the Masonic Dirge, all presenting an impressive tableau most beautifully portrayed.
Past Grand Master Stephen J. Chadwick gave an interesting address entitled “Grand Masters, Past and Present, Oregon and Washington.” Brother F.S. Thompson delivered an address on “Mastership Through Symbols.” The brethren then arose and sang “Auld Lang Syne.”
The proceedings of this meeting were printed in book form.
On June 3, 1928, a special communication was held for the purpose of paying the last tribute of respect to the memory of Thomas J. McBratney, who had served as Master in 1889.
The secretary read a communication from the Thurston-Mason County Realty Board placing a value of $18,000 on the property of the Lodge adjoining the Carlyon Addition.
Resolutions of respect for the memory of Guy C. Winstanley, who died January 24, 1929, were passed by the Lodge. Brother Charles A. Briffett, received Masonic burial rites on March 6, 1929. Brother Robert Marr, a Past Master, was accorded Masonic rites in March, 1929.
On May 24, 1929, a special communication was held to confer the last sad rites of deceased Brother Preston M. Troy. Brother Troy was a Past Master of this Lodge.
On October 14, 1929, the Lodge performed the Masonic burial rites for John J. Gilbert. Brother Gilbert was a Past Master of No. 1 in 1886. He passed away at the age of 84.
Past Grand Master Tom W. Holman was made an honorary member of this Lodge by unanimous vote in December, 1929.
The secretary announced that he had received from Washington. D.C., the Masonic paraphernalia of Captain J.J. Gilbert, whose last wish was that these mementoes be sent to his old Lodge.
On April 8, a special communication was held to receive from a committee, composed of Brother Frank G. Blakeslee and Brother George E. Blankenship, the old door of the hall, which had been embellished with local Masonic history and hung in the small Lodge room.
A very profitable discussion on the subject of the blackball was engaged in by Brothers Millard, Sylvester, and others. On careful consideration of the journals of this Lodge from time immemorial to the present, it is evident that this is a subject pregnant for good or evil. Many a good man and good Masonic material has been laid low by the blackball, and as many more disqualified have received the benefits of admission. It is a human trait to be guided by personal prejudice, but a trait to be avoided in the exercise of this most important function of a Mason. It is true that blackballing was more prevalent in the olden times than now, but in contradistinction, the early Masons were more censorious than in later days.
On February 6, 1931, Past Master Blakeslee presented to the Lodge the trunk in which the charter of this Lodge was brought from Portland, Oregon, to Olympia, a gift through the courtesy of Mrs. M.A. Hillburger of Chehalis and Mrs. Banner of Vader.
Past Master Blakeslee presented the Lodge with the dispensation granted by the Grand Lodge of Oregon Territory to Olympia Lodge No. 5. The dispensation was tendered by Mrs. Carrie M. McElroy, daughter-in-law of Thornton F. McElroy, first Grand Master of Washington.
The model of the old temple, completely furnished with miniature models of the old Lodge furniture was displayed in the Lodge room on October 7, 1932. The furniture was made by Brother Frank O. Scott; the wiring installed by Brother Case of this Lodge, and the painting done by Brother Messegee of Harmony Lodge. This is indeed a perfect reproduction of the original, even to the stained glass at the sides of the main entrance, and a piece of the carpet from the old Lodge room.
The charter of the Lodge was ordered framed together with two photographs, one of the old temple and one of the replica of the same.
October 6, 1933, the Lodge passed resolutions of respect to the memory of Mark E. Reed. Brother Reed was Master of this Lodge in 1892 and 1893. He was a son of Thomas Milburne Reed.
At a later date, Brother Walter F. Meier delivered an instructive address before the Lodge, tracing the genealogy of Masonry from the present period to the formation of the first known Lodge in England. He also spoke of the transition from operative to speculative Masonry. At the same meeting Brother Meier presented to the Lodge a traveling trowel for the engraving of names of all Lodges of Washington and Alaska. Olympia Lodge No. 1 was the first Lodge to receive the trowel, with the request to forward the same, after engraving it, to another Lodge, and so to be passed on until the complete circuit had been made.
