1872 – 1899
In The Beginning
On December 27, 1872, a dispensation was granted by Grand Master Leonidas B. Pratt to brethren at Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County, to organize as Hayward Lodge, U.D. The name was reluctantly granted to the petitioners by the Grand Master solely because he considered it to be improper to name a Lodge after a living man. In fact, the creation of the Lodge brought about a revision of Grand Lodge regulations, henceforth forbidding the naming of a Lodge after any living person.
Our Lodge was originally named for Right Worshipful Brother Alvinza Hayward, then Senior Past Master of Henry Clay Lodge No. 95, at Sutter Creek, Amador County, and Past Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of California.
At the Twenty-fourth Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge, October 18, 1873, a charter was granted to Hayward Lodge #226,
F. & A.M., with the following officers and members:
Henry B. Lea, W. M.
William A. Yates, S.W.
John Johnston, J.W.
James Hatch, Treasurer John P. Johnston, Secretary
James W. Bluett, Chaplain
Charles H. Davids, S.D. James N. Langley, J.D.
George R. Borden, Marshal
Albert Milliken, Steward Jacob Rosenblum, Steward
Jacinto Lourenco, Tyler
Josiah P. Ames
Chas. W. Borden
Wm. H. Campbell
Joseph A. Davis
Joseph B. Freitas
Eliphus B. Wooley Louis B. Bernard
Manuel F. Garcia
Griffith P. Hartley
Robt. A. Rawls
Chas. W. Swanton
Franklin C. Gilbert A. B. Maynard
When the Lodge was instituted, Brother Hayward presented the officers with silver jewels, which have been continuously used to this day.
The limited territorial jurisdiction in which Hayward Lodge was authorized to operate, together with the slow population growth of the area, restricted an increase in Lodge membership. The net result was that, by 1898, a quarter century after the charter was granted, there were only two more members in the Lodge than was the case in 1873.
Brother Henry E. Lea, our first Worshipful Master, did excellent work in laying the foundation of our Lodge. Brother Joseph Freitas served as Master for seven years, 1876 to 1878, 1881, 1882, 1885 and 1886. Worshipful Brother George Duncan served three years, 1879, 1880 and 1883. Brother Louis B. Bernard was elected W.M. in 1884 and again in 1895. Brother Horatio M. Templeton was elected and served as Master from 1887 to 1894.
1880 – 1889
Early in 1880, a committee of three was appointed to interview the I.O.O.F. for the purpose of having the rent reduced. A report was submitted at the next meeting to the effect that the rent would be $4.00 per month, including light and wood. How times have changed. In August 1888, the late Brother Simmons purchased a bookcase. It is of interest to note that this same bookcase is today kept in the Library of the Temple and it serves to house the Lodge’s historical book collection.
The records indicate that the duties of Inspector were assumed by whichever Past Grand Master happened to be near enough to do the inspecting, and that, at the visits of the Inspector, he invariably made a few remarks about the “near correctness” of the work. On November 1, 1889, Worshipful Master Templeton, on behalf of the Brethren, presented to Past Master J. Freitas, a beautiful Past Master’s Jewel. This is the first record of such a presentation.
1890 – 1899
In November 1895, a motion was passed and carried to move into the new Odd Fellow’s Hall providing the rent did not exceed $40.00 per annum. The move was made and, after several unsuccessful attempts to have the Masonic sign placed above that of the Native Sons of the Golden West, it was removed.
On September 18, 1896, after two previous attempts had been made, a motion was carried to move back to the old hall with rent set at $36.00 per annum. The furniture, which had been bought for the new hall, was sold to the Odd Fellows for $50.00.
P.M. Brother Herbert Luff was elected to receive the degrees of Masonry on November 20, 1896. He was raised January 5, 1897, appointed Senior Deacon the same evening, and served as Master in 1898, 1899 and 1900. This strange practice of making officers out of totally inexperienced men was prevalent at the turn of the century in practically all of the jurisdictions in the United States. This was probably due to the transportation difficulties of those times.
1900 – 1909
At the stated meeting of February 9, 1900, Brother F. B. Fillmore made a motion, which was unanimously carried, that Hayward Lodge move from Half Moon Bay to San Mateo. The first meeting was held in San Mateo on May 19, 1900, in the I.O.O.F. Hall. At that time the jurisdiction of Hayward Lodge included all territory from Belmont to the San Francisco County line.
