Egyptian Hall  
Lodge History  
History of our Lodge

Who the early Freemasons really were, and from where they came, may be a subject of great inquiry and debate. It is enveloped in abscurity an lies far outside the domain of authentic history.

Present day Freemasonry began with the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, which was formed by the representatives of four London Lodges. The origin of these and other Lodges which existed at that time in Great Britain, it is not well establishd, indirectly from craft guilds. The guilds had not been able to survive the break-up of medieval unity.

The earliest record of the introduction of Freemasonry in America is the notice at the head of the first column of the first page of "The Pennsylvania Gazette," December 1730, printed by Benjamin Franklin at Philadelphia, wherein it states, "There are several Lodges of Freemasons erected in this Province." Just where in the Province these Lodges were held is not definitely known, whith the excption of St. John's Lodge which was located in Philadelphia.

It is assumed that these Lodges were formed by the mere grouping together of lawful Brethren who had previously been made regular Masons in Great Britain or elsewhere abroad and were now living in the Province.

However, we do know that on April 13, 1869 the first regular meeting of Mozart Lodge No. 436, then known as A. Y. M. (Ancient York Masons), and now known as F. & A. M. (Free & Accepted Masons) was held in the Masonic Temple on Chestnut Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets in Philadelphia. There were twenty-seven members and eight visitors present.

Charter Members of Mozart Lodge No. 436

  • Joseph H. Livingston
  • John Ritter
  • S. Warner Young
  • Newton C. Musselman
  • J. Orr Finnie
  • Peter Forster
  • J. Thomas Stavely
  • John B. Rue
  • John Blakely
  • William Steffe
  • Charles R. Dodworth
  • Charles A. Braun
  • Joseph D. Murphy
  • F. F. MacKay
  • Carl F. Boettger
  • Theodore F. Kammerer
  • J. Gottlieb Kappes
  • John Greim
  • George Blee
  • Gotthelf Mueller
  • William Stoll
  • Charles Droughmann
  • Frederick C. Mayer
  • J. Howard Seal
  • Jesse Jenkinson
  • Theodore g. Boettger
  • Moritz Beerhalter
  • John S. Paul
  • James Lamont Williams
  • Henry G. Haedrich
  • Aaron R. Taylor
  • William Ivins
The first officers of the Lodge were:
  • Brother Joseph H. Livingson - Worshipful Master
  • Brother John Ritter - Senior Warden
  • Brother S. Warner Young - Junior Warden
  • Brother Newton S. Musselman - Treasurer
  • Brother J. Orr Finnie - Secretary
  • Brother Casper Souder - Senior Deacon
  • Brother Peter Forster - Junior Deacon
  • Brother J. Thomas Stavely - Senior Master of Ceremonies
  • Brother John B. Rue - Junior Master of Ceremonies
  • Brother John Blakely - Chaplain
  • Brother William Steffe - Pursuivant
  • Brother Charles A. Braun - Guide
  • Brother Charles R. Dodworth - Musical Director
St. Cecile Lodge of New York City had a wide reputation for its fine music, and as there was no purely musical Masonic Lodge in Pennsylvania, the founders of Mozart Lodge No. 436 were determined that it should occupy the same position in the Masonic fraternity in Philadelphia that St. Cecile did in New York City.

Academy of Music The first anniversary of Mozart Lodge was held at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, and was a magnificent affair.

On the afternoon of April 7, 1894, Mozart Lodge celebrated its 25th Anniversary, led by Worshipful Master Brother Albert C. Hoffmeister. Right Worshipful Grand Master Brother Michael Arnold, together with officers of Grand Lodge, also his Honor Brother Edwin S. Stuart, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia together with other distinguished Masons attended. Entertainement was furnished by the orchestra and double quartet of the Lodge.

Over the years, interest in the orchestra waned, due to the fact that most of the muscians were employed at night, and in 1895 the Lodge sold its musical instrucment adn the proceeds were apporpriated toward the purchase of an organ for the Lodge room.

Mozart Lodge has, on many occasions, has been called upon to render music, both vocal and instrumental, at special Masonic occasions. In 1902, a double quartet sang at the Sesqui-Centennial celebration of the initiation of George Washington into Freemasonry. On September 2, 1936, our quartet rendered several selections at the Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, the occasion being the Centennial celebration of the Independence of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

Under the leadership of Worshipful Master Brother Charles H. Pressel, Mozart Lodge celebrated its 50th Anniversary on April 8, 1919 in a very appropriate manner with a splendid banquet and musical program.

