History of Caledonia Lodge #416

Caledonia Lodge #416, F.&A.M. Chartered: October 20, 1868 New Albany, Ohio

Ohio was a young and budding state in the early 1800’s, wide open to new settlers from the Eastern States. The village of New Albany was laid out in 1837 by David Landon and William Yantis who were each half owner of the land laid out in lots. The following year, 1838, a Post Office was established. It was, for many years called Hope Post Office. The first town election was held in 1856, which resulted in Mr. S. Ogden elected as Mayor.

Andrew Johnson was President of the U.S. having succeeded Abraham Lincoln who was assassinated three years earlier. The “Civil War” has been over just three years. Seven of the southern states are re-admitted to the Union. Ulysses S. Grant will be elected as the new Republican President after a unanimous nomination at the convention in Chicago. These are the days of such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and Casey Jones. In 1868, the first typewriter was patented and the Suez Canal was formally opened.

In these early days, New Albany boasted of two hotels kept by A. J. Fix and George D. Ulry. There were three stores run by F. Johnston, David Quinn and John W. Goodrich. The wagon makers were Alexander Carpenter and Zachariah McGuire. The Blacksmiths were Miles DeWitt and Louis Hine and the shoemaker was William Johnston. The first Postmaster was Daniel Landon who was succeeded by John W. Goodrich in 1853.

In June of 1868, a group of leading men in the community petitioned the Grand Lodge of Ohio to establish a Masonic Lodge in the Village of New Albany. The Charter was registered as of June 23, and formally issued to the Lodge on October 20, 1868 at Dayton, Ohio. The Charter members are listed as follows;

  • Peter Copeland
  • William T. Taylor
  • S. W. Raney
  • D. B. Strait
  • O P. Merrill
  • L. W. Babbitt
  • W. S. Durant
  • J. W. Goodrich
  • John Tharp
  • H. H. McCurdy

The first Master of this new Lodge was Peter Copeland. Worshipful Brother Copeland had been a Master of Center Lodge No.19 in Johnstown, Ohio. The number issued to the new Lodge was 416 and the name chosen by the members was “Caledonia”.  Caledonia is the ancient Roman name for Scotland and is still used today, especially in poetry. Scotland was the source of early Masonic orders and is reported to be the birthplace of Peter Copeland. There is, today, a Lodge called Caledonian in Manchester, England.

Caledonia Lodge, in its early days was a “Moon Lodge” due to a lack of roads and many of those were poorly maintained. Travel to and from Lodge was mainly by foot, horse, or horse and buggy. Many Lodges set their meeting times and dates to coincide with the full moon to aid their travels.

Little is known of those early days in the Lodge’s history as it was destroyed by fire on February 14, 1869 with all its records to that date. A new Charter was issued on October 20, 1869 at Cleveland, Ohio. The Lodge moved into a new hall on January 11, 1870 and again this hall was destroyed by fire on September 29.1881, along with all its property, records and Charter. The Lodge had no insurance at that time. Once again, a new Charter was granted on October 20, 1881 in Toledo, Ohio and was the current Charter until the consolidation of Caledonia and Eastgate Lodges on May 5, 2002. The first meeting after the fire was held in the “IOOF” hall on December 13, 1881 with Homer Smith as the Worshipful Master. A call was sent out to sister Lodges over the state for contributions to help re-establish Caledonia in property and furniture. Contributions, though small, came from all corners of the state and gradually the Lodge recovered. The Lodge was soon moved into a hall furnished by George Ulry for $18.00 per year rent and in 1897 the site at St. Rte. 605 and St. Rte. 62 was purchased from John W. Goodrich for $800.00.

Lodge meeting were evidently held infrequently and only when called. Minutes of those meetings are widely spaced. Grand Lodge dues paid in the year 1882 were $12.25. Some of the Lodge expenditures for this year were: 2 dozen chairs and 3 flag stands for $17.60, 5 bushels of coal for $ .60, 6 spittoons for $3.75, 1 stove for $7.00, a new Altar Bible for $2.75, 6 palm leaf fans for $ .25. 58 suppers for $ .25 each ($14.50), horse feed $1.00, Stewards Robes and Collars $10.50, 1899 property taxes $13.93 (6 months), 1899 Grand Lodge Dues $35.06, and fire insurance on Lodge for 3 years $30.00.

