Volume LVAugust 2008Number 3

Happy Anniversary!

Lodge No. 2, Philadelphia

Before the 13 original colonies were free and independent states, a group of men began forming a Masonic lodge that would stand the test of time for the next 250 years.

The Petition for Lodge No. 2 has been lost to history, but there are two existing Warrants. The first warrant indicates brethren were authorized and appointed to hold a lodge in Philadelphia, or elsewhere, on June 7, 1758. A second Warrant indicates an authorization date of June 24, 1759. The Warrant was registered as No. 69 in England, but has been held as No. 2 in Pennsylvania, being the eldest under the authority of the Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons, which later became the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Grand Lodge is held as No. 1 in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the state, the English drove the French out of Fort Duquesne in the western part of Pennsylvania, establishing the city of Pittsburgh. In 1758, Bro. Benjamin Franklin penned his famous adage: "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Future U.S. President and Freemason James Monroe was born in this year.

Thirty-three officers of the Continental Army, under the direct supervision of General and Bro. George Washington, were members of Lodge No. 2. In 1986, Lodge No. 380 merged with Lodge No. 2 and in 1987, Lodge No. 158 also merged. The lodge, previously known as Pennsylvania Meridian Sun Lodge, has met in the Egyptian Room of the Masonic Temple since 1876.

In June, in honor of the anniversary, Lodge No. 2 members gathered for a table lodge meeting, a black tie gala and a trolley tour of Masonic-related structures in Philadelphia including Christ Church, Bro. Benjamin Franklin's tomb and the Pennsylvania Hospital.

The lodge has a strong history of giving to all Masonic Charities. After Hurricane Katrina, they sent donations to the Grand Lodges of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. They send gifts to brethren and their widows on their birthdays and during the holiday season. The members recently purchased a naming opportunity of a fireplace at the Masonic Temple and are strong supporters of all the Masonic Villages.

"We're very fortunate to have a good charity fund," Bro. M. Ralph Kelly, Jr., Charity Chairman, said. "We give as much money back to the Masonic organization as we can. There are a lot of Masons who need help."


In 1858, led by Pennsylvania native President James Buchanan, America was 32 states-strong, welcoming the state of Minnesota and rejecting statehood for Kansas, then a slavery state. Cross-continental news dispatches became reality with the first telegraph cable laid across the Atlantic.

Philadelphia company H.L. Lipman introduced the first pencil with an attached eraser, while other Philadelphians brought us street mail boxes, the cable streetcar and the rotary washing machine. Baseball rules were standardized in 1858 and future U.S. President and Freemason Theodore Roosevelt was born in this year.

Indiana-Franklin Lodge No. 313, Indiana

Through the recommendation of Lodge No. 244, Indiana Lodge No. 313 was constituted on April 7, 1858. Benjamin Franklin Lodge No. 753 merged with Indiana Lodge in 2002.

Indiana County, named after its former inhabitants, was established in 1803. The major industry in the county was salt manufacturing. Coal mining, which began as early as 1795, rivaled farming as the backbone of the county's economy. Abolitionism was a central issue for residents of the county, and they formed the Center Township Anti-Slavery Society, published an abolition newspaper and became one of the lines on the Underground Railroad. Home of the Christmas Tree Growers' Association, the county earned the name "Christmas Tree Capital of the World."

Clearfield Lodge No. 314, Clearfield

Through the recommendations of LaFayette Lodge No. 199 and Bellefonte Lodge No. 268, Clearfield Lodge No. 314 was constituted on Feb. 22, 1858. One early tradition the lodge established, and continues today, is providing financial assistance toward the funerals of members and their wives.

The lodge met in several locations over the years, spending much time in the Hall of the Clearfield Lodge of Odd Fellows. In 1973, through the recommendations of Bro. F. Clair Thompson, P.M., plans for a new lodge became a reality. Almost all aspects of the construction, including legal services, mortgage, materials and labor, were handled through members of the lodge. A drive raised 80 percent of the funds needed to construct the building.

Clearfield County, named for the clear fields settlers discovered in the area, was formed in 1804. Much of the land of the county was divided into tracts of land, 250 to 1,000 acres in size, and given to soldiers of the Pennsylvania Line for their services in the Revolutionary War. Lumbering was the town's principle industry.

McKinley-Stuckrath Lodge No. 318, Pittsburgh

Through recommendations from Allegheny Lodge No. 223 and Jefferson Lodge No. 288, McKinley Lodge No. 318 was constituted on May 27, 1858. It was named for Bro. Samuel McKinley, District Deputy Grand Master for Allegheny, Beaver and Westmoreland Counties, 1848-1883. Stuckrath Lodge No. 430, named for the Worshipful Master of Allegheny Lodge No. 223 in 1858, merged with McKinley Lodge in 1985.