The 75th Anniversary of Mozart Lodge was celebrated on December 2, 1944 with Brother Joseph B. Beatty, Jr. presiding as Worshipful Master. The Right Worshipful Grand Master, Brother Scott S. Leiby attended, accompanied by other Grand Lodge officers. Music was furnished by the Mozart Singers, under the directionof Brother Al J. Mathias and Brother Jesse G. Stoudt.

On April 8, 1969, Mozart celebrated its 100th Anniversary with Brother Clyde H. Treffeisen as Worshipful Master. The Right Worshipful Grand Master Brother John K. Young and other Grand Lodge officers were also in attendance.

May 15, 1994 marked the 125th Anniversary celebration of Mozart Lodge, led by Worshipful Master Brother William O. Reithmeyer.

Notable members of Mozart Lodge include Brother William H. Brehm, P. M., who served as Right Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania 1940-41; Brother Herbert J. Tily, P.M., who headed Strawbridge and Clothier Company, Brother Horace Stern, P.M, a co-founder of the law firm Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen, and who served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 1952-56, and Brother William H."Bucky" Walters, Jr., P.M., a famous baseball player the 1930's.

Excerpted from Mozart Lodge No. 436 50th Anniversary Book, by Charles H. Pressel, Worshipful Master,published in 1919:

"The idea of having a musical lodge in Philadephia, and its subsequent constitution, is accredited to the influence of Past Grand Master Brother Richard Vaux, assisted by Past Master Brother William J. Kelley, of Lodge No. 59 (now both deceased).

In those days (in the early [eighteen] sixties), St. Cecile Lodge of New York had a wide reputation for its fine music, and as there was no musical Masonic Lodge in Pennsylvania, the Founders of No. 436 were determined that it should occupy the same exalted position in Pennsylvania that St. Cecile Lodge occupied in New York.

Through the arduous and indefatigable labors of Brother Kelley and those associated with him, a muscial lodge soon became a living reality, and on Aril 6, 1869, in the old Masonic Temple on Chestnut Street west of Seventh, Mozart Lodge No. 436, was constituted, R. W. Grand Master Brother Richard Vaux presiding, and assisted by his able coterie of officers.

The first regular meeting was held on April 13, 1869, twenty-seven members being present, also eight visitiors. The second stated meeting was held May 11, 1869, with twenty-eight members and one hundred and thirteen visitors being present.

The interest in the new muscal lodge began to grow. The meetings were largely attended, new petitions were presented at and the success and prosperity of the lodge were assured. Its officers were able and efficient brethren, and the future of the lodge was bright.

As it was the idea fo the founders to make this a musical lodge, it was named after the great composer and artist, Mozart. Its name was a synonym of success.

At first it was contended by some that music was not one of the great landmarks of Freemasonry, but upon a a more thorough analysis it was agreed that music was one of the several liberal arts and sciences which compose the foundation upon which Freemasonry rests. Rude choruses are heard in the rough homes of wild and uneducated savages, grand concerts make echo the walls of great halls in all our cities; families sing in their homes on festive occasions, music cheers men in the performance of their duties. Music ever turns our thoughts heavenward in the house of God, and in the earlier years, soldiers marched to battle inspired by patriotic music, and, in addition to all this, the natural tendency of music is to enrich and ennoble the whole emotional life. From a love of the beautiful, it is not difficult to attain to a love of the true and good. Since the Children of Israel sang unto the Lord on the banks of the Red Sea, until the present time, music has been employed for the highest and holiest purposes. Then why should it not be used in the exemplification of those grand principles of truth and morality we are taught in this ancient and honorable fraternity?

The Lodge, during the first thirteen years of its early history, met in the afternoon, at two o'clock, a large majority of its members being musicians and professional men, whom the afternoon meetings suited better than the evening. During that time, music was furnished by a full orchestra and a double quartet.

On September 12, 1882, the Lodge changed its time of meeting from afternoon to evening, and has continued to meet every second Tuesday of the month, at seven o'clock. As soon as the chagne was made, a marked degree of improvement was seen in both the attendance and in the number of petitions received.

Astor House, New York City

One of the most interesting and pleasant events which occurred in the early history of the Lodge was a visit of a large number of the brethren to St. Nicholas Lodge of New York City, to participate in the ceremonies of laying the conerstone of the then new Masonic Temple, January 8, 1870. Part of the music for the occasioin was furnished by Mozart Lodge. During the ceremonies, one anthem composed by P. G. M Brother Richard Vaux was sung by the Mozart's musicians. After the ceremonies of the day were over, St. Nicholas Lodge, No. 521, entertained their visitors from Mozart Lodge at a sumptuous dinner at the Astor House. This was an exceedingly pleasant visit, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all who were fortunate enough to be present.