The members of Caledonia erected a large substantial frame building with basement, storeroom and second floor Lodge room at a cost of about $2,600.00 and it was publicly dedicated to Masonry by the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio on November 22, 1898. The lower room of the building was rented as a storeroom for the Beem & Farber Brothers Grocery at $150.00 per year.

In 1898 the Country was engaged in the Spanish-American War and William McKinley was President. In October of 1900 a Charter was issued to the Caledonia Chapter #115, Order of Eastern Star who then met in the Lodge hall. This Eastern Star Chapter later merged with Beacon Chapter which currently meets at Rickley Masonic Temple. The early 1900’s introduced the automobile, airplane, telephone and motion pictures. The New York subway system was opened, power plants erected at Niagara Falls and the great earthquake in San Francisco was headlines of the day.

From the minutes of January 15, 1901 we find that the taxes for the last half of the year 1900 were $7.33. The janitor’s salary was $8.00 per year and the Lodge was insured for $1,700.00 at a premium of $34.00 for three years. The Secretary’s salary was  $ .50 per record and was later reduced to $ .25 per record in 1905. Total receipts for the year were $196.17 and disbursements $302.75 leaving a cash balance of $19.98.

On October 18, 1904 the Lodge members voted to have the hall piped for natural gas for light and heat. In February of 1905 the job was completed at a cost of $38.75. On December 15, 1908 a resolution was passed to change the date of the annual election of Officers to the last stated meeting in November where it remains to this day.  By the year of 1909 the Lodge membership had risen to 70 and in 1910 the By-Laws were amended to hold meetings “on or preceding the first full moon and the second Tuesday thereafter”.  On March 16, 1909 the Lodge voted to purchase a set of Officers Jewels at a cost of $13.64. On June 1, 1`909 the Lodge voted to purchase 7 officers robes and a new Fellow Craft Carpet at a cost of $85.00. On June 5, 1909 a unanimous vote of thanks was extended to a Brother Kimmel for the interest he takes in the Lodge as a “Cartoonist”. On June 29, 1909 the insurance value of the Lodge was increased to $3,100.00 at a 3 year premium of $62.00.  Grand Lodge dues were now up to $68.00. On November 23, 1909, at the direction of the Grand Lodge, the degree fees were not to be less than $25.00. Caledonia Lodge voted to set their fees at E.A $10.00, F.C. $10.00, and M.M. $5.00. A demit fee of $1.00 and annual dues of $2.00.

Caledonia Lodge continued to grow and prosper, accepting into its ranks many prominent and familiar names of the community and surrounding territory.  For many years the Lodge held joint, open “Installations” with the Chapter of Eastern Stars but this practice was dropped in recent years. The Lodge also held an annual Halloween Parties for many years.

World War I saw many of our young men called into the Armed Services and Lodge life was pretty routine. In 1921 the By-Laws were again amended to fix the Stated meetings to the first and third Tuesdays of each month and the “Moon Lodge” ceased to exist. In September 1921the By-Laws were again changed to raise the initiation fees to $40.00, E.A. $15.00, F.C. $15.00, M.M. $10.00, and a demit fee of $5.00. In February 1922 dues to the 14th District were set at $3.00.

In 1923 a beautifully crafted set of candle holders were designed and made for the Lodge by Brothers C. L. Denune and W. W. Jones. These candle holders were continuously used until the late 1980’s. By April 1923 the rent for the downstairs storeroom was raised to $400.00 per year. Grand Lodge dues were now up to $215.50 for a reported 150 members of Caledonia/ The Lodge annual dues were raised to $3.00. In November 1923 Caledonia was visited by the Grand Master of Masons in Ohio, Campbell M. Voorhees, who presented the first “Past Masters Jewels” to ten (10) of the living Past Masters. The Brothers receiving those jewels were:

  • Wor. Bro. George Ulry
  • Wor. Bro. George Triplett
  • Wor. Bro. Orville Swickard
  • Wor. Bro. Charles Kidd
  • Wor. Bro. John Harmon
  • Wor. Bro. H. B. Taylor
  • Wor. Bro. Fred Ulry
  • Wor. Bro. George Monroe
  • Wor. Bro. Guy Sumption
  • Wor. Bro. Leander Burris

By December 1923 the Secretary’s salary was set at $25.00 per year, the Tyler’s $3.00, and the janitor’s $40.00 per year. In January 1924 Caledonia was inspected in the E.A. degree by District Lecturer Rt. Wor. Bro. Simeon Nash. Also attending was Rt. Wor Bro. Robert A. Mulligan, Grand Marshall of the Grand Lodge, who presented the Past Master Jewel to Wor. Bro. J. Frank Stelzer. In February 1924 the secretary salary was raised to $50.00 per year.

