Wamesit Lodge was instituted in A.L. 5921 (1921 A.D.) and constituted in A.L. 5922 (1922 A.D.). Our lodge has a rich and storied history. Please take a moment to visit the section entitled “Lodge History.”
Our regular communication takes place on the first Monday of each month.
Please refer to the section entitled “Contact Us” should you wish to contact the lodge.
We are located at: 70 Victor Drive, Tewksbury, Massachusetts 01876
Wamesit Lodge had its beginnings in 1920 in the minds of those Masons who had to travel to Lowell, Billerica, Wilmington, or Andover in order to attend their Lodge Meetings. According to other histories, written in 1956 by a committee composed of Rowland T. Cresse, Edgar Smith, Melvin G. Rodgers, and Harry L. Mann, and in 1976, by Richard J. Thompson, four men decided in the fall of 1920 to take some action. Adolph B. Moore, Senior Warden of Friendship Lodge in Wilmington, and Harry L. Mann, member of the same Lodge compiled a list of Master Masons living in Tewksbury and Edgar Smith and Walter N. Smith, brothers, made personal contacts with most of those Masons to ascertain their interest in forming a Lodge. To these efforts may be credited the beginnings of Wamesit Lodge.
In November of that year a call was sent out by telephone, mail, and personal visits, to the 56 men then on the list for a “meeting of Masons in Tewksbury” to be held in the temporary Town Hall, Main Street at East Street, on the evening of November 22nd, to be presided over by Bro. Henry M. Billings, with Bro. Harry L. Mann acting as Secretary. The idea of forming a Lodge in Tewksbury was discussed with the 28 Masons who attended and, to give all time to further consider the matter, it was voted to meet again in the same place on the evening of December 6th.
At the second meeting the feelings were more in the affirmative then previously, though not yet unanimous. A third meeting was voted and was held on the evening of January 22, 1922, at which time it was voted to form a Lodge in Tewksbury. A request was submitted to the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts for a charter for the new Lodge to be known as Wamesit Lodge, the name Wamesit being that of the tribe of Indians which inhabited the area in pre-colonial days. Fifty-two Masons signed as Charter Members. One more was later added, thus the list was as follows
A nominating committee was appointed by Henry M. Billings, presiding, composed of Brothers Rowland T. Cresse and Herbert L. Trull. This committee brought in the following list of officers:
On February 3, 1921, Wor. Bro. Herbert L. Trull, then Presiding Master of William North Lodge in Lowell, and Bro. Harry L. Mann went to Boston and made a formal request for a charter of Wor. Bro. Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary of Masons in Massachusetts.
On April 11, 1921, D.D.G.M. Charles F. Fleming presented a dispensation to Wamesit Lodge, A.F. & A.M., in the temporary Town Hall. On the completion of this formality the elected officers assumed their stations and Wor. Bro. Herbert L. Trull appointed the following officers:
Steps were taken immediately to locate a satisfactory place for meeting. There was not a wide choice in this matter, however, and the committee was pleased to accept the offer of Wor. Bro. Adolph B. Moore, who tendered the use of the storeroom on the second floor of his store on East Street. Although the building had originally been a wing of the Bravity Gray House, converted to a store on the first floor with the upstairs storeroom, and later separated from the house and moved across East Street to its current location, it was adequate at the time. The Committee went to work at once remodeling the room, added a covered outside entrance, and partitioned off and otherwise made the room suitable for Masonic use. That room (enlarged 1954-1955) would be the home of Wamesit Lodge for the next 53 years. In order to finance the remodeling a fair and supper was held in the New Town Hall on May 5, 1921, and an entertainment and dance on the succeeding night, raising nearly $1800.00, a very good sum in those days.
In Addition to this most excellent start the Lodge was the recipient of many gifts, among which were the following.
- Twenty five dollars – Caleb Butler Lodge A.F & A.M. Ayer
- Tylers’ Sword & Knockers – Bro. Wm F Jarvis M.D.
- Knockers – Bro. Henry M. Billings
- Square – Wor. Bro. Royal K. Dexter
- Compasses – Wor. Bro. Harry L. Wheeler
- Holy Bible – Bro. Harvey B. Greene
- Master, Sr. & Jr. Warden’ Chairs – Wm. North Lodge A.F & A.M
- Deacons’ Rods – Pentucket Lodge A.F & A.M
- Sr. Warden’s Truncheon – Bro. Everett B. Bull.