The year 1902 was a very momentous one for the Lodge. During the first part of the year a finance committee was appointed, with full power to act, and was instructed to look for a suitable site on which to erect a temple. On May 10, it reported that a lot, located at the northeast corner of Tilton Avenue and Ellsworth Street, had been purchased at a cost of $1,650.00, with added costs of $14.00 for recording the deed, etc. The brethren thought it wise to get options on the lot next to the one purchased. The committee, therefore, was authorized to buy it if it was reasonably priced. It reported at the next meeting that an option had been taken on the second lot, but that the Lodge was financially unable to negotiate further. Our late Brother William Tumbull offered the sum of $1,125.00 to the Lodge without interest. This generous offer, which the Lodge accepted, enabled us to pick up the option.
On January 19, 1905, a committee was appointed to interview what was then San Mateo Lodge No. 168 at Redwood City to see what could be done about changing its name. This committee secured their approval and at the stated meeting held on October 12, 1905, Brother Joseph Levy moved that the name of Hayward Lodge be changed to San Mateo Lodge. This motion was carried and, on October 30, official notice was received from the Grand Secretary that the name had been changed from Hayward Lodge to San Mateo Lodge No. 226.
On April 18, 1906, the I.O.O.F. Hall was badly damaged by the earthquake, which left the Lodge without a meeting place. Brother Richard R. Jury was Secretary at that time, and gladly donated the basement of his building on B Street. Business meetings were held there until the I.O.O.F. Hall was rebuilt.
On March 5, 1908, a petition was received from the Burlingame Master Masons, requesting permission to form and conduct a Lodge at that location. A committee was appointed by Worshipful Master W. L. Johnstone. This committee submitted a favorable report on May 7.
In 1908, San Mateo Lodge began to look forward to owning its own building, and the Masonic Hall Association was created. On April 1, 1909, the committee, which was created for the purpose of securing a hall site, declared it was in favor of the lots owned by the Lodge, and it was therefore decided to erect the temple on this site. Building operations were commenced in 1909, during the term of our late Brother Grove Lawrence. He and his co-workers spared neither time nor energy in erecting our present temple.
1910 – 1919
The construction of the temple was under the supervision of our late Brother August Berg. The interior woodwork and decorations were executed by late Past Master Lou A. Smith. He also made and presented the pillars. It is of interest to note that these pillars are made to the exact scale of the original pillars that stood in King Solomon’s temple. Brother Smith searched through ancient Masonic history until he found the correct information as to the size of the pillars and designed them accordingly. He was our Master when the cornerstone of the temple was laid on February 22, 1910.
The Officers of the Grand Lodge of California conducted impressive ceremonies at the dedication of the Temple on October 29, 1910. Among items deposited in the casket were the names of Lodge Officers and members of the Hall Association and Board of Directors. In addition daily papers, blueprints of the temple, data on proceedings of the Grand Lodge for 1909, Masonic Manual, and a silver plated horseshoe (made and presented by our late Brother F. J. Cochran) engraved with the names of the officers of the Lodge, were also deposited included.
In moving the belongings of the Lodge from the Odd Fellow’s Building to the new temple, the Master’s hat became lost. As there was only one hat in those days, each Master, as he ascended to the office, used it. This caused an emergency situation at the first meeting in the new temple when it was discovered that the Master had no hat. Accordingly, Brother L. A. Smith, who occupied the Oriental chair, took charge of the matter and ordered his officers out into the night to get a hat by any means, without undue injury to anyone. Knowing the coachmen from the large estates nearby wore such hats, the men thought their errand would be an easy one and, sure enough, there sitting in a cab was such a coachman, fast asleep. It was a simple matter for the officers to acquire the hat but, when the coachman awoke, he swore vengeance on those who stole it. Needless to say, the hat remained inside the Lodge room thereafter.
1920 – 1929
During the following years, whenever a visitor attended San Mateo Lodge, the Secretary notified his lodge of the fact on a post card bearing the picture of the new temple. This picture brought many inquiries from lodges all over the country as to cost, plans, and so forth.
