Since 1876 Freemason's Have
Been Part of West Boylston's
Our building is home of the Stained
Glass Windows, the bell and many
furnishings replanted from the
Old Stone Church in 1902
when the reservoir was built.
1876 - Boylston Lodge Begins Its Work
The year of 1876 was a very important year. The United States was celebrating its 100th birthday. In the month of March two special events of note occurred. First, news from the east announced that on March 8, 1876 a Special Dispensation was granted from the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, to institute a Masonic Lodge in the Town of West Boylston. The second event of equal importance (though not related) came two days later on March 10th, 1876 when the world learned that Alexander Graham Bell sent his voice over a wire and was to be called "the telephone" came into existence.
You probably know the whole story about "the telephone" so I won't go into great detail about that here. What you might not know is the story of how this Lodge came into being and some of the events that have since transpired.
The Special Dispensation granted above was an answer to a request by twenty-two Masons mostly from Trinity Lodge of Clinton, MA. This group of Masons had received permission to establish a Lodge and now sought a place to meet. They knocked at the door of the First Baptist Church and found their new home in the upper room above the sanctuary. These quarters were shared with the Centennial Lodge of Odd Fellows, the local Grange, and the Lodge of Royal Arcanum.
April 10, 1876
The First Regular Communication of Boylston Lodge, A.F. & A.M. was held in the wooded church on the site where the Old Stone Church is located today. The first line of officers was filled with many prominent citizens of this community and the surrounding area. Those officers are listed below.
The rental of the Lodge room was $25.00 per year. The rental for the furniture was $25.00 per year in addition. It's gone up since then.
|E. Dana Bancroft||Worshipful Master|
|George M. Laurie||Senior Warden|
|Aaron Goodale||Junior Warden|
|John O. Flag||Secretary|
|Rev. Issac Sawyer||Chaplain|
|Henry F. Harris||Senior Deacon|
|Ira. H. Stockwell|| Junior Deacon|
|W.W. Ross Senior||Steward|
|Charles M. Harris, Jr.||Junior Steward|
|Thomas E. Sargent||Inside Sentinel|
|Elias B. Berry||Tyler|
July 10th, 1876
The first Master Mason to be raised in our Lodge was Brother Windsor Thurber Butler.
May 2nd, 1890
The Lodge continued to meet in the Baptist Church until May 2nd when the Church was destroyed by fire. The Selectman of the town offered the Lodge the use of their Meeting Room, which was in a building used for the Public Library and for school purposes. One member took all Three Degrees in the Selectmen's Room.
November 9, 1891
The Lodge Installations and Visitations were held in Thomas Hall, which was nearby and owned by the Congregational Church Society.
January 1, 1894
The Boylston Lodge contracted with the Odd Fellows who built a new hall on East Main Street. The rental included the use of the Lower Banquet Hall. The Lodge met in this building until July 1, 1902. At this time the Metropolitan Water Board of Boston took over the property. A reservoir was to be built to supply the City of Boston with water.
July 8, 1902
Boylston Lodge met in Good Templar Hall until December 31, 1903
January 1, 1904
The Odd Fellows Hall was previously taken down and then rebuilt on Newton Street in the Center of Town. Boylston Lodge again made its home in this building. The meetings continued on here until 1909.
September 5th, 1909
The Lodge moved into the new West Boylston Town Hall located where the Municipal Electric Light building now stands at Crescent and Central Streets and remained there for about eight years.
December 25th, 1917
West Boylston Town Hall was destroyed by fire and Boylston Lodge was again without a home. Arrangements were made and it was back to Odd Fellow's Hall for what was going to be a much enjoyed stay for fifty-five years!
January 24, 1972
After many years of "keeping an eye open" and several possibilities later final papers were passed and Boylston Lodge had a new home of its own. The Lodge had voted to purchase the Baptist Church located on 12 Church Street our current home. The building was built by the Baptists after having to leave the "Stone Church" just ten years after building it because of the development of the Wachusett Reservoir.
The Church Street location was designed to accommodate the original stained glass from the Stone Church and model the inside view of that church with the very same pews, furniture and high beam ceilings.
If you look at the picture to the left it shows the original interior of the Stone Church you will see the marked resemblance to the Boylston Lodge today.
A unique story from a beginning that started in a room above a Baptist Church the Lodge exactly 100 years later (and a very "moving" history) comes to rest in and preserve artifacts from the same local roots. Visitors and Lodge members regularly remark on their beauty. We as Masons are proud to do our part to preserve this important part of local history. The Old Stone Church became an official historical landmark in 1973 and it stands to the members of Boylston Lodge as a monument of our birthplace and a reminder of our local roots.
Boylston Lodge is proud of its roots here in West Boylston and we're proud to have members who have played such a vital part in the growth and development of this great town during. The bright future is built on a strong and vibrant past. That is something that West Boylston and Freemasonry both share together!