The following history has been compiled by Rt. Wor. Bro. Martin R. Trent. The information contained herein is taken from RWB Trent's experience and the Lodge minutes as well as the 2 previously compiled histories which were written to commemorate the 50th and 75th Anniversaries of St. Andrew's Lodge. we owe a debt of gratitude to the following Brethren who were instrumental in writing the 2 previous histories:
50th Anniversary History
75th Anniversary History
|RWB George L. Dunbar||Worshipful Brother (WB) David M. Davis|
|RWB James M. Drake||Bro. Richard W. Heckler|
|WB Robert Dunbar||WB Robert J. Weller|
|WB Cecil H. Rawlings||RWB Arthur C. Chamberlain|
|WB Robert W. Powell|
|Bro. Roy R. Parker|
|Bro. LeRoy Bolen|
|WB Joseph D. Elliott|
We owe the beginning of St. Andrew's Lodge No. 619 largely to the dedication and leadership of Right Worshipful Brother (RWB) James S. Webb, who was a Past Master of Anthony Lodge #455 at the time of our Lodge's formation. RWB Webb initiated correspondence with the Grand Lodge and on November 26, 1912, 36 Brethren, all Past or Present Masters of Clark and Anthony Lodges, met at the Masonic Temple to discuss the topic of starting a new Lodge in Springfield. After friendly discussion, they unanimously decided to organize a new Lodge and, at a subsequent meeting, formal action was taken and a committee was appointed to start the formal process of requesting a Dispensation from the Grand Lodge.
107 Master Masons (including 8 Past Masters) signed the request for dispensation. The request was approved and Most Worshipful Brother (MWB) Edwin S. Griffiths, Grand Master of Masons in Ohio, presented the Dispensation in person when the Lodge was formally opened on the evening of March 6, 1913 at the Bushnell Building which was to be the Lodge's home for the next 14 years. James S. Webb was installed Master, Frank M. Krapp, Senior Warden, and Stewart L. Tatum, Junior Warden. The following Officers were then appointed to serve St. Andrew's Lodge while under Dispensation:
· Fred B. Woosley - Treasurer
· Frank A. Crothers - Secretary
· E. Wilbur Baxter - Senior Deacon
· Brown Burleigh - Junior Deacon
· Harve R. Stuart - Senior Steward
· William B. Condit - Junior Steward
· Rev. Charles E. Byrer - Chaplain
· Bert F. Downey - Marshal
· George W. McNeil - Tyler
On behalf of the members of St. Andrew's Lodge, Rev. Walter D. Cole (along with the members of Clark and Anthony Lodges who were in attendance) presented a complete set of Officers Jewels to the Lodge. Based on early pictures of the officers, it is this author's opinion that these jewels are the same still being used by the Lodge today.
MWB Griffiths' Grand Master's address at Grand Lodge that year included the following kind words concerning the future of St. Andrew's Lodge:
On March 6, 1913, I had the pleasure of carrying to Springfield, Ohio, the Dispensation for St. Andrew's Lodge. This was a remarkable meeting and will long be remembered by your Grand Master. There was never a new Lodge of Masons started with more enthusiasm and overflowing of Masonic Love than that which I found that evening, and the duty of the Grand Master was performed in sending them on their way rejoicing. The future of St. Andrew's Lodge is secure.
