Lodge History

A Lodge is Born

Introduction 

As the origins of Masonry in the world are obscure, and only the finest scholar would dare to speak with any authority concerning just where and when “speculative” Masonry began, so it is difficult to tell exactly when and where Masonry had its beginnings in Elizabethtown. With names like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin numbered among the leaders of Masonic work in the earliest days of our nation”s history, and with Lodge No. 43 in Lancaster tracing its origin back to the year 1785, we may conjecture that Freemasonry was already known in Elizabethtown when Barnabus Hughes “laid out” the town in 1745 and named it for his wife, Elizabeth.

Before 1915

The fact that Masonic activity in the Elizabethtown area preceded the constituting of Lodge No. 682 by more than one hundred years is substantiated by the records of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, which state, in part:

“A Petition from a number of Ancient York Master Masons residing in and near the Village of Elizabethtown in the County of Lancaster was read. It prayed for a Warrant for holding a Lodge at said Village to be called ”Amicitia (Friendship) Lodge” and that Brother Terah Jones might be named Master; Thomas Wilson, Senior Warden; and William Heller, Junior Warden of the same. Which Petition, being in due form and duly recommended, agreeably to the Regulations of this Grand Lodge, it was on motion made and seconded, Resolved:-That the prayer of the Petitioners be granted and that Bro. Grand Secretary make out a Warrant accordingly and that the same be numbered 116.”

Amicitia Lodge No. 116 was Warranted September 3, 1810, with the following Charter Members: Terah Jones, Thomas Wilson, William Heller, William Youse, John Alford, Owen Gorman, Abraham C. Price, George Wolfrey, Andrew Caracher and Ephraim Heller. For some unknown reason this Lodge No. 116 was removed to Marietta, Pennsylvania, on April 4, 1814, and the warrant was vacated on February 6, 1837.

After the turn of the century (1900) there was again some interest expressed in having a Lodge constituted in Elizabethtown. Dr. Abraham C. Treichler, one of the community”s highly respected physicians and a member of Columbia Lodge, No. 286, was a leader in this movement. Bro. Treichler had also been instrumental in the Grand Lodge”s selection of Elizabethtown for the location of the Masonic Homes, and was the first physician to minister to the needs of the guests when the Homes were formally opened in June 1910. Unfortunately, Dr. Treichler departed this life on February 27, 1915, and did not live to see the warranting of the Lodge, which today bears his name.

March 19, 1915

A group of Masonic Brothers gathered at the home of Harry . Miller on March..19, 1915, to discuss the possibility of forming a lodge at Elizabethtown. This group elected Richard H. Lawry, President and Henry T. Horst as Secretary. They agreed to pay a $10.00 membership fee and if a warrant is obtained a membership fee for new Masons would be $50.00. This Hall Association would be composed of all charter members and they then elected Henry U. Coble as treasurer. A second meeting of this group numbering twenty assembled at the Miller home. They agreed that if a Lodge is warranted they should then rent Heisey”s Hall at East Bainbridge and South Market Streets. With light, heat and water included, the building rent was $180.00 per annum. A committee was formed to “wait” on the Right Worshipful Grand Master and Grand Officers in regards to obtaining a Warrant. The committee was composed of Richard H. Lawry, Henry T. Horst, Henry U. Coble, Charles B. Dierolf and Henry Miller.

April 28, 1915

Members of the Masonic Fraternity numbering 26 assembled in Heisey”s Hall on the corner of South Market and East Bainbridge Streets with Richard H. Lawry, presiding, whereupon the following officers were elected by secret ballot:

  • Worshipful Master – Richard H. Lawry
  • Senior Warden – John Shookers
  • Junior Warden – Irvin Shiffer
  • Secretary – Henry T. Horst
  • Treasurer – George Boggs
  • Trustee – John Redsecker
  • Trustee – Henry Coble
  • Trustee – N. Franklin Heckler
  • Representative in the Grand Lodge – J. Harvey Buch

Several names for the Lodge were proposed, but none were adopted at this meeting. June 16, 1915

The Hall Association met again on June 16, 1915 and listed furniture to be purchased for the Lodge Room at a projected cost of $651.50, with additional second hand chairs to be purchased at $0.50 each. The rent of the hall (which was owned by Brother Alfred A. Abele) for the entire third floor had been decreased to $147.00 per annum.

