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509 George Washington Hwy N
Chesapeake, VA 23323-2009, US
Lake Drummond Masonic Lodge
No. 178
compass and square
A. F. & A. M.
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Stated Meeting: 2nd Thrusday @ 7:00 PM
Dinner: 2nd Thursday @ 6:00 PM
Work Nights: Every Other Thursday as Announced @ 7:00 PM
Refreshments: With Work Nights @ 6:00 PM

Lodge History

Two Lake Drummond Lodges

There have been two Masonic Lodges in the Deep Creek community of Norfolk County (Chesapeake), Virginia. Lake Drummond Lodge No. 232 was granted a Charter by the Grand Lodge of Virginia on December 10, 1867. That Lodge surrendered it's Charter in December 1868 and became extinct.

The second Masonic Lodge in Deep Creek was also named Lake Drummond and was granted a dispensation on September 23, 1874.

The first meeting was held on October 1, 1874, and the Lodge was charted on December 16, 1874.

The petitioners had requested that this new Lodge be designated Lake Drummond Lodge No. 232 AF & AM, but the number 232 had previously been assigned to another Lodge.

Kanawha Valley Lodge No. 178 AF & AM was located in Buffalo County in Virginia. Buffalo County was in the area designated as a part of the new state of West Virginia and Kanawha Valley Lodge surrendered the Virginia Charter and the number 178 was then assigned to the new Lake Drummond Lodge.

Later, Lake Drummond Lodge moved to Gilmerton where a majority of the members were employed by the John L. Roper Lumber Company. The Lodge remained in Gilmerton until the Temple burned on March 19, 1916. The original Charter, many of the records and nearly all of the Lodge property was destroyed in that fire, but it is recorded that the Tiler saved the "Three Great Lights". After the fire, the Lodge returned to Deep Creek and met there until a new meeting place was provided by the John L. Roper Lumber Company. On July 10, 1920, the Lodge laid the cornerstone of the Cradock Methodist Church.

Lake Drummond Lodge moves to Cradock

During World War I, the Federal Government built a housing development on "Shell Road" (renamed George Washington Highway). This settlement was named "Cradock" in honor of a British Admiral who was killed in a naval engagement off the east coast of South America early in that war. Many residents in Cradock were Masons (some of whom were members of Lake Drummond Lodge) and these Masons formed a Masonic Club. After the war, the center of the population had shifted from Gilmerton and Deep Creek to Cradock and a movement was started to establish a new Lodge in Cradock. R.W. Clarence Dearborne Freeman, District Deputy Grand Master, recognized the need for a Lodge in the more centralized area but realizing that a new Lodge there would destroy Lake Drummond Lodge, proposed that the Grand Lodge be petitioned to relocate Lake Drummond Lodge in Cradock. This advice was followed and R. W. Freeman endorsed the Lodge's petition and the Grand Lodge approved.

The Masonic Club then took steps to select a suitable location for a new Temple. A group headed by Past Master George E. Creekmur and Brothers O. Grant Roper and Fred W. Richardson purchased a building site from the U.S. Government at Number 1 Afton Parkway and started a Building Fund campaign. A petition to the Grand Lodge for authority to sell bonds was approved and a loan was obtained from a Portsmouth bank.

In 1921, construction began on a new Lodge building. On December 3, 1921, the Lodge laid the cornerstone of the new Temple. On April 20, 1922, Lake Drummond held its first meeting in Cradock with Worshipful Lyman M. Dixon presiding.

Soon the Lodge was in serious financial condition. During the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s, Lake Drummond lost many members who were forced to seek employment elsewhere. The Lodge was in arrears with Grand Lodge Dues and there was real danger that the Charter would be lost, but Most Worshipful William Lee Davis and Right Worshipful Freeman, two influential Masons in the District and Grand Lodge, intervened and the Grand Lodge gave Lake Drummond more time to straighten out its financial condition.

Interest payments on the mortgage were fifty dollars per month and it was with considerable difficulty that the Lodge met these payments. Victory Chapter No. 16, O.E.S. had assumed payment of the utility bills and provided fuel for heating the Temple.

On June 3, 1925, the Lodge laid the cornerstone of Deep Creek Baptist Church. Several years after the Temple was first occupied there was need for renovations to the interior of the building. This condition worsened until about 1936 when Wor. Ellis F. Beauchamp appointed a committee to find ways to improve the situation. That committee met and reported "progress" but failed to present a workable plan. In 1937, Wor. Joseph W. Futrell appointed a new committee headed by Past Master Beauchamp. The committee recommended that the debt be refinanced under a "direct reduction plan". The report was approved. A new loan of $5,000.00 was secured and the original mortgage was canceled. The indebtedness to the Grand Lodge was liquidated and Temple bonds were redeemed as presented. Some holders presented them to the Lodge without payment. During World War II, the economy had improved to the extent that the mortgage was canceled and a duplicate of the note was burned on March 11, 1943.