The first candidate class consisted of 34 men who were initiated as Entered Apprentices on March 24, 1913. Shortly after being initiated, these 34 Brethren boarded a train to Dayton and assisted in the evacuation of victims who were stranded in Dayton's Great Flood of 1913. Soon thereafter they were passed to the Fellowcraft degree and on April 24, 1913 (one month from their initiation) 28 of these Brethren were raised to Master Masons in one day, from 9:00 A.M. to Midnight. These 28 new Master Masons then immediately formed a Craft team under the direction of B. F. Downey and raised the remaining members of the class several days later. From that time, the members of this original candidate class were known as the "34 Club" and they enjoyed annual outings in the first week of June until the scythe of time made this impossible. Of these 34, 7 went on to become Worshipful Masters of St. Andrew's Lodge. The last member of the "34 Club, Bro. Horace H. Shellabarger, passed away April 5, 1977. The following is a listing of St. Andrew's "34 Club":
MEMBERSHIP OF THE 34 CLUB :
|Bro. Fred Adams||Bro. Cyrus I. Miller|
|Wor. Bro. Charles P. Baxter||Bro. Frank H. Mills|
|Wor. Bro. Harry G. Bennett||Bro. George D. Morrett|
|Wor. Bro. Fred R. Burton||Bro. Alden C. Neff|
|Wor. Bro. C. Ray Byerman||Bro. Carl R. Noble|
|Rt. Wor. Bro. James M. Drake||Bro. Roy R. Parker|
|Bro. Karl F. Eipper||Bro. Alfred H. Potter|
|Bro. Lowell B. Keefer||Bro. Robert B. Powell|
|Bro. Frank W. Keiffer||Bro. Fred A. Remsberg|
|Bro. Charles M. Ludman||Bro. J. Herman Shaeffer|
|Bro. John O. Elliott||Bro. Edward C. Schmaker|
|Bro. William Fry||Bro. Horace Shellabarger|
|Bro. Adelbert Hamilton||Wor. Bro. Wilbur E. Shewalter|
|Bro. Leroy Hansell||Bro. Fred M. Wallace|
|Bro. Frank M. Hewitt||Bro. Clarence F. Webb|
|Bro. Charles K. Hullinger||Bro. John H. Zimmerman|
|Bro. William C. McClennen|
Bro. David K. Gotwald
RWB James S. Webb and WB E. Wilbur Baxter were also included as Honorary Members
A total of 89 Master Masons were raised while under Dispensation and 9 new members were received on demit. Clark and Anthony Lodges provided invaluable assistance during this crucial stage in the Lodge's formation by helping to confer the degrees.
The First Annual Strawberry Festival was held in June 1913. The tables for this occasion were placed in the form of St. Andrew's Cross and the Brethren enjoyed strawberries and cream. There was no particular significance in choosing strawberries other than it being a convenient fruit of the season and fitting the occasion. The Brethren so enjoyed this social event that it has become one of the longest standing traditions of the Lodge which survives even to the present day.
Having successfully weathered the initial struggles every new organization faces, St. Andrew's Lodge was granted a Charter on October 23, 1913, and on October 30, 1913, MWB Charles H. Pretzman, Grand Master, presided at the Consecrating and Constituting ceremonies.
During this period of rapid expansion the membership increased from 105 to 401 and the Lodge focused on laying a strong foundation to sustain it through the future. It was early in this period that the unique St. Andrew's Past Master jewel originated. Bro. Karl F. Eipper, a jeweler and member of the 34 Club, felt that the Past Masters of St. Andrew's should have some mark of distinction to identify them. Consequently, in early 1914, he designed the jewel, bearing the Cross of St. Andrew with a Past Masters quadrant hanging thereon (see illustration below). Within the quadrant is the sun with a face made from a carved gemstone. James S. Webb was presented the first of these exclusive jewels which can be seen on display in the Springfield Masonic Temple's museum. Although it is no longer cost effective to have these intricate gold jewels produced, the Lodge is still able to perpetuate this cherished tradition through the generosity of the Past Masters and their families who make sure that the jewels are returned to the Lodge upon the death of the recipient. (See Past Masters page for a photo of our PM jewel.)
The Lodge was honored in 1914 when its founding father, James S. Webb, was appointed to serve as District Lecturer (equivalent to today's District Deputy Grand Master) and he held this position through 1918. The years 1917 & 1918 were dominated by World War I in which 61 of our members faithfully served (including 1 Past Master and 6 members of the 34 Club). 3 of the 61 sacrificed their lives for our country. An honor roll was created and displayed in the Masonic Temple to distinguish those members who served.
During World War I, many soldiers had witnessed the bond of Masonic fraternalism that had regularly been displayed in Europe in the midst of the war. Many of these soldiers were so impressed by this that they sought admission to our vast Fraternity after returning to the states. 77 Master Masons were raised during 1920 and this number was not to be surpassed until 1946. By 1927, more Master Masons had been raised than would be raised in the next 25 years.
In 1920, James S. Webb and W. E. Copenhaver were honored by being coroneted an Honorary Grand Inspectors General (33rd Degree) of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. This was an extremely rare instance (if not the only instance) where two members of the same Lodge received the 33rd Degree at the same time.
