HISTORY OF OUR LODGE
Constituted May 29, A.D. 1902, A.L. 5902
Second Wednesday of each month in
History of Concord Lodge
No. 625, F. and A. M.
By the grace of God, true Masonic labor and loyalty of the Officers and members, Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., records herewith the first fifty years of its existence and we pray that His grace will continue its prosperity and its Officers and members continue to carry on the torch handed them by their predecessors for the good of Freemasonry in general and Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., in particular.
It becomes increasingly apparent as each year comes and goes that faith in God as inspired by Masonic precept is more and more combated by the subversive modern influence of atheistic "isms" and cults and, therefore, becomes a bulwark sorely needed in national defense of the faith of our fathers.
With that in mind, we look in retrospect down the past recalling the steps up which we have advanced, the faces we have loved long since and lost for a while and the labors willingly expended by Officers and members alike to make our Lodge what it is today.
SO MOTE IT BE
History records that in 1901 and 1902 there were many meetings of Masons from Concordville, Pennsylvania, and Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in reference to organizing a Masonic Lodge in the neighborhood of Concordville. The Lodge was constituted at a special communication held on the 3rd floor of Brother Horace H. Darlingtons store, now an apartment house, at the northwest corner of Concord and Thornton Roads, Concordville, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, May 29, 1902, at high twelve. It is interesting to note that even though this was the day before Memorial Day, the weather was clear with a heavy frost. Right Worshipful Grand Master Edgar A. Tennis officiated.
Charter members were:
The following Officers were installed:
That same evening, the first regular meeting was held. Thirty-two petitions were read and committees of inquiry appointed. During the heat of the summer of 1902 seven meetings were held to dispose of this work. It was not until 1907 that stated meetings were discontinued during July and August. The room in the southwest portion of the 3rd floor was particularly hot due to the lack of facilities for ventilation. After encountering difficulties in having a ventilator installed, one of the members finally found a piece of board, spread some pieces of carpet on the floor and proceeded to scatter lathe and plaster from the ceiling. Although the ventilator which was thus installed was not an oblong square, it was done in the short way. Refreshments at that time consisted of crackers and cheese purchased from the store on the first floor and consumed in the anteroom. Since facilities were not available for the preparation of coffee, the Brethren quenched their thirst from a one-dipper bucket of well water.
On June 26, 1902 the first
Entered Apprentice Mason’s degrees were conferred on Elmer Powell,
Harry Heyburn, Andrew Ford, Evans Harvey, and William Pyle. On September 13,
1902 the first Master Mason’s degrees were conferred on Bros. Harry
Heyburn and William Pyle. The portals of Freemasonry were tightly guarded
during this period as it was not uncommon to have between 25% and 35%
black-balled ballots. On October 23, 1902, the By-Laws of Concord Lodge No.
625, F. & A. M., were adopted. Article I provided that "the stated
meetings of this Lodge shall be held on Thursday after the full moon, and
shall convene at 7:00 o’clock P.M." This, on occasion, resulted in
two stated meetings within the same month. The purpose of scheduling stated
meetings by full moon while the automobile industry was in its infancy was to
afford the Brethren better vision while traveling by horse and buggy. It was
not until January 12, 1921 that stated meetings were held on the 2nd
Wednesday of each month. Article III, Section 4 of the By-Laws originally
adopted stated, "The Tyler shall deliver the notices for all meetings of
the Lodge and of its Officers and committees, unless otherwise provided; and
shall perform such other duties connected with his office as the Lodge may
require, and as a compensation shall receive the sum of One Dollar for each
meeting." On November 5, 1902, the Sesqui-Centennial Anniversary of the
initiation of Bro. George Washington into our Ancient and Honorable
Fraternity (which occurred on November 4, 1752) was celebrated by the Grand
Lodge of Pennsylvania. Bro. John T. Brittingham was elected to represent
Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., to attend the festivities held in
Corinthian Hall, Masonic Temple, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition to
the Grand Masters of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, Bro. Theodore Roosevelt,
Matinecock Lodge No. 806, F. & A. M., Oyster Bay, New York, was present.
