Early History of Gaston G. Allen Lodge #629
In 1912 there developed quite a sentiment among the members of Lakewood Lodge to encourage the formation of a new Lodge when their membership should reach or pass the three hundred and fifty mark. In 1913 a number who were about to place their demits were reminded of that, with the suggestion that they hold their credentials until some action could be taken. Nothing was done, however, until Brothers J. E. Townsend, Rudolph C. Pagel and Frank M. Bailey took it upon themselves to wait upon Brother J. M. Sterling, Past Master of Bigelow Lodge, with a request that he lead in the formation of the new body. Under his direction the first preliminary meeting was held at the Lakewood Lodge rooms April 5, 1914, with forty-six Master Masons in attendance.
Brother Rudolph C. Pagel was appointed temporary chairman and Brother J. E. Townsend temporary secretary. This temporary organization elected Brother J. H. Sterling chairman and Brother J. E. Townsend secretary at the meeting of April 19, 1914. The regular organization was completed. Brother Fred E. Harmon, District Lecturer, was present and presided. Brothers J. H. Sterling, John H. Brown and Frank M. Bailey were elected to be recommended to the Grand Master as the first officers of the Lodge.
After the permanent organization was effected, the work of presenting petitions for dispensation and securing the consent of the twenty-one Lodges in this jurisdiction was begun and finished without meeting with a single refusal. With an enrollment of eighty-three and the consent of Lakewood Lodge, application was made to the Grand Master, and a dispensation was granted June 4, 1914.
Gaston G. Allen was selected as the name of the new Lodge in recognition of the man who formed the first Masonic Lodge in 1853, on the West side of the Cuyahoga River, in what was then known as Ohio City. He was an unusually zealous Mason, serving as Master of Bigelow Lodge for nine years.
Gaston G. Allen Lodge was opened in due and ancient form under dispensation June 5, 1914, at which the following appointments were announced: C. D. Mason, Treasurer; R. C. Pagel, Secretary; H. E. Mitchell, Senior Deacon; J. C. Hanna, Junior Deacon; Rev. A. T. Wooley, Chaplain; W. F. Taft, Tyler; M. E. Burkemer and E. M. Justin, Stewards.
Lakewood Lodge very generously tendered the use of its Lodge rooms and equipment free of charge during our dispensation period, which gave to us an advantage, financially, that was very much appreciated. Gaston G. Allen Lodge sent their Master, Wardens and Secretary to the Grand Lodge in October, 1914, with a list of 94 members, eleven having been raised during dispensation, which constituted our charter membership and whose names are duly engrossed on our charter which was granted October 22, 1914. Owing to press of business, Brothers Mitchell and Burkemer, being unable to fulfill their respective duties, resigned; and Brother J. C. Hanna was appointed Senior Deacon; Brother E. M. Justin, Junior Deacon; and Brother T. W. McMaugh and Ralph G. King, Stewards.
A night long to be remembered by the Lodge was August 7, 1914. On this evening we were presented with a portrait of Gaston G. Allen by Bigelow Lodge, the presentation being made by Past Master Robert Simpson. Also Brother Henry Pleasance, on behalf of Lakewood Lodge, presented us with a set of officers' jewels. On behalf of Mount Olive Chapter, Past Grand Master E. F. Griffiths presented us with a silver trowel. Halcyon Lodge, being represented by Past Master Clem V. Jacobs and others, presented us with a set of working tools. Meridian Lodge had already remembered us by furnishing our deacons' and stewards' rods, being presented by Brother F. E. Rudenauer. And not to be outdone by the other Lodges, Lincoln Chapter of the Eastern Star presented us with a set of officers' aprons, through their Worthy Patron, Brother J. J. Hinslea. The gifts were all very gratefully received, representing as they did that strong bond of Brotherly Love and Friendship which should always prevail.
The most important occasion in our history was the Ceremony of Constitution and Consecration conducted by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, George L. Marshall, on November 28, 1914, at which time quite an elaborate entertainment and banquet were provided. The Lodge from that time has prospered both numerically and financially, the members taking an active interest and assisting the officers in conducting the affairs of the Lodge.
On December 18, 1914 occurred our first regular election of officers, and the following brethren were honored in that election: James H. Sterling, W.M.; James H. Brown, S.W.; Frank M. Bailey, J.W.; Charles D. Mason, Treasurer; Rudolph C. Pagel, Secretary; John C. Hanna, S.D.; Edward M. Justin, J.D.; Warren F. Taft, Tyler; and J. Edward Townsend, Trustee. The Worshipful Master appointed Brothers T. W. McMaugh and R.G. King as Stewards, Rev. Wooley as Chaplain, Maynard England as Organist and C. F. Dicker as Marshall. A public installation was held on January 8, 1915; and the officers were duly installed. Past Master Robert Simpson of Bigelow Lodge officiated; and Brother A. C. Bagnall, Past Master of Lakewood Lodge, acted as Marshall.
The next big step forward was witnessed in the laying of the cornerstone for the Temple. On June 26, 1915, the brethren of Gaston G. Allen Lodge, together with Lakewood Lodge, Cunningham Chapter R.A.M., Lincoln Chapter O.E.S. and other Lodges of the district witnessed the ceremony which was deeply impressive in that it represented the beginning of what had once been simply a dream of the Lakewood bodies.
The time for our entrance into the new Temple drawing near, together with the fact of the numerical and financial advance we made, caused the appointment of a committee on July 31, 1916 for the purpose of purchasing robes. We had up to this time been using the paraphernalia of Lakewood Lodge and were indeed thankful for the privilege.
On September 30, 1916, the Temple was fittingly dedicated. This was indeed a proud time in our history, meaning as it did, the consummation of our most cherished ambition.
The first meeting of our Lodge in the new Temple was held on October 6, 1916, at which time it was deemed advisable to increase the number of our trustees from one to three; and a resolution to change Article I of the by-laws was accordingly adopted.
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