Acacia Lodge #11 A.F & A.M of Alberta
Copyright 2010 © Acacia Lodge - All rights reserved. 

The First 100 Years

Acacia Lodge experienced another year of continuing progress in 1973 under the guidance of Wor. Master D.C.M. McDonell and his officers. Wor.Bro. S. Blair, Worshipful Master  in 1959 was installed as District Deputy Grand Master of District # 10 at the annual Grand Lodge Communication.
Bro. Walter Polley was presented with a special certificate in recognition of his 28 years as chaplain of Acacia Lodge.

In 1974 Wor. Master Robert B. Taylor lead Acacia through another successful year. It was a year with ample degree work to keep the Officers busy as well as an exemplification of a York Rite Second Degree by a RCMP degree team. The Jobs Daughters Bethel #10 also exemplified a degree for the brethren that year. 
Rt. Wor. Bro. S. Blair made his Official Visit to Acacia in April and presented two well received papers. 
In November, Rt. Wor. Bro. Dan McCallister presented Wor. Bro. M.S. Caine with his 60 year Past Masters Jewel. Wor. Bro. Caine had just celebrated his 95th birthday, resided in Prince George, B.C. and was Worshipful Master of Acacia in 1914.

In 1975 their were differences of opinion as to whether a Registrar's Report should include current events outside the body of the Lodge or merely summate minutes of the year's meetings.  The opinion of this Registrar is that world events were of interest to the Brethren; if only to relate the philosophies and tenentes of Free Masonry to world morality.
It was at the May 22nd meeting, motion was  accepted in open lodge,  that a Masonic Bible be presented to candidates apon being raised the sublime degree of a Master Mason, a tradition which is still carried on today.

Wor. Master Howard Wetherup was installed into the chair of King Soloman for the year of 1976 and on April, 10 members of Acacia Lodge accompanied him to Kitscoty to attend the laying of the cornerstone for there new Masonic Temple by the Grand Master M.Wor. Bro. Sandy Milligan.

Wor. Master D. S. Leighton sat in the East for 1977 and at our regular meeting on January 13, a well earned tribute was paid to our Chaplain Bro. Walter Polley.  A new V.S.L. was placed upon the Altar and was dedicated to him on his 90th birthday suitably inscribed therein.  He is a splendid example of a true, dedicated and diligent Mason.

Wor. Master G.K. Wilson and his slate of officers lead Acacia through 1978. On August 10th an Emergent Meeting was held in Acacia Lodge where a third degree was put on for a candidate from Norwood Lodge #90,  for the benefit of Masons visiting Edmonton for the Commonwealth Games.  The degree team was made up of Masons from all the  lodges in the city. The visitors were from:  New Zealand, Scotland, England, U.S.A., Australia, Ghana, Ontario, B.C., Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.
Letters were received from Bro. V.J. Buckel from the Office of the High Commissioner of Ghana and Bro. Walter C. Batson, P.A.G.D.C. United Grand Lodge of England thanking the Master and Brethren for the friendly reception they had received at our Commonwealth Night.
In September the Wor. Master took a degree team  to Mannville and put on the Fellowcraft Degree  for the  Hope Lodge, this was officially recorded as a practice night for the team.  
Rt. Wor. Brother Dan McAllister, Worshipful Master of Acacia in 1941, celebrated his 89th birthday at which time, Bro. Walter Polley presented Bro. Dan with his 50 year Lapel Pin.

Wor. Master Frank Gordon Wyatt was installed into the Chair of King Solomon for 1979 and had a rewarding year up to the summer break, but the first meeting in September opened on a solemn note with word of  his passing to the Grand Lodge above on August 30, 1979. Bro.S.W. Rod Ponech assumed the chair as acting Worshipful Master and words from the Scripture were read for Worshipful Master Wyatt and Wor. Bro. K. O. Stewart who has also passed to the Grand Lodge above. At a special meeting on September 27, 1979, the brethren gathered to hold a memorial for our departed Worshipful  Master G. Wyatt.  
Wor. Bro. L. Langford out of his great admiration and genuine generosity presented the Lodge with a sword for use by the Tyler in honour of Wor. Bro. E.J. Cutts.