On September 21, 1904 a Grand Lodge communication stated that there was a desire by some to have music during ceremonies. The RWGM rejected this suggestion by stating, “it had been found not necessary to have anything but the plain work of the Lodge, beautiful in its simplicity and teachings and nothing can be added to make it more effective,” RWGM James W. Brown, AMEN. On April 18, 1909 the first recorded Masonic funeral service for a Concord Lodge was noted. The service was for Bro. Joseph Painter who had drowned in the Potomac River on December 6, 1908 but had not been recovered until April 16, 1909 after the spring thaw. A formal account of the drowning was received from the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction in Washington, DC. A Lodge Memorial Service was held in Bro. Painter’s memory. As we all know, Officers for the ensuing Masonic year must be installed on or before St. John’s Day. On Monday, December 26, 1910, Bro. Louis D. Pyle, a patient at Dr. Pierce’s private hospital in Media, Pennsylvania, was transported by train from this hospital to the station at Ward, Pennsylvania, thence by horse and buggy to the Lodge Hall where he was duly installed as Worshipful Master at approximately 5:30 P.M. After the installation, he was returned to the hospital at Media. He was able to assume his duties at the stated meeting held in the following February.
The first Past Masters’ night was recorded into the minutes on October 23, 1912. On November 12, 1913, Bro. Richard J. Baldwin, on behalf of Thomas B. Baldwin, presented to Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., a gavel suitably inscribed and made from wood taken from Perry's flagship recently raised from the bottom of Lake Erie. In 1915, Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., had an opportunity to demonstrate some of the principles of our Fraternity. A communication was received from Dawson Lodge No. 16, F. & A. M., Washington, D. C., requesting Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., to officiate at the burial of Bro. Joseph W. Fritz, a member of Dawson Lodge No. 16, F. & A. M., Washington, D. C. Before his death Bro. Fritz had requested burial with Masonic Services at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., responded to this request and cooperated with Dawson Lodge No. 16, F. & A. M., Washington, D. C., in burial arrangements and ceremonies as can be attested by an excerpt from a letter from the Secretary of Dawson Lodge No. 16, F. & A. M., Washington, D. C., which reads in part as follows: "The Fraternal spirit in which you so cheerfully complied with our request and the very efficient manner in which you performed the ceremonies demonstrates the universality of Masonry and that no matter when called upon you are always ready to assist in carrying out the great principles of our beloved order." In return for this courtesy, Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., was invited to attend a meeting of Dawson Lodge No. 16, F. & A. M., Washington, D. C. On October 25, 1915, forty members of Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., visited Dawson Lodge No. 16, F. & A. M., Washington, D. C. Upon arrival in Washington in the afternoon, the visiting members of Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., were met by members of Dawson Lodge No. 16, F. & A. M., Washington, D. C., at Union Station and thence conducted to the White House to be received by President Woodrow Wilson. In response to an invitation from Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., twenty-three members of Dawson Lodge No. 16, F. & A. M., Washington, D. C., visited Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., at a stated meeting held on June 14, 1916. Three members of other Lodges in Washington, D. C. accompanied the visitors. They were met at Concordville Station at 6:20 P.M. and conducted to the Concordville Hotel for dinner. Later they attended the meeting at which the Worshipful Master of Dawson Lodge No. 16, F. & A. M., Washington, D. C., presented to Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., a gavel encircled by a gold band. The visitors were escorted to the dining room in the hall and served ice cream, cake, and berries. Later they returned to the hotel for lodging and breakfast. The next morning, the necessary number of automobiles were assembled and the visitors were taken over to the Brandywine Battlefield, thence to West Chester, Media, the Remington Arms plant at Eddystone, and the adjoining munitions plant. In the afternoon they were taken to the railroad station at Chester where some of the party entrained for Washington, D. C., while others were escorted to the wharf at Chester where they took the boat to Baltimore, MD.
