Founding of Waynedale
The groundwork for the formation of the Lodge began in 1951, three years before a dispensation was granted. Charles E. Lewis made the necessary contacts to ascertain the requirements for a dispensation. Under the guidance of Elmer C. Forks, Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, Brother Lewis started the momentous task of obtaining dispensation for what is now an active Lodge.
Since it was necessary that the Masters and Wardens of all Lodges in the Fort Wayne area to give their permission for a new Lodge, all were contacted. Although some were fearful that they might suffer financially from the formation of a new Lodge in their midst, their consent was finally obtained.
During this three-year period, many meetings were held and hours of labor and thought were devoted to the necessary arrangements. Finally, in early July of 1954, Brother Lewis reported that all arrangements were completed. A meeting was held at 2717 Lower Huntington Road to discuss the procedures required for entering a plea for dispensation. Attending this meeting were Charles E. Lewis, Alfred D. Noble, Edgar B. Noble, John O. Capin, John R. Capin, Philip J. Carsten, and Wayne T. Mitchell.
On July 14, 1954, seventeen Masons – the actual founders of the Lodge – met at the Waynedale Methodist Church to draft and sign a plea for dispensation. In addition to the seven brothers listed above, the following were present and signed the plan; James E. Bair, Glen F. Hedges, Raymond L. Hupp, Paul R. Huth, Arden McCoy, Victor A. McCoy, Elmer M. Sparr, William O. Sanroch, Donald H. Talbott, and Ernest L. Walker.
Soon thereafter, the Grand Lodge informed the brethren of the requirements in providing suitable Lodge facilities. By this time, membership had grown, and another meeting was held to make the necessary plans. At this meeting the first officers were elected: Philip J. Carsten, WM, Charles E. Lewis, SW, and Wayne T. Mitchell, JW.
The assembly decided that the old Odd Fellows Hall in Waynedale be obtained as a Lodge home, and that extensive remodeling be planned to make it acceptable to the Grand Lodge. Lenis Firestine, Grand Lecturer, helped greatly in an advisory capacity at this time. Thanks to the time, effort, and money of the seventeen founders and many others who were to become charter members, the Lodge quarters were suitably remodeled and the necessary furniture installed.
On December 1, 1954, the dream of the seventeen founders came true when the Waynedale Masonic Lodge held its first stated meeting. Elmer C. Forks, Grand Master, opened the Lodge by directing Herbert K. DeWeese, his Special Deputy, to read proclamation dated November 3, 1954 which declared it a regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons under the title of Waynedale Lodge UD (Under Dispensation). The proclamation granted full power to meet and work as a regular Lodge and called on all other Masonic Lodges to respect it as such. Brother Forks appointed Herbert K. DeWeese and Orvis Dellinger to assist the Lodge while it was under dispensation. The Grand Master also installed the three principal officers of the newly-recognized Lodge: Brothers Carsten, Lewis, and Mitchell.
Brother Carsten then installed the other officers and opened Lodge in due form. At this first stated meeting a petition was submitted by Milroy W. Ploughe, who became the first Master Mason raised in the Lodge.
At the stated meeting April 16, 1955, a motion was made that a petition for a charter be submitted to the Grand Lodge. The charter was granted on May 17, 1955 and the lodge was thereafter know as Waynedale Lodge No. 739 F. & A. M. The officers installed while the Lodge was under dispensation remained in their respective positions for the remainder of the year.
Two years later, with considerable growth in membership, the Lodge members began to plan for the eventual erection of their own Temple. In 1957, as a long-range project, John R. Capin, WM initiated a building fund.