Wor. Master Rod Ponech was formally installed into the Chair of King Solomon and proceeded to take on 1980 with a little more experience than most Worshipful Masters. On May 22nd a Homecoming Banquet was held at Acacia. Out of the 900 members on the roll, some 60 + were in attendance.

At the Grand Lodge of Alberta Communication in 1980, Wor.Bro. D.C. McDonell, Worshipful Master of Acacia in 1973 was installed as the District Deputy Grand Master for District #10. At the Regular meeting in  September he was escorted into the Lodge, followed by  his secretary and the Past Masters who were all welcomed to the east.    Rt.Wor.Bro. D.C. McDonell paid his official visit to Acacia on October 9th, at which time he was received in due form.

1981 started with Rt.Wor.Bro. D.C. McDonell D.D.G.M. assuming the gavel and installing Wor.Master Lorne Langman into the Chair of King Solomon and his slate of officers for the ensuing year. At regular business meeting in February an expression of sincere thanks was given to Bro.Art Armour for his diligent work in organizing and establishing the $5000.00 Organ Fund required to purchase the new organ for Acacia Masonic Hall.  A motion was also passed that Acacia would donate a  further $500.00 to the Organ Fund, for future  maintenance and upkeep of the organ
The September regular meeting took place at Fort Edmonton Park Lodge and was highlighted with an official visit from The Most Worshipful Grand Master N.M. MacIver.

Wor. Master C. Arthur Armour and his officers were installed for 1982 with a certain aura of excitement prevailing in Acacia,  as it did in other lodges who meet in Acacia Masonic Hall. Funds had been set aside, final drawings assembled and tenders were soon to be called to construct a twenty-five foot extension to the south end of the building.  This would enable new kitchen and storage facilities to be installed with new enhancements to be set in place for the benefit of all.  A committee of masons form Acacia and other lodges worked diligently to progress this project to successful conclusion.

Wor. Master C. Arthur Armour remained in the Chair of King Solomon for 1983 and took on a new slated of officers for the ensuing year. Through a very busy year of renovations, the brethren made time to celebrated the 96th birthday of V. Wor. Bro. Walter Polley, Past Grand Tyler and Chaplin of Acacia for many years.  The event was marked by 96 burning candles on a birthday cake which was wheeled into a darkened lodge room.  The resulting heat and light from the candles was awe inspiring, and as V. Wor. Polley reminisced the flames raged on. 

In the year that followed, 1984 was filled with good work and much profit and pleasure under the capable leadership of Wor. Master Ernie Towne and his officers. 
The addition and renovations to the building were completed by June and everyone was pleased with and proud of the new look Acacia Masonic Lodge had acquired. A special thanks was given to Bro. J. Holmes, Wor. Bro. L. Langman and the Building Committee for their hard work and dedication to the monumental task of overseeing the work. The final cost on completion was $167,083.00.
This was also the year of the first annual supper, held before the first regular meeting in September to welcome the Brethren back from the summer break. This event has moved around to various locations over the years, but is still a tradition at Acacia today.

Only a few short months after completing the building renovations, Wor. Master John Holmes was installed into the chair of King Solomon for 1985.  His first order of business was to travel with  a number of the Brethren from Acacia to Vermillion, where Hope Lodge #38 of Manville was being closed and amalgamated with its Mother Lodge, Vermillion Lodge #24.
Rt. Wor. Bro. D. C. McDonell and Wor. Bro. Ken Powell presented a clock to the Acacia Building Association Limited in memory of Rt. Wor. Bro. Dan McAllister. The clock was mounted above the door entering the lodge room.
The Lodge also received a communication form Bro. Septimus Savage acknowledging receipt of his 50 year Jewel.

Wor. Master George Razansoff  lead Acacia through 1986 with another of our Past Masters being installed as District Deputy Grand Master of District #10. At the June Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alberta, Wor.Bro Robert B. Taylor, Worshipful Master of Acacia in 1974 became our next D.D.G.M.