On October 24, 1917 the WWI Decree by the Grand Lodge was read. The Grand Lodge started a “Masonic War Relief” fund which received $2.00 from each member. In December of the same year, a motion was made and passed waving the Lodge dues for those Brethren in the Armed Forces. The October’s stated meeting in 1918 was cancelled due to the national flu epidemic which was spreading throughout the country.
On June 14, 1922 there were 43 members and 73 visitors present for “Strawberry Night.” Note that there were almost twice as many visitors as members present for this culinary delight. This trend continues to this day. Not that visitors still out number members in June, but June and Strawberry Night continue to be the most heavily visited month during the year.
On May 12, 1926 it was recommended that the Lodge purchase the Concord Council Hall No. 645 Independent Order of Americans at a cost of $6500. On November 10, 1926 Bro. William Stillwell (the Lodge’s first secretary) is also Concord Lodge’s first guest in the Masonic Homes of Elizabethtown.
At a special meeting of Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., held on December 10, 1926, the following resolution was offered and adopted: "That Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., change place of meeting from Mrs. Kate C. G. Darlington’s building to 'our own hall’ formerly known as Independent Order of Americans Hall, five hundred feet eastward in the village of Concordville, Pennsylvania." The cost of the building, including repairs, carpet, dishes, etc., was $9,606.33. This building has served as a place of meeting for Concord Lodge No. 625, F. & A. M., to the present time.
January 8, 1930, Lodge membership reaches 202 Brethren. The following year the depression hit hard yet even though times were tough, only approximately 15 Brethren were ever suspended for nonpayment of dues during this difficult span of time. This dedication to the Masonic Ideals testifies to the importance Brethren placed on their Masonic affiliation. On October 12, 1931 a regional celebration was held at George Bartram Lodge to commemorate 200 years of Freemasonry in Pennsylvania. Lansdowne Lodge and Concord Lodge joined in the festivities in the Masonic Hall at 311 W. Baltimore Pike in Media, PA. On January 13, 1932 the ground which is now the parking lot was purchased for $900. On December 14, 1932 it took 3 ballots to elect a Junior Warden as the competition was heavy for the opportunity to travel to the East. On May 8, 1937 Past Masters’ night is celebrated in May instead of October. Once again, Strawberry Night in 1937 saw 48 members and 86 visitors bellying up to the tables for this most delectable refreshment. On September 13, 1937 jurisdictional lines were established among Chester, Lucius H. Scott, Penn, and Concord Lodges.
On December 10, 1941 a motion was made to put all available Lodge funds into Defense Bonds. January 14, 1942 a War Declaration from the Grand Lodge was made. On February 11, 1942 a flag ceremony was carried out by order of the Grand Lodge. In addition, a Grand Lodge communication was read stating that all Lodge documents and Warrant of Constitution be placed in safe and secure places to minimize any destruction or loss that might occur by virtue of the recent hostilities. The Grand Lodge also gave directives as to what to do during an air raid. During this same time, 7 dispensations were given to afford Brethren the opportunity to receive more than one degree in a given night in order to accommodate the call up of servicemen. War damage insurance was purchased in the amount of $10,000.00 for $12. On November 14, 1945 a motion was made and passed to allow George Bartram Lodge No. 298 to use our Lodge for their meetings due to the loss of theirs because of a fire. On June 8, 1949, 235 Brethren were present for Strawberry Night.
Jan 11, 1950 membership is recorded at 307 members. On June 14, 1950, Strawberry Night records 87 members and 94 visitors. It seems as though the members are finally catching up. On September 13, 1950 a Grand Lodge communication pertaining to the Korean War was read. On June 6, 1952 a special meeting was held wherein the RWGM Bro. Albert T. Eyler was present. Upon closing the meeting all proceeded to the Lima School for the Anniversary Banquet. One hundred and thirteen in attendance listened to an inspirational speech by the RWGM.
