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A History of Our Lodge

By Bill Ferrell—Assistant Secretary

As pointed out last issue, Crow Canyon #551 is the result of the merger of eight lodges. Last month we looked at Fremont No. 497.

Lakeshore Lodge No. 551 of Oakland is a “neighborhood Lodge” in every sense of the word. As its historian, Past Master Joseph A. Sullivan, noted, it “was instituted to serve the fast growing district north and east of Lake Merritt.” Most of its founders were home-owners and commuters, “a closely-knit group readily amalgamated in fellowship that gave the lodge an excellent start.”

Lakeshore traces its history back to its first preliminary meeting held on February 8, 1923. This meeting, top heavy with official aid, was attended by four Inspectors of the East Bay District, whose advice undoubtedly gave the brethren the impetus they needed to complete all their organizational work in quick order. With Arthur Woodby Baker as their first Master, Joseph Augustine Sullivan as Senior Warden, and William Elbert Pitcher as Junior Warden, they received their Dispensation from Grand Master Sherman on March 27, 1923. Their charter followed seven months later, on October 11, 1923.

Lakeshore Lodge first met in the Community Center Hall at 712 Grand Avenue, where it was instituted on April 6, 1923. Then it met at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple that was at 807 East 14th Street, Oakland.

For the first few years, Lakeshore’s membership kept pace with the growth of the surrounding neighborhood, increasing from 37 in 1923 to 208 in 1930. But during the depression years, it was not as unaffected as some of its sister Lodges across the bay. It slowly declined to 172 in 1938, after which it started upward – slowly at first, then picking up speed till it reached 257 members by 1949.

July 1, 1980 Lakeshore Lodge went in to an agreement with Dimond Lodge No. 603 and Lake Chabot Lodge No. 770 to become Tri-Square no. 551.

Brother Pat Quinn has placed a bookshelf in our lobby near the entrance to the lodge room. The books there are for our members to borrow. There is a three volume set “The First 100 years of Masonry in California” in which I have gotten most of my information.

If you were a member of Lake Chabot Lodge No. 770 and would like to share information about the lodge and the Brethren, please contact me. I have little or no history about that group.

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