Holyoke’s Masonic Lodge

by Laurel | December 9th, 2011

Mt. Tom Lodge volunteers: Moved empty cases donated to the museum effort.  Job well done.

Mt. Tom Lodge volunteers: Moved empty cases donated to the museum effort. Job well done.

09 December 2011

The importance of fraternal organizations was crucial for a very long time, especially for immigrants — whether it be ethnic organizations or otherwise — and my family was very involved in the Masons. My grandfather was a Past Master of Mt. Tom Lodge in the 1940’s and my Dad was also, though much later in the 1990’s. This building on Chestnut Street housed several lodges that shared the building and contributed to the upkeep, including the William Whiting Lodge and at least one more I would have to look up — I want to say Mt. Holyoke or Nonotuck, but I am not so sure. The Masonic auxiliary groups the women were in also used the building — and perhaps the youth groups, though I am not completely certain of that. I think the first memory I have of the place was in the early 1950’s at a social event — pretty impressive seeing so many of the men wearing a tux and their formal masonic aprons.

It has been well over twenty years since my genealogy research began, and of course my parents worked on it for decades prior. But I digress, for what I was about to mention is my amazement in learning the number of relatives and extended family that were members of this organization. It is pretty impressive and a testament to the fraternal concept. My father, ever the genealogy researcher, investigated this. Unfortunately for the gen researcher, the only data the Lodge held was their 3″ x 5″ membership card with almost nothing but names on it — not so helpful for the gen researcher. You would have to write to the Grand Lodge in Boston for anything with greater detail.

Some of you attended the open house that was held within the past couple years. My father, I am proud to say, was a driving force to see much of the Mt. Tom memorabilia preserved and on display. You may have seen the “museum” during the open house. These pictures are from the day the Masons moved the display cases — a donation from a local Holyoke business — to the Lodge.

You can see a few images of the museum display at this link, and have a look at the membership lists and the history of the Lodge at this link. I was there that day and took the pictures featured on this page — I think it was around 1997-98 — will try to look that up. You might recognize some of the faces in the top image — four people in it are my relatives.

It would have been so nice if other fraternal organization had preserved their memorabilia.

Unloading the Display Cases

Unloading the Display Cases

Loading the Display Cases

Loading the Display Cases

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