August 10, 1915

The Masonic Hall Committee met on August 10, 1915 with 28 members present. The furniture committee reported the following purchases:

  • Clothing – $215.57
  • Furniture – $821.00
  • Carpets – $265.00
  • 50 extra chairs – $ 23.20

August 27, 1915

The Masonic Hall Association met once more of August 27, 1915 and approved the constitution as presented. They moved to lease the third floor of the building for a 10-year period at $147.00 per annum, with payments made quarterly. The Hall Association was presented a list of 39 names who desired to join the Lodge pending the issuance of the Warrant of Constitution.

Lodge No. 682 is Constituted

At a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge, held on September 15, 1915, Lodge No. 682 was constituted. The meeting was conducted on the third floor of “the Heisey Building.” Fifteen brethren present representing the Grand Lodge were as follows: J. Henry Williams, Grand Master; Thaddeus G. Helm, Acting-Deputy Grand Master; Ira D. Smith, Acting-Senior Grand Warden; B. Frank Eby, Acting-junior Grand Warden; Henry C. Schock, Acting-Grand Treasurer; John A. Perry, Grand Secretary; I. Howard Kern, Grand Chaplain; Frank G. Hartman, Senior Grand Deacon; J. Frederick Fisher, Junior Grand Deacon; Henry M. Myers, Grand Steward; Bernard J. Myers, Grand Steward; Andrew H. Hershey, Grand Marshal; John R. Kauffman, Grand Sword Bearer; Milton E. Gingrich, Grand Pursuivant; William B. Joslyn, Grand Tyler.

In addition to the Grand Officers, forty-one charter members and ninety-five visiting brethren were in attendance. Among the charter members were the following Past Masters of other Lodges: Emmett U. Aumiller (381), John G. Redsecker (551), Simon H. Nissley (551), Andrew C. Ober (551), Elmer E. Sloat (551), John G. McBridge (551), Frank Dissinger (551), J. Harvey Buch (551).

The other Charter Members were as follows: Alfred A. Abele Julius E. Belser, Simon..G. Bishop, Royer S. Buch, J. Earl Buch, Henry U. Coble, Charles B. Dierolf, Edgar R. Ebersole, Albert L. Garrett, Reuben C. Gross, Jacob R. Grube, N. Franklin Heckler, Samuel G. Hershey, Harry Huntzberger, John A. Kaylor, Herbert C. Lewis, James C. McLanachan, Isaac W. Meckley, Harry Miller, Frank S. Miller, Frank T. Muth, Hiram H. Nissley, George Schuchman, Dr. Vere Treichler (son of Dr. Abraham C. Treichler), James Watson, Walter B. Wealand, David Z. Witmer and John W. Zarfoss.

Following the dedication and consecration of the Hall for Masonic purposes the following officers were installed and instructed in their various offices: Richard H. Lawry, Worshipful Master; John M. Shookers, Senior Warden; Irvin A. Shiffer, Junior Warden; George D. Boggs, Treasurer; Henry T. Horst, Secretary. It should be noted here that the Brethren of Cassiphia Lodge, No. 551, in Mount Joy were especially helpful to those who were elected to serve the new Lodge.

Early Meetings

At the first stated meeting, September 20, 1915, there were 35 members and 25 visitors present. Sixteen petitions for Initiation and Membership and one petition for membership were received.

At an extra meeting, October 20, 1915, the following received the first degree in the newly constituted Lodge: Clarence H. Miller, Andrew G. Kuhn, Andrew F. Ricker, Arthur P. Hart and Christian E. Balmer.

At the stated meeting, December 20, 1915 (annual election) the following officers were elected: Richard H. Lawry, Worshipful Master; John M. Shockers, Senior Warden; Irvin A. Shiffer, Junior Warden; George D. Boggs, Treasurer; Henry T. Horst, Secretary; John C. Redsecker, P.M., Henry U. Coble, N. Franklin Heckler, Trustees; J. Harvey Buch, P.M., Representative in Grand Lodge.

At the stated meeting, January 17, 1916, the Worshipful Master appointed the following: John A. Kaylor, Chaplain; Charles B. Dierolf, Senior Deacon; Frank S. Miller, Junior Deacon; James C. McLanachan, Senior Master of Ceremonies; George Schuchman, Junior Master of Ceremonies; Walter B. Wealand, Pursuivant; Frank Dissinger, P.M., Tyler. The above named Brethren were the officers who served this Lodge for the first full year of its existence.