In the summer of 1925 a steel fire escape was installed by the Martin Krumm Co. for a cost of $162.00. Progress was the by-word for the Lodge, and in 1926 the Lodge voted to have the hall wired for electricity when it was brought into the village of New Albany. That was done at a cost of $375.00. On March 1, 1932, Brother Ray Dawson presented a valuable painting of Bro. George Washington to the Lodge. This picture was the property of Mrs. Dawson’s grandfather (John H. Roby) and had been in the family since 1867. This picture hung on the west wall of Caledonia Lodge until its consolidation in 2002. In April of 1932, this active Lodge was attended by 70 members and 155 visitors representing 42 Lodges from 4 States, Canada and Scotland. The depression years were growth years as men looked for deeper meaning in their everyday lives. There were 171 members in good standing reported in the Grand Lodge report of 1935.

On November 21, 1939 the current members of Caledonia Lodge held a formal ceremony to burn the mortgage taken out on the hall on June 21, 1927. 

In January 1941, an electrical short caused a serious fire. Fortunately a Lodge meeting was in progress and prompt courageous action by the members, with assistance from volunteers of the Gahanna Fire Department avoided extensive damage. The year 1941 also saw the country enter another World War. Once again most of the young men were off to war and the Lodge voted to remit the dues of servicemen for the duration. On March 17, 1942 the Lodge voted to purchase 50 Bibles at a cost of $44.16 to be presented to newly raised Master Masons.  In November 1942, the Lodge purchased its first War Bond for $200.00. Gas rationing caused a “transportation committee” to be appointed. The secretary’s salary was raised to $75.00 per year and the Treasurers to $10.00. On April 6, 1943 the Lodge was inspected by DDGM Raymond Siegfried who was accompanied by the Senior Grand Warden of The Ohio Grand Lodge, Rt. Wor. Bro. David B. Sharp. On November 2, 1943 the Grand Lodge ordered into effect a single ballot for all three degrees and repealed the “Waiver of Jurisdiction” clauses.

On November 18, 1947 the By-Laws were revised to change the initiatory fees to $50.00, (E.A. $15.00, F.C. $15.00, M.M. $15.00 and $5.00 for the Ohio Masonic Home Endowment Fund). Also the demit fee was raised to $10.00. In 1948 the Lodge reported a membership of 306. In February 1949 the Lodge was visited by a Brother from Caledonia Lodge #204 of Manchester, England. The Grand Lodge dues reported for the 306 members were $656.00.

Men lost in Wars, rationing, Atomic Bombs, Korea, The Cold War and Viet Nam are the memories of the 1960’s. In 1961, under the capable leadership of Worshipful Master Charles Foulk, Caledonia was instrumental in establishing “Bethel #69”, International Order of Job’s Daughters, which also met at Caledonia. The lower storeroom had been converted into a dining room for the lodge some years earlier. In January 1965, on a cold snowy evening the Lodge annual inspection was graced by a surprise visit of the Grand Master, Colin B. Montis who was unable to attend his regular meeting due to the weather. Caledonia had become known for its fried chicken dinners served at inspection which was provided by the Ladies of Caledonia Eastern Star Chapter.

By 1968, well over 500 men had become Masons in Caledonia Lodge. During the summer recess in 1971, a group of volunteer members completely remodeled the Lodge room including new carpeting.

During the 1980’s, Masonic attendance was good and the Lodge was busy.  There were many candidates and everyone was anxious to participate in the Degree work. New Albany was beginning a growth spurt and there where changes everywhere.

November 3, 1987, the OES #115 gave Caledonia $4,929.00 worth of items for the Lodge which included kitchen equipment, dining room tables and chairs and various miscellaneous items.