On October 18, 1923, the fiftieth anniversary of the Lodge was celebrated and a pamphlet was issued commemorating the event. Past Master George E. Munro was chairman of the Anniversary Committee, and sincere thanks are due him and his committee for much of the historical information contained herein.
P.M. James R. Eubanks, Superintendent of the Masonic Home at Decoto for many years, served as Master of San Mateo Lodge in 1924. In October of that year, a committee of two was appointed to investigate the matter of issuing a monthly bulletin. This is the first mention in our records of a bulletin.
In October 1929, our late Brother Fernand Levy was awarded a fifty-year emblem from the Grand Lodge. At that time, San Mateo Lodge also presented him with a Masonic watch.
1930 – 1939
On the evening of the installation of officers in December 1930, Junior Past Master George E. Riddle, as a climax to a successful year, presented the Lodge with a beautiful emblem to be mounted over the door at the exterior of the building. It was subsequently wired for electric lights and installed by Past Master Charles E. Morrison, and now serves to inform everyone that the building is the Masonic Temple.
Pursuant to a request on the part of Postmaster John H. Kelley, an envelope containing a history of the Lodge, a roster, and a communication signed by both Master Hjalmar Johnson and Secretary E. A. Davis, was placed in the history box of the new post office building on the occasion of the dedication ceremony, December 14, 1935.
During the middle ’30’s, a period of bleakness enshrouded San Mateo Lodge, as it did all lodges of California, because, although the peak of the depression had passed, it had left in its wake very few applications, a number of deaths, and an impoverished membership. Needless to say, the long suffering Hall Association had its hands full carrying on the bare necessities and meeting the mortgage payments.
1930 – 1939
Brighter days, however, were in store for the Lodge. In 1940, Miles Anderson was elected to the East and, at the same time, the tide of the Nation had turned. War had started in Europe and the frantic need for production in this country accelerated an unprecedented business boom. Men who had been holding off submitting their applications now found themselves in a position to satisfy their life’s longings and the membership of the Lodge began to increase very rapidly. By the time the United States entered the war in 1941, things were going full blast. The Hall Association found out what it was like to operate with money for a change and, incidentally, the officers found out what extensive degree work was. Nor did the tide come to a full flood until late in 1944. Meanwhile the Lodge’s debts were rapidly decreasing and the membership was filling up with younger men. At this time, casualties among officers, due to draft boards and one thing and another, caused frequent appointments to be made. In 1945, strangely enough, the end of the war brought no decrease in applications. The membership of the Lodge was 363 as of November 12, 1947, an increase of 123 members from July 31, 1935.
January 10, 1948 means a great deal more to the Lodge than any January 10 preceding it for a period of some 30 years. On this date, the outstanding headache of the Lodge was removed by a large dose of figurative aspirin in the shape of a paid-up mortgage. A combination of long uphill work, genius and a subtle and charming act of chicanery accomplished this bold stroke. The credit for the long uphill work lies directly in the hearts and hands of our good brothers who served on the Hall Association during all those difficult and heart-breaking years. The genius is harder to place. We believe it to have arisen in the minds of several men who, for reasons to be shown later, must remain nameless. The chicanery was the child of the act of genius that explains the foregoing statement. It consisted of voluntary contributions by all the members of the Lodge who attended a certain “crab chioppino” dinner on November 20th. The funds raised at this time were sufficient to carry along the current expenses of the Lodge and thereby allow it to pay off its mortgage before the renewal date. Needless to say, the rejoicing, while temperate, was very pronounced.
In October of 1948, Bros. Roy Rigby, P.M. and George Riddle, P.M., were appointed by W.M. Robert Caldwell as a Committee to determine what old furniture and paraphernalia could be donated to the Masonic Temple which was being restored at that time in Columbia, California. A major item of furniture was donated.
Many applications for the degrees were received beginning in the late 40’s, and resulting in the activation of an Auxiliary Degree Team and the need to confer some degrees on Monday nights, Saturdays, etc.
In 1949, W.M. Harry H. Pue’s sales territory extended to Fresno. On a few occasions, he drove all the way from that city in order to conduct stated meetings! During that year, some of the Lodge members evinced interest in bowling. A High Twelve Bowling League was subsequently formed, and the brethren participated in this organized activity for several years. Golf, as well as hunting and fishing committees, also flourished in the early 1950’s.
