Bro. Marvin A. Cunningham, Sr., P.M., a member of Warren Lodge No. 310, Collegeville, was presented formally before his brethren as the 114th Grand Master of Freemasons in Pennsylvania during a special meeting of his lodge held in the Masonic Temple, Philadelphia, during the afternoon of Dec. 27. He is the first member of Warren lodge to serve as Grand Master.
The newly installed Grand Master has been a member of Warren Lodge No. 310 since 1980 and served as the Worshipful Master in 1985, a prosperous year during the Solomon II program when 18 brethren were initiated. Bro. Cunningham had been made a Mason almost 20 years earlier in Silvas Lodge No. 898 in his former hometown in Illinois.
Warren Lodge, which will celebrate its 145th anniversary in 2002, has an interesting history. It was named in honor of two of its founders: Dr. James Warrenne Sunderland and Joseph Warren Royer, according to a history written by the latter and presented at the lodge's 50th anniversary in 1907.
Dr. Royer was the moving force behind the establishment of Warren Lodge No. 310. He and his brother, Horace, were made Masons in Phoenix Lodge No. 75, Phoenixville, and for some time endured the walk of about six miles from their home in Trappe, which abuts Collegeville. After one particularly nasty Winter night's trek home, the brothers talked about having a lodge closer to home and consulted Dr. Sunderland. Dr. Sunderland, LL.D, the President of the Pennsylvania Female College in Collegeville, was a native of Rhode Island, a member of King Solomon's Lodge in Massachusetts, and well versed in Masonic jurisprudence. Important among the information and advice that he provided was the stipulation that a new lodge must be five miles from any other lodge and have a meeting place before a charter would be granted. Dr. Sunderland provided that first meeting place: His own house!
A warrant was issued (with no date written), signed by R.W. Grand Master Peter Williamson and the other Grand Lodge officers. The Warren Lodge officers named were: Bros. Joseph Warren Royer, W.M.; Horace Royer, S.W.; and Samuel Yarger, J.W. The new lodge was constituted Sept. 5, 1857 in the Masonic Temple, 715-719 Chestnut St., Philadelphia.
After the early years in Dr. Sunderland's home, the lodge moved into its own hall in Trappe. Warren Lodge history reports that the membership grew, in part, because there was now enough room for lodge labors. In 1913, the lodge moved again to its present stone building on Main St., Collegeville.