Seattle Freemasons History
The History of Masonry is always filled with movers and shakers of their communities, Queen Anne Lodge and Seattle Freemasons is no exception, being a brach off of St. Johns Lodge in the early 1920s Our Lodge has seen the majority of the history of our city.
History of Seattle Freemasons at Queen Anne Masonic Lodge No. 242
Free and Accepted Masons of Washington
In 1920 some neighbors on Queen Anne Hill frequently gathered in the evenings to enjoy each others company and exchange ideas at the shop or greenhouse owned by Lambert Peterson (Queen Anne Florists – located a the corner of 7th Ave W and West Raye). It was soon discovered that all of these neighbors were all Master Masons.
Their discussions soon centered on the fact that there were many Masons on the “hill” and that there was no neighborhood lodge. This lead to further talks on the possibility of forming a local Lodge. Those originally involved in the discussions were Lambert Peterson, Sheldon Smith, Willis Shadbolt, Sheldon Babcock, Floyd Smith and John Blackford.
Doctor Sheldon Smith hosted the first informal gatherings at his home. It was here that the first small steps in the forming of Queen Anne Masonic Lodge were taken. The first meetings at which minutes were taken were held on January 31st and February 11th in the year 1921. Through the efforts of the original group of brothers (noted above) 20 Master Masons attended the first meeting and 33 Master Masons attended the second meeting.
Both of these meetings were held at the Queen Anne Public Library which is just across the street from our lodge building. It was at the second meeting that the brothers selected Reverend Sidney Morgan (Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church) as Master; Doctor Sheldon Smith as Senior Warden; George Milsted as Junior Warden; Willis Shadbolt as Treasurer and Louis Benedict as Secretary. Prior to installation, Dr. Smith withdrew and Harry Perks was selected Senior Warden
Subsequent meetings of Seattle Freemasons were held at the Old Masonic Temple, 2522 First Ave (near Bell Street). All meetings were held at this location until the present lodge building at 1608 4th Ave W was purchased and remodeling completed ion 1924.
Following much preparation and planning, St. John’s Lodge No.9 was asked to sponsor Queen Anne Lodge. On March 26th 1921, at the Stated Communication of St. John’s Lodge No. 9, a resolution was adopted to recommend the petitioin of sixty-seven Brothers praying for dispensation to establish Queen Anne Lodge. Of these Brothers, sixty-two would later become the Charter Members of Queen Anne Lodge.
A special meeting was planned for April 4th, 1921 at the old Masonic Temple to receive Grand Master James Begg for the signing of the Dispensation. At this meeting, MW James H. Begg, Grand Master of Masons in Washington, entered the Lodge without announcement, proceeded directly to the Secretary’s desk and signed the necessary paper, then delivered the Charges to the Principal Officers and to the members named in the dispensation and proclaimed Queen Anne Lodge duly established and qualified to enter upon the dispatch of such business as may regularly come before it. Lodge was opened on the Master Mason degree and the first By-Laws were adopted, petitions read and other business motions acted on. The Grand Master was asked to close lodge which he was pleased to do in “Ample Form”.
GRAND LODGE 1921
Interestingly, at the 1921 Grand Lodge Communication, in Spokane, there was opposition expressed to the name “Queen Anne Masonic Lodge” on the grounds that it was not appropriate to name a Masonic Lodge after a woman, especially a Catholic Queen. Brother Sidney Morgan argued persuasively that “Queen Anne”, as the Lodge Name was not after Queen Anne a lady, queen or an Indian Queen but was from the name of the style of architecture from which most of the homes, on Queen Anne Hill, had been built. Regardless of the arguments, for or against, approval was granted. It is quite possible that Queen Anne Masonic Lodge No. 242 is the only Symbolic Lodge in the world with a name whose origin and roots may be traced to a woman.
ST. JOHN’S HISTORY
The following is quoted from pages 149 – 150 from the “History of St. John’s Lodge #9, F&AM, Seattle, Washington, written by WB Leban H. Wheeler.