At the December 1, 1949 stated meeting, Bro. Boswell F. King, (later P.M.) announced a plan to accept donations of gold for the purpose of having new altar jewels made. They were later fabricated by Bro. Richard B. Giesin, P.M.
1950 – 1959
The ever-articulate John P. Fairfax occupied the oriental chair during the year of 1950. Several lodge furnishings were provided during this year. Sand containers for disposing of cigarettes and new banquet room drapes were provided.
The report submitted by Bro. W. P. Jones, at the conclusion of his year (1951), makes reference to a full social calendar, a vigorous Public Schools Program, the initiation of 26 candidates, a good attendance at meetings, and a successful Masonic Homes Endowment Fund Drive.
The momentum continued into 1952, a most successful year, under the leadership of the late Clarence C. Smith, P.M. Thirty-six more applicants were elected and, at year-end, the membership stood at 529.
On February 7, 1952, a near tragedy was averted by prompt action of the members and P. G. & E. crews. An explosion caused by gas seeping into the Temple from the street caused some damage to the building and injury to Bro. Wm. Youngsman, Assistant Tyler. With 110 members present for dinner, the situation could have been catastrophic.
The Public Schools Report of our Lodge received a commendation from Grand Lodge that year as the best submitted by any of the 614 Lodges in California.
A special “Old Timers’ Night” took place on November 13, 1952. Fifty-four members, who had attained between 25 to 49 years of Masonry, were presented with wallet size certificates. Those unable to be present received their certificates by mail.
A Fund was established in 1953 (Hubert A. Nuding, W.M.) for the purchase of a new organ. It was installed in 1956, with a special recital by Bro. Hause, Lodge organist.
Bros. Westley P. Jones and Ralph W. Gaines (later P.M.) served as Lodge Co-Chairmen of the California Masonic Memorial Temple Drive. The solicitation commenced in early 1954 and continued for several years. Our Lodge was among the leaders in per capita donations. The brethren of #226 donated the total sum of $9,270.50. The support of all members was certainly instrumental in the successful completion of the Fund drive.
On November 19, 1954, Peninsula Lodge was instituted. Its top three officers and essentially all of its charter members were drawn from San Mateo, the parent Lodge. G. Howard Cardiff was Master that year.
Clarence C. Smith, P.M. (1952) was appointed Inspector of the 338th Masonic District in January 1955.
That year, in which Bro. Arthur W. Johnson served as Master, numerous additional improvements were made to the Temple, thus adding to its beauty and contributing to the comfort of our members. The “lesser lights” were built by the Master, and donated to the Lodge by him at the conclusion of his term of office. Also, during that year, a unique event took place. Lynn W. Perry, Jr. (later P.M.) was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on the same night his father received his 50 year pin.
During the years 1956-57, in which period Bros. Boswell F. King, Jr. and Robert G. Truluck served as W.M., considerable emphasis was also placed upon Masonic Research and Education. This activity was instrumental in the formation of the El Camino Research Lodge in 1958.
The practice of providing free birthday dinners for Lodge members began in January 1958. (Ernest T. Lund, W.M.) Bro. Fred Kelly was appointed Assistant Secretary in July 1958.
Considerable interest was generated that year by Prop. No. 16, dealing with the repeal of tax exemption to private and parochial schools. Grand Lodge because of Masonry’s long standing support of public schools permitted discussion of the issues, and even financial support.
In the spring of 1959 (Albert A. Uhlrich, W.M.), two busloads of Brethren visited San Quentin Prison. The record does not disclose that anyone was detained.
In October 1959 (as in October 1952) the list of Past Masters and the events honoring them were printed in a Bulletin made in the shape of an apron.
As we closed out the decade, the Lodge was strong in every way. Dedicated leadership, a steady influx of new members, active social programs, improvements to the physical plant, etc. augured well for the future.
1960 – 1969
In 1960, during the term of W.M. Walter R. Bloss, the San Mateo County Masonic Officers Association was formed, and the first Grand Master’s Breakfast to be held on the Peninsula took place. It is now an annual affair.