On December 14, 1939, a large picture of Worshipful George Washington was presented to the Lodge by Worshipful Leslie D. Bell. On October 5, 1940, the Lodge laid the cornerstone of Cradock Presbyterian Church.

First Ladies Night

In 1941, Lake Drummond observed its first Ladies Night of record. This consisted of entertainment, followed by refreshments. Grand Master Freemen was in attendance on that occasion. Such activities have followed in varying forms every year since then. For many years, Lake Drummond has held annual fish fries at the Temple. These affairs involving the families of members have contributed greatly to the healthy condition of our Lodge.

On March 31, 1953, the Lodge laid the cornerstone of Cradock High School, Norfolk County, Virginia. That year Wor. Everett C. Lyon appointed Past Masters Ellis F. Beauchamp and Vernon E. Sauvan to obtain and display in the Lodge room, photographs of all the Past Masters.

With the assistance of Brother Julius Pierce, Treasurer, the committee was able to obtain picture of all but five of the Past Masters.

When the Temple was built, a large coal burning "one pipe" furnace was installed. That heating plant was very unsatisfactory and in 1948, duct work and a new oil-burning plant was installed. In 1965, the Temple was air conditioned.

Trestleboard Started

In 1974, for the first time in history, we started mailing a monthly Trestleboard to all members. The Lodge has many non-resident members and for the first time those members were receiving monthly reports on Lodge activities.

There has always been a close cooperation between Victory Chapter No. 16, O.E.S., and our Lodge. In 1926, Victory Chapter presented the Lodge with ceiling fans for the Lodge room; in the late 1940s, Lake Drummond had a powder room built on the second floor of the Temple.

In 1974, the Lodge celebrated its first one hundred years with a social evening and a banquet. In attendance were many members and their families, widows of deceased brothers, the Grand Master and several Grand Lodge Officers. The hall was beautifully decorated by our ladies. The evening was greatly enjoyed by all.

In further celebration of the 100 years, a display case was made and presented by Brother James E. "Jimmie" Barnes. It stands in the lobby holding a variety of mementos donated by Lodge members.

As early as 1975, the lack of adequate parking space around the Cradock Temple was a problem which caused increased interest in the possibility of relocating.

Meanwhile, improvements continued to the Cradock Temple. Among these were improved lighting, updated work on the heating and air conditioning system. A lighted shadow box encasing "G" was made by Brother K. F. Potts and presented to the Brothers. It hangs in its rightful place in the Lodge room. Another valued addition to the Temple was the gift of a portrait of Wor. Bro. Clarence J. Lakes presented by his daughter Elizabeth Lakes Hudgins. Wor. Bro. Lakes served the Lodge as Tiler for forty consecutive terms. Another Brother, Julius R. Pierce, was revered for having served as Treasurer for forty-five terms.

In the fall of 1978, the Lodge asked the Chesapeake City Council to accept its rezoning application for our Deep Creek property, which was purchased in March, 1960. In a letter, dated October 15, 1978, the city clerk informed that the request was granted.

Going Back Home

On October 11, 1979, a motion was presented "that Lake Drummond Lodge No. 178 declare its intention to construct a new Temple on the property in Deep Creek, Chesapeake, Virginia, and that the Officers and Trustees take whatever steps necessary to bring the undertaking to a successful conclusion". On November 8th, the Lodge adopted the motion. Thus another major step was taken toward the new Temple.

Current Lodge Building

Current Lodge

M. W. Spencer McMath Rogers, Grand Master, announced a special Communication of the Grand Lodge of Virginia to lay, with Masonic ceremony, the cornerstone of Lake Drummond Lodge No. 178 on Saturday, November 21, 1981. This event was attended by many of the Brothers and their families, Grand Lodge Officers and local officials. Choral music was provided by the choir of Deep Creek United Methodist Church. Highlights and history of the Lodge were given by Bro. Walter Cartwright, Jr. The Honorable Sidney M. Oman, Mayor, welcomed the Lodge to Chesapeake. After the ceremony, the cornerstone was removed for safe keeping until such a time when it would be properly installed in the new structure.

Planning and fundraising were carried on for the next few years. During this time the foundation was poured and allowed to settle.

Actual construction on our new building began February 9, 1985. Any attempt to list those whose labor led to the rapid rise of the Temple would not be possible. Under the leadership of Rt. Worshipful James E. Morgan, who served as General Superintendent of Construction, many Brothers and friends worked long hard hours to construct our new building. Our Temple stands today as a tribute to them.

