120 YEARS OF RICH HISTORY
On February 28, 1891, Bro. F. M. Robinson and six other Master Masons who were members of Tuality Lodge No. 6 at Hillsboro, Oregon, applied to the Grand Lodge for a Dispensation to form a Lodge at Beaverton.
Due to their request coming so close to the end of the Grand Lodge year, the request was not granted, but these men were informed that in all probability they would be granted a Charter at the Annual Communication in June.
Beaverton Lodge No. 100, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, was granted its Charter on June 11, 1891, just nine days after the organizational meeting. Listed as officers on the Charter are: Master, F .M. Robinson; Senior Warden, George W. Stitt and Junior Warden, George Tucker, (who, for whatever reason, never served in this capacity). Two other lodges were also granted Charters on that date, Taylor No. 99 in Wasco County and Albina (changed to Oregon in 1908) No. 101 in Portland. (Elgin No. 98 also received its Charter, but in 1937 consolidated with Hiram No. 67, under the name Elgin No. 67.)
On June 23, 1891 a meeting was held for the purpose of electing officers as follows:
Worshipful Master : F. M. Robinson
Senior Warden : George W. Stitt
Junior Warden : Thomas E. Tucker
Treasurer : William Tucker
Secretary : C. W. Allen
Junior Deacon: J. N. Fisher
Tyler : William L. Pike
Beaverton Lodge owes these men, along with George Tucker, J. D. Letts and William Butner, a deep debt of gratitude for they were the men who met on June 2 and continued to be the backbone of the Lodge during the early years of our existence.
A Special Communication was held on July 18 at which time Right Worshipful Brother D. C. McKercher Grand Treasurer, Acting Grand Master; A. E. Walling, Acting Grand Senior Warden; A. Thurlow, Acting Grand Junior Warden and A. L. Pope, Acting Marshal conferred the Degree of Past Master on Brother Robinson and then installed the other officers, (as listed above), to officially Constitute Beaverton Lodge.
The first meetings were held in Squire’s building which was located on the northwest corner of Hall Street and Hamilton Avenue (now Broadway). The paraphernalia was donated by Tuality Lodge No. 6 and other Lodges and by individual members who made the Altar, Warden’s pedestals, etc.
The first petition was received on June 30, 1891, and on August 4, E. J. Thomas was balloted upon, elected and became the first man to have the Entered Apprentice Degree conferred upon him in the new Beaverton Lodge. Before year’s end two more petitions were received; one, James C. Stitt, for degrees and one, Charles Collins, for affiliation. The Master Mason Degree was conferred upon Brother Thomas on December 1, bringing the total membership to nine.
Tragedy struck our Lodge in 1894, although for whatever reason only one sentence in the minutes mentions the fire. The following is an edited account, recorded in 1951, of the events of that evening as related by W.B. Earl E. Fisher, (1905).
“On a summer night about 11:00 pm, August 13, 1894, a mysterious fire originated in Joe Roundy’s saloon which was located just east of Beaverton’s first Masonic Lodge at the corner of Hall Street and Hamilton Avenue, (Broadway). The Town of Beaverton had been incorporated a little over one year, February 10, 1893 and people went to bed early in those days . Roundy’s saloon went up in smoke in a hurry and the flames leaped over onto the roof of the Masonic Lodge building. This was formerly Edward Squires store room and carriage paint shop. Edward Squires, grandfather of Lester Squires, was a pioneer carriage builder with a shop at the corner of Hamilton Avenue and West Street. The brethren overhauled the upstairs of the Squires Building for a Lodge hall with the Lodge room running north and south and with an outside stairway and entrance on the north side. F. C. Pauli & Co. had a fine drug store on the lower floor of the building.
Soon the whole roof was ablaze, with the flames leaping high in the air. W. B. J. N. Fisher, (1893, 1899 and 1902) had gone to bed in his home about two blocks west, and the bright glare of the fire shone in his bedroom window . He looked out and seeing the Lodge Hall on fire, dressed quickly and he and his boy, Earl, rushed down the street . His first thought was to get into the Lodge Room and save what was possible . Running up the stairway he looked into the window of the room in which the Tyler’s desk stood and saw that the whole Lodge room was ablaze. Rushing downstairs he and another man who had just arrived, grabbed a heavy road plank to use for a ram, broke into the front door of the drugstore and managed to save three glass showcases full of toilet articles, Cigars, stationery and some patent medicines. By this time the flames were bursting through the east wall and there were many explosions of bursting bottles. Someone began ringing the new Congregational Church bell and this aroused many people from miles around who were a great help in saving the F. C. Kelly store building just across Hall Street to the east. The only fire department in those days was a water bucket brigade.