Later that year, following a trend, which appeared to be statewide, a reduction in the number of applications for the Degrees and for affiliation was observed. It was particularly noticeable because of the unusually heavy influx of members following World War II and through the decade of the Fifties. The officers met the challenge by scheduling sojourner nights, dinner dances, picnics, baseball games, Masonic Education programs, etc.—a good balance which, together with emphasis upon ritual proficiency, Public Schools Observance, and other essentials, kept the Lodge vital and alive
The practice of having Past Masters confer a 3rd Degree on a member on the occasion of Past Masters Night was changed in 1961 (William I. Emmons, W.M.) in favor of professional entertainment—and an evening of relaxation for all. The highest total membership attained by our Lodge (645) was reached during that year.
During 1962 (Alson C. Rodoni, W.M.), extensive revamping of the second floor rest rooms, the “Laurel Room”, and the Library was commenced. This major project, which involved both donated and contract labor, was essentially completed by 1965.
Under the leadership of W.M. John T. McHugh (1963) and Herbert M. Davies (later PM.), golf tournaments with other Lodges in the 364th Masonic District were inaugurated, thus broadening the base of Masonic fellowship.
In the interest of publicizing the Fraternity, our Lodge sponsored a Resolution that year, subsequently passed at Grand Lodge, relating to the erection of Masonic information signs on major thoroughfares entering cities wherein Masonic Lodges are located.
Funeral services for Roy W. Rigby, P.M., Treasurer, were conducted on September 24, 1964. Bro. John T. McHugh, P.M. was appointed to replace him for the remainder of the term. Subsequently, Arthur W. Mercer, P.M. was installed as Treasurer for the ensuing Masonic Year.
Another personnel change occurred at the end of 1964 (Paul F. Seidel, W.M.). Bro. Clarence C. Smith, PM. resigned as Inspector, to be succeeded by Bro. John Burszan Jr., P.M. from Hillsborough Lodge #737.
Several inter-Lodge visitations, many for the conferring of degrees, together with heightened social activity, marked the middle years of the decade. The banquet room was completely repainted in 1965, under the direction of Worshipful Master Lynn Perry—a major project. During the following year, in which George E. Watts served as Master, an all day excursion was made to Columbia. Officers of San Mateo #226 and Hillsborough #737 Lodges cooperated in conferring the 3rd Degree on one of our members, Bro. Wilfred Dawson. Before returning to the Peninsula, the group, augmented by members and wives, had dinner, visited the old shops, and saw a melodrama. Quite a full day!
W.M. Kenneth Thompson mailed a questionnaire to all members in 1967, in order to obtain an expression of opinion about Lodge matters. Several program changes resulted. The inventory of craft talents possessed by the members, which the survey uncovered, assisted in the extensive remodeling of the ground floor facilities. By that year, rising costs forced a raise in annual dues—for the first time in 50 years!! — from $18.00 to $24.00.
In 1968, the year Bro. Ralph W. Gaines served as Master, several innovations were put into effect, such as the use of name tags (printed by Robert Caldwell, P.M.) a gift trowel for new Master Masons, a member ship Roster, and our first “Crab Feed”, now an annual affair to which the ladies are also invited. The Centennial Planning Committee was also formed in that year, looking ahead to 1972.
Bro. Hollis Munce and C. Theodore Mess (later Treasurer) took their 3rd Degree Proficiency examination the same night—54 and 51 years, respectively, after being raised!
One of the highlights of 1968 was the opportunity afforded W.M. Gaines to present a hand wrought desk set to our Secretary, Earl “Doc” Davis “in commemoration of 40 years of devoted service to San Mateo Lodge”. The gift featured a doorknob, bearing the Masonic insignias and dating from 1896, which was flanked by two pen shafts. It was constructed by Bro. Wm. J Wiegner, and was truly a work of art. “Doc” was both taken by surprise and pleased by the standing ovation he received.
Bro. Theodore Mess was installed Treasurer, commencing the Masonic year 1969.
The strong interest of W.M. Jack Estoll (1969) in furthering the aims of our youth groups was reflected in the increased attendance by brethren of our Lodge at DeMolay, Job’s Daughters and Rainbow meetings.
A “Gourmet Club” was organized, and served to involve more members in the steward function.