“Our lodge recommended the petition of several Masons, residents on Queen Anne Hill, in Seattle, for a lodge, and dispensation was granted on April 4, 1921. In selection of the name it was argued that the work “Hill” should be added to remove the implication that it was named for the British Queen. But the petitioners urged at the hearing in the Grand Lodge, for its charter, that the name would be regarded as representative of the locality of the lodge and it was approved and charter granted June 21, 1921″.
“This lodge is composed of substantial home owing people in a high class residential district of the City. It is the owner of a two-story temple building of brick construction, containing a spacious lodge hall and adjoining rooms. This property is free of debt and is located at 1608 Forth Avenue West, at an elevation of 427 feet above sea level. This lodge clearly holds the distinquished positon of being the highest in elevation in this concurrent jurisdiction. But this is not the only respect in which it holds a high position. From good accounts, it has the highest percentage of members who are actual owners of their homes. Home ownership is a traditonal pride among its members, which is regarded as a primary esential to good citizenship, patriotism and morality of any people. It has three hundred twenty-five members on its rolls”.
The Lodge was duly constituted at a Special Communication held in the Corinthian Room of the Main Masoinc Temple on July 27th, 1921. Over 300 Masons witnessed the ceremonies which were conducted by officers of the Grand Lodge lead by Grand Master MW James McCormack. The Charter officers of Queen Anne Lodge were:
Worshipful Master Reverend Sidney H Morgan
Senior Warden Harry B. Perks
Junior Warden George R. Milsted
Secretary Louis B. Benedict
Treasurer Willis A. Shadbolt
Marshall Floyd L. Smith
Chaplin James W. French
Senior Deacon Orlow N. Walla
Junior Deacon Harry F. Grantvedt
Senior Steward Robert W. Smith
Junior Steward James H. Fehse
Organist Sol Asher (Century Lodge #208)
Tyler John Reed
The names of the Charter Seattle Freemasons of Queen Anne Masonic Lodge were listed in the Queen Anne News issued July 30th, 1921. Click here to see that list.
Following the ceremeony, all attended a sumptuous banquet after which our newly installed master and other Masonic dignitaries spoke.
Down to Work
The first Master elected after the lodge was consitiuted was Worshipful Brother Harry B. Perks, who had been one of the most active members in the formative days. He was an outstanding ritualist. He established standards which aimed at perfection in both form and in sincerity of expression which officers and members have attempted to maintain.
Brother Perks was installed Worshipful Master on December 2nd, 1922. Is was tragic that he could only serve three months as Master before he was called to the Celestial Lodge. Masoinc Funeral Services were held on March 7th, 1922.
Brother George R. Milsted, Senior Warden filled the void and although he lived in Tacoma, his zeal and interest in the welfare of the Lodge resulted in almost 100 percent attendance. Brother Milsted was elected and served as our third Master during the year 1923.
During the period April 8th through November 25, 1921 twenty-three brothers were raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason; Twenty-seven passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft Mason; and Thirty-five were initated as Entered Apprentice Mason. The growth of the lodge continued through the mid 1950′s to over 500 members. Many of our Past Masters, in addition to their continued interest in their lodge served the Grand Lodge in various positions.
In 1932 Brother J.M. Bailer presented the lodge with a Master’s Gavel made from the stone from King Soloman’s mine and a handle from wood of a tree grown on the Mount of Olives. In 1945, WB Ed Holland hand made and presented to the lodge three gavels of Alaskan Ivory which are still in use today.
In March 1959, under the guidance of WB Edwin W. Holland, Queen Anne Lodge had the pleasure of sponsoring Lawton Lodge #292 and maintained a close and friendly relationship until December 31st, 1990 when Lawton Lodge consolidated with Occidential Lodge No. 72.