On September 11th, Rt. Wor. Bro. R. B. Taylor made his Official visit to Acacia, his Mother Lodge.
It was also in 1986 that the first three degrees of Masonry were conferred in due form apron Mr. Frederick Robert Bowker, Worshipful Master of Acacia in our Centennial year.

Our Masonic year began with Wor. Master Scott Bricker in the Chair of King Solomon and a full slate of enthusiastic officers for 1987.
Thirty-eight members and thirty visitors turned out on October 8th to join the celebration of Acacia's 90th Anniversary.  Following the reception of the Most Wor. Bro. Robert E. Juthner and his colourful entourage, aptly introduced by Rt. Wor. Bro. Bob Taylor, and the introduction of our thirty visitors by the D. of C., a most serene and impressive ceremony under the able directorship of Wor. Bro. Arthur Armour followed, paying respectful tribute to those Brethren who passed to the Grand Lodge above over the past fifteen years.  Adding to the solitude and reverence of this occasion, the Lodge was blessed by the beautiful voice of Kenny McDonald as he sang "Bless This House" and "The Day Thou Gave Us Lord Has Ended".  Most Wor. Bro. Robert Juthner G. M. paid tribute to our Lodge by attending to the V.S.L. upon closing.

The first regular meeting of the 91st year of Acacia Lodge #11 A.F. & A.M. G.R.A. was held on January 14, 1988 A.D., 5988 A.L. in Acacia Masonic Hall, South Edmonton.  A very commendable performance was put forward by Wor. Master Lloyd Chisholm the new slate of officers on their first night out.
During the January meeting it was reported that V.Wor. Bro. Walter Polley had just celebrated his 101st birthday and was still doing fine.

1989 began with Wor. Master Bob Baker in the Chair of King Solomon and a full slate of enthusiastic officers. In Acacia Lodge #11 we have had another eventful year marked by good leadership, outstanding fellowship and mutual harmony. 

Wor. Master Bill Vickers was installed into the Masters chair for 1990 and invited the Brethren and their families to a "Family Open House" at the Lodge Hall.  During this pleasant after noon Wor. Bro Rod Ponech conducted the families on an informative tour of the upper chambers of the Lodge Hall.
The Lodge maintained its current practice of not winning any trophies at the Annual District Bonspiel in Vegreville ... as the curlers say, "wait till next year".

1991 commenced with Wor. Master Bob Hammel in the chair of King Solomon and with a new slate of officers and  prior to the opening of the first meeting Wor.Bro. Ernie Towne and his lovely wife Georgette were presented with a plaque, pin and photo album as a small token of appreciation for their hospitality of the many wonderful barbecues they have hosted over the years in South Edmonton.
In our March meeting we saw a glowing tribute to Wor. Bro Harold Turnbull with the presentation of his Fifty year jewel and certificate.
Bro. Secretary reported in June that high technology had arrived at Acacia with the purchase of a personal computer.
A memorable and perhaps a historic lodge meeting of Acacia Lodge #11 was held October 10th 1991 at Fort Edmonton Park Historical Masonic Lodge.  It was fitting that on this occasion we received the District Deputy Grand Master Rt. Wor. Bro. Elmer Bly on his official visit with his colourful entourage of current and past D.D.G.M=s and Past Masters of Grand Lodge. Most W.Bro. Ken Crockett  and Rt. Wor. Bro. Jim Forbes delivered to Wor. Master Bob Hammel the original photograph of Wor.Bro. A.C. Rutherford along with a framed copy. The Worshipful Master  then proceeded to present the framed copy of the photograph to the Fort Edmonton Masonic Museum Society, at which time it was mounted on the wall in the Fort Edmonton Park Masonic Lodge.