Because of the great influx of membership immediately following World War I, it was determined that a 4th Lodge in Springfield would be beneficial to provide opportunities for more Brethren to take and active part in the Fraternity. The petitioners for this new Lodge decided to honor, MWB Harry S. Kissell, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, by naming the new Lodge after him. Their dispensation was granted on April 27, 1921 at which time St. Andrew's presented a complete set of officers jewels to the new Lodge.
One of the most important undertakings of this period was the erection of our present Masonic Temple at 125 West High Street. The corner stone was laid on October 29, 1924 by the Grand Lodge Officers with representatives from the 4 Symbolic Lodges and other Masonic bodies present. This important undertaking took over 2 years to complete and the Grand Lodge Officers returned to Springfield on January 26, 1927 to consecrate the new Temple. On this occasion, the Grand Master, MWB Charles L. Minor had the following words:
This Temple is one of the most beautiful and commodious of any Temple in the State of Ohio. Its apartments and furnishing are unexcelled both for artistic beauty and convenience. Although this beautiful building poses some difficult maintenance and operation challenges today, it is still a source of great pride for all Masons associated with it and is a historic landmark of Springfield.
To commemorate the dedication of the new Temple, the Symbolic Lodges determined to portray the three Masonic degrees. The following account appeared in an article of the local Masonic paper of the day:
In order of seniority, St. Andrew's Lodge falls heir to the Entered Apprentice Degree which, while it does not possess the opportunities of the Master Mason Degree, it is beautiful and impressive. It is believed that Worshipful Master Frank Dunn will give a good account of St. Andrew's when the time arrives for its first work in the big auditorium of the new Temple. Little did the author of this article know that St. Andrew's had something indeed impressive and beautiful planned, for this was to be the first time the Entered Apprentice degree would include our distinctive "Black and White" portrayal. WB Dunn had appointed James Webb and George Bauer to chair a committee to develop an special portrayal of the degree. Drawing on his past association with Blackstone, the magician, Bro. Bauer began experimenting with special lighting effects and props. After much trial and error, a suitable lighting method and set of props was fabricated and the "Black and White" was born. Vertical columns of light were placed on the stage facing the audience with the rest of the stage darkened. Specially painted props were then illuminated to correspond with the degree work. This produced an effect which left the viewer amazed as the symbols of the degree mysteriously appeared out of the darkness and then disappeared. For many years the "Black and White" was confined only to the Entered Apprentice degree, but the Lodge has since adapted the Fellowcraft and Master Mason degrees to incorporate these special effects (Fellowcraft in 1965 and Master Mason in 1961). Fluorescent colored robes and props along with ultraviolet "black light" replaced the original columns of light and props in 1948 to produce an even more striking effect. WB David Riffell and his current successor Bro. LeRoy Bolen have directed the "Black and White" through the years and it has become a distinctive tradition at our annual inspections. We salute the Craft who have been the indispensable resource in sustaining the "Black and White" through the years.
As was popular for the time, St. Andrew's formed a Minstrel show in 1928 to entertain the 3 other Lodges in the new Temple. This show was so well received that the St. Andrew's was persuaded to provide public performances. Although the jokes originally referred to certain Past Masters of the Lodge, they were easily adapted to others for a broader audience.
The dark clouds of the 1930s were soon to become apparent. St. Andrew's was to face some of its most serious challenges during this period and the darkest and the brightest moments in the history of St. Andrew's Lodge would be exemplified.
1929 will be forever regarded as a bleak year in American history. This was of course the year of the great stock market crash which culminated in the Great Depression. Despite this cataclysmic event, in this same year St. Andrew's was graced with the good fortune of gaining Bro. Roy R. Parker as Secretary in which position he would faithfully serve for the next 33 years.
As a result of the economic depression which had gripped the entire world, all Masonic bodies were struggling with the increased need for relief to members, loss of members through non-payment of dues, and lack of new members to offset losses. Subsequently the focus of the Lodge had to change with the times. Unprepared to cope with this drastic situation, many worthy members were unjustly suspended for non-payment of dues in the beginning of this period. The situation was ultimately rectified by appointing committees to investigate all cases of non-payment and, as the 1930s progressed, suspensions were minimized by remitting the dues of worthy, needy Brethren. With the lack of candidates, the meetings of the Lodge transitioned from an emphasis on degree conferrals to an emphasis on fellowship and entertainment. Subsequently, St. Andrew's managed to find the silver lining in the situation and a much greater fraternal bond between the membership was formed.
