History of the Lodge
In the year 1906, on Thursday, December 20th at 2 O'Clock P.M., the Right Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Brother George W. Kendrick, Jr., read the warrant of the constitution for Red Lion Lodge No. 649, of Red Lion, Pa.
Officers elected were Brothers George E. Stabley, Worshipful Master, James M. Curran, Senior Warden, Howard W. Sheeler, Junior Warden, John M. Hyson, Treasurer, and Warren L. Lock, Secretary.
There were thirty-four Charter Members as follows:
John M Hyson, George F. Stabley, William Lichtenberger, Seth Minnich, Harvey W. Haines, Jonathan B. Herman, James M. Curran, Carl G. H. Ettlich, John H. Glassick, James M. Smith, Charles S. Bair, George T. Schaull, Thomas H. Curran, Christopher T. Grove, Joseph F. Brillhart, John S. Hannigan, McClellan Mi11er, Benjamin S. Sentz, Samuel Shenberger, John Joseph Miller, Philip M. Mitzel, Lemuel S. Mitzel, Walter L. Mitzel, D. Sterling Mitzel, James W. Mitzel, Harry L. Perry, William H. Raab, Thomas M. C. Smith, Cornelius S. Snyder, William H. Sheetz, Mercer R. Girvin, John E. Detwiler, Howard W. Sheeler, and Warren L. Lock. James E. M. Edgar, Frederick H. Shenberger, and William F. Baughman were charter members but could not be present at the institution of the Lodge, therefore they entered by petition.
Before the first stated meeting, Brother George E. Stabley was called to his reward and Brother James M. Curran, Senior Warden, assumed his duties in true Masonic fashion, and called a special meeting on January 30, 1907, for the purpose of honoring the memory of Brother George E. Stabley who had worked diligently in establishing the lodge, and for the purpose of properly reorganizing the officers.
FIRST MEETING PLACE
December 20,1906 - November 20, 1924
Red Lion Lodge held its first stated meeting in Spangler Hall (later called the Winter Building) on January 24, 1907. The initiation fee was set at forty dollars, and the annual dues were established at four dollars. The stated meetings were to be held on Thursday on or before the full moon of each month, at 7:00 O'Clock P.M.
A place to meet, a Masonic Temple that the Brethren could call their own, seemed to be an urge always present. As early as January 16, 1913, a committee was appointed to look for a new place of meeting. As fate would have it, the work of the c01m11ittee resulted only in the improvement of the rooms they were then using.
In the year 1921, Brother Clarence E. Grim, Worshipful Master, appointed a committee to study the possibility of building a new temple. The committee reported on January 5, 1922, and although there was some progress reported, the obstacles were too great to attempt the project. However, the building of a new bank building on the square in Red Lion presented possibilities in the minds of the Brethren. Why not have a Masonic Temple on the top floor of the Bank Building?
It would be centrally located and have many advantages. Numerous unofficial meetings were held and there were many conferences with the bank officers. Finally, the idea became a reality. On November 20, 1924, a special meeting of Red Lion Lodge #649 was held and the following resolution was adopted: "Resolved that the place of meeting of this Lodge be removed to the First National Bank Building at the corner of Broadway and Main Street, Red Lion, Pennsylvania." The Brethren were pleased. The lodge-room was built especially for their purpose and, indeed, served the purpose well for many years.
There were two certain facts, however, that were ever alive in the minds of the Brethren. Foremost of these two ideas was that of ownership with all that it entails. Secondly, as members get older, the many steps to the third floor become more and more a deterrent to attendance. Periodically building committees were appointed and although they worked diligently and harmoniously, deterring factors were so great that no positive action was taken.
SECOND MEETING PLACE
December 1924 - June 1976
However, an opportunity presented itself recently. The Lions Club of Red Lion decided to build a Community Building in Fairmount Park. Since this building would also house the Youth Center, and their building on High Street would be available for other purposes, the idea of its conversion to a Masonic Temple was discussed. Again a building committee was activated, and the diligent work of this committee, with the cooperation of the Brethren, has brought us to a historic event in the life of Red Lion Lodge, the closing of the Lodge in the building belonging to the Southern Pennsylvania Bank (Formally First National Bank and Trust Company).