In 1988, the Stipend for the Lodge Secretary was $300/year; for the Treasurer was $100/year.  Property taxes were $683.00.  On February 2, 1988, we were honored by a visit from Bro. Gary Williams of Alfred Jones Lodge #1710 Grand Lodge of Scotland in Kenton Park, South Africa.

On March 21, 1988, ninety one (91) Brethren were present for the inspection in the MM Degree.  Also, during that year, Caledonia Lodge marched in the New Albany Founder’s Day Parade. The 1988 Grand Lodge dues were $1,280.00.

By the 1990’s, New Albany was rapidly changing.  The Lodge was receiving pressure, from The New Albany Company, to make major improvements to the building and property.  Many members felt we could not afford to do this which created some turmoil within the ranks.  Bro. Fritz Wolf died and left approximately $100,000 to the Lodge to be used, preferably, toward the purchase of a new building. 

Eighty Nine (89) Brethren were present in March 1991, for the FC Inspection.  Lodge assets were $242,491.65. Lodge records of 1991 indicate the Lodge had donated a total of $10,070 to the Ohio Masonic home Endowment Fund.

In 1992, the Lodge presented the first $1,000 Scholarship to Jennifer Carpenter, granddaughter of Brothers Jim and Clarence Carpenter .  This Scholarship project would continue through 2002 for Caledonia Lodge. 

The Standing Resolutions were updated and the Secretary honorarium was raised to $600/year; Treasurer $200/year; Custodian $800/year.  $3.00/member/year goes into the Building Fund.  $1.00/member/year goes into the Maintenance Fund.

February 18, 1992, the Trustees’ Inventory showed the Lodge items to be worth $44,254.  Lodge records indicate that Wor. Bro. James Stelzer was named Councilman of the Year for Zabud Council #99  in Westerville, Ohio. The Inspection Report for 1992 showed there were ten (10) lectures which is the same as in 1991.

On April 21, 1992, there were 165 Brethren assembled for Worshipful Brother Kenneth Weimer’s funeral at Margarum’s Funeral Home in Gahanna.  In May 1992, Caledonia Ledge presented Bro. Fred Donnally with his 75-year pin; the first for Caledonia Lodge. The Lodge Building required $1,347 in repairs caused by a truck running into the side of the building. There were 254 paid members in 1992.  Property taxes were $942/year.

Caledonia Lodge sent Mt. Olive #226 in Troy, Ohio, a check for $180 to help after they had a fire. 

In 1993, Bro. P. Patrick Davis was the WM.  Assets were $253,738.58.  Caledonia Lodge was recognized for having the most line officers at the Inspection in the 14th District.  Membership stood at 242.

In 1994, funeral services were held for Bro. Fred Donnally, a 77-year member.  Grand Lodge Records show there were 164,550 members in 634 Lodges in Ohio.  The average of the members was 61.3 years old. In 1995, there were 241 members with 19 dues remitted.  Total assets were $430,347.16.  

In 1996, Caledonia records report 231 members with 28 dues remitted.  Assets were $447,649.86.  The land and building were appraised at $125,000.  Also during 1996, the Lodge had to connect to the New Albany water/sewer system at a cost of $3,435.00.

In 1997, there were 93 people in attendance for the FC Degree at the annual inspection.  WM P. Patrick Davis presided.  The Lodge purchased one dozen white lambskin aprons for $212.78.  There were 216 members.  On February 15, 1997, a special meeting was called to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the present building.  RW Bro. Ron Winnett presided over the evening.  The actual dedication was held on December 24, 1997.  On November 14, 1997, Wor. Bro. P. Patrick Davis was installed as DEO for the 14th District becoming the first member of Caledonia Lodge to achieve this position.  RWB Louis Goorey PDDGM performed the obligation.

In 1998, the WM was Forest (Whitey) Lucas.  On May 19th, a visitor, Bro. Frank Clinton, Jr., from St. Marks Lodge #857, London, England attended our Lodge meeting.  In September, the Lodge completed the deal to purchase the building “I00F” next door for $89,597.27.   Property taxes were $1,166.00 for the Lodge Building.  Property taxes for the “100F” building were $1,216.34.  The demolition cost of the “I00F” building was $10,000.00.  There were 218 members; 15 dues remitted.