For the Annual Inspection of 1936, the distinctive "Black and White" portrayal of the Entered Apprentice degree was displayed to an audience of 291. This was the first "Black and White" since the 1927 Temple dedication. 1937 was the year of the great flood at Cincinnati and St. Andrew's contributed generously to the Grand Master's Flood Relief Fund. 1937 was also the year in which St. Andrew's Craft Club was formally organized and their first annual St. Valentine's dance was held. The Craft Club has since come on hard times and the annual St. Valentine's dances are no more, but there are high hopes of infusing new life into the Craft Club in the near future. Membership also increased in 1937 for the first time since the Stock Crash. The tradition of formal attire (tuxedoes) for meetings was inaugurated in 1938 and during Grand Lodge in Canton that year, many of our Brethren registered for the first peace-time draft.
With the United States' entry into World War II, a steady stream of men began knocking at the doors of Freemasonry. Much of this sudden upsurge is likely attributable to the stories of the previous generation's experiences with Masonry during the first World War. This great surge in membership continued after the war as men returned to civilian life and longed to enjoy the commaradery they experience during their military service and to associate themselves with an organization whose great tenets are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Our Lodge grew from 709 members in 1940 to the record high of 1332 members in 1958 the whole fraternity basked in the glow of an unprecedented period of growth.
This period was of course dominated World War II. The number of candidates began to increase and the 4 Symbolic Lodges in Springfield began to hold a number of cooperative events. The newly formed Masters and Wardens Association (now known as the Masters, Wardens, Deacons, and Secretaries Association) united the leadership of the Lodges for the betterment of Masonry in Springfield. St. Andrew's was again honored with a Grand Lodge appointment in 1941 when George Dunbar was appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the 9th Masonic District.
In 1943, a Master's and Wardens Association was formed at the district level to promote cooperation between all the Lodges of the 9th District. Also in 1943 the Insurance and Death Benefit provisions of the Masonic Temple Co. stock were eliminated to preserve the fiscal solvency of the Temple.
1944 was a notable year for the Lodge because St. Andrew's was chosen to open Grand Lodge for the Grand Master, Most Wor. Bro. Alpheus A. Stevens, at the Ohio Masonic Home for the purpose of delivering the charter and dedicating "Memorial Lodge". The premiere issue of "The Scotsman" was also distributed in this year to provide a Lodge newsletter to the Brethren who were serving in the armed forces. "The Scotsman" soon became the official paper of St. Andrew's with every member receiving a copy. George Dunbar served as the editor with the capable assistance of Elmer L. Calnan and W.P. "Sailor" Watson.
For the first time since 1913, the Annual Strawberry Festival of 1945 was held without strawberries which was a great disappointment to the 440 Brethren in attendance. The Wor. Master, Harley L. Mann refused to be coerced by "OPA chislers" who demanded him to purchase a basket of onions for every crate of strawberries. There was not sufficient time to have the strawberries imported, so the Lodge made due without. The Lodge's tradition of presenting special Craft Aprons originated in 1945 when 7 Brethren were presented these special aprons for taking part in more than 50% of the raisings. This tradition survives to the present day.
1946 proved to be the greatest year of expansion in the Lodge's history. 112 Master Masons were raised during this record year under the leadership of Edward C. Vonderheide. 36 of these Brethren were raised in only 3 meetings. This was not accomplished through shortcuts or questionable work, but by the proficiency, hard work, and dedication of the officers and craft who sacrificed their own time to participate in the 34 special meetings called during this year. It's unfortunate that this level of dedication is a scarce commodity in this day and age.
Another noteworthy event of 1946 was our 33rd Annual Inspection at which 500 attendees witnessed WB Vonderheide initiate his son. A number of service awards were also presented this year including 272 25-year emblems in addition to 5 50-year emblems presented to James S. Webb, Charles L. Bauer, Harry V. Bretney, Charles L. Lockett, and Emmett T. Zerkle.
1948 saw the burning of the Temple mortgage and the Masons of Springfield could then claim full ownership to their beautiful Temple.
