LODGE HISTORY

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

Fremont Lodge No.497

 

The History of Fremont Lodge No. 497 runs back to September 8, 1920 when fifteen brethren held the first of a series of four preliminary meeting in the home of Henry Howard Caldwell.

At this meeting the brethren voted to give their proposed Lodge the name “Fremont.” Then they elected James Spencer Sullivan its first Master; Chester Culwell Morris, Senior Warden; Henry Howard Caldwell, Junior Warden.

At the second, third and fourth meeting, held respectively in the homes of Hiram Eugene Miller, Chester Culwell Morris, and Roy Gustav Lucks, they handled all other organizational matters. On December 1, 1920, Grand Master Rodden, Issued their dispensation. That same evening, Inspector Granville Warren of the 32nd Masonic District instituted their Lodge in the Fruitvale Masonic Temple.

Fremont Lodge received its charter October 13, 1921, and was jointly constituted in the San Francisco Masonic Temple with Lebanon, Roosevelt, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino Lodges by Grand Master Burke the following day.

During its organizational period, the founders of Fremont Lodge subscribed $5 a piece to fund intended to “pay for any entertainment expense that might arise.” This taught them the valuable lesson of forethought in all financial matters - and ‘to pay as you go.”

Consequently, their lodge has always been in excellent financial condition. Save two minor setbacks in 1933 and 1936, Fremont Lodge’s annual returns to grand Lodge have never shown a net loss. They have otherwise climbed steadily from 50 members in 1921 to 462 by the beginning of 1949. Fremont Lodge’s first regular meeting place was the Fruitvale Masonic Temple at 34th avenue and East 14th Street. After several moves merged with Tri-square No. 551 on October 1, 1986.

Our Lodge Library has a copy of “50 Years of Fremont Lodge No. 497, F. & A. M.” Show casing Past Masters from 1921 to 1970.

Living Members of Our Lodge Who Came From Fremont No. 497

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  • Robert Albritton of Salem, OR

  • Charles Cammerer of Merlin, OR

  • Ace Gilbert of Fremont, CA

  • Donald Johnson of Alameda, CA

  • George Lumm of Newark, CA

  • Robert Marshall of Livermore, CA

  • Henry Miller of Weeping Water, NE

  • Benjamin Newmarker of Escalon, CA

  • Robert Pinkerton of Newark, CA

  • Dale Reynolds of Fresno, CA

  • David Stevenson of Gilbert, AZ

  • Roy Tamez of Hayward, CA

  • Sammy Tamez of Tracy, CA

  • Jose Zamora of Hanford, CA

Is your name (our your spouse's name) on this list?  Share your memories about Fremont No. 497 and we will add them to this history.

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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.