In 1999, Arthur Lofton was WM.  Total assets $400,570.45.  At the Inspection, the EA Degree was performed.  There were 54 Brethren present.  Several members of Caledonia gathered and traveled to Johnstown, Ohio, to Green Hill Cemetery and located the grave of Peter Copland, the first Master of Caledonia Lodge in 1868.  He died in 1909.

In September 2000, there were 195 members.  In April, Wor. Bro P. Patrick Davis announced there was a party interested in purchasing the Lodge property.  The Building Committee was asked to look for another site.  By a vote of the members, Dues were raised from $35 to $40/year.  In 2000, the Grand Lodge of Ohio started to recognize the “Prince Hall” Masonry.

In 2001, the Lodge Building Insurance cost was $1,273/year.  On September 18, the Alter was draped for a reported 33 Masons who were killed in the World Trade Center disaster.  Trustees reported that they had received a contract from Keith Morris for $300,000 for the Lodge property.  The temple was sold in 2002

On October 27, 2001, Wor. Bro. P. Pat Davis was installed as a DDGM for the 14th District of Ohio.  He is the first DDGM from Caledonia Lodge.

On June 12, 2001, Bro. William “Bill” Elkins was raised MM and became the “Last Master Mason” to be raised in Caledonia Lodge.

In “2002” there was a one-day class this year and 12 Brethren were made Master Masons in a ceremony at the Palace Theater in Columbus, Ohio.  Officially they were the last MM raised in Caledonia Lodge.  They are:

  • Garth Leslie Walker  
  • Richard Joel Hage
  • Jason David Gauntz  
  • Douglas Sands
  • Dean William Roberts 
  • Mark S. Blythe
  • John Lee Forick  
  • Lundy Williamson
  • Kevin Lee Fowler 
  • Scott Carpenter
  • Gary Claude Darling  
  • James R. Allen

On April 16, 2002, the last meeting of Caledonia Lodge was held in New Albany, Ohio.  The Secretary’s minutes of this last meeting follow.

Officers Present were:

  • WM Forest C. Lucas  
  • SD Dave Percival  (PT)
  • SW   Russell D. Watts  
  • JD William Elkins
  • JW   P. Pat Davis (PT)
  • SS  Carl Salmons
  • Tr    Arthur A. Lofton, Jr.
  • JS  Gary Charles
  • Sec  James E. Stelzer
  • Chap Jimmey A. Van Bibber
  • LEO Russ Lantz 
  • Ty   James H. Carpenter

Total: 30 (Members:  14) (PM’s:  12) ( Visitors:  4)

A Lodge of MM’s was opened in due form.  The pledge to the Flag was given.  The P.M.’s of Caledonia were asked to rise and give their name and year or years they served as Master.  They were given a round of applause.  The 50 year members, Bro’s Jim Carpenter – Jim Stelzer – Bill Stelzer, were recognized and given applause.  The visiting Brethren were asked to rise and introduce themselves.

We dispensed with the reading of the minutes due to pressing work load.  Four new petitions for the Grand Master’s One-Day-Class were read.  They were all accompanied by the $100.000 (special) fee.

  • Garth Leslie Walke
  • Jason David Gauntz
  • Dean William Roberts
  • John Lee Fouch.

The investigating committees all reported favorable.  A unified ballot was taken, found clear and all four were declared elected to receive the degrees.

W.M. Lucas read the “Letter of intent to Consolidate” Caledonia Lodge #416 with Eastgate Lodge #603.  This is the third reading of this letter.  W.M. Lucas then opened the subject for discussion.  A number of brethren spoke their concern.  The concerns were addressed and seemed to satisfy the members.  W.M. Lucas, then asked the brethren to count off.  (Total 26)  Paper ballots were issued to each member.  The vote for or against the “Consolidation” was taken.  The result was 20 in favor and 6 not in favor.  Eastgate Lodge will vote next week (4/23) prior to the “CLS” meeting.

There being no further business, this Lodge of M.M.’s was closed possibly for the last time by the Past Masters.

  • WM: Pat Davis
  • SD: Wally House
  • SW: Ed Elkins
  • JD:  Rollie Shull
  • JW: Russ Watts
  • SS:  Forest Lucas
  • Chap: Jimmey A. Van Bibber
  • JS: Russ Lantz
  • Sec: James Stelzer
  • Ty:  Ed Holter
  • Treas: Arthur Lofton, Jr.