Named for the Allegheny River, Allegheny County was established in 1788. By the end of the 19th century, the Pittsburgh area became known as "The Workshop of the World," producing one-fifth of the country's pig iron, one-fourth of its steel, one-sixth of its glass, as well as large amounts of prepared food products, cork and aluminum products, electrical equipment, machinery, railroad supplies, petroleum products and chemicals. These factory jobs attracted so many German immigrants to Allegheny City, it earned the nickname "Deutschtown." Natives of the area include Pittsburgh Pirate Bro. Johannes Peter Wagner, also known as "Honus" and "The Flying Dutchman." He is considered one of the greatest players in major league baseball history.

Peter Williamson Lodge No. 323, Scranton

Through the recommendation of Union Lodge No. 291, Peter Williamson Lodge No. 323 was constituted on April 7, 1858. Bro. Peter Williamson served as Right Worshipful Grand Master in 1856-1857.

The lodge, when established, was located in Luzerne County, which was named in 1786 after Anne César, Chevalier De La Luzerne, Minister of France to the United States from 1779-1783. During the American Revolution, the Chevalier was highly regarded and known for raising money on his own to support American independence. The county is underlaid with coal of the highest quality and is the center of the anthracite coal region of America.

In 1878, Lakawanna County was formed from part of Luzerne County, including the Scranton area. Scranton was named for brothers Colonel George W. and Selden T. Scranton and their cousin, Joseph H., who provided financial aid to keep the town running. The town became a railroad hub and manufactured iron, steel, brass, locomotives, stoves, silk, tools, wood and leather. It serves as the county seat today.

Hazle Azalea Fellowship Lodge No. 327, Hazleton

Through the recommendation of Lodge No. 242, Hazle Lodge No. 327 was constituted on Dec. 3, 1858. In 2004, Azalea-Fellowship Lodge No. 68 merged with Hazle Lodge.

Hazleton, located in Luzerne County, was established in 1891. In the late 1700s, patriot soldiers frequently traveled along the Susquehanna River in the Lehigh Valley on a path with an abundance of hazel trees, giving the area the name "Hazel Swamp." In 1818, anthracite coal was discovered in this territory. Ariovistus Pardee, who was hired by Philadelphia investors to survey the area for a railroad extension, had the insight to purchase some nearby acreage, which was also part of a massive anthracite coalfield. He is known as the founding father of Hazleton. In 1836, he created the Hazleton Coal Company and completed a rail link to Bethlehem Steel and Philadelphia market.

The name Hazel was inadvertently spelled as Hazle in the legal papers naming it as a city. Hazleton is one of the highest incorporated cities east of Mississippi, at an elevation of 1,624 feet.


In 1908, Masons were present in many positions of leadership in America. The country was led by Bro. and President Theodore Roosevelt and his Vice President Bro. Charles W. Fairbanks. Bro. William Taft was elected president and began serving his term in 1909. The Governor of Pennsylvania that year was Bro. Edwin S. Stuart. While Bro. Henry Ford was busy producing the first Model T, Bro. Robert Peary was sailing for the North Pole. By this period in the country's history, the United States was a leading global industrial power.

Avalon Lodge No. 657, Pittsburgh

Through the recommendation of Bellevue Lodge No. 530, Avalon Lodge No. 657 was constituted on May 5, 1908. Edward H. Fowler, Jr., Right Worshipful Past Grand Master (1992-1993), is a member of Avalon Lodge.

Bellevue, the original home of the lodge, was first settled in 1796 and incorporated as a borough in 1867. The name means "beautiful view" in French, appropriate for its location northwest of Pittsburgh on the north bank of the Ohio River. The borough of Avalon, in Allegheny County, can be found just downstream on the Ohio River. The lodge selected this for its name because Bellevue was already the name of Lodge No. 530. Avalon is an old place named from Arthurian legend, while other traditions claim the borough was named for the Celtic word for "orchard or land of apples," because of its many fruit trees.

Thomas R. Patton Lodge No. 659, Philadelphia

Through the recommendations of Melita Lodge No. 295, Stephen Girard Lodge No. 450 and Hamilton Lodge No. 274, Thomas R. Patton Lodge No. 659 was constituted on June 24, 1908. The lodge was named for Bro. Thomas R. Patton, Grand Treasurer from 1874-1907. When he passed away, more than half his estate was left to the Grand Lodge to form a boarding and trade school for male orphans of Master Masons. The Thomas Ranken Patton Masonic Institution for Boys was established in memory of Bro. Patton's wife, who died while giving birth to his only son, Thomas Graham Patton, who passed away at age 7. It operated until 1976 and is now the Masonic Conference Center, part of the campus of the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown.

The lodge is located in Philadelphia, designed by William Penn to contain many "green" areas so it would not suffer the same fate as London and its fire of 1666, and would always be wholesome. The city served as the first capital of the United States and was a great industrial center and port. Famous Philadelphia Masons include Bros. Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Girard, John Wanamaker and Governor Edward Rendell.

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