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

January, 1901 must have been unusually cold.  The members again expressed dissatisfaction with the Lodge's accommodation.  The rent being increased and at the same time the lodge room itself was not adequately heated.  During this same year the Lodge was in mourning because of the death of Queen Victoria.  It is interesting to note that not only was the charter draped but that the gavels and columns were ordered to be draped during the period of mourning.

In 1902 the continuing conflict facing the Brethren on the second Thursday of each month as to whether one should attend Lodge or go for the mail came to an end.  The meeting was changed to the first Monday of the month.  Attendance did not seem to increase appreciably.  Again the members expressed dissatisfaction with Ross Hall but new window shades which insured privacy seemed to placate them for the time being.  It seems to have been unfair that Brother Ross would have received this criticism since he was having difficulty collecting the rents due.  This discontent eventually manifested itself during August of 1902 our own building but this forward step was immediately overshadowed by a more important matter.  It seems that the Senior Warden got married and the Worshipful Master congratulated him for the wise step he had taken, "he having taken himself a wife".  However the Senior Warden's act was soon forgotten and in October we find that the Lodge busied itself with more important matters.  A Committee was appointed and empowered to meet with the Odd Fellows to explore the possibility of having them share the expense of having the Lodge Hall "lighted with electricity".  The Odd Fellows must have agreed to some cost-sharing program because shortly thereafter the first light bill was received and caused some alarm.  Acacia's share was forty cents which was considerably more than we had been accustomed to paying each month when the illumination was derived from kerosene lamps.

On December 1, 1902, it was reported to the Brethren that the Lodge had purchased lot # 5, Block 66 for $150.00 at the usual terms, i.e. 1/2 cash and the balance in two equal payments.  The minutes report this momentous occasion as follows "a forward step was made this year towards the Lodge obtaining its own ground and building by the purchase of a lot on Whyte Avenue".  In view of our property ownership the Lodge was incorporated in 1903 under the Masonic Act of the Northwest Territories.

In April of 1903, the I.O.O.F. advised that they were tendering their notice not to rent the Ross Hall because of the fact that it was poorly heated and ventilated.  They had already made arrangements to move to the Walter's Block.  As the move could seriously effect our finance a Committee was selected to investigate under what terms we could join them.  The Walter's Block which soon became known as the I.O.O.F. Temple, was located just south of the Salvation Army Citadel on 81st Avenue.  During this era the Brethren were possessed with a strong desire to have a meeting place they could call their own.

In early 1904 our finances were in poor shape as is reflected by the careful scrutiny which all accounts, no matter how small, were examined.  Brother Ross refused to lower our rent even though he was unable to collect the arrears.  The I.O.O.F. advised that they would consider renting their hall for 1/2 or 1/3 of their total rent which was twenty dollars per month but here the matter rested.  In December an attempt was made to gain approval to change the Rite from American to Canadian but the motion was defeated and the idea shelved for a few years.

In 1905 Alberta ceased to be a district within the Northwest Territories and joined Confederation as an independent Province.  This historical happening prompted Medicine Hat Lodge to request the Lodges within the new Province and then operating under the Grand Lodge of Manitoba to attend a meeting to discuss the possibility of forming a Grand Lodge of Alberta.  Upon receipt of this request a Committee was appointed to consider Acacia's position and reported as follows:

"Whereas Acacia Lodge has declared itself in favour of the formation of a Grand Lodge of Alberta your Committee would advise that Acacia be represented at Medicine Hat and would further advise that our representative be instructed as follows:
1.To vote for formation of Grand Lodge.
2.To try and have expenses of delegates pooled
3.To urge, that in the event of a Grand Lodge being formed, the first communication to be held at the capital of Alberta.

The Grand Lodge of Alberta was formed by eighteen Lodges who have been referred to as "the first eighteen".  Notwithstanding Medicine Hat's request for the initial planning meeting, which was held in Calgary and not withstanding Acacia's brief to hold the first communication, which  was also held in Calgary.  In December, 1905 Acacia # 66 became Acacia # 11 on the Register of the Grand Lodge of Alberta and received a new dispensation to work under until a new Charter could be prepared.  The Charter, which is displayed in the Acacia Lodge today, was eventually forthcoming and is dated October 12, 1905.

Although many discussions in regard to a new Hall had been made since our inception, May 1905 marks the first time that an actual committee was appointed and charged with inquiring into the feasibility of building a Masonic Hall for our use.
1906 passed uneventfully until December when once again the matter of our Rite was discussed.  The reason behind this discussion seems to stem from the fact that the Officers found it difficult to learn the American Rite.  It was moved and carried that we change to Canadian Rite commencing in 1907.

In May 1907 the building committee reported that the "Club" (?) would sell a portion of the back of their lots, 35 feet fronting on East Railway Street and 66' in depth.  The downstairs of the proposed building would be used as a billiard hall.  The committee was directed to ascertain the cost and also how such cost would be financed.

Late in 1907 and early 1908 a great number of things happened but the minutes are not too clear.  In summary, it appears that no Installation Ceremony was held in 1907 as the Worshipful Master elect (Geo. Downers) was travelling in Eastern Canada.  The ceremony was held in February 1908 in the I.O.O.F. Temple as the lodge had just moved from the Ross Hall.  It appears also that the meeting reverted from the 1st Monday to the 2nd Thursday.  Although there is no record of a motion approving such move it may have been made necessary because of the new quarters.

1909 seems to have passed quietly except in August of that year we purchased an organ for the vast sum of $65.00

Our sojourn at the I.O.O.F. Temple was not lasting.  In 1910 we moved to the Richard's Block on Whyte Avenue as it seems that the I.O.O.F. Temple was condemned and ordered to be demolished.

In 1913 we find the emergence of Strathcona Lodge # 77 practising the York Rite. They met in the Richard's Block which became known as "Acacia Hall" and not 'South Edmonton Masonic Hall". On June 8th Acacia assisted the GM of the Grand Lodge of Alberta to lay the cornerstone for Holy Trinity Church.