Bro. Reinhold Schmidt, J.W. was named Chairman of the Centennial Committee, and with the support of W.M. Ward Grush (1970), the group accelerated plans for the 1972 gala. A “Gold Rush” collection was started, to provide new gold officers’ jewels, historical research commenced, dates were set for major functions of the Centennial year, etc.
1970 – 1979
One of the 1970 highlights was an overnight excursion to the charming and historic town of Mendocino. Enroute to Mendocino, all took a trip on the “Skunk Train”, which travels through the beautiful redwoods between Ft. Bragg and Willits. W.M. Grush was privileged to confer the Third Degree upon his son, Neil, in the old-fashioned lodge hall. During the time this event was taking place, the ladies were viewing several Travelogue films.
Centennial planning activity continued into 1971 (W.M. Herbert M. Davies’ year), supplemented by weekly work parties, the principal project of which was the complete modernization and relocation of the kitchen. This “operative craft” work was, of course, in addition to a full ritual schedule and the regular programs and solicitations involving Lodge members every year.
A Centennial Committee project known as “Gold Rush” came to a memorable conclusion in late 1971. Many precious metals and much ready cash were donated to be converted into a complete set of thirteen gold officers’ jewels. Bro. Richard “Gene” Giesin, P.M. graciously designed, constructed and engraved these jewels at no labor cost to our Lodge. We are truly most grateful to Bro. Gene for this kind gesture. These jewels were first used at the one-hundredth installation of Lodge Officers, December 11, 1971 and will serve as a permanent tribute to our brethren past and present. They are now the property of our Lodge, and hopefully will be worn for many, many years to come.
Reinhold Schmidt was installed as the Centennial Master. His busy year started off with a friendship night with participation by four other lodges in the area. 1972 also saw the first crab feed. Stated meeting dinners were held with quite a few dignitaries speaking, including 10 judges and 2 police chiefs. The lodge held a mystery trip, along with the Eastern Star, to San Quentin Prison. Dinner and entertainment helped round out the day. In September the Centennial banquet was held at the Elks Lodge on 20th avenue, with the Most Worshipful Lester S. McElwain, Grand Master and several of his officers in attendance. In Celebration of this Bernard Levy, treasurer for 62 years and one of the founder’s of Levy Brothers department store, arranged for several windows of their 4th avenue store to display various kinds of Masonic paraphernalia.
Work continued around our building with the old kitchen area being turned into a men’s room and a custodians storeroom.
As we begin our second century of Masonry in San Mateo, our sleepy little suburb was changing and growing as quickly as the rest of America.
During Hugh M. Porter’s term as Master, we conducted a member survey to consider installing an elevator – an uplifting idea – that never got off the ground. Merril H. Smith received his golden veterans award this year, the lodge joined a local shrine club on a mystery trip, and San Mateo #226 was placed on the Grand Lodge honor roll for Masonic Homes Donation. Although we conferred 20 degrees in 1973, the lodge members felt a great loss as Earl. A. “Doc” Davis, P.M. Retired from his more than 45 years as lodge secretary. Jack Estall, P.M. became the Secretary and Olli Guinn became the treasurer of the lodge.
On January 14, 1974, the lodge officers conferred a Masonic Funeral Service for Earl A. “Doc” Davis. Our lodge room was outfitted with new drapes, carefully created by a member of Laurel Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. We purchased a lobby showcase for memorabilia, which is still in use today. The lodge elected to sell the adjacent lot and building. Phillip F. Munson rounded out this year with 19 degrees, sponsorship of our DeMolay Chapter, purchasing microphones for the officers stations, and presenting 3 Golden Veterans Awards. This was a very busy year with many successful events.
Our newly installed Master, George K. Dress, began inviting our ladies to join the members for dinner prior to the lodge stated meeting. The past masters degree was conducted by a supporting cast of 24 Past masters, bringing the total to 22 degrees that year.
As our nation celebrated its 200th birthday, Norris Allen hosted many fine dinners and family events, and conferred 18 degrees. The members suggested that we design and present 25 year pins to our members, as a token of our esteem. This year a fine member committee researched the necessity of a dues increase, but no action was taken.
George C. Stokes led our lodge through a successful year of planing for the future, while conducting many fine social events in the process. One topic discussed was the construction of a new Masonic temple – it was only a discussion.