A Name for the Lodge

The letter printed below was drafted to be sent to the Right Worshipful Grand Secretary, Brother John A. Terry, in care of the Masonic Temple, Philadelphia. What happened to this resolution and the subsequent correspondence concerning the naming of the Lodge is unknown.

“In accordance with a resolution passed at our last stated meeting held April 17th, 1916. It was decided by a majority present to name the Lodge, Abraham C. Treichler. I accordance therewith, the Lodge requests that the Right Worshipful Grand master have above name inserted in our Warrant as provided for in Article 17, Sec. 23, page 51 of Ahiman Rezon. The warrant will be forwarded by parcel post.

By Order of the Worshipful Master Fraternally Yours Henry T. Horst, Sec.”

It wasn”t until the year 1926 when the officers and members of Lodge No. 682 finally acted to name the Lodge in honor of the man whose name had been such an honored one at the time of constitution. Because of his longing and working for the warranting of a Lodge in Elizabethtown, a resolution was adopted to petition Grand Lodge to name Lodge No. 682 the “Abraham C. Treichler” Lodge. The petition was approved.

War Years

The Thomas Ranken Patton Masonic Institution for Boys was opened in 1925 across Bainbridge Road from the Masonic Homes. On Friday, November 11, 1927, a War Memorial was erected at the Masonic Homes in memory of all those members of the fraternity in Pennsylvania who made the supreme sacrifice during World War I. Brother William H. Brehm, Right Worshipful Grand Master, and Brother Richard A. Kern, Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden spoke at the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of Abraham C. Treichler Lodge on November 6, 1940.

A Military and Naval Service Fund was established for World War II. Instructions were issued by the Grand Lodge to all Lodges concerning the care of Lodge records should an air raid occur during a session of the Lodge. The Grand Lodge also eased the regulations permitting multiple degrees at one session of the Lodge for brethren whose time was restricted by military service.

A New Home for the Lodge

Abraham C. Treichler Lodge continued to meet in the same Hall where it had been constituted until the year 1958.  In that year the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania completed and dedicated the Masonic Temple of the Masonic Homes.  This Lodge was built for Lodges from all parts of the Grand Jurisdiction to meet from time to time, and where the Brethren in the Homes could have an opportunity to attend.  This Masonic Temple, truly symbolic in its layout and design, became the regular meeting place of Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682 by permission of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, and our first stated meeting was held in the new Temple on April 21, 1958.

Continued Growth and Achievement

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Lodge was held in November of 1965 and a special commemorative program was published.  In June of 1966 the Lodge established an annual commencement award at the Elizabethtown Area High School for an outstanding senior boy.

In 1976 an electric organ was donated to the Lodge Room by Brother Clifford Montgomery, a Masonic Homes resident.  A Table Lodge was held in July commemorating the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In 1979 the Masonic Homes residents filled the chairs when Brother Archibald Norman, at 102 years of age, conferred an Entered Apprentice Mason’s Degree.

In the decade of the eighties the Lodge installed a bulletin board in the social room for use by all Masonic-related organizations using the facility.  The Pennsylvania Masonic Homes High Twelve Club No. 629 was formed for the Masonic Homes residents and with many members of the Lodge and other local Lodges participating. Brother Joseph E. Murphy, Executive Director of the Masonic Homes, served as its Charter President.

The Lodge established a Permanent Charity Fund in 1986 to develop a reserve for charitable contributions from the Lodge.  It also resumed a tradition of reading a portion of scripture from the Holy Bible prior to conducting its monthly stated meetings.

The Charter of the Elizabethtown Chapter, Order of DeMolay was reinstated in 1986 by the efforts of many of the brethren, and the Lodge continued its emphasis on supporting youth programs, including work on behalf of DeMolay, Rainbow, Job’s Daughters, and contributions to the Boy’s Club, and the Little League.

In 1987 signs were installed at the entrances to the Elizabethtown community, designating the time and place of the Stated Meetings of the Lodge, in memory of former Chaplain Brother Richard McCurdy, by his family.

The entrance to the Lodge room was modified in 1988, making the Lodge room conform to the requirements of the Grand Lodge, and allowing for a more efficient use of the facilities.  A Masonic Library was formed for the use of the Lodge members with books contributed by the members, and shelves and cabinets were constructed on either side of the new outer door to house the library.  The Lodge also established a scholarship fund as a part of the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation’s Educational Endowment Fund, to provide assistance to children and grand-children of members.