- Jr. Wardens Truncheon – Caleb Butler Lodge , A.F. & A.M
- Marshal’s Baton – Wor. Bro. Adolph B. Moore
- Working Tools – Friendship Lodge, A.F.& A.M.
- Hour Glass – Bro. C. Oliver Barnes
- Clock – Bro. Charles E. Blaisdell
- Organ – Mrs. Ida Clark
- Master’s Gavel – Rt. Wor. Bro. Charles F. Flemings.
- Altar – Bro. John R. Smith, Sr
- Rough and Perfect Ashlars – Ancient York Lodge A.F. & A.M
- Notification Cover Design – Bro. Arthur R .G. Booth
- Mirror – The Robertson Company
- Gavel Block and Truncheon Stands – Kilwinning Lodge A.F. & A.M
- Gong – Bro. Milo W. Hale
At the second regular communication, held June 6, 1921, Bros. Rogers, Moore, and Perry were appointed a committee to draw up and submit a set of bylaws.
At the eighth regular communication, held February 6, 1922, Wor. Bro. Garfield A. Davis, who was present at the meeting, offered the use of the Masonic Temple in Lowell for the exercises of the Constitution of the Lodge. A charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts to Wamesit Lodge A.F. & A.M. on March 8, 1922, and on April 27, 1922, the Lodge was duly constituted in Masonic Hall, Lowell, by the Massachusetts Grand Lodge.
On Saturday afternoon, May 13, 1922, the Lodge was convened for the purpose of receiving Most Worshipful Bro. Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master, and Suite, and then all proceeded to the new Tewksbury Congregational Church where the cornerstone was laid by Most Wor. Bro. Prince in accordance with the ancient usages of the Craft. In recognition of the part he played in the formation of Wamesit Lodge, Most Wor. Bro. Prince was elected an honorary member of the Lodge on October 2, 1922. He was the first of only a very few Masons ever to receive this most important distinction.
In order to separate the ownership of physical properties from the Lodge due to the continual changing of officers and the relationship to the governmental needs, etc., The Wamesit Association was formed to take ownership and management of properties when acquired. Although details of that formation are not now available, it is known that the Bylaws were adopted and the first clerk, Bro. Harry L. Mann, was elected on June 21, 1923. The Association was Incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that same Year and, so far as is now known, all shares of the Association were held by the Trustees of the Lodge. In 1954-1955 shares were sold to members in order to raise funds to expand the store and lodge room. At some point in time the land and building in which the Lodge was meeting became the property of the Association, and at some later time the rest of the plot bounded by East, North, Main, and Pleasant Streets on which the Lodge building, the two story house facing East Street, and the large historical Kittredge Gray house facing Pleasant Street also became the Association’s property. The wise and fortunate decisions which resulted in these property acquisitions proved more valuable than anybody then envisioned and are to be credited for our current excellent financial position with our beautiful new Masonic Temple.
From 1922 on the activities of the Lodge are recorded in the Minutes of the regular and special communications. As with most Masonic Lodges, it is the early years which carry the greatest interest. In those years which followed, the Lodge carried on its work of providing a fraternal relationship for its members. From that fall day in 1922 up to the time of entering the new Temple in 1976, there were 483 men who called Wamesit Lodge their Masonic Lodge.
The interest of the members, however, was not limited to Masonic ritual and related activities. They have always given their support to the youth of the community and to family activities. Wamesit Lodge was one of the few Blue Lodges in Massachusetts to sponsor both a DeMolay Chapter and a Rainbow Assembly. Wamesit Assembly No. 88, Order of Rainbow for Girls, was instituted on November 17, 1956, and has continued to this day. They represent a very important part of the Tewksbury Masonic Family.
Six years later the Lodge was again on the road to sponsorship of a fraternal youth group when, in the fall of 1961, the Lodge petitioned the International Supreme Council of the Order of DeMolay for permission to organize a DeMolay Chapter. That request was granted on November 1, 1961, and the Chapter was instituted on January 25, 1962. The competition from other youth activities, however, proved too strong and the Chapter was inactivated in the late 1980’s.
