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


Our 40th Anniversary was celebrated in grand form in 1937 and was highlighted by Wor. Bro. A. C. Rutherford giving a short resume of his early days with Acacia.  The Registrar's report for the year gave a concise summary of the events which eventually led up to the outbreak of World War II.  Bro. R. Sheppard was elected D.D.G.M. of District # 10, Bro. Fry was elected Mayor of Edmonton and Bro. J. C. Bowen was appointed Lt. Governor of Alberta.  The entertainment committee made the first of many presentations in the form of a new set of Regalia for all officers plus a new Master's apron.

During October relief was sought for the drought areas.  The Brethren discussed sending coal but were informed that the coal companies had adequately looked after this matter.  It was decided to ship a car of potatoes and 76 sacks were pledged on the spot.

We also find that Acacia hasn't changed much since those days.  It enjoyed country visits just as it does now .  From the October minutes we find the following:  "Although some mishaps occurred on the way to and from Vikings' 25th anniversary, and some barely getting home in time for work the next day, everyone was loud in their praise for the fine evening."

The year 1938 was marked by strife throughout the world as World War II began to loom on the horizon.  A minimum price of $.80/bushel was established for wheat.  The Hudson Bay, Eatons and Kresges were in the final stages of completion.

1939 was marked with war, the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and six trackless trolley busses in the cities transportation system.  War was beginning to take the members from the lodge room.  The senior and Jr. Wardens both enlisted and Wor. Bro. Lauder consented to carry on for an additional year and Wor. Bro. Bartlett took the S.W.'s Chair.  The lodge voted to remit the dues of the Brethren in the Armed Forces for the duration of the war.


The Registrar's reports during the war years are remarkable summaries of the events taking place.  They make an interesting report in their own right.  Acacia carried on its usual style despite the serious world wide conditions as best it could.

In 1941 Wor. Bro. The Honourable A. C. Rutherford passed to the Grand Lodge above.  The entertainment committee still under the able guidance of Wor. Bro. McCool was able to present the lodge with 2 dozen blue velour chairs for the East and had the 3 principle chairs renewed and re-upholstered.

1942 saw Edmonton grow to a population of 100,000 not counting the American staff and armed service personnel.  The entertainment committee was able to install new seats on the north and south sides of the lodge hall.

During 1943 efforts were made to contribute to the G.M.'s War Distress Fund.  At the May meeting mention is made of certain plots in the Edmonton Cemetery, which had been turned over to the lodge.

In December 1944 the lodge discussed the purchase of a new organ and an extension to the back of the building.  In January 1945 Wor. Bro. E. Pfrimmer donated a sum of money enabling the lodge to purchase an organ as a memorial to his son Lt. Hunter Pfrimmer who was killed in action in Holland.  The memorial was dedicated on March 8, 1945.  (The Commemoration plaque was transferred to the new organ on its purchase).

1946 was a joyful year as Acacia welcomed back those Brethren who had been serving in the Armed Forces, which also helped make the celebrations through the year come off with much more enthusiasm. In October Rt. Wor. Bro. J. McCool advised the Brethren that it had been decided to enlarge the hall and that treasury shares would be sold for $50.00 year but further details on this proposal are lacking.


On January 28, 1947 Acacia celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary and in May of this same year the Entertainment Committee was able to purchase two lots (# 1 & 2, Blk. 64, Plan 1) on Whyte Avenue and present them to the lodge.  These lots were sold in 1951 and the proceeds enabled the lodge to purchase the "Knox lots" which were subsequently sold for an apartment site.

Following the war years the lodge was busy primarily with conferring Degrees and by the end of 1948 our membership had grown to 287.

In January 1949 a "New Acacia Temple Committee" was appointed - who they were or what they succeeded in accomplishing is not mentioned.  In May of the same year, coinciding with the heat of the spring days, the Brethren became dissatisfied with the ventilation in the lodge room.  You will recall that this same problem existed in the Ross Hall back in 1903.

  In 1950 a move was made to change the annual Ladies Night to the Central Masonic Temple on the north side of the River, commencing in 1951.  Since their inception in 1929 they had been a travelling affair, with the dinner at one place and the dance held elsewhere.

In 1952, Acacia was instrumental in mothering a new lodge, Avon Glen Lodge # 170.  In March of the same year the "new building" rumour started once again.  As stated above, we purchased the Knox Manse property (Lots 1, 2 & 3, Blk. 85, Plan 1) for $2,000.00 and rented the Manse building.  These were eventually sold for a realized profit.

