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Blast from the Past into the Future

By William M. Ferrell

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 established to serve the fast-growing district north and east of Lake Merritt.” Most of its founders were homeowners 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 14thst. 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.

On July 1, 1980, Lakeshore Lodge reached an agreement with Diamond Lodge No. 603 and Lake Chabot Lodge No. 770, and they combined to become Tri-square No. 551. The newly consolidated lodge met at Hayward’s “B” St temple.

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