In February 1985, the Board of Trustees authorized an appraisal of the Cradock property looking forward to the eventual sale. The property was put up for sale when the appraisal was completed in March. A buyer was found on May 5th. The buyers offer was accepted and the old Temple changed hands.

All paperwork necessary to transfer Lake Drummond from the 34th to the 36th Masonic District was completed and approved by the Grand Master. Information concerning that physical move was sent to all interested parties.

On May 8, 1985 the last Stated Communication of Lake Drummond Lodge was held in the Temple at No. 1 Afton Pkwy., Cradock, Portsmouth, Virginia. With much work still to be done, the first Stated Meeting in the new Temple was held on June 13, 1985, at 509 North George Washington Hwy., Chesapeake, Virginia.

Efforts to finish the building moved on rapidly. At each meeting the Trustees advised members of the progress being made i.e., installation of kitchen equipment, sale of seats for the Lodge room and other important items.

Victory Chapter No. 16, O.E.S. donated the necessary kitchen equipment. This was a great step toward the finishing of the Temple. For the generosity of the Eastern Star, a plague calling it a "gift of love" was mounted on the kitchen door.

Ms. Grace Armistead gave the chandelier for the lobby in memory of her father, Wor. Robert B. Armistead, Sr., calling the gift a "special privilege".

Work on the Temple was moving forward. However, the parking lot was in need of improvement. Monies were scarce. At this point, Bro. Wallace B. Cahoon made a generous offer to advance, interest free, such funds as would be needed to finish and pave the lot which was completed in November 1987. He stipulated that the loan need not be repaid until the total amount used was at hand. Grateful appreciation was expressed to Bro. Cahoon, on March 4, 1988, when payment of his personal loan was made, again with expressions of heartfelt appreciation.

A security fence was installed around the air conditioning units behind the Lodge building in June 1988.

A bronze plaque commemorating the erection of the Temple was installed on the outside wall, adjacent to the entrance in September 1988. Listed were the officers and trustees in office when the building came into being.

With the completion of the Temple and the parking lot, the erection of the Lodge's Name Marker was of importance, as it is highly visible. Made of granite, it adds to the overall appearance of the area. The marker was installed in October 1989.

In 1990, the Social Hall wainscoting paneling and fabric wall covering were installed.

Cradock Chapter, De Molay, assisted in providing picture boards for the Eastern Star Chapter, Job's Daughters and Royal Arch Chapter. The De Molay also donated cleaning equipment to the Temple.

Having received payment in full for the Cradock property, and having satisfied notes at a local bank, the Lodge was then without debt on the Deep Creek property. On March 12, 1992, there being no further obstacle, it was in position to request the Grand Master to publicly dedicate our Masonic Temple Building. Since, under Grand Lodge rules, no properties can be so dedicated until such time as they are free from all indebtedness.

Note Burning

On November 14, 1992, the Grand Master, John Robert Dean, with our Worshipful Master Larry Norman, conducted a "note burning" ceremony signifying the Temple building was debt free. With this ceremony the new Lodge was dedicated in proper Masonic form, becoming the property of all our lodge membership.

The picnic shelter in our back lot is being used often. It became a reality in 1992 through the gift of steel fabrication and erection by Bro. J. Frank Old. By unanimous vote the members named the shelter, "J. Frank Old Pavilion: on December 14, 1995.

In 1992, we installed a fence to enclose our back lot.

A storage building at the rear of the Temple was completed in September 1993. Because of his devotion to the Lodge, coaching of candidates, and countless hours of service in general, on October 14, 1993, the structure was designated the "Frank Mooney, Jr. Memorial Building".

Thanks to a gift from a member, the Masonic Emblem was installed in the round window on the front of the building in 1993. Mrs. Shirley Walters and family, in memory of her husband, Bro. Johnnie Albert Walters, Sr., presented a flag pole for the front yard. It was dedicated with proper ceremony on May 30, 1996.

Our Temple is now home to Victory Chapter No. 16, O.E.S.; Cradock Royal Arch Chapter No. 72; Cradock Chapter Order of De Molay (now inactive); Bethel No. 11, International Order of Job's Daughters; Portsmouth-Chesapeake Council No. 155, Allied Masonic Degrees; and St. Thomas Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine.

As of June 30, 1999, membership in the Lodge was 449.

*This historical overview was adapted from the program booklet "The First Hundred and Twenty-five Years" celebrating Lake Drummond Lodge's 125th anniversary, the information was compiled by numerous brethren, with special thanks to Brother F. Gene Abrams for heading up this great and important undertaking.