1950 was a bittersweet year for the Lodge because this was the year we lost Right Wor. Bro. James S. Webb. The writers of the Lodge's 50-Year Anniversary booklet put it best when they wrote: Probably the saddest event of our history occurred in 1950. On October 10 the man who had been the guiding spirit during the formation and the early days of our Lodge, the man who was the founder and first Worshipful Master of St. Andrew's, a Past Worshipful Master of both Clark and St. Andrew's Lodges, Past District Deputy Grand Master (then called District Lecturer), a member of all the Masonic bodies and holder of the 33rd Degree in the Scottish Rite, Right Wor. Bro. James S. Webb, was admitted into the Celestial Lodge above where the Supreme Architect of the Universe undoubtedly still hears him extolling the virtues of his beloved St. Andrew's.
It is a yearly tradition for the Worshipful Master to wear Right Wor. Bro. Webb's St. Andrew's lapel pin during a stated meeting to commemorate the important part he played in forming and sustaining our Lodge.
In 1953 the 4 Springfield Lodges began subsidizing the operation of the Temple Club so that all members of the 4 Lodges could enjoy the privileges thereof. Previously, the club was only open to those who paid an additional membership fee. In hindsight, this was a very important event because it strengthened the bonds between the Lodges and continues to promote greater fellowship among the various Masonic bodies which meet in the Temple.
In 1953 the "Masonic Light" was born as a Temple-wide publication. Many members of St. Andrew's Lodge had reservations about such a publication since the voice of St. Andrew's, "The Scotsman", had been very successful and had become dear to the hearts of all members of St. Andrew's. The Brethren realized that the "Masonic Light" had the potential for strengthening the communication and cooperation of all the Springfield bodies and they subsequently laid aside their reservations to give the new publication a trial run. Publication of "The Scotsman" was suspended during this trial period and the "Masonic Light" ultimately proved its worth and has been an important line of communication for the Springfield Temple ever since. Through the willingness to sacrifice its own publication, St. Andrew's Lodge was once more able to contribute to the improvement of Freemasonry in Springfield.
In 1956, St. Andrew's, Clark, and H.S. Kissell Lodges combined efforts to form the Springfield Masonic Blood Bank. This program became a great humanitarian effort whereby vast amounts of blood were contributed. Although the Springfield Masonic Blood Bank is no longer in existence, some of our members still contribute blood through the Community Blood Center and these donations are tracked and credited to St. Andrew's Lodge in their computer records. It has been said, "There is no greater way to show our understanding of the tenets of our profession than to give of our blood that it may aid another to live."
St. Andrew's was honored in 1958 to have one of our Past Master, Robert Ireland, received the 33rd Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. Also in this year, the Grand Lodge's discussions concerning increased Masonic education resulted in the establishment of District Education Officers (DEOs) for each Masonic district. George L. Dunbar who was a Past Master of St. Andrew's and a Past District Deputy Grand Master was appointed by Most Wor. Bro. Chester Hodges as the first DEO for the 9th Masonic District.
The previous 18 years had been simply remarkable in regard to membership expansion, but the years since then have been equally startling in regard to membership contraction. The Lodge's net gain between 1940 and 1958 was negated by the net loss we have experience since then. Regardless of the striking fluctuation in membership, the noble character of Freemasonry remains intact during this period and the Fraternity continues to touch the lives of its members.
The Annual Strawberry Festival tradition was altered in 1962 when the Worshipful Master, W. Eugene Roush, held the festival on the first Saturday instead of the first Thursday of May. This was done to help accommodate a number of the Brethren who were unable to attend on a weeknight. The Annual Strawberry Festival has been held on a Saturday ever since. Also in 1962, Roy R. Parker, who had served St. Andrew's as Secretary for over 32 years, resigned. This still stands as a Lodge record for number of years in service.
1963 marked the Lodge's Golden Anniversary. The Worshipful Master, C. Richard Thulin, presented a 50th Anniversary Program on March 2, 1963 at which Bro. Lyman Sherwood, a noted lawyer and active Mason from the Chicago area, gave an address on "A Prescription for Happiness". Bro. Sherwood gratefully accepted the invitation to speak on short notice since the originally scheduled speaker, Bro. Tenneson Guyer, State Senator of Ohio, had been unexpectedly detained in Toledo. 50-Year Emblems were presented to the following Brethren who had been raised in St. Andrew's founding year:
· James M. Drake
· Ramond A. Flook
· Wilbur E. Shewalter
· Thomas J. Berry
· Karl F. Eipper
· John O. Elliott
· Lloyd B. Flook
· Paul T. Gerhardt
· Charles K. Hullinger
· Llowell B. Keefer
· William H. McClenan
· Clarence L. Metz
· Roy R. Parker
· Howard M. Ream
· Edward G. Schmacker
1964 was to be the last year in which the Lodge registered a net gain in membership (+10).