That Temple Made With Hands
The Seattle Freemasons at Queen Anne Lodge No. 242 continued to meet in the old building on First Avenue. However, The prospect of obtaining a Temple on Queen Anne Hill was a continuing point of discussion and concern. There were many ideas, discussions and building inspections. In late 1923, a building committee composed of Brothers John C. Blackford (chairman), S. J. Rice, B. F. Ivy, Alonzo Condon, and Willis Shadbolt was appointed by WM Milsted.
Many buildings and financial deals were investigated but none seemed acceptable until 1924 when the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company building, located at 1608 4th Avenue West, became available. The asking price was $20,000. Most of the commitee and lodge brothers were in favor of buying. Brother Blackford, however said to “wait, the price will come down”. After one week the price was reduced to $15,000 and several days later to $12,000. Brother Blackfore still encouraged the lodge to wait. One week later Brother Blackford presented the lodge with the final selling price of $6500.
The building was purchased on August 1st, 1924. WB Floyd L. Smith, Master; Brother A. Park Cassel, Senior Warden; and Brother Alonzo Condon, Junior Warden signed the contract. $2,500 was paid in cash and they agreed to pay $1,000 per year plus 6% interest for 4 years (original contract). In 1927, Queen Anne Masonic Temple was incorporated and the remaining $3,500 of the purchase price transferred to the corporation.
The alteration of the building for use as a Masonic Hall started on August 5th, 1921. Brother J. H. Wilson was the contractor while Brother Arthur Schramm handled the legal details. Brothers fred Herbert and Alfred Drenz installed the plumbing and electrical needs. Treasurer, Willis Shadbolt, who was retired, spent much of his time overseeing the work and squeezing the maximum work for every dime spent. An additional $2,000 was spent to make the necessary renovations.
Queen Anne’s new home was officially accepted by Worshipful Master Floyd L. Smith on August 29th, 1924. MW Tom Holman, Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Washington was in attendance and delivered a fine talk on the quality of the Temple, Lodge Room and Queen Anne Lodge. In recognition for their efforts in obtaining and preparing the building Brother John C. Blackford was made an Honorary Past Master and Brother Willis Shadbold was made a Life Member.
In 1938 Queen Anne Temple Board was formed and during the same year the kitchen was converted from the coal fired furnace room. The coal reserve was sold and rumors indicate that the sale generated a nice profit. In the 1940′s and 1950′s paneling was placed in the dining room, entry, stair case and Tyler’s room under the leadership of VW Perry E. Miller. The Lodge room was renovated in the 1960′s and the old “hotel style” lamps were replaced. In 1973 dropped ceilings were placed in the dining room, entry and kitchen. WB J. Stanley Robertson and WB Ken Yarno built and installed the Tyler’s desk.
During the early 1980′s a chair lift was installed from the main floor to the lodge room level through the support of Queen Anne Chapter #209, Order of the Eastern Star and Queen Anne Lodge. In 1992 & 1993 the wiring and plumbing was replaced and the rest rooms, kitchen and dining room were remodeled. WB Ted Staub also installed a new wheel chair ramp and railings.
Ionic Lodge No. 90 was one of the lodges that met at Queen Anne and prior to their merger with St. John’s No. 9 the members voted to donate funds to Queen Anne for the leveling and paving of the parking area in the rear area of the Temple property. Brother Robert Schildwacter undertook the modification to the fire escape made necessary with the constuction of the parking area. Outside lighting was installed by WB Ken Lane, a member of Ionic Lodge #90. WB Don Smith and WB Ted Straub redesigned the lodge room floor and the support posts located in the dining room were removed allowing for a completely open area for dining, dancing and parties.
In 2006 Queen Anne saw a major renovation of the lodge room. The exsiting walls were taken down and new wall board installed. Existing bench seats and chars were refinished and recovered. Old theater type seats were replaced with new bench seats and new carpet installed upstairs and on the stairway. New art work was commissioned and hung in the Lodge room (see below). Flooring in the entry and dining hall was removed and new hardwood flooring installed.