[Square & Compasses]

A Short History of Blue Hill Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Massachusetts

by Wor. Ralph W. Staples

On the tenth day of March 1863, the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Massachusetts granted dispensation to a group of Masons from the Stoughton/Canton area to organize a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Canton, Massachusetts. The first meeting of the new lodge was held in the office of the Kinsley Iron and Machine Company on Revere Street. The first Masonic Candidate was William H. Little who was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on the 13th of May, 1863. There is no record to tell us of the struggles and hopes and aspirations of these ancient brethren.

The records of that first year, and indeed for several years are meager in detail, and on the Fifteenth of March, 1864, five days after the Dispensation had completed its year, Blue Hill Lodge was formally constituted, and the hall consecrated and dedicated and the officers duly installed.

In October of 1864, Blue Hill Lodge members participated in the ceremonies incident to the laying of the cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple in Boston, Massachusetts. Meetings were held on the Wednesday on or before the full of the moon and on October 1865 this was changed to the Tuesday of the same lunar relation.

On the Fourth ofFebruary, 1868 an assessment of nine dollars ($9.00) per member was levied on members of Blue Hill Lodge for building of the Grand Lodge in Boston, Massachusetts. The records show that practically every member of Blue Hill Lodge promptly paid his assessment.

In September, 1869, the lodge had outgrown its quarters. It was decided to hire the hall on Church Street directly opposite the Baptist Church, this hall was later the headquarters of the Revere Post #94 G.A.R.

At the Regular Communication in December, 1863, George Washington Capen was installed as Senior Deacon by proxy (a common enough proceeding in those days), and a few days later while walking the railroad track to Canton Junction in the face of a blinding snow storm, Brother Capen was killed by a locomotive, and thus never occupied the chair into which he had been inducted by proxy.

In 1892, at the November meeting the inconvenient custom of holding the meetings with reference to the phases of the moon was abandoned, and the lodge voted that the Regular Meetings of Blue Hill Lodge would be held on the First Tuesday of the month, excluding July and August which could be omitted by vote of the lodge.

Blue Hill Lodge members had always nursed the laudable ambition of having a building of its own. In 1923 an opportunity of realizing that ambition was presented and the Blue Hill Masonic Association was formed and incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to secure and hold the so-called Tucker Block in the center of town. A competent architect prepared suitable plans but the project had to be abandoned.

Again in 1930 it looked as if we might be able to attain our desires. The Baptist Church property was available and negotiations were started for its acquisition, but nothing came of it at that time. In 1937 the Baptist Church was offered at such an attractive price that the Blue Hill Masonic Association purchased it. The steeple was removed in the s to prevent it from falling. The upper apartments had to be completely refurbished at that time.

In 1997, the ceiling in the lodge room that was badly damaged in the winter of1996 had to be completely covered with blue board and a new plaster ceiling was installed. At that time electrical work was also done in the lodge room.

In 1993, Hyde Park Lodge had a bad fire and the lodge in Hyde Park was condemned. Hyde Park lodge merged with Eliot Lodge in Westwood and a new Elito-Hyde Park Lodge Temple was built in Westwood center. At that time,a series of beautiful paintings depicting the Middle Chamber of King s Temple that hung in Hyde Park Lodge were donated to Blue Hill Lodge. Through many hours of tedious labor, Four of these paintings were carefully restored to their original condition by Wor. Leo V. Hand, a Past Master of Blue Hill Lodge and his daughter Catherine.

At the Regular Communication of Blue Hill Lodge, in March, 1998, these paintings were hung and dedicated. Certificates of Appreciation were presented to the representatives of Eliot-Hyde Park Lodge, Wor. Leo V. Hand and his daughter Catherine Hand.

In 1997 the Blue Hill Masonic Association voted to lease the Banquet Hall, Kitchen and adjoining rooms to Family-A-Fare Catering for not less than 5 years to operate a catering kitchen with the agreement that Family-A-Fare Catering would provide catering for all Blue Hill Lodge Regular Communications.

At that time, the Blue Hill Masonic Association refurbished the hall, fenced in the parking lot, completely re-plumbed the downstairs, installed a 200 amp electrical system and installed both up-to-code Fire Alarm and Burglar Alarm Systems throughout the lodge.

In 1998 Blue Hill Lodge set up a Web Page on the worldwide web. This web page tells about Blue Hill Lodge activities and has a schedule of our upcoming events, a photo album pertaining to Blue Hill Lodge and has links to many Masonic Web Sites including the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, which was the first Grand Lodge in the United States to go on the web and the Hyde Park 25th Masonic s newly establish web site which lists all of the lodge activities in the Hyde Park 25th Masonic District.

During the Millenium Year, Blue Hill Lodge is taking an active part in the CHIP Program which is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. This program in the Canton area is in hopes of taking Videos, Tooth Prints and Finger Prints of every child in the Canton area.

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