top of page


Prologue to Lodge History


I was asked to write a history of our lodge. To give a good accounting I needed to start at the beginning of each of the eight lodges that comprise Crow Canyon No. 551. The oldest being Bay View No. 401, as we journey through the Grand Lodge communications and the four volumes of “One hundred Years of Freemasonry in California” we find a unique brotherhood of friendships and common interest and possible discourses that might have been at the beginning of these lodges. In some cases there is a detailed accounting of the lodge formation and others there is only what I can find in the Grand Lodge communications (including misspelled words). So, here we go I hope you find this information useful. If you have anything to add, feel free to contact me.

William M. Ferrell - Last Updated 3/2/19

Chateau Thierry No. 569


Like Argonne Lodge No. 514, of San Francisco, Chateau Thierry Lodge no. 569, of Oakland, was organized by veterans of World War I, and maintained a military atmosphere for some years thereafter. Indeed the idea organizing it sprang from the minds of David Leroy Babcock, Markell Craig Baer, Ray Wall Fisher, and William Christopher Heim, all of whom had billeted together in France. And were joined by three other veterans – Steward Bruce Bowes, Adolph William Chase and Harry Leslie Lyle Roderick – who helped them to realize the idea. Roderick had been Senior Warden of Oroville Lodge No.103 before entering the army in 1917.

These brethren, who soon increased their number to twenty, received the enthusiastic support of Worshipful Master Robert M. Ford and Past Masters Charles Walter and Samuel Taylor of Oakland Lodge No. 188. But beyond that, little material is available on their earliest proceedings. It is sufficient to know that they received their dispensation from Grand Master Sherman on July 10, 1923, and their charter the following October 11, 1923. Roderick became there first Master; Baer, Senior Warden; and Fisher, Junior Warden.

At its first meeting, Chateau Thierry Lodge received the present of a set of officers’ jewels, aprons, rods, and working tools from Oakland Lodge No. 188. The California Grays gave it a beautiful, silk American flag; and its first chaplain, Robert Maury Miller, presented his family Bible, which was used for many years.

In growth, Chateau Thierry barely missed breaking into that highly select circle of Lodges that have either stood still nor shown an annual net loss in membership since they were organized. It filed its first returns on 22 members in 1923, and on 326 in 1949. During that time, it never showed a loss, but it did stand still with 161 in 1933 and 1934.

This is one of the surest indications that, despite the early limitation of its membership to former service men, it has always been a popular Lodge.

It has also been a steady Lodge both in meeting place and procedure, it opened in the Oakland Masonic Temple at 508-12th street, July 11, 1923 and has met there until it moved to Castro Valley in the late 1960’s. In procedure, it has had the distinction of a special dispensation of permitting its officers to wear military uniforms when conferring degrees, and of originating the custom of “presenting and retiring the flag of our country.”

The only other Feature of special interest in this Lodge’s history concerns one of its most prized possessions, a gavel made of wood from the Masonic Temple, at Chateau Thierry, France, which was destroyed by shell fire during World War I. This gavel was presented by the brethren of Loge Jean de la Fontaine Masonique, of Chateau Thierry, France, who were honored to know that a Lodge in far off California had been named after their city.

Living Members of Our Lodge Who Came From Chateau Thierry #569

  • Kurt Allen of San Ramon, CA

  • Stevean Allen of Tracy, CA

  • Ronald Baker of Copperopolis, CA

  • Dave Baratto of Walnut Creek, CA

  • Denis Beaman of Danville, CA

  • Ronald Bessette of Tracy, CA

  • Gilbert Brownfield of Lewisville, TX

  • Harold Burk of Green Cove Springs, FL

  • Donald Clendenen of East Andover, NH

  • John Davenport of Castro Valley, CA

  • William Ferrell of Castro Valley, CA

  • John Groff of Elko, NV

  • Jeffrey Hansen of Livermore, CA

  • Edmund Hempel of Pebble Beach, CA

  • Arthur Hinds  $ of Naperville, IL

  • James Johnston of Dublin, CA

  • Alan Kenyon of San Leandro, CA

  • Paul Krause of Willits, CA

  • Ralph Larsen of Modesto, CA

  • David Middleton of Nevada City, CA

  • Raymond Newman of Roy, WA

  • Lyman Penning of Union City, CA

  • Gregory Rapp of Livermore, CA

  • Frank Russell of Livermore, CA

  • Robert Steen of Wallace, NC

  • Gary Tucker of Emeryville, CA

  • Freddie Wilson of Tracy, CA

  • Gerald Woergoetter of Vancouver, WA

  • Earl Woodson of Pleasanton, CA

Is your name (our your spouse's name) on this list?  Share your memories about Chateau Thierry #569 and we will add them to this history.


What do you remember about Fremont No. 497?

Your content has been submitted

Your content has been submitted

Your content has been submitted

Your content has been submitted

Epilogue to Lodge History

Now that we have the history of each lodge, one might ask “what happened to cause this decline. That has been a question that has been debated for many years, so I won’t dare to get into that. So I made a chart that shows each lodge with its original name and number, and with the flow of the lodges as they went through the process (don’t know if it helps).

As you read Chateau Thierry was located in downtown Oakland. In the mid 1970’s Oakland went through an urban renewal or rebuilding of downtown area and Chateau Thierry membership decided to move to Castro Valley while the other lodges that met in Oakland decided to move to the new Oakland Masonic Center at 3903 Broadway. Bay View Lodge no. 401 met at the Oakland Scottish Rite building at 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland. Bay View Lodge No. 401 and Castro Valley Lodge No. 713 decided to merge and become Bay View – Castro Valley 713 on July 1, 1986. In June of 1986 the San Lorenzo Masonic center burned to the ground displacing Ashland No. 798. Ashland moved to the Castro Valley Masonic center and met on Friday nights.

After my junior Past Masters’ year in Chateau Thierry I became sectary and knew that my lodge was losing members to age and other social activities. At the time Castro Valley No. 713 and Chateau Thierry No. 569 were co-owners of the Castro Valley Masonic Temple. After informal discussions and getting to know each other, Bay View-Castro Valley, Chateau Thierry and Ashland Lodges under the direction of our District Inspector Worshipful Alan D. Weisser, formed a merge committee to discuss the possibility of consolidating of the three lodges. After five productive meetings it was decided that the newly consolidated Lodge would be Crow Canyon No. 569 and was established September 1992.

July 1, 1980 Lakeshore Lodge went in to an agreement with Diamond Lodge No. 603 and Lake Chabot Lodge No. 770 to become Tri-square no. 551. On October 1, 1986 Fremont Lodge No. 497 approached Tri-Square No. 551 to enter into a merger. According to Robert Peters who was secretary at the time welcomed the Fremont group, however, having recently merged with Diamond, Lake Chabot and Lakeshore lodges asked if they would be willing to merge without demands. Apparently they agreed and joined as Lakeshore No. 551.

1997: Lakeshore No. 551 contacted Crow Canyon No. 569 to inquire of they would be interested in discussing a merger of the two lodges. Both Lodge memberships agreed. Crow Canyon Lodge having a building and Lakeshore Lodge having a stable financial history it was agreed to retain the name Crow Canyon Lodge and to adopt the lower number of 551. Grand Lodge approved the merger September 1997 prior to the Grand Lodge

communication. At the time of the merger the consolidated lodge had a membership of 726 members. Also william Ferrell was asked to take the secretary’s job. Worshipful Robert Peters was moving to Washington State and Worshipful Donald Morris’ health prevented him from continuing.

This history overview is a work in progress. If you have any corrections of additions please let me know.

bottom of page