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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

Diamond Lodge No. 603

Diamond Lodge of Oakland, named after the district in which it is located, received its dispensation from Grand Master Reese on December 27, 1924, and its charter on October 15, 1925. William Hess Graham, Master; Frederic Smith and Arthur Benjamin Currier, Wardens.

Diamond Lodge was not quite four years old when the great economic depression, which began in 1929 and lasted well into the 1930’s, struck the nation. Yet it has shown a good average increase in membership over its entire period of existence. From its 24 organizers in December, 1924, it up to an enrollment of 55 when it filed its first returns the following year. And it continued to climb till it reached its first peak of 187 in 1932. Then it fluctuated between that figure and 178 for next eleven years, and actually showed a gain of 12 for the decade ending in 1940. In 1944 it again took consistent upward trend, and, between then and 1949, climbed from 193 to 270.

In the course of its existence, Diamond Lodge has had only two meeting places. The first was at 2039 Hopkins Street (now Mac Arthur Blvd.); the second, at 4226 Park Boulevard, which was the meeting place of Park Boulevard Lodge.

Diamond Lodge No. 603 merged with Lakeshore No. 551 and Lake Chabot No.770 July 1, 1980 to become Tri-Square 551.

(Note: Grand Lodge record shows the spelling to be Diamond in other proceeding shows Dimond.)

Living Members of Our Lodge Who Came From Diamond Lodge No. 603

  • John Freestone of Laguna Woods, CA

  • Carson Haines of Oakland, CA

  • Martin Nilson of Middleton, ID

  • Leland Peck of San Ramon, CA

  • Lynn Reed of Castro Valley, CA

Is your name (our your spouse's name) on this list?  Share your memories about Diamond No. 603 and we will add them to this history.


What do you remember about Fremont No. 497?

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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.

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