Lodge History (1900-1975)
On September 19, 1900 Urania Lodge was visited by the Grand Master, M. W. Bro. E. L. Lybarger and Bro. L. R. Seely, District Lecturer and members of surrounding Lodges to witness the work in the M. M. degree followed by talks and a luncheon prepared by the Stewards. The following day all proceeded to picnic grounds for an outing. The records are silent as to the location of these grounds but there were 77 members attending along with visitors and members of the I.O.O.F. and the K. of C.
On May 17, 1905, a petition from Ostrander, Ohio asked permission to institute a Masonic lodge in that place. This was voted on and passed July 12, 1905.
On September 5, 1917, Bro. E. H. Mallet P. M. presented Urania Lodge with a beautiful picture of George Washington, the first Grand Master in the United States. It is believed to be the one we now have in our lodge room.
The years of World War I were very deeply felt by Urania Lodge and during their period of service to their country, the members were remembered by having their dues remitted and gift kits sent to them.
The first time in the history of our Lodge of a son raising his father to the sublime degree was on April 13, 1927 when Bro. J. C. Mitchell conferred the M. M. Degree upon his father, Bro. W. G. Mitchell in a very fine manner.
The morning of May 30, 1930, Urania Lodge opened in the M. M. Degree at the stroke of 4:00 a.m. by the Old Town Clock for the purpose of a Memorial Day Service. This may not have been the first of its kind but this is the first record of what is now tradition. Bro. Paul T. Haynes received the degree of a Master Mason on this morning, the work being conferred by the Past Masters of Urania Lodge. This was then followed by a breakfast of ham and eggs and all that goes with it. This is a time that all the brethren look forward to especially the Past Masters as their day. The total cost of this first Memorial Day morning was $14.44.
On January 10, 1933, Urania Lodge was honored with the presence of the Grand Master, M. W. Bro. Simeon Nash for the purpose of installing Bro. J. W. Jones as Worshipful Master of Urania Lodge. This was another first for this Lodge. Many Grand Lodge Officers, distinguished guests and many Lodges were present for this grand event. W. Bro. Jones was well known throughout the state for his Masonic affiliations and the work for which he put his heart and soul into. It is only fitting that honors be bestowed upon him.
According to the records, the years commencing in 1933 were the years in which many festivities were carried out by this lodge. The Strawberry Night was started about this time. Communications between Lodges were held most often and Urania Lodge became well known for its ritualistic work, its songfests, strawberry nights and the oyster stew. The brethren would travel miles for these occasions. June 13, 1945 was one of these big nights when the Lodge was honored by the presence of Ill. Bro. John W. Bricker 33rd Degree Mason for the Scottish Rite Night. Many distinguished guests were on hand to enjoy the work and more than 200 enjoyed the strawberries.
The years following 1957 seem to have been difficult ones for the Lodge. The ritualistic was still of high quality and some of the social activities were retained but for some reason attendance began to fade. It was difficult to get new officers into line and to carry the work. Much of the ritual work was performed by the Past Masters of the Lodge.
Several times it was the efforts of Grand Lodge Officers being present and much instruction that this Lodge remained on its feet and was prevented from losing its charter.
It is hard to believe a Lodge who just a few years before was so well known should fall into such despair. It just seems some of the members failed to heed their obligations and it fell upon the Past Masters to hold the Lodge together. It is to these brethren that the Lodge owes much gratitude.
In the early 1960’s the Lodge began to show some improvement in attendance and some of the brethren taking more interest and helping more with the work of the Lodge. It looked as though that which our ancient brethren worked so hard to establish was to be carried on into the future. With the ever-present assistance of the Past Masters, Urania Lodge was again rising to its former position in the annals of history.
As early as the 1950’s the brethren were ever thinking of finding some suitable quarters for our Lodge. Much money had been spent on the present Lodge hall and hopes for anything better were very bad. Perhaps this was to some degree a cause for the effects of the Lodge in previous years.
It wasn’t until the death of one of our loyal brethren, Bro. Richard, M. (Jack) Watson, P. M. the Lodge learned that he had bequeathed a portion of his estate to the Lodge to be used for the purchase or building of a new Temple. The spirits of the now rising Lodge seemed to grow in earnest.
In the spring of 1973, plans for a new Temple finalized with the purchase of property on East Main Street. It was a ground floor structure having the possibilities of that which we had in mind. This was a property being 70 feet in width, 198 in depth and consisting of a structure occupied by two businesses. The property lies on the northeast corner of State Routes 42 and 161, Plain City, Ohio. The purchase price was $35,000.00.
The Order of Eastern Star also being included in the estate of Bro. Watson, turned their portion of the estate over to the Masonic lodge in order that we might meet the purchase price.
Much was to be done. Our meetings being the First and Third Wednesday of the month, we set aside alternate Wednesdays and weekends for our work sessions. The biggest job before us was the removal of a bearing wall and the placing of steel beams spanning approximately 40 feet. This was contracted at a cost of $5,000.00. The brethren set to work.
It is difficult to relate all that has been accomplished by our loyal brethren aided by the contributions great and small from the brethren of the Lodge.
Many long hours have been consumed in the construction of this Temple. Much work such as concrete flooring, ceilings replaced, wall paneling, painting, replacing wiring, installation of heating system, water systems, toilets and many other items were donated and preformed by the brethren themselves.
Work continued through the summer session and by the first of September we were far enough along to open Lodge. The Eastern Stars further aided us by buying and laying the carpet in the Lodge Room. The Masons furnished the carpet in the outer room and preparation room.
In March 1974, we held our first inspection in our new Lodge hall. The loyal brethren labored on knowing we would one day soon have a dedication. Our second inspection was held February 19, 1975 with R. W. Bro. James Deyo, District Deputy Grand Master presiding. Members and visitors numbering 88 joined us afterward for grand refreshments.
The greatest day of all for Urania Lodge came on April 27, 1975, when we were honored by the presence of the Grand Master, M. W. Bro. Robert D. Sager, who presided over the dedication ceremonies. Assisting M. W. Bro. Sager were R. W. Bro. C. S. Ward, Senior Grand Warden, R. W. Bro. Jerry C. Rasor, Junior Grand Warden, R. W. Bro. D. F. Iceman, Senior Grand Deacon and M. W. Bro. Robert A. Hinshaw, Grand Secretary and Past Grand Master.
The dedication was followed with short speeches, a plaque in memory of our benefactor presented, music by the Aladdin Shrine Piccadors and a dining area full of refreshments.
On this day the Grand Master, M. W. Bro. Robert D. Sager presented a 65-year pin to W. Bro. Elton Kile. Bro. Kile is our oldest living member and is a Past Master of some sixty years.
We still have our work crews, on notice by the Worshipful Master and still have much work to do. It is wondrous the fellowship and brotherhood that is displayed in these work sessions. Only in Masonry will it be found.
It is the hope of this writer and the members of Urania Lodge #311 that the labor that is progressing will be carried forward for generations to come. Only through the Great Architect of the Universe and the will of the Lodge can this be done.