On June 2nd 1953, at Westminster Abby, London, England, our young, gracious and beautiful Elizabeth the 2nd was crowned Queen of the British Empire, which was cause for great rejoicing throughout the free world.
On Oct. 8th. Most Wor. Bro. Geo F. Ellis, attended our Lodge and presented Rt. Wor. Bro. A. J. Whitby with a 50-year Past District Deputy Grand Master Jewel.


In 1955 the possibility of a new Temple for the south side was discussed.  The Curling between the Calgary and Edmonton Lodges commenced at Red Deer and turned into an annual event.
  In September, Acacia joined with the other lodges making up the "first eighteen" to purchase Pedestal Cloths for Grand Lodge - The entertainment committee was able to purchase metal chairs for our banquet room.  Through the year the lodge owes a great debt to this hard working committee for its generosity in providing many items.
At the Grand Lodge Communication in June, Rt. Wor. Bro. Charles Sinclair, an affiliated Past Master with Acacia, was installed and D.D.G.M. for District # 10 and V. Wor Bro. Ken McTavish was intalled as Grand Steward.

In the minutes of January 1956, we find a remarkable committee report.  The Building Committee reported that a new Building Committee should be appointed. 
In June, at the Grand Lodge Communication, Rt. Wor. Bro. Ross Shepherd was installed as The Most Worshipful the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta.

The year 1957 will be remembered as our Diamond Jubilee.  The occasion was suitably celebrated with a special Anniversary Meeting, Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication, held in the Central Masonic Temple on April 24, 1957. September of this year saw the beginning of the Northern Alberta Masonic Curling Society made up of rinks from the City of Edmonton lodges.

In 1958 the lodge received a set of Gavels from Los Angeles Lodge # 42, Grand Lodge of California as a gift.  The gavels were made by Bro. E. Bechtel, Tyler, and uncle of Mrs. F. Weber.  Through the earlier efforts of Most Wor. Bro. Ross Shepherd the Grand Lodge Bursary fund to assist worthy students was initiated in April of 1959.  This fund, although not well known outside of Masonic circles, has succeeded in enabling a great number of young people to obtain a higher education.  In May of the same year Bro. L. Reesan donated new Ashlars and marble tops for the lodge room pedestals.


In 1959 Rt. Wor. Bro. Dan McAllister, Worshipful Master of Acacia in 1941, was installed as D.D.G.M. for District #10 at the Grand Lodge Communication in June.

In 1961 we purchased a new  organ with the kind assistance of others who use the instrument.  In view of the sentiment attached to the previous organ, which was donated in memory of Lt. Pfrimmer, the plaque from the memorial organ was transferred to the new organ.  1961 saw the beginning of the end of the Saturday night socials, which after many years had eventually become a victim of the modern social order.

In 1962, following the death of our Bro. Bob Shaw, who had been Tyler in Acacia Lodge for more than 17 years, the Shaw family donated two sets of knockers in his memory.

In 1963 after a number of years at the Central Temple, Ladies' Night was held at the Old Timers's Cabin.  This move was not altogether favourable to some of the members but democratic principles prevails and in the end the idea met with total optimism.  Early in the Spring the Brethren's wives were invited to attend in the banquet hall while lodge was tyled.  The Evening ended in a social gathering which was well received and this evening has continued since.  During October, Young Canadian's night was changed to include the daughters of the members.  This was a great improvement and increased attendance.  This practice continued until 1965 when the wives and mothers were invited so that the evening became truly a family affair.  During February 1965, Acacia received the Calgary Lodge # 23 "Travelling Square" from Jasper Lodge # 14 and passed same on to Sherwood Lodge # 183 in April.  At the annual Grand Lodge Communication Rt. Wor. Bro. Jimmy Lauder was elected Grand Master bringing the number of Grand Masters from Acacia to three.


I
n May 1966, Most Wor.Bro. Lauder presented the Lodge with a set of gavels made by Bro. Penman, as a token of his appreciation for the Lodge's assistance during his year in office.  It became obvious to some that our normal costs were increasing at such a rate that a change in the dues structure must be implemented.  After considerable review the members decided to defeat this move.  Of prime importance to Masonry in general was the initial Banff Spring Workshop which was held early in 1966.  This session was unique in that Alberta was the first jurisdiction to hold such a meeting on such a large scale.  As we all know the workshop has continued each year and is one of the highlights of Masonry in Alberta.  Various members of Acacia have taken an active role in the sessions each year.