On Dec. 21, 1934, the annual election was held with the following result: Worshipful Master, Sy Nash; Senior Warden, Harold G. Brackett; Junior Warden, Maurice A. Gould; Treasurer, Fred H. Sylvester; Secretary, Theo. Parker; and who were duly installed on Dec. 27th, a joint ceremony being conducted as usual with Harmony Lodge.
Feb. 1, 1935, Past Master Millard announced that he had started the traveling trowel on its long journey, by delivery of the same to Steilacoom Lodge.
The journal of the Lodge with the opening the year 1935 gives evidence of renewed interest as well as showing increase of membership.
On May 17th, W.M. Sy Nash spoke regarding the establishment of a monument on the site of the temple in which Grand Mound Lodge No. 3 held its meetings and at a later meeting the following resolution was passed, addressed to the Grand Lodge:
“Whereas, the Grand Lodge of Washington was organized in 1858 by Olympia No. 5 (now No. 1), Steilacoom Lodge No 8 (now No. 2), Grand Mound Lodge No. 21 (afterward No. 3), and Washington Lodge No. 22 (now No. 4), then working under the Grand Lodge of Oregon; and
“Whereas, Grand Mound Lodge No. 3 surrendered its charter in 1867; and
“Whereas, It is of great historical importance to the Craft that a suitable memorial be placed on the site where Grand Mound Lodge No. 3 once stood to commemorate its labors, its fidelity, and untimely death and in order that the place may be known should occasion ever require it;
“Resolved, that such a memorial be erected, at a cost of not to exceed $150, to be appropriated from the funds of the Grand Lodge and that the most Worshipful Grand Master be authorized and empowered to take such steps as in his judgment are necessary to effectuate the purpose of this resolution.”
The Grand Lodge refused to take action in the matter. Notwithstanding, Bro. Nash is vigorously pursuing the project, and is sanguine that the memorial will be placed at an early date.
The history of Olympia Lodge No. 1, F. & A.M., Washington Jurisdiction, has been traced from its inception, when on December 11, 1852, a small number of Masons, little more than sufficient to fill the chairs, met and organized under the Oregon Jurisdiction, down to 1935, a period of 83 years. Organized nearly a year before the admission of Washington as a Territory, the history of each has been closely interwoven during the years of their existence. The pioneer Masons laid the foundation of a great state-to-be. It behooves the Masons of today to guard with jealous care the proud heritage bequeathed by the sturdy forbears of Masonry.
The Grand Mound Monument
NOTWITHSTANDING the fact that the Grand Lodge of Washington failed, at its last session, to make appropriation for a suitable marker to be placed on the site of the meeting place of Grand Mound Lodge No. 3, Worshipful Master Sy Nash, of Olympia Lodge, is making a determined effort to bring the matter to a successful culmination.
The picture on the opposite page shows graphically the plan proposed. Total height above ground level 9 feet 4 inches. Height of shaft 6 feet. Shaft 2 feet square at bottom and 1 foot square at top of batter. Polished bronze tablet 12 inches wide and 24 inches high. Steps 1_ inches each way. Base 9 feet 5½ inches square. Outer portion of base (1 foot 6 inches wide) extends downward into ground 2 feet 6 inches for foundation. Protection fence to be 5-16 inch galvanized chain supported by 8 galvanized 1½ inch pipe posts set in concrete 12 inches out from base. Shaft to be stone. Under the base of the shaft concrete is to be boxed out 9 inches deep by 12 inches by 14 inches to hold a sealed copper box 8 by 10½ by 13 inches for the preservation of papers. The polished bronze Masonic emblem will be about 6 inches in height.
Great credit is due Maurice A. Gould, Junior Warden of Olympia Lodge, for his conception of an ideal, and for the draughting of a plan.
The site for the proposed monument is but a short distance from the Pacific highway, on Grand Mound Prairie, and in close proximity to a marker placed by the Washington State Pioneers on the site of old Fort Henness.
