The ground work 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 now is an active lodge.
Since it was necessary that the Masters and Wardens of all Lodges in the Fort Wayne area give their permission for a new Lodge, all were contacted: and 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 the 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 of 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 mentioned before, the following were present and signed the plea: James E. Blair, Glen F. Hedges, Raymond L. Hupp, Paul R. Huth, Arden McCoy, Victor A. McCoy, Elmer M. Spahr, 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 a 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 known 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.
When the Waynedale brethren decided to form Lodge and began to place their plans on the trestle board in1954, many hours of labor and many generous contributions of money and materials made possible the attractive Lodge. Every member helped.
The chairs for the Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden came from the chancel of the Waynedale Methodist Church. From the same source, when the old pipe organ was removed, came quarter-sawed oak panels to construct the platforms.
The Lodge was fortunate in having as a member an expert cabinet-maker, Brother William Sanroch. He crafted the gavels, pedestals for the three stations, and the altar and kneeling bench.
Brothers John O. Capin, John R. Capin, Clover Branstrator, and Paul R. Huth furnished the materials to build the altar and other furniture. Brothers Sanroch and Wayne Carsten furnished the Bible for the altar. Brother Philip Carsten furnished the aprons and apron stand, and Brother Howard Talbott donated the hat for the Master. Brothers George Edington, Elmer Spahr and Chester Stoner provided the wiring and labor to light the Lodge. Brother Dan Niebel furnished and installed the stool and lavatory. Brothers Talbott, John O. Capin, John R. Capin, Glen Hedges, and many others helped build and seal the partitions, lay floor tile, paint walls and hang doors. Brother Dale Elzey, owner of the building, furnished tile for the hallway.
Brother Wayne Mitchell purchased the jewels for the altar. Brother Charles Huey proved the canvas. Brother Clarence Stewart furnished the working tools. The letter “G” and chairs were donated by Brothers Edgar B. Noble and Alfred D. Noble.
Brother Sanroch presented a handsomely cased gavel made from cedar of Lebanon wood. In 1967 Brother William K. Geake presented the Past Grand Master’s apron and jewel inherited from his father, Brother William C. Geake, and – from the old Scottish Rite Cathedral – the apron worn by his grandfather, William Geake, then Grand Master, at the 1899 Centennial Observance of the funeral of Brother George Washington.
Many more donations have occurred since then and they continue to this day.
Excerpts from Lodge minutes:
March 5, 1958
Wayne T. Mitchell mentioned, in as much as we have over $500.00 in the building fund treasury, perhaps we could have a committee to investigate a larger quarters. The Worshipful Master appointed the Trustees to investigate and report to Lodge their findings.
April 2, 1958
Acting W.M. William H. Herman appointed and investigation committee to look into the possibility of organizing an Eastern Star chapter with the possible plan of increasing our facilities by renting the rear quarters of 2606 1⁄2 Lower Huntington Rd.
June 4, 1958
Lodge rented 2606 Lower Huntington Rd. adjacent to Lodge hall for social and recreational purposes.
February 1, 1961
Brother Wayne Mitchell brought the subject up on the advisability of purchasing some land for a new temple for our lodge while it was available. This was discussed during the coffee break in the club room.
Brother Clarence Edwin Lafon was a member of the United States Air Force stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base at Parker, Florida. He died on July 11, 1965. He had been elected to membership in Waynedale Lodge on October 5, 1955. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. William R. Singleton Lodge # 30 F. & A. M. Washington, D. C. performed the Masonic funeral service on Waynedale Lodge’s behalf
October 2, 1963
W.M. Walter K. Hertzog appt. the J. W. to be in charge of E. A. degree and S. W. to be in charge of Fellowcraft degree in the future.
Brother Wayne Mitchell that the Lodge send a letter to Brother Charles E. Lewis congratulating him on his nomination to receive the 33rd degree in Masonry.
December 28, 1964
Lodge held it’s first observance of The Feast of St. John the Evangelist.
April 30, 1965
The 10th Anniversary Dinner was held on this date. A total of 210 persons attended the event, including honored guests and members of the Scottish Rite Choir.
June 27, 1965
The Lodge observed The Feast of St. John the Baptist by attending services at the Waynedale Methodist Church.
July 7, 1965
Trustees had received offer of lots No. 49 and 50 original plat of Waynedale from Donald Cohagen a brother mason, formerly of Waynedale, now resident in Southfield, MI. provided the Lodge pay the pending assessment of $690/lot(Total $1,380.00)
July 7, 1965
Lodge proceeded to accept offer to purchase lots.
March 2, 1966
W. M. Stu Trainer appointed Brother Bill K. Winans S. W. Chairman of the Building Committee.
April 27, 1966
S. W. Bill K. Winans reported visiting the Old Scottish Rite Cathedral which may be razed in the near future. He stated that some materials might well be salvaged for use in our new temple.
June 18, 1966
A Low Dell Lodge of Master Masons was held at the May Sand and Gravel quarry on Ardmore Avenue.
September 6, 1966
Brother William Sanroch presented a beautiful gavel of Lebanon cedar wood in a handsome case. It was mentioned that Brother Sanroch, a charter member, had himself crafted most of the lodge furniture.
March 1, 1967
W. M. Bill K. Winans reported for the Building Committee that a total of $10,500 has been voluntarily pledged by a few members as a nucleus, with assurance of $6,500 payable when desired. He reported that Brother Delmar Green has worked energetically obtaining names to a petition for zoning our lots for a temple. Brother Marvin Crell, a lawyer, will carry the petition to the City Council.
April 5, 1967
W. M. Bill K. Winans, as chairman of the Building Committee reported voluntary pledges totaling $11,299. He said that contractors had promised special rebates on bldg. materials.