The growth of the Lodge in the post World War II period, combined with the ravages of time and weather on the old building and its facilities – particularly the outside staircase – made the old building more and more difficult to live with as the years rolled on. In 1965, Wor. Bro. Leonel V. Porter, then Master of the Lodge, was asked by the Association to start some action to see what, if anything, could be done to obtain new quarters. Investigation was subsequently initiated, although on only a curiosity basis. In 1967, Bro. Donald G. Hicks, Jr., then Junior Warden, started action to get our property appraised, with the thought of possibly selling or leasing all or part of it and using the proceeds to build a new Temple. In 1969 the first concrete steps were taken to investigate the possibility of securing or building a new home for the Lodge and Rainbow and DeMolay Chapters. The officers of The Wamesit Association, Wor. Bro. Leonel V. Porter (who had just been elected President on December 8, 1969), Wor. Bro. Donald G. Hicks, Jr. – Treasurer, and Wor. Bro. Kenneth E. Vinal, were requested to determine the feasibility of selling or otherwise disposing of the buildings on the property, selling or leasing the land, and building a new Masonic Temple somewhere else in town. Thus a new chapter in the history of Masonry in Tewksbury was begun.
The road to success turned out to be so long as to try the patience of many. After two years of investigation and study of the possibilities of selling, finding suitable land for a new Temple, finding an available existing building that could be converted for suitable use, or rebuilding on the same property, Realty Brokers James F. McNamara, Jr. and Allton Dunsford of Lowell were signed up on October 23, 1972 with the exclusive right to sell, lease, or exchange the Association’s property for a suitable price or other property in a suitable, buildable location subject to the Association’s agreement.
In the meantime, the tenants in the two houses were requested to vacate, which they did in due time, and the buildings were boarded up until demolition would occur by the new tenants or owners. After several attempts to sell at a reasonable price proved fruitless, a break came when our tenant Mobil Oil Company entered into discussions with us to buy or renew their lease and add the rest of the land so they could rebuild their gasoline station. They decided to lease the entire property at a price which would make a new Temple a real possibility, depending on our being able to raise enough money.
On December 2, 1974, Wor. Alan S. Hunter closed what had appeared to be a normal Masonic meeting. However that was not just any regular meeting, for that was the final session at the old East Street building and it ended an era in Wamesit Lodge’s history. The Lodge moved to the Masonic Temple in Billerica for what was hoped to be only a few months until the next fall when it was hoped to have the new Temple ready. As often happens with such undertakings, however, that turned out to be over-optimistic, though the move to Billerica was necessary due to the condition of the building and the need for MOBIL Oil Company to start demolition and re-construction of their new station.
Nine years after the first action was taken, we were at the point of actually obtaining land and starting plans and construction. Wor. Bro. Frederick M. Carter and Bro. William Carter generously donated an acre of land on Victor Drive and arranged for the Association to purchase the adjacent acre at a very attractive price, which they did, thus providing an excellent site for the new Temple. Architect Bro. Arthur Peters of Lowell was contracted to design a colonial style building and plans were soon in hand for review. The Chelmsford Construction Corporation, headed by Wor. Bro. Ronald W. Wetmore, Bro. Gilbert C. Richardson, and Wor. Bro. Ralph E. House submitted the best bids and was awarded the contract to build. A fund raising project was initiated by Bro. Warren S. Lees, Chairman, Wor. Bro. Gordon Jackson, Bro. Warren S. Bennett, Bro. Thomas Mugford, and Bro. Wayne E. Anderson with a goal of $50,000 and all of the organizations were involved in that effort.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place on October 5, 1975 and the foundation was started soon thereafter. Before the first snow the building was up enough for the construction crew to continue working much of the winter, such that the building was completed in time to hold the first meeting on June 7, 1976, with Wor. Bro. William B. Carey the Worshipful Master.
The communication for that first meeting contained a letter from Wor. Carey which began “This is the month, the one we have all been waiting for. Through the efforts of many people, too numerable to mention, we will hold our FIRST communication in the NEW Wamesit Temple on Monday evening, June 7, 1976 …”. Of course the Lodge room was packed and many extra chairs were needed for the more than 150 men in attendance. The meeting that evening was probably the most spectacular in the Lodge’s history. At 5:30 P.M. Wor. Carey called the brethren together and launched the Lodge into the future in the newest Masonic Temple in Massachusetts.