On October 20, 1954 the extra meeting was cancelled due to extensive power outages caused by hurricane Hazel on October 15, 1954. On January 12, 1955 total Lodge membership was recorded as 404 Bros. Some costs during this time: new minute book for the secretary, $45.42 (October 1957); Past Master Jewel for Bro. Paul Zebley, $28.31 (January 1959); and PECO bill for June of 1959, $11.00. The front porch was replaced in June of 1962 for a cost of $1495. At December’s stated meeting on the 11th in 1963, no mention is made of Kennedy’s assassination.
At December 14th, 1964's stated meeting, Bro. William A. Hoffman was stepping down as Lodge secretary after 37 years of service. Bro. Charles W. Pierce, Jr., PM would be elected the new secretary. The following year, Lodge dues were $15 and there were 466 members. In 1969 membership rose to 512, but declined again to 502 before the year’s end. On June 11, 1969 the first reading of the By-Laws of the Concord Masonic Temple Association were read stating its purpose was to promote, maintain, and perpetuate the high ideals and traditions of Freemasonry and to establish and maintain a permanent meeting place for Masons and Masonic Lodges and affiliated organizations to meet.
April 15, 1970 is the first time visitors were not listed in the minutes but rather referenced back to the visitor’s register, “26 visitors present as indicated in the visitor’s register.” On November 11, 1970 dues increased to $20 per year. On March 10, 1971 it was approved to air condition the Temple. On April 12, 1972 the minutes were typed for the first time. On December 13, 1972, Bro. Anthony Carmine DiAngeles was installed as Worshipful Master. His first act as Worshipful Master was to wave a small Italian flag. In January of 1973, membership reached 516, the highest total membership in our 100 year history. On June 8, 1977 one hundred and seventy-one people were in attendance to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Concord Lodge, including two future RWGM’s, Bro. Joseph E. Trate, Jr. and Bro. William A. Carpenter.
On April 29, 1978, 65 Brethren traveled to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial building in Alexandra, VA where Bro. Richard H. Andersen was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. Only 5 brethren were able to attend the stated meeting on January 13, 1982 due to a severe snow storm. Even though the meeting would have been short, it took until 8:00 PM to finish business, as the reading of the minutes and communications took forever due to the suspension of 27 members by the Grand Master. In June of 1982 renovations began on the Lodge. During these renovations, a fire almost took Concord Lodge from us. But through the quick response of several fire companies from across the county with numerous masons aboard, the fire was contained and the Lodge spared. September’s stated meeting was held at the Chester Masonic Temple due to the delays in the renovations and fire damage. In October of 1984, the Grand Lodge grants permission for applause in open lodge when deserving.
On May 10, 1989 Bro. Edward D. Miles from Northwest Lodge No. 1434 in Spring, Texas was balloted upon for membership and unanimously approved. Bro. Miles would later go on to travel through the East and subsequently become Concord Lodge’s first DDGM. In September of 1992 Bro. H. Walter Sarbaugh was made a 33rd degree Mason in Chicago, IL. In April of 1994, Concord Lodge adopts a section of Route 1 from Scott Road to Route 202 in Penn DOT’s Adopt-a-Highway program. On November 9, 1994 it was announced that $4,200.11 was raised from the Concord’s first annual charity golf outing. The proceeds were divided among Garnet Valley, Penn Delco, and Chichester School Districts. The monies went for Drug and Alcohol Awareness programs.
In December of 1994 the first copier and word processor produced the minutes. In 1999 Concord Lodge became one of the first Lodges in the Commonwealth to post a Web Page on the Grand Lodge’s Web Site. On December 27, 1999 Bro. Edward D. Miles, PM got installed as DDGM for the 36th Masonic District. February 9, 2000 Concord Lodge sponsored a Little League team in Aston.