If one was impressed with our meeting at Fort Edmonton Park, so one should equally be impressed with the festive board that followed. I am sure the Grand G.O.T.U. looked favourably upon our proceedings that evening as our caterer's were able to break the bread and share the wine that was ordered for 60 amongst the 82 Brethren, Wives and Widows that were present.
Following our feast of roast beef the Worshipful Master presented the Fort Edmonton Masonic Museum Society with a refinished Tyler's desk that dated back to the early 1900's.  A somewhat emotional event followed as he also presented widow pins to a number of the ladies present, whose husbands were members of Acacia and had passed to the Grand Lodge above.

Acacia Lodge held the first regular meeting of our 95th year on January 9, 1992 with Wor. Master Ken MacDonald in the Chair of King Solomon.
At the Regular Meeting following the traditional September Smorg at the Bamboo Palace, Wor. Bro. Walter Agnew was presented with a 50 year jewel by his long time friend, Wor. Bro. Harold Turnbull. 
 Wor. Bro. Lloyd Chisholm and Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech presented each other with 25 year pins. This was a historic event because they had been Initiated together and served as officers of the Lodge together for most of those years.   Wor. Bro. Ponech also received a 10 year Jewel for serving as Treasurer for 10 consecutive years a position still held by him in this our Centennial year.
Another successful meeting was held at Fort Edmonton Park Lodge in October with more Widow=s Pins being presented. The remaining pins were later delivered to the Widows at home by Wor. Bro. Bill Vickers. 

It was at this time in our history that District #10's name was changed to Lakeland District. This change did not happen easily and was the topic of many discussions before the name was chosen at the Annual District Meeting..... Of course Acacia=s choice would have been Rutherford..... and only if the name had to be changed...... which it did.

In 1993, Wor. Master Jack Fitzsimmons lead Acacia through another successful year. During the first regular meeting January it was reported by Wor. Bro. Ken MacDonald that he along with Wor. Bro. Ken Powell, Bro. Bob Keith and Wor. Bro. Jack Fitzsimmons attended the birthday of a very respected Mason Very Worshipful Brother Walter Polley's 106th birthday. It has to be regrettable noted at this time, that only a few short months later, Very Wor. Bro. Walter Polley, Grand Tyler in 1977, past to the Grand Lodge above. 

Wor. Master Jim Setter was installed into the Chair of King Solomon for the 1994. It was another good year for Acacia Lodge with Bro. Fred Bowker taking on the Chairman duties and setting up a steering committee for the Centennial Year activities in 1997.
The September Supper meeting was again of significant, because at the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge in June, Rt. Wor. Rod Ponech, Worshipful Master in 1980, was installed as District Deputy Grand Master for Lakeland District and that was the evening of his first official visit....of course it was at Acacia Lodge.   Rt. Wor. Ponechs dedication to his position did Acacia proud by the time his term of office was over.
Also for the first time in the history of Acacia Masonic Hall, we now had a sign on the front of the building indicating the different Masonic affiliations that met in the Lodge and the times of there meetings, thanks to Wor. Bro Ken MacDonald.

Wor. Master Earl Welton was installed in the East for 1995, and dedicated it to planning for the Centennial Year.
In January, our annual Burns Night became, for the first time a mixed function and was a resounding success. It was then made official at the February meeting that Burns Night would continue in this fashion.
The September Supper Meeting saw three (3) 50-year jewels being presented to Wor. Bro. Bruce Taylor, Bro. Passmore and Bro. Smith. It is noted that within only a few short months after recieving his fifty-year jewel, Bro. Passmore passed to the Grand Lodge Above.

1996 began with Wor. Master Fred Freeman being installed into the Chair of King Solomon with plans for the Centenial well under way. Acacia had another successful year of fine work and fellowship.
On November 16th 1996, Wor. Bro. Lorne Langman, Worshipful Master of Acacia in 1981, was elected as D.D.G.M. for Lakeland District. He will be installed at the Grand Lodge Communication in our Centennial Year - 1997.
At the start of our Centennial year, 1041 Members have been registered in Acacia Lodge: 9 Charter, 715 Initiated, Passed and/or Raised and 317 Affiliated.  Our Current Members list now stands at 93.