Joe Roundy collected $500.00 fire insurance on his saloon fixtures. Henry Weinhard Brewery of Portland helped him build a small one story building for another saloon but no one bought many drinks from him so he moved to Sylvan and opened a saloon on the top of the hill. F. C. Pauli & Co. lost everything, their fire insurance policy having expired three days prior to the fire.
Beaverton Lodge lost everything except the Charter which was not in the Lodge room at the time. Luckily the Worshipful Master, A. B. Cady had taken his instructions that “the Charter must in no case ever be out of your immediate control” literally and had taken it home with him.
The fire was a severe blow for a new Lodge but the members did not give up hope. Through the hard work of the brethren and help from Tuality No. 6 at Hillsboro, Holbrook No. 30 at Forest Grove and others the lodge was soon meeting in a new place, Beaverton Hall, later called Grange Hall, with a rental cost of $1.50 per meeting.
September of 1907 found the Lodge facing another crisis:
Brother M. B. Hoard brought charges of un-Masonic conduct against Brother A. Rossi for owning and operating a “Liquor Saloon” . A Special Meeting was called to try the case and the Bro. Rossi did not appear to answer the charges. After the evidence was presented a vote was taken using white and black balls. An examination of the ballot box showed a count of six white balls for not guilty and five black balls for guilty. Brother Rossi was cleared of the charge . Not being satisfied with the outcome, Brother Hoard and others filed an appeal to Grand Lodge. Most Worshipful Grand Master Lot L. Pearce appeared at the December 17th meeting and, after hearing the evidence, observing the condition of the Lodge and hearing Brother Rossi admit that he did indeed own a liquor saloon, arrested the Charter and ordered the Grand Secretary to issue Demits to the fifteen members who were in good standing.
The lodge was to collect all dues owed, forward a certified list of members and all of the Lodge property to the Grand Secretary . Not securing the attention he deemed proper the Grand Master on March 14, 1908 commissioned the Grand Secretary, R.W. Jas. F . Robinson, to visit Beaverton and receive and receipt all property. This was done on April 30, 1908 and the demits were issued on that date.
Grand Lodge records show that fourteen members petitioned for return of the Charter and the Jurisprudence Committee referred the matter to the incoming Grand Master for his attention.
Excerpt from Grand Lodge Proceedings – 1909
“That on August 30, the R. W. Grand Secretary and myself visited Beaverton and talked with nearly all of the Signers of the petition and found them to be very penitent . They acknowledged that the Grand Lodge was perfectly justified in the action taken and they were unanimous in the belief that if their Charter and Property were restored to them they could once more build up a Lodge which would be a credit to the Fraternity. I took the matter under advisement at the time and on October 17, 1908, I again visited Beaverton and restored their Charter and Property .. ” Edw. E. Kiddle, Grand Master.
The January 5, 1909 Stated Communication could not be held because the weather was so cold that the Lodge room could not be heated enough to be comfortable, even with winter coats on.
In 1911 a committee was appointed to look into the matter of building a Temple and the first Building Association was incorporated. A piece of property on Farmington Road near Watson was purchased from a Lodge member for $1250.00, payable at $50.00 per month. Lodge records do not show what happened to this lot, but we understand that it was sold for $800.00, the money apparently being turned over to the Building Association.
The first Past Master’s Apron was presented in 1912 to Worshipful Brother E. D. Summers, a custom which has continued since that time. Beaver Chapter No. 106, O.E.S. was chartered this year.
Our Lodge presently has 300 Life Memberships and it is of interest to note that Worshipful Brother Geo. Stitt purchased the first one in 1921. The idea didn’t catch on very rapidly as it was not until 1936 when the second one was purchased by Brother P. Olson.
1923 found a member of the Lodge being arrested for violation of the Prohibition Laws, and brought to trial. It was decided that court proceedings against the brother were not sufficient to bring charges of un-Masonic conduct and the matter was dropped. However, the following year the charges were revived after another court trial found him guilty and the brother was suspended.
Past Masters Night, a night set aside to honor all Past Masters, has been a tradition since first started in 1924. At some of the early ones, the PM’s formed the team to confer one of the degrees on a candidate.
Plans were presented in 1927 for raising funds for the building of a Temple and several events were held for this purpose although the building was not started for twelve years.
Early in 1928 the Lodge volunteered the use of the Hall to other local orders until such time as the hall they were using could be put back in shape. Members donated $20.00 to buy a set of myrtle working tools from North Bend Lodge. The first member of the Lodge to become a 50 year Mason, Brother Tuttle, was presented with an apron.