Brother Robert L. Thurber was installed as Master for 1978. We had a great crab feed in February, and much emphasis was placed on attracting and maintaining a regular rental clientele. Our investments and accounts were very ably monitored by Ralph w. Gaines, PM as we began to implement long range financial strategies. In November of this year, we received a dispensation to confer a 3rd degree in the odd fellows hall in half moon bay, one of the 19 degrees conferred this year.
Neil Grush appointed a committee to conduct a feasibility study on the sale of our lodge and our neighboring lodges in order to form a unified Masonic family center on a cooperative Masonic property. With eleven degree conferrals, our officers still found time to support the youth.
1980 – 1989
While in the Oriental chair, G. Glenwood Hines hosted a western barbecue, a golf tournament, and a picnic at coyote point. Of the 11 degrees conferred during the year, one of the most notable was when Brother Ron Edwards, Junior Warden, obligated his father, Francis R. Edwards, during the 3rd degree, thereby sharing a proud family commitment to our fraternity.
Jack Claffy presented a golden veterans award to Charles smith, PM in 1981. Brother smith was a charter member of Peninsula Chapter, Order of Demolay. Brother Fred Paul was honored with the Hiram Award, in recognition of his many years of dedicated service. In other news, a Junior Warden’s fund was established, our roof was repaired, and a Past Master’s degree was one of the 24 degrees that were conferred this year.
As Ron Edwards became the new Master of the Lodge, Jack Claffy, PM was beginning his tenure as treasurer. In July we hosted the Grand Master of Masons in California, as he instituted Half Moon Bay Lodge #835. Jesse E. Miller, Walter L. Estabrook, and Michael R. Papay served as Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens, respectively. This was a joyous time for our lodge, our fraternal structure was growing. Brother Carl Metz received his Golden Veterans Award, and our officers conferred 26 degrees.
Terry Quedens had the privilege of initiating 3 members in an evening, a first for our lodge. Brother Calvin Nelson was a Golden Veterans Award recipient, and the lodge voted not to mail out 25 year pins; we wanted the worthy brethren to return to the lodge at least once for this purpose. On a down side, we conducted many funerals this year, but finished it off with 17 degrees.
Wayne D. Miller, W.M. held many successful events like the Crab feed. We voted for a necessary dues increase, and Brother Miller began the project of refurbishing the Lodge Chairs.
Michael P. O’Connel assumed the chair and brought many great events with him. These included a Reno trip, crab feed, Past Master’s Degree, Christmas Party, and Golden Veterans awards for brothers Leroy Eida, Eugene Frederick, George Deraimer, and Luther Izmerian.
For the first time since 1906, a Master served a second term. Ron Edwards stepped in to relieve the temporary distress encountered in the officers’ line. With proper decorum, Brother Edwards dispensed the duties of his office, and produced many fine events and degrees.
Don Yeager led his team of officers through a challenging year of 13 degree conferrals, a usual slate of traditional events, a widows dinner night, and Hiram Award presentations to Past Masters George K. Dress and Ralph Gaines. Brother Allen S. Chaffee received his Golden Veterans award, and 13 worthy brethren received their 25-year pins.
Nelson Saad began his year with an educational program for new master masons. This course of study encompassed lodge history, lodge member responsibility, investigations, lodge service committees, and masonry around the world. This program continued through the year. Nelson also started a three year process to asses the means and goals of our lodge, and to plan our survival for the coming years. Don Haberson was presented with the Hiram award, and Elwyn Bell, Emmett Doorman, and Ralph Danrow all received their Golden Veterans awards.
Tom Barth planned and executed many successful events in his year. On October 17th, tragedy struck. A 7.1 magnitude earthquake, centered in Santa Cruz County, damaged many historic structures in the area, including our lodge. Fortunately, we were preparing for improvements when it occurred. Tom honored Eugene Gusin, PM and Clifford Paulson with Hiram Awards.
1990 – 1998
Dennis Jones took the Oriental chair during a time of recovery and restoration. Brother Erwin Barth resigned as Secretary, and we welcomed Brother John Pask to fill this position. Our long Range Planning Group gave it’s final reports in 1990, and many aspects had been implemented with success. All in all, 1990 was a year of progress, and we didn’t lose sight of our goals for the future.