The program that evening was appropriate for the occasion. Rt. Wor. Richard Trull, District Deputy Grand Master and a Past Master of Wamesit Lodge, paid a Fraternal Visit, accompanied by a suite of 46 distinguished Master Masons. Bro. Frederick Stewart Penney was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason and Bro. Charles Thomas Nash was presented a 50 Year Veteran’s Medal. The highlight of the evening, however, was the presentation of the Joseph Warren Distinguished Service Medal to Bro. Kenneth Oldmixon. When the work of the evening was completed, Wor. Carey handed the gavel to Rt. Wor. Trull, who closed Wamesit Lodge. The first day in the new Temple was, truly, an exciting one – and worth the long wait. Ten years of effort had really paid off.
The first special communication in the new Temple was held on Saturday, June 26, 1976, when the Fellowcraft Degree was conferred on Bro. Kevin D. Gordon. The ladies were invited to join the brethren for a delicious pot-luck supper which was enjoyed by all.
The culmination of efforts to build the new Temple took place on Saturday, July 3, 1976, the day before America was to celebrate her Bicentennial, when Wamesit Lodge was privileged to have Most Worshipful Stanley Fielding Maxwell, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and the distinguished members of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts conduct the Laying of the Cornerstone and the Dedication of the Temple ceremonies in full form. The day’s events included a ladies’ tea and entertainment and a delicious roast beef banquet and was attended by an overflow crowd. A highlight of the program was the presentation by Most Wor. Maxwell of Meritorious Service certificates to Wor. Bros. Leonel V. Porter, Donald G. Hicks, Jr., and Kenneth E. Vinal in recognition of their efforts toward the building of the new Temple.
On September 11, 1976, the first public installation of officers was held in the new Temple with a capacity attendance when Wor. Bro. Warren S. Lees was installed as Worshipful Master. This began a renewed interest in Lodge activities with large attendance and many new applicants, both for affiliation and for the degrees. Many social events and fundraising activities were scheduled and were well attended, helping to pay off the costs of the new Temple as well as increasing the fraternal relationships between all. Events included Ladies Nights, Flea Markets, Organ Recitals at the Methuen Organ Hall, family cookouts, Christmas Parties, Table Lodges, Social Nights, Square Dances, Bean Suppers, Auctions, Chicken Barbecues, Family Picnic & Corn Roasts, Big Band Night concerts, fishing trips, pancake breakfasts on Thanksgiving mornings for football enthusiasts, and other events too numerous to mention.
At the September, 1976, communication six applicants for the degrees were elected, beginning a surge of applications which grew to twelve in 1981 and kept Lodge activities at high levels through the 1980’s. At the time of moving into the new Temple in 1976 it was reported that 483 men had called Wamesit Lodge their home Lodge. Since that time 108 more have joined, of which seven were affiliated members and one was an honorary member.
On Sept 14, 1976, Acadia Chapter #80, Order of Eastern Star, transferred their home from the Wilmington Masonic Temple to Wamesit Masonic Temple and held their first meeting there.
On September 22, 1981, the Warren G. Harding Court, No. 5, Order of Amaranth, transferred their home from the Billerica Masonic Temple to Wamesit Masonic Temple and held their first meeting there.
Both the Eastern Star and the Amaranth have been welcome additions to the Wamesit family and have made themselves a significant part of Masonry’s presence in Tewksbury. The Lodge has particularly benefitted from their willingness to cater many of the dinners at their meetings.
Brotherhood Nights with Father Coppens Council, Knights of Columbus, of Tewksbury, were initiated on May 17, 1966, when 300 men gathered in the K. of C. Hall for a delicious dinner and program designed around the subject of brotherhood and ecumenism. Those events continued for several years and sponsored a scholarship to a Tewksbury High School student each year during those years. Improved relationships between people resulted and continue to this day.
The Masonic Blood donor program became an important part of Wamesit Lodge’s public activities in the early 1950’s and has continued with great success up to the present time. The Grand Lodge Blood Certificate has been awarded to the Lodge seventeen times beginning in 1962, the special Grand Lodge 250th Anniversary Blood certificate was awarded in 1984, and in 1990 the American Red Cross awarded the Lodge a special certificate for their contributions over the years. Credit for these awards goes to Rt. Wor. Bro. Richard Trull and especially to Rt. Wor. William B. Carey for chairing the program and encouraging the brethren to participate so successfully over the years. (Note Appleby)
Two Honorary Life Memberships have been awarded since the 1950’s: one to Bro. Clifford Haines for the many years he served as Secretary, and one in 1982 to Wor. Nicholas Georgoulis in appreciation for the many years that, though not a member of Wamesit Lodge, he prepared the dinners for the Table Lodges without compensation.