The Depression years were difficult for all Lodges so in 1933 the Grand Lodge dues were remitted to assist them financially. There were no degrees conferred from March 17, 1932 until April 5, 1934.
On April 6, 1938 an Occasional Grand Lodge was opened and with five of our Past Masters taking part as Acting Grand Lodge officers, the cornerstone for Merle Davies Elementary School was laid. A list of the items placed in the stone appears in the detailed excerpt of the minutes. But of particular interest is the inclusion of pictures of several of our members who were also members of the school board or otherwise connected with school affairs at that time. These men were: L. W. Short, Chairman of the Board; I. R. Metzler, Superintendent/principal; Dr. C. E. Mason; S. B. Lawrence, J. R. Talbert and Guy C. Carr.
The present Masonic Hall was built in 1939 at a cost of $17,000 for material. The labor was voluteer, except for the plumbing. On September 7 the first meeting was held in the Temple. W. B. Fred Gertsch had the honor of giving his Proficiency on the Master Mason Degree that same evening. A special thanks was given to Brothers Lacey, Eliander, Sr., Carr and Lawerence for their efforts in getting the task completed. Incidently, the fire escape was not installed until 1942. Also noteworthy is, the dining room floor was hardwood and covered by canvas most of the time. Holes were being burned in the canvas and sand containers were donated by W. B. A. M. Jannsen for use by the smokers.
At the February, 1945, Stated Communication it was announced that the mortgage was down to $300.00 and the members present took up a collection, raised the money and paid it over to the Building Association.
Several firsts occurred during the next four years: the Beaverton Chapter Order of DeMolay was started in 1947, Brother Wm. Kent received the first Proficiency card in 1948, our first visit to Bay City Lodge No. 102 also took place in ’48 and the first tyled Installation of Officers occurred in 1949.
A new elementary school built in the Beaverton Elementary School District in 1951 was named after one of our members, Dr. C. E. Mason, in honor of his service to the district and the community, not withstanding his objections. On May 19th the cornerstone was laid by Most Worshipful Brother,Worth Harvey, Grand Master. The hardwood floor in the Lodge dining room had rotted out, so it was replaced by a concrete floor.
A record twenty-seven Master Mason Degrees were conferred during the year of 1953. At least a record for Beaverton Lodge.
Several members who were unhappy with what was happening in Beaverton Lodge asked for a Petition from the Lodge to form a new Lodge in the Beaverton area in 1953. This request was not granted, but in 1954 the Grand Lodge overruled the action and a Dispensation was granted for the formation of Meridian Lodge. They received their Charter on June 15, 1954 and were constituted as Meridian Lodge No 217.
After several years of sponsoring a Graduation Party for the eighth graders in the district, the Lodge decided that the party was getting too big. The members decide to offer a $500 scholarship to a graduate of one of two the Beaverton High Schools, Beaverton and Sunset, who was going to college in Oregon and entering the field of Education. Miss Betty McRoberts was the first recipient in 1962. The amount of the Scholarship was increased to $1000 and the “field of Education” restriction dropped in 1979.
In 1971 new carpeting was purchased for the Lodge room, metal folding chairs were purchased by the 8-Ball Club and the Daughters of the Nile, (chairs would no longer have to be carried up and down stairs) and the front sidewalk was replaced. The carpeting was installed in 1972.
Meridian Lodge #217 found it difficult to continue to operate so they petitioned to consolidate with Beaverton, No. 100. They were accepted on November 7, 1974.
To help celebrate the nation’s Bi-Centinnial, the Beaverton area had, among other things, a parade. Our Lodge participated by having a float drawn by horses. The wagon and horses were provided by WE Don McIness, Tuality No.6.
The floor tile was laid in the dining hall and kitchen in 1977 with the proceeds from the Annual Easter Breakfasts and the chair lift was installed in 1979 with donations from the Beaver Chapter No. 106 and the Lodge.
Our library got its start in 1980 with a donation of books and materials from Brother Vilas J. Brown. The area set aside in the dining roan to be known as the Edward Holman Memorial Library came about as the result of a bequest in his will and was built in 1990-91.
The present sign outside of the building was set in place in 1984.
Under the direction of WE LeRoy Finch, the Beaverton OutReach Program was begun in the summer of 1988. This provides for the contacting of sojourners living in our area and inviting them to an open house to be held annually in August. The idea is to let them know that we are here and care about them, and to renew their interest in Masonry. The kitchen remodeling work started this year, with some of the work continuing through 1991.