In 1965, St. Andrew's Cross emblems began to be awarded to craft members for continued participation in the raisings. These emblems were to be attached to the Craft Aprons which had already been presented. This custom lasted less than 10 years, but you can still find some of these craft aprons with these emblems in the hands of some of our longtime members.
The 4 Springfield Lodges joined forces in 1967 for a dinner with their ladies to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the Grand Lodge of England.
Our York Rite Brethren of Palestine Commandery No. 33 formed a Symbolic Lodge Craft Team and in their first degree conferral on March 20, 1969, raised a St. Andrew's candidate, Robert J. Weller, to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. Also in 1969, the ladies were invited to the Annual Strawberry Festival which had previously been limited to Brethren only. Since this change was initiated, the festival has become a family event and one of the social highlights of every year. It is also worthy to note that for several years the festival was held at the Clark County Fairgrounds to accommodate the massive attendace (800+ in 1972). Although the fellowship and strawberries are enjoyable in themselves, the great attendance during these years is partially attributable to local celebrities such as Cincinnati Bengal football player, Vince Costello, and WLW radio/television personalities, Buddy Ross and Bonnie Lou, providing entertainment.
In 1970 the Springfield Masonic Temple was enriched by the love of a St. Andrew's member. Bro. Rolla Wagner bequeathed the Temple $100,000 from his estate with the interest to be used to offset the operation and maintenance of the building. This trust fund continues to provide financial support for our beautiful Temple and is a last memorial to the love Bro. Wagner had for our great fraternity.
In an initiative to preserve our original charter, Bruce Lippincott (later to become Worshipful Master) rendered a great service to the Lodge in 1973 by producing several photographic copies of this historical document for general use. This allowed the Lodge to protectively store the original charter for use only on special occasions such as the annual inspection.
Our Lodge was again honored by having one of our members elevated to a higher level of leadership when, in 1975, Arthur C. Chamberlain was appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the 9th Masonic District. Right Wor. Bro. Chamberlain served in this capacity for 3 years with distinction.
1976 was a special year for the Lodge as we celebrated the U.S.A.'s Bicentennial. All 4 Springfield Lodges marched in the Bicentennial Parade on July 3, 1976 and participated in the Heritage Week Celebration.
In 1977 our current tradition of enjoying Oysters prior to the annual meeting originated. Also in this year, a library and museum was organized to collect and display the many books, documents, and memorabilia which had been accumulating in the Temple over the years. The library and museum has expanded from its humble beginnings in the west wing of the ballroom's balcony and now also occupies a room on the 3rd floor. Several members of St. Andrew's are involved in perpetuating this endeavor.
Wor. Bro. Bill Jordan organized the first annual Springfield Temple Endowment Fund Bowling Tournament in 1978 and this yearly tournament has raised thousands of dollars to date. The 4 Lodges also take turns cooking breakfast in conjunction with this tournament as an added fund raising venture. 1978 was also special because the Grand Master, Most Wor. Bro. Jerry C. Rasor attended our 65th annual inspection and witnessed the "Black and White" portrayal of the Master Mason degree.
We lost our last living Charter Member in 1981 when Bro. Howard Mitchell Ream entered the Celestial Lodge above on July 19th of that year.
St. Andrew's was pleased to have Robert W. Brown and Charles N. Espich, appointed District Deputies Grand Master in 1982 and 1992 respectively.
For the annual inspection in 1992, the 5th floor asylum room was outfitted with ultraviolet lights for the purpose of portraying the second section of the Master Mason degree in the "Black and White" for the first time.
In 1996 another exciting tradition was initiated when the Lodge held a degree conferral in the historic Lodge room at the Ohio Village in Columbus. Each year the Brethren stop for dinner on the way to Columbus and then are treated to an evening of Masonic fellowship and education in the candlelight of this historic setting.