On September 16, 1984, Wamesit Lodge entered a float in the 250th Tewksbury Anniversary parade, along with many other Lowell area Masons, proudly marched with several other fraternal organizations.
When Massachusetts Masonry entered into the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.R.) program in 1987, Wor. Bro. Roland L. Noel, on becoming Worshipful Master, initiated the Lodge’s participation and soon thereafter activities were begun. Since that time Wor. Bro. Noel has continued as Chairman and many programs have been run to raise funds and provide educational opportunities for the town’s youth.
On October 3, 1992, when the Muster Fountain sculpture by Mico Kaufman was unveiled in the new Muster Park in South Tewksbury, Wamesit Lodge’ name was included on the history plaque as a supporter and contributor to that community effort. One of our members, Bro. Edward H. Bowley, Jr. was the Chairman of the Committee of Interested Citizens through whose efforts the park and sculpture were created. Sadly, Bro. Bowley died July 9, 1992, before the sculpture was erected and the new park was dedicated in his memory. Bro. Bowley had been one of our benefactors in the fundraising for the new Temple.
Over the years after the new Temple was completed many of the brethren continued to contribute to the building fund and, thanks to them and the fundraising projects, income from the lease, rents of the five bodies who called the Temple their home, plus occasional rentals of the facilities, the mortgage and operating expenses were kept paid. However, in 1989 income had fallen off to the point that it was necessary to place a two year assessment of $25.00 per year on the members to carry the Association until the Lease of the property in Tewksbury center could be renewed at a higher rate. That assessment, a first for the Lodge, did the trick and at the time of this writing the financial picture is bright.
Wamesit Lodge has been fortunate to have had many members who went beyond the doors of the home Lodge and contributed their time and talents to the larger Masonic community.
The following Worshipful Masters became Masters of the Lowell 32nd Lodge of Instruction:
The following were District Deputy Grand Masters
The following were Grand Lodge Officers:
- MW. Donald G. Hicks Jr. Grand Master Grand Lodge of Massachusetts
- Rt. Wor. Donald G. Hicks, Jr. – Deputy Grand Master
- Wor. Herbert L. Trull – Senior Grand Steward
- Rt. Wor. John Appleby – Grand Stewart
- Rt. Wor. Richard Trull – Grand Pursivan
- Wor. Dana S. MacAllister Sr . – Grand Steward
- Wor. Leonel V. Porter – Senior Grand Deacon
- Wor. Archibald H. Campbell – Grand Steward
- Rt. Wor. William B. Carey – Junior Grand Steward
- Wor. David H. Hicks – Grand Standard Bearer
- Wor. Grant Thorne – Grand Steward
With the renewal of the lease in 1991, the Association has been able to do many things to repair and replace items wearing out and to do a number of things that were beyond the financial ability at the time of building the Temple in 1975. Complete refurbishing of the interior and exterior, completion of the parking lot, renewal of the driveway, re-landscaping with a driven well and automatic watering system, new and larger rear entry and handicap ramp, canopy with new lighting over the Masonic Emblem mosaic on the front of the building, roof over and new door and steps on the emergency exit out of the lodgeroom, replacement of the electric heat pumps with new gas furnaces and air conditioning units, new ceiling over the banquet hall, restrooms, and outer rooms to the lodgeroom, tiled restrooms, new carpeting in the lounge and corridor, exhaust canopy over kitchen stove, automatic exterior lighting controls, are some of the improvements accomplished such that the Temple is again like new and ready to carry Tewksbury Masonry well into the next century,
With more than “ten weeks of years” of service working for the betterment of mankind, Wamesit Lodge now looks forward to a renewal of our commitment to our task. Masonic Renewal programs are now well underway and promise that, if we get into the action demanded by these programs, we can “make the difference”. We must let the world know that we are open to membership of men of all faiths and creeds so long as they believe in the monotheistic God. We must also let them know that no Mason will directly ask them to join – that they must make the first move by asking – and that once they ask; their path into our fraternity will be lined with good will and pleasant experiences. Our future depends on them.
We have built the foundation and the Temple – now let us use it to the glory of The Grand Architect of the Universe.
Information Prepared from the Records of Wor. Leonel V. Porter – April 26, 1993
Updated by the Wamesit Lodge Web Site Committee – March 28, 2008
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