Officers of Olympia Lodge No. 1 – 1935
Worshipful Master, SY NASH
Senior Warden, HAROLD G. BRACKETT
Junior Warden, MAURICE A. GOULD
Treasurer, FRED H. SYLVESTER
Secretary, THEO . PARKER
Senior Deacon, PAUL D. CASE
Junior Deacon, THOMAS STAFFORD
Senior Steward, HALLET FISER
Junior Steward, EARL BEAN
Chaplain, WM . B. BAILEY
Historian, GEO . E. BLANKENSHIP
CEMETERY — John Holland, John L. Bricker, Frank Morris
FINANCE — Earl Warnica J. H. Smith, Don E. Courser
RELIEF — David W. Bailey, Ray C. Gruhlke
EDUCATION AND RESEARCH — R. J. Prickman, S. D. Williams
THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE
I have written this as there have been numerous questions asked relative to the building of the Temple or the Masonic Center as it is now called. I find I am the sole remaining member of the Scottish Rite Temple board which initially built the temple. When the Scottish Rite Temple on Capitol Way was condemned in the late 60s due to the structural damages from two earthquakes it was necessary to sell the temple. This was an imposing building and incorporated many of the signs and symbols of our fraternity. Because of the age of the building it was impossible to repair the building. Many of the artifacts and windows were saved along with the furniture of the Temple. The land was valuable and the decision was made to sell the site, and rebuild on less valuable land.
The Scottish Rite Temple Board was contacted by Olympia #1 expressing their desire to build a replacement temple as they had never had a temple of their own. The proposal by #1 was the new temple would be available to all Masonic Families.
We all scrambled to find a suitable meeting place during the interim a new temple could be built. We ended up by the Scottish Rite Temple Board leasing the old church on Pear Street to serve as a interim for all the Masonic bodies. This served as the temporary temple until everyone moved to the Masonic Center in 1975.
For the next several years the members of Olympia #1 agonized over the building of a temple. The membership could never reach any agreement as to the type, size, and kind of structure to be built. There apparently existed with the members of Olympia #1 some very strong opinions of what a temple should be. To my knowledge financing was not one of the problems. The only progress made was the agreement to purchase the old Briggs place on North Street as a site for a new temple.
The Scottish Rite Temple Board was contacted by Olympia #1 in early 1973 requesting Scottish Rite build the new Temple. Olympia #1 advised us they were in a total impasse and unable at this time to proceed further with the building of a new temple..
When the temple on Capitol Way was built many years ago, the Scottish Rite Temple Board had been incorporated as a separate entity. The Scottish Rite had the money from the sale of the old property, however this was not enough to build a new temple.
Initially we attempted to build the new temple with the help of Olympia #1 and Harmony #18 jointly owning the building and assisting in the financing the new Temple. When this plan was presented to Grand Lodge we were advised neither Harmony or #1 could enjoin with Scottish Rite to build a temple.
With financial assistance from Olympia #1 and Harmony #18, we could proceed to build the Temple on our own. This was done by Scottish Rite giving open promissory notes for advances to assist in funding the new temple. The Grand Lodge had no objections to this approach as they advised they had no control over what the lodges did with their money.
Olympia #1 advised us they would be willing to donate the land they had purchased on North Street (about $50,000.00) if the Scottish Rite Temple Board would give #1 an option to purchase the temple at a later date. Olympia #1 still wanted to own a temple. The Temple Board advised Olympia #1 this would be very agreeable.
After waiting over 60 days that Olympia #1 wished to proceed with these arrangements we still had no answers to when we could complete these arrangements. Time was running out for us to proceed with the orderly construction of a temple. A demand was made to Olympia #1 by the beginning of our next Temple Board meeting next week we must have an answer or we would look for other land and build a temple without them.
A half hour before this meeting of the Temple Board the officers of #1 met outside the building and finally agreed they would become a part of the endeavor to build a new temple at the site on North Street.
I worked with John Warden and an option was drawn up which was reviewed by Judge Wright of the State Supreme Court. The option gave Olympia #1 the right to purchase the temple for the total cost of the building on a contract for 20 years at 6% interest.