May 3, 1967
Secretary reported that he had obtained the signatures of the 3 trustees to a petition form for rezoning our lots for Temple construction and forwarded it to Brother Marvin Crell, an attorney with a check for $25 to cover the necessary city fee. The W. M. reported $15,700 pledged or already paid in our bldg. fund.
July 5, 1967
For the Building Committee, the W. M. , who is chairman, called a meeting for Wednesday, July 19th and instructed the Secretary to write urging all members who are contractors and all Past Masters, to attend, to contribute experience and knowledge so that fairly definite plans can be formulated as to the type of building to be constructed, etc.
The Secretary reported that the Board of Zoning Appeals had officially approved a permit for use of Lots No. 49-50 for a Masonic Lodge Hall, at a meeting June 29th.
Bill K. Winans, W. M. , broached the idea of starting a fund from which donations might be made, as an act of brotherly love, to concurrent lodges which have started construction of a new lodge hall or temple. On motion by John C. Conahan, seconded and carried, the plan was approved, and $20 cash was donated to start the fund, to be known as WAYNEDALE LODGE NO. 739 F. & A. M. LODGE BUILDERS.
August 2, 1967
For the Building Committee: the W. M. reported a meeting of the Building Committee was held on July 19 where a work committee of Brothers Paul Huth, Harold Bodey, Carl Ray and Leonard Johnson was appointed to draw up definite specifications, based on accurate knowledge of needs and to contact a reliable registered engineer or architect, a Mason, who would go a good job at a minimal charge.
The Secretary, Shockley Lockridge, read a letter from the Grand Secretary commenting most favorably upon the concept of W. M. Bill K. Winans for the “Waynedale Lodge No. 739 F. & A. M. LODGE BUILDERS” fund and requesting permission to refer to it in the INDIANA FREEMASON.
September 6, 1967
The W. M. stated that 18 seats salvaged from the old Scottish Rite cathedral are in Hedrick’s (Hetrick’s) garage on Waynewood; they should be cleaned and brought to the Lodge hall. He asked for volunteers to handle this task Saturday afternoon.
Brother Hugh Stinson, a certified engineer, explained the preliminary blueprints and specifications for the new Temple, to cost around $50,000.
It was unanimously passed that the Lodge express a vote of confidence in Brother Stinson and the working committee, and that they be encouraged to finalize the plans for submission to the Grand Lodge supervisory board.
February 7, 1968
Brother Bill Winans reported that contractor members were assembling accurate estimates of costs and that hopefully we will begin construction before the May meeting of the Grand Lodge. W. M. Richard C. Fisher called for a meeting where pledge cards will distributed to workers.
March 6, 1968
Several thousand dollars cash has been received for the BUILDING FUND recently. In addition, a number of members have pledged work assistance. Of the cash received, several hundred dollars represented contributions received from two brother Masons who are not members of our Lodge: Carl M. Hornberger and Charles K. Winans.
Brother Wayne Mitchell, P. M. referring to the costs of our building said, “To amass the requisite funds will require planning and sacrifice on the part of many members, he observed, adding that we certainly do not want any member to overextend himself or become involved in marital strife in making his pledge.”
The secretary reported that he had written Brother H. Stuart Trainer, P. M., informing him that a total of $448.50 had been donated to the Building Fund in memory of his father, Dean Trainer.
April 3, 1968
The Secretary read a letter from Brother Marvin Crell, for his law firm of Tourkow, Danehy and Crell, offering all free legal work for the Lodge and making a substantial pledge for the Building Fund.
May 1, 1968
The Secretary reported that the Lodge was more than half-way in cash and pledges toward the cost of the building. The Secretary also reported that the Grand Lodge had tentatively approved the Temple plans.
June 5, 1968
The secretary reported that cash and pledges now totaled over $40,000.
September 4, 1968
The Secretary read excerpts from a letter from MW Bro. Ralph E. Legeman, PGM, chairman Grand Lodge Supervisory Board, dated August 14, in which he stated that the Board granted permission to erect the Temple and to become indebted in a sum not to exceed $15,000.
October 2, 1968
Brother Bill K. Winans, P. M., chairman of the Building Committee, reported the following progress: excavation for Temple by Milton Byrd; sewer excavation, tile laid by Bill Winans; footings (foundations) poured by Harold Bodey; provision of 9 truckloads of pea gravel courtesy of Brudi’s, through Charles Graves, who also trucked it to the site; erection of forms for concrete walls and pouring of concrete under direction of Harold Bodey, with assistance of James Lucas, Michael Heaston, Edwin Teeters, S. W., John LoVerde, SS; Bill Winans, Robert Shutt, Richard Krinn and Richard Fisher, W. M. .
November 6, 1968
Brother Bill K. Winans, P. M. , reported that work has progressed on the new Temple: Hamer Mann and a mason provided by Paul Huth have laid block on Saturdays, assisted by a number of brethren; as reported in the October minutes and also Stanley Gongaware, Neil Grider, Alan Huddleston, Bennet Noel, P. M. , James Miller, Stuart Trainer, P. M. . Charles Graves has trucked in and furnished stone for the parking lot, Cyrus Cooper made electrical connections. Don Parrish will provide a trailer to be parked on our lot for storing hardware and other shipments.
December 4, 1968
For the Bldg. Committee, Bill Winans, P. M. reported that construction has been deferred by weather conditions.
February 5, 1969
All bills paid up to date including a major bill for structural steel, but will soon need more funds.
November 5, 1969
Hamer Mann, who has contracted to erect the walls is making good progress, and that soon the beam and bar joists will be set.
To Be Continued...