In 1967, Canada celebrated its Centennial and Acacia was seventy years young.  Following lengthy discussions the members decided to examine the feasibility of adding to our existing lodge building and thereby make the building more functional.  Although our finances were in a sound condition it was felt that we should operate within our direct income.  A comprehensive study showed that although our dues were $10.00 per year for a resident member our actual costs were better than $12.00 per capita.  With this evidence before it the Lodge reluctantly increased the annual dues to cover the deficit and allow for greater costs that would surely come because of the inflationary economics prevalent throughout the Nation.

In April 1968 some of Brethren journeyed to Prince George B.C., to present a 60-year bar to our oldest living Past Master, Wor. Bro. M. S. Caine, who had led the Lodge in 1914.  During the Fall of 1968 the members approved the acquisition of new pillars, pedestals and renovations to the alter as a fitting memorial to our late Bro's. Shephard and Lauder, who had served the craft in its highest office.  At the same time a committee was appointed to investigate ways and means to improve the whole premises.  In November a notice of motion was placed on the order paper that the Lodge should purchase the St. John Anglican Church property and sell our existing building and property.  This motion was defeated and the Brethren re-iterated their decision to improve our present quarters.


Following the dedication of the pillars and pedestals the lodge presented the original pillars to Balmoral Lodge # 185 in 1969.  The pedestals ultimately found their way to the ancient Lodge Hall established at Heritage Park in Calgary.  During the year the regular Building Committee and the special Building Committee were hard at work.  These committees found that it would be uneconomical to build an addition at the rear of the building and that we should direct our efforts to improving both the Lodge Room and the downstairs.  Although man had been to the moon and back, 1969 marked the first time that he had set foot on its surface.  Fittingly one of the first to do so was a Mason, Col. E. Aldrin, Jr.

1970 saw the first time that a son of a Past Master was elected Worshipful Master as far as can be determined although we had brothers and other relatives follow in each others footsteps. Bro. Ken McTavish, the younger, became Worshipful Master twenty-one years after his father had been Master.  The north was experiencing the initial stages of its current growth and some of the members supported the formation of a Cub and Scout Troop in the Arctic Islands.  During the year the Lodge Room was completely refurbished, new indirect lighting and an air exchanger were installed.  The transformation was greatly appreciated.

Once again in 1971 Acacia Lodge experienced another year of progress under the guidance of Wor. Bro. R. F. Keith and his officers. Bro. Wor. Howard Langman was presented with a Fifty Year Jewel by his son Bro. Lorne Langman and Bro. D. Watson was presented with a 60 year bar for his 50 year jewel. In April 1971 plans were firmed up for refurbishing the banquet hall and this work was completed later in the year.  This too was a vast improvement and Acacia can be justly proud of its building.

This brings us to 1972, our Seventy Fifth birthday.  We had grown from a nucleus of 10 men to 250 resident and 66 out-of-town members, but never let us forget that 929 men have passed through our Lodge Rolls.  Each of these men has left some mark in Acacia and in Masonry and have aided in constructing a solid foundation for those men to come.

Acacia Lodge was under the guidance of Wor. Bro. J. W. Styles and his officers.  In February the meeting was centred around a lively discussion as to whether the Lodge was in need of one new toilet seat and four dozen wine glasses or possibly forty - eight toilet seats and a quarter dozen wine glasses.  The issue was resolved and we fortunately had no surprises at the festive board next month.
On April 22nd, 1972, 75 members and 49 visitors attended and Emergent Meeting at which M. Wor. Bro. J. S. Woods, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta, made an official visit on this the celebration of our Seventy-Fifth Anniversary.  A special service of Thanksgiving and rededication was held and respect was paid to the memory of our departed Brethren.  Honorary Life Memberships were presented to three of our distinguished Past Masters:  M. Wor. Bro. S. H. Hardin, M. Wor. Bro. P. J. Kendal and M. Wor. Bro. E. J. Thompson.  Wor. Bro. J. A. Lawrence gave a brief history of the Lodge and Bro. D. McDonell read out the names of all our Past Masters.  Of the 71, 22 Past Masters were in attendance including Wor. Bro. N. C. Willison, Master in 1921.  After the meeting, a very fine banquet featuring Alberta's Lieutenant Governor, The Hon. Dr. J. Grant McEwan as a guest speaker was held in celebration of the occasion.  A wonderful time was had by all in attendance and our Seventy-Fifth Anniversary was a celebration recalling a successful three quarters of a century of fellowship in Acacia #11.
During the business meeting in October, special honours were paid to V. Wor. Bro. A. B. King as he received his 50 year jewel.

Forty to Seventy Five