In 1989 the Lodge purchased a personal computer and printer for use by the Secretary in keeping Minutes and a database of the membership.  In 1990 the monthly Lodge Notice was modified to fit a standard business envelope, and to include Masonic Education and more information for the members.  The Lodge held its first Table Lodge in over a decade, to coincide with George Washington’s Birthday.  In that same year, the Lodge held its first Pancake Breakfast to benefit worthy community causes.  The 75th Anniversary was celebrated with a visit from Bro. W. Scott Stoner, R. W. Grand Master, and a family program and reception.

(This text was recovered, and updated on 1/8/2014.  We are working on filling in the last 24 years of history… to include, but not limited to…
###Establishment of the Independent Living Community at the Masonic Homes
###Move of Corinthian Chapter, RAM and Cyrene Commandery # 34 to Elizabethtown
###History of the Pancake Breakfast
###History of the Holiday Breakfast
###Significant events from the Past Master’s summaries
###Significant gifts to celebrate 100th Anniversary…
###In 2014 the 60th Masonic District was consolidated and the Lodge was returned to the 1st Masonic District, where it had originally been assigned.)

 Service and Recognition

Over the years, members of Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682 have been called upon to serve the Grand Lodge.  The Lodge was honored when Brother Charles H. Lacquement was appointed Grand Chaplain by Brother Joseph E. Trate, R. W. G. M.  Brother R. Emmert Aldinger, PM was appointed Grand Steward by Brother William A. Carpenter, R. W. G. M.  Brother Raymond L. Fetter was appointed Grand Chaplain by Brother W. Scott Stoner, R. W. G. M.  Brother Noble P. Johnson was appointed to serve as District Deputy Grand Master of the 60th Masonic District in 2004 by Brother William Slater, II, R.W.G.M. Bro. Johnson served with distinction for ten years, retiring in December of 2013.

Other Grand Lodge appointments include John Bolich, PM as Chairman of the 60th Masonic District Masonic Culture (later Education) Committee from 1967-1989.  Brother Bolich was honored with the Grand Master’s Award presented by Brother William A. Carpenter, R. W. G. M. for his service to Freemasonry.  Brother Richard W. Wolf, PM, was appointed as his replacement when Brother Bolich retired in 1989, and Brother Wilbur E. Weaver, PM, was appointed to the position in 1992.  Brother Robert R. George, PM, served as Principal of the 60th District Masonic School of Instruction from 2005 until his death in 2013.

The Pennsylvania Franklin Medal was created by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1979 to honor distinguished Master Masons for their outstanding service to the Craft in general and Pennsylvania in particular. It has been awarded sparingly since then, maintaining very high standards for its presentation, and including among its recipients some of the most renowned Freemasons of our time. Our Lodge has been signally honored to have four of our members receive this honor.
2005     #45 – Joseph E. Murphy, Executive Director and CEO, Masonic Villages
2005     #46 – Rev. Dr. Charles H. Lacquement, Grand Chaplain, Retired Director of
Spiritual Services for the Masonic Homes at Elizabethtown.
2013    #59 – Thomas R. Labagh, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Masonic Youth
Foundation
2013    #60 – Robert D. Springer, Lt. General USAF (Ret.), Graduate of the Thomas
Ranken Patton Masonic Institution for Boys

The Lodge’s close relationship with the Masonic Homes (now the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown) has grown through the years due to the many brethren who have worked on behalf of this great Masonic endeavor, either as employees or as volunteers.  Living, working and conducting Lodge business in the fraternal atmosphere created at the Masonic Village serves as a constant reminder of the need to practice the principles of Freemasonry on a daily basis.

In Conclusion:

A history of Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682 can only share what has happened in the past, with the hope that it points to a bright future for Freemasonry in our community.

Meeting at the Masonic Village, the Lodge has a wonderful opportunity to serve Freemasonry, by conducting regular Masonic meetings and conferring degrees where residents of the Village can attend and participate.  Our mission to reach out to all Masons living in our community, regardless of their mother Lodge, has become even more meaningful.

The image of our Craft as erected by the brethren responsible for the Constitution of Abraham C. Treichler Lodge, continues to live in the minds of those who follow in their footsteps.

With a firm conviction that Freemasonry is a powerful force in the hearts and minds of its members, and with the never-ceasing blessings of Almighty God, Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682 will continue to serve the Masonic Fraternity and the community of Elizabethtown.  We must never lose sight of our primary goal of making good men better and inspiring their hearts to practice the virtues of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

So mote it be.