Gregory L. Botto started his year with an outstanding installation, conducted by his father Elias Botto and assisted by Nelson Saad, both Past masters. In February, we conferred a 3rd degree with the lecture being given in German by a member of Herman Lodge. Brother Jack Miller was named “Mason of the Year”, and David Barr was recognized by our lodge for his service at the Peninsula Blood Bank. We Participated in our first Outdoor Third Degree, held at Brother David Cresson’s property above Half Moon Bay, CA. This year also saw the beginning of the Merger with Half Moon Bay lodge. Brother Richard E. Giesen, Past Master, received his Golden Veterans award, and Brother Ed Mitchell was honored for 75 years of service to our lodge during a joint celebration with Burlingame Lodge #400.
Gregory Botto served again, and under his direction, we implemented new ways to communicate with our membership. These included a telephone “hotline” for information on lodge events, a more detailed bi-monthly trestle board, and advertising in the local newspaper. This year also saw our first collaborative effort with neighboring lodges to produce an outstanding outdoor third degree.
James E. Carvalho began 1993 with an open Installation, and the lodge began a long road to upgrading the roof, kitchen and dining room. Brother David Barr, President of the Hall Association, supervised these wonderful improvements. Our lodge was active in an effort to join forces between other neighboring lodges and Masonic groups to combine resources in constructing a new meeting center. This idea was presented by Brother Eric Lundquist. There wasn’t sufficient participation by other groups to warrant further action. By the end of the year we conferred 13 degrees.
Gary Davis began a progressive year in the east by adding a computer to the secretary’s office: Brother John Pask had the skills and the members voted to purchase the equipment to bring us in line with many of our local lodges. Tragedy struck the Lodge when Jack Claffy PM., our treasurer, was injured in an accident. In his absence, Gary Laubscher assumed fiduciary responsibility. The hall association continued improving our temple, this time by purchasing new tables for the dining room. We instituted two new programs: the issuance of a life membership to the retiring master in lieu of an apron, and our new family style dinners on Saturday nights. Five degrees were conferred this year.
Gary Davis started his second term in the east as the hall association added new lights around the temple in its continuing improvement program. In an effort to ensure the long term financial viability of the lodge, the dues were increased and a new financial plan put into action. On another high note, Jack Claffy was awarded the title of Treasurer Emeritus.
The year started with Scott Nolan being installed as our Worshipful Master. Eddie Sirhan started off this year’s community service by apprehending a criminal. He was given an award by the city police department. We followed this up by entering a bed race to benefit the county hospital. Improvements around the building continued with the replacement of the roof. Plans were also laid down to install a chair lift from the mail level to the second floor lodge room.
Brother Ray Jackson became our Master for 1997, and we were off to a great start with the chair lift progressing. We added new drapes to the lodge room, and our lodge participated in the 11th annual Festa italiana, a downtown fundraiser for Parca. Our worshipful master and his crew of volunteers refurbished a 1972 corvette for auction at the festa event – bringing in over $7,000 the Peninsula Association for Retarded Children and Adults. We received statewide recognition for our bike rodeo program. The Worshipful Master and volunteers refurbished donated bicycles for underprivileged children in our community. This in addition to a camping trip, a Masonic home tour, a ladies’ appreciation, a Christmas party, and all the while conferring 8 degrees. This year also saw the first scholarships given by our lodge to a deserving student at a local high school. On a much sadder note, we lost Brother Roy Lynn, who was active in our lodge and provided the spark to get the chair lift going.
In 1998 our 126th installation of officers was presided over by the Most Worshipful Antony Wardlow, the Grand Master of Masons in California. Brother Gary Laubscher ascended the oriental chair at a ceremony attended by over 150 people. The lodge followed this up with our annual Crab Feed Table Lodge in March, and a first every layman’s night in May. In addition to many degrees and our traditional events, San Mateo entered the information super highway, by posting it’s own site on the World Wide Web. Our treasurer Lee Porebski PM designed this site, and since it’s introduction we have received communications from around the world, and also some awards. Our community service continued, and this year some of the members played Santa Claus, calling children in the community, under the direction of the San Carlos Department of Parks and Recreation.