The final plans for the temple were drawn after many compromises as everyone had their own personal ideas as to the design. I finally cut out further debate and we voted to proceed. We all had agreed on being on one floor, however the flat roof was put on as there was not enough money for a hip roof.
We had agreed on the Temple Board as this was being financed with other groups this should be a cooperative endeavor. We would recognize other interests and keep all the Masonic family advised as to the progress. We proceeded on the basis there should be no mortgage on the temple. The equipment in the kitchen was left out, but completed by the women’s organizations.
The plans were approved by the city, permits obtained, and soon construction actually started. This was when the miracle of cooperation began to take place as people of all ages from all the Masonic Family were there every day to help. Once started this was like the building of King Solomon’s Temple, as there was no dissent – let’s get the temple built. At times people would almost stumble over each other as volunteers gathered on a daily basis to work.. There were thousands of hours given freely and truly all were working together to achieve the goal of a new temple. It wasn’t #1 nor Harmony, or Scottish Rite, but all the Masonic families working to achieve a goal. The women organizations assumed the task of the equipment for the kitchen and finishing the ladies room.
All too soon it was time to lay the Cornerstone. This was done by the Grand Master and all of his officers. The parade up North Street was led by the Grand Master and his officers followed by a huge contingent of all the Masonic Orders. I don’t think many will ever forget this sight.
The night before the laying of the cornerstone I discovered that no one had obtained a trowel for the Grand Master to use in placing the cornerstone. Early next morning I rushed down to Olympia Hardware and purchased a regular working trowel. Instead of an ornamental trowel for this memorial occasion, a common trowel was used. The Grand Master later commented was indeed very appropriate. The trowel was then engraved with the names of the worshipful Masters Olympia #1 and Harmony, and I believe is now in the showcase in the little lodge room.
The work then proceeded and I can still see many of the women men leaders staining doors, painting, hanging doors, etc. The lodge was dedicated by the Grand Master and both Milo Fuller and myself jointly represented both lodges. I believe this was in early December as all the work had not been done. The Temple was completed in early 1975, and we all moved soon after.
At this time we received a request from #1 to move their office furniture and safe into the office. We honored this request with no question as this was one of the cooperative needs recognized as there existed a close relationship between all of the lodges. As this building had been built only by the total spirit of cooperation we on the Temple Board continued this unity. We invited the leaders of the various groups to sit in on our meetings concerning the operation of the Temple. The rentals were established by meeting with all the groups and a formula was devised. During this time all agreed that we should subsidize the three youth groups with only a token payment.
I had spent a very busy and trying year as Master of Harmony Lodge and as President of the Temple Board going from one meeting to another. I was proud of our achievements as we had been able to see the maximum of cooperation welding everyone together for the goals of having a new temple. We had completed a temple in spite of all kinds of obstacles and opinions.
After several years #1 came to us and expressed the desire to exercise their option for acquisition of the temple. We were advised the income #1 was receiving had now grown considerably. The ownership of the Temple would allow Olympia #1 to further subsidize the rentals now needed to operate the temple.
John Warden and I made up a real estate contract and there was considerable discussions of what covenants for the future use of the temple were needed to ensure the spirit of cooperation which built the temple. We both believed with the relationship that had developed and as one Masonic Brother to another it was not necessary to spell out all covenants in every detail. We did list two things (1) the cornerstone was to remain, and (2) the building would always be available to all Masonic organizations for their functions. Olympia #1 would repay the promissory notes, and the balance at 6% interest over a 20 year period to Scottish Rite as called for in the option. There was no market value considered, only the actual cost of the temple.
The temple was built by the Scottish Rite Temple Board who was an independent entity and made up of members from Harmony and Olympia #1. The purchase achieved the goal of a temple for Olympia #1. My personal feelings are continuing sense of achievement and the warm feeling of seeing the true spirit of Masonry.
P.M. Harmony Lodge #18
32 Degree KCCH Scottish Rite
March 6, 1997