Masonic Temple, Philadelphia Another occasion of which the members of Mozart Lodge can be justly proud was at the dedication of this beautiful Temple in September, 1873. A noteworthy feature of the procession was the fact that the brethren of this Lodge marched to music furnished by its own members, all of whom appeared in regalia, and that the music for the dedicatory ceremonies was also rendered by the member of the Mozart Lodge. Read the article "The Masonic Jubilee" posted in the New York Times in 1870, regarding this grand event.

Another event in the history of Mozart Lodge was a reception extended to the wives and lady friends of the members in May, 1889, when the Temple was throuwn open during the afternoon for Mozart and her guests. One of the most pleasing events in the afternon program was the fine description of the ancient hieroglyphics which adorn the walls in Egyptian Hall, by P. M. Brother Kelley. The Lodge was greatly indebted to W. M Brother Charles G. Cadwallader, who not only conceived the idea, by whose untiring energy and labors on the occasion were crowned with such signal success. Mozart Lodge has the honor of being the first Lodge to meet in Egyptian Hall after its magnificient decorations were complete.

During past fifty years Mozart Lodge has contributed hundreds of dollars to charity. She is a life member of the Masonic Home. The appeal of every worthy deserving brother or brother's widow has been responded to, and at present has a permanent fund of over $16,000, and a permanent aid fund of over $7,000, and a membership of 565.

During the recetn world struggle for the principles of justice and right [World War I], wich has now happily come to a close, Mozart has given her full quota of members, and, as far as we can ascertain, all have come through the struggle safely, and a hearty welcome awaits them on their return to civilian life and their Lodge.

While Mozart Lodge has enjoyed fifty years of unexcelled peace, harmony and prosperity, whihc is due largely to the untiring efforts of our honored Past Masters, whose names appear on another page, and the loyal support given by the Brethren, we feel confident that the years which are to come will be crowned with greater success and filled with grander achievements, loftier ambitions on the part of the members, and with more brilliant results. The younger element are fast coming to the front, and the future of the Lodge is very promising.

This brief history would not be complete if special mention were not made of the faithful services rendered by our late Treasurer, Brother Lewis L. Bailey, who served the Lodge for forty-six consecutive years; also our present Secretary, Past Master Brother Frank C. Headman, who has also served us faithfully and well for forty-four years; many others could be mentioned, but the names can be found among our list of Past Masters and other appointive and elective officers and members.

Death has several times invaded our ranks, and carried off some of our brightest and most useful members. Their places are vacant to-night; they are not here to rejoice with us on this festive occasion; they have been called 'to that bourne from whence no traveler returns.' Bulwer Lytton tells us:

  • 'There is no death, an angel form
  • Walks o'er the earth with silent tread.
  • He bears our best loved things away,
  • And then we call them dead.
  • 'And ever near us, tho' unseen,
  • The dear immortal spirits tread,
  • For all this boundless universe is life,
  • There is no death.'
Some of those who were the brightest and most active among our members have been called to the other shore, and we are reminded that God's ways are not ours, for
  • 'We ask of God the sunniest way,
  • He answers with a sorrow;
  • We sink beneath the cross to-day,
  • We wear the crown to-morrow.'
As succeeding years roll by, and succcessive festive occasions are celebrated, many of our active workers will have dropped out of the ranks, one by one, and though their places may be vacant,
  • 'Yet memory to her duty true
  • Brings back the absent forms to view.'
Let us then gather some lessons from these fifty years of our history, some lessons that we can recall with pleasure as we occasionally take a retropsect of the past. Let us see tht we are better fitting ourselves as living stones for that house not made with hands, ever remembering the pormise 'Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.' Let us then cheris in our hearts those beautiful sentiments contained in those historical lines of Robert Morris, familiar to every Freemason:
  • 'There's a world where all are equal,
  • We are journeying toward it fast,
  • We shall meet upon the level then,
  • When the gates of death are past
  • We shall stand before the Orient
  • And our Master will be there,
  • To try the blocks we offer
  • With his own unerring square.
  • 'We shall meet upon the level then,
  • But never thence depart,
  • There's a mansion, 'tis all ready
  • For each faithful trusting heart
  • There's a mansion and a welcome,
  • And a multitude is there
  • Who have met upon the level,
  • And be tried upon the square.'

Oh, what words of precious meaning those words Masonic are:

  • 'We meet upon the level, and we part upon the square.'"
Charles H. Pressel, W. M.

April 8, 1919

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