On September 11th, 2001, four airliners were hi-jacked for a terrorist mission to cripple the United States. Two ran into the World Trade Centers which later collapsed from the damage, one ran into the Pentagon, and one went down in western Pennsylvania when the passengers took matters into their own hands and refused to be victimized. September 12th, 2001's stated meeting was cancelled due to the national tragedy. At the extra meeting on September 18, 2001, a moment of silence was recognized before Lodge, and after the degrees a short prayer was offered by Bro. Ricky Swalm followed by a playing of Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA. At the next stated meeting, October 10, 2001, Gary I. Herman, WM offered words of encouragement for the bravery shown after the tragedy of September 11th and again a moment of silence was honored. A motion was placed on the floor to raise the dues from $48 to $65 dollars. After debate, that motion was rescinded and a motion to raise the dues to $75 was recorded. This motion laid over until the November meeting at which time it was voted on and passed. On December 12, 2001 Bro. Ricky L. Swalm was elected as Concord Lodge’s 100th non-repeated Worshipful Master. Centennial items were designed by Bro. Swalm to raise money to off-set the costs associated with the centennial celebration. Elongated pennies, lapel pins, and gold plated watches were ordered and sold.
At January’s stated meeting, Bro. S. Curtis Barrett exemplified the funeral service symbolizing the passage from one life to another, or from one year to another. At February’s, March’s, and April’s stated meetings, the three obligations of the three degrees were presented and repeated by the Brethren as a reaffirmation of that which binds us together. Following each stated meeting, the Worshipful Master gave the Senior Warden wages to be paid the Brethren for their labors: January - magnets with the centennial logo imprinted on them; February, March, and April each had a votive candle (purple, crimson, and blue) signifying the three lesser lights of freemasonry; and May saw Forget-Me-Not seed packets distributed with a reminder to never forget the lessons taught in freemasonry nor your obligations to them. The birthday tokens this year were small pen light flashlights also symbolizing the light of Freemasonry. On May 8, 2002 Past Masters were honored with Centennial Past Master Certificates designed and printed by Bro. Ricky L. Swalm, WM. Certificates listed all Past Masters of Concord Lodge in three lines framing the name, signatures of the top three officers, and the Past Master’s name and words of thanks. At the end of the meeting, a special collection was taken to raise money for a sick child’s needs. With 65 Brethren present, $550 was raised to help offset the medical costs incurred by this young lad.
May 18, 2002 Concord celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a special meeting with the Right Worshipful Grand Master Bro. Marvin A. Cunningham, Sr. at the Bethel Fire Company’s Social Hall in order to allow ALL Brethren accessibility due to its ground floor entrance. At the same time as the special meeting, the ladies of the Brethren had a jewelry demonstration at the Concordville Inn, complete with a free pendant designed for the occasion which was distributed at the banquet. The banquet took place in the Gold Ballroom at the Concordville Inn. The Nur Temple Fife and Drum Corps piped in the colors, posted the flag, and played Anchors Away in commemoration of the Right Worshipful Grand Master’s years of service in the Navy. Bro. Steve Barrar presented Bro. Ricky L. Swalm, WM a Resolution from the House of Representatives in honor of Concord’s 100 years of service to the community and the state. 50 year service emblems were distributed to Bro’s C. Marshall Byre, Albert R. Lank, Elmer E. Miller, H. Walter Sarbaugh, Raymond B. Taylor, and Norman L. Whitely. Also receiving his 50 year service emblem was W. David Douglass, the father-in-law of Bro. Ricky L. Swalm, WM.
Compiled and put together
with the help of
Bro. Ricky L. Swalm, D.D.G.M.
Lodge No. 625 F. & A. M.
Constituted May 29, A.D. 1902, A.L. 5902
Meets Second Wednesday of each month in
Masonic Hall, 22 Thornton Road, Concordville, PA 19342
Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2010. Concord Lodge No. 625 F.&A.M.
Last updated January 15, 2013