It was Bro. Edgar Flinchbaugh, Worshipful Master, who opened the first meeting in the Bank Building, approximately fifty-one years ago. On June 3, 1976, Bro. Richard E. Barley, Worshipful Master, yielded his gavel to Brother Edgar Flinchbaugh, P.M., to close the lodge. Brother Flinchbaugh was supported by the following acting officers:
Brother Harold E. Anstine, P.M. 1928, Senior Warden
Brother Thomas S. Holtzinger, P.M. 1932, Junior Warden
Brother Raymond D. Roth, P.M. 1933, Senior Deacon
Brother Oram M. Grim, P.M. 1940, Junior Deacon
Brother Raymond L. Shearer, P.M. 1942, Senior Master of Ceremonies
Brother George R. Unger, P.M. 194 7, Junior Master of Ceremonies
Brother John W. Holtzapple, Jr., P.M. 1959, Pursuivant
Brother Richard W. Knaub, P.M. 1961, Treasurer
Brother Richard E. Weaver, P.M. 1967, Secretary
We were honored on this occasion by the presence of our District Deputy Grand Master, Brother Lloyd A. Border
Then, on August 28, 1976, we marked another milestone in the history of our fraternity, the dedication of a Masonic Temple that we can call our very own, the culmination of a seventy year's dream.
The building of a temple as a meeting place, however, is not an end in itself, but rather a means to an end. To establish the principles of freemasonry in the hearts and minds of men, and to practice those principles, is to build a temple not made with hands. As freemasons who put our faith in God, and who have the Holy Scriptures as the rule of our faith and the guide to our conduct, may we always keep in mind the building of that spiritual temple, eternal in the heavens.
A Mortgage Burning Ceremony was observed During the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Banquet at the Red Lion High School. We realized that we were not as yet, finished with the remodeling of our new home. The Board of Directors for the Masonic Hall Association went to work soliciting money from the Brotherhood to update the old furnace system, re-roof the main Lodge Room, and remodel the front of the building from a flat roof to a peaked one. This took approximately three years to complete but by the time we finished it was paid for and our loan was satisfied.
When Brother Burke passed away in 1996 he bequeathed money to build, or to remodel, our Social room. The Brothers would meet each Saturday during the summer months to panel, paint, and carpet the Social Hall. A picture of Luther hangs in the room today as a reminder of the rich heritage we have in the Lodge. Each Past Master's picture hangs on the Wall of Honor as a reminder of our past and a hint of our future.
PRESENT MEETING PLACE
Since that time we have added a new set of Electric Stair climbers for handicapped Brothers and Sisters who use the facilities. The building has been equipped with an alarm system and emergency generators in case of power failure. As we continue into the Twenty-First Century we are working toward carpeting the entire Lodge Area. We added new carpeting in the lobby area but the Lodge room has 1976 carpet. It has done well these past thirty years, but it's time for a change.
The Red Lion Lodge# 649 has opened its doors to the public each New Year's Eve so the people of the community can see that we have NO Secrets to hide. Each year we have more visitors and from these visits, we have gained some new members. The Officers have an Open House Night for invited men to hear about our Lodge and some of the community activities we have. Each year we give Scholarships to three area high schools and present the money at a stated meeting. Over the years we have sponsored baseball for youth teams, and each year we hold a golf outing to benefit our scholarship fund.
In these One Hundred Years, we have evolved from meeting on the third floor of an apartment building to the third floor of a bank building to our permanent home in our own Lodge Building. In this time span, we have created over One Thousand Masons from the surrounding area and have been recognized as one of the better-attended Lodges for our District each month. What do we have planned for the next One Hundred Years?
We will remain men of charity and good work through our humanitarian commitment to all mankind.
SO MOTE IT BE