In 1997 the Lodge enjoyed another historic evening by hosting a traditional Table Lodge at the New Boston Fair. This event had been initiated several years before by Clark Lodge #101 and this was the first year St. Andrew's had the privilege to act as host. Period dress (circa 1800) was required for attendance and the ceremony was conducted by candlelight in a shelter at George Rogers Clark Park. Brethren from other states as well as other countries were our guests for the evening.
1997 was also the year that a lodge website was launched to improve communication and increase public awareness of Freemasonry and St. Andrew's Lodge #619.
In 2000, the Lodge was again honored by having one of its own, Martin R. Trent, elevated to the position of District Deputy Grand Master of the 9th Masonic District. In addition to the duties associated with this position of leadership, Rt. Wor. Bro. Trent has continued to serve as the Lodge's Secretary.
The beautiful velvet and silver collars worn by the officers of the Lodge were donated by RWB Robert J. Weller as a memorial to his father, Bro. Merrill Weller, who passed away in December 2000 and had been very active in the lodge for many years. A "surprise" presentation of these collars was made at the Lodge's stated meeting on Sep 6, 2001 along with a beautiful wooden storage cabinet made by WB Marvin Horton.
As the result of decreasing attendance and waning interest, the annual tradition of portraying the "black and white" for the annual inspection was suspended for 1999 and 2000. The tradition was re-instated by WB Arnold R. Colvin in March 2001 for the annual inspection in the EA degree. The "black and white" has been portrayed during the annual inspection ever since except in 2004 when Grand Master Steven Krekus prohibited it because "it was not in the ritual" (interesting that he didn't prohibit the use of slide shows during the lecture since the "black and white" is comparable to a slide show except that it is a live presentation).
In 2002, the Grand Lodge of Ohio took a bold step and authorized the first 1-Day Class where a man could receive all 3 degrees in a single day with no memorization work. The 1-Day Class was held on April 27, 2002 across the state at the 10 Scottish Rite Valleys and over 10,000 new Master Masons were raised that day. St. Andrew's Lodge had more than 15 candidates in this first historic 1-Day Class. Our officers' ritualistic proficiency has been recognized by having several of our officers perform major officer parts in the first 1-Day Class and those that followed in subsequent years. Our own RWB Martin R. Trent has the distinction of having directed all 3 degrees in 1-Day Classes (EA in 2002, MM in 2003, and FC in 2005).
In October 2003, the lodge was again honored when Robert J. Weller was appointed to the position of District Deputy Grand Master of the 9th Masonic District. All who know RWB Weller will agree that his appointment as DDGM is a long-overdue recognition of his outstanding ritualistic and leadership skills. Notwithstanding the Masonic significance of the number 7, it must also be a lucky number for the Lodge because the last 4 members appointed as District Deputies presided over the lodge in years ending in "7":
RWB Arthur Chamberlain - Master 1967
RWB Charles Espich - Master 1987
RWB Martin R. Trent - Master 1997
RWB Robert Weller - Master 1977
In 2007, WB Jason C. Fischer, III, presided as Worshipful Master of the Lodge. Worshipful Brother Fischer was the first Master who had been initiated via a Grand Master's One Day Class. Although the one-day classes continue to be controversial, St. Andrew's has reaped the rewards of these classes by gaining many new members who serve our Lodge as good officers and faithful Craft.
Even though our numbers have decreased, St. Andrew's remains a vibrant and active Lodge. We have numerous activities for the members and their families as well as continuing to support numerous Masonic and non-Masonic charities. In 2011, Bro. Brian Algeo, a reservist with the U.S. Air Force, spearheaded a kids' shoe drive to collect much needed shoes for local Afghani children who lived near the base where he was forward deployed.
Of paramount importance, St. Andrew's continues to proudly dispense Masonic light through the beautiful degrees of Freemasonry and faithfully preserves the ancient landmarks of the order. We are starting to see an influx of more and more young men knocking at the door of the Fraternity - - a sign that the fraternity will continue to survive and thrive as it has throughout the preceding centuries. We enthusiastically look to the future with the steadfast belief that time, patience, and perseverance will accomplish all things.
2013 was our 100th year and we had no repeat Masters! We marked our 100th year with a FANTASTIC Strawberry Festival featuring Phil Dirt and The Dozers. The Grand Master, MWB James F. Easterling, Jr., and the Grand Lodge officers reconsecrated the Lodge in June. A published history was also issued to every member of the Lodge along with a commemorative coin. We look forward to the next 100 years!