Park Lodge history
A CONCISE HISTORY OF PARK LODGE No. 63, A.F. & A.M. - G.R.B.C.
In the month of March 1911, a number of local freemasons considered the time opportune for organizing a lodge, and on the initiative of Worshipful Brother W. W. Burke, a meeting was held in the Agricultural Hall, Central Park, on April 18th, to discuss the matter. Several meetings followed, and on July 4th, 1911, permission was asked of the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother F. J. Burd, to hold a lodge of Instruction, and on the 8th of July a favourable reply was received from the Grand Secretary, (Doctor) Most Worshipful Brother De Wolf Smith, granting the privilege to Worshipful Brothers Burke and Wrigglesworth, and Brother McFarland for a period of three months.
A Mr. Brown erected a building on the corner of Kingsway and Inman Avenue, which the lodge occupied as leasehold tenants.
On Monday, September 11th, 1911, the first lodge meeting was held, and it must be recorded that owing to the true masonic spirit shown by several of the founders of the lodge, it was equipped with beautiful and costly furnishings.
Worshipful Brother W. W. Burke was the First Worshipful Master of Park lodge. He was a Past Master of Acacia Lodge, which lodge rendered considerable help and advice in the formation of the lodge.
On Monday, November 13th, 1911, the Ceremonies, Consecration, Dedication and Installation of the Officers were conducted by the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother F. J. Burd, assisted by the D.D.G.M., Right Worshipful Brother W. A. Munn, and Grand lodge Officers.
The lodge occupied the first building for three years, and it was then found advisable to move to more convenient premises. Brother C. G. Reid remodelled a building which he owned, at the corner of Kingsway and Park Avenue [east of Boundry Rd.], to which the lodge moved in the autumn of 1914. From this time until 1919, the lodge (like many others), had a hard struggle for existence as 25 of the members were taking part in World War I. The loyal support of those who were able to attend the meeting during the war years enabled the officers to carry on. After peace was declared, an era of prosperity set in, with a steady increase in membership.
On October 13th, 1924, a disastrous fire occurred after the lodge Meeting on that night, in which all the lodge records and furnishings, except the minute book, were destroyed. The square and compasses were found in the ashes of the Volume of the Sacred law. These were replated and are the only portions of the original equipment of the lodge now in existence.
The hospitality of several lodges was offered to Park Lodge during this crisis, and the offer of Composite Lodge was accepted, as this was most convenient for the members to reach. We enjoyed full use of their equipment for which we were very grateful. There we remained for nine months.
In June 1925, we returned to our present lodge room, the furniture of which is to a great extent the work of the members themselves, and much credit is due to them for the skill, time and money expended for this purpose. A concert was held in St. John's Parish Hall, Central Park, by the members of the Vancouver Masonic Choir, and a considerable sum of money was raised and donated to the lodge towards the cost of new equipment. This was gratefully appreciated.
During the depression years the lodge passed through a very difficult period, because the rent of the building was very high. Thanks to the efforts of Most Worshipful Brother J. E. Beck, who interviewed the landlord on our behalf, the rent was considerably reduced and since this time the lodge has progressed very smoothly and satisfactorily. In the early part of 1948 an association (Park lodge Building Association) was formed to purchase the property, purchase being completed in 1951, and soon it will belong to the members of Park lodge. On November 13th, 1961, we will celebrate our 50th Anniversary, and with the continued help of all members the lodge cannot do otherwise than forge ahead to bigger and better things.