History


The U.D. Masonic Lodge AF & AM in St. Joseph was instituted on Saturday evneing, October 18, 1913, by the Distirct Deputy Grand Master, Wilson P. Jones, of Tolono, assisted by Judge W.G. Spurgeon of Urbana, Illinois.

Plans for a new Masonic Temple Building, were immediately started.  A.B. Glascock, who was chairman of the committee that was organized for the purpose of building a new Temple appointed a building committee, composed of Dr. H.E. Davis, U.G. Glascock and U.G. Swearingen.

Lots were purchased from Norman C. Hoyt.

C.C. Fenwick, a brother Mason, drew the plans and work was soon underway.

During our year as a U.D. Lodge, eight candidates were initiates, passed and raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, and one candidate had been started on the road, having received the Entered Apprentice Degree.

This fine temple was erected during the year of our work Under Dispensation and was ready for occupancy by the time we received the Charter.

The Committee in attendance at the Grand Lodge Meeting in October 1914 (being the same committee that had attended the previous two meetings) telephoned home to the members here on Wednesday, October 14, that the Grand Lodge had granted us a Charter and henceforth would be St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 A.F. & A.M.

The constitution, institution and dedication all occured on Tuesday, November 17, 1914, with Judge W.G. Spurgeon, acting as Grand Master.  J.E. Jeffers as Deputy Grand Master had charge of these excerises.  There were 22 members of the occasional Grand Lodge present to participate in the work of the constitution, institution and dedication.  There were forty-five Charter members at the time of dedication, most of them having been previous members of the Ogden Masonic Lodge.

Charter Members of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970
John D. Lester, Henry Elmer Davis, Walter Cleveland Peters, Nathan Levi Walker, Joshua Douglas Henderson, Carey C. Fenwick, Lawrence Lewellyn Hall, John Grant Cook, Charles Byerley, Lew E. Stevenson, Foster McCarty, Charles M. Walker, Cady L. Hall, Albert Warren Firebaugh, Roscoe Samuel Perry, Benjamin F. Youmans, John Benjamin Dunn, Mortimer Kilbury, Christian Peter Jacobson, Ulyses G. Glasscock, Austin Bowers Youmans, Charles Wilson Dale, Isaac Newton Walker, Robert E. Mathis, Asa Kilbury, Charles Joseph Walker, William F. Fenwick, Mattison Fenwick, Nathan Arnold, Ulysses Grant Swearningen, John Thomas Pence, Milford Henry Johnson, Guy Nathan Walker, Albert Green, Thomas J. Woodin, Brent Calvin Green, Clyde Hildebrand Walker.

Of the foregoing Charter Members there are only 5 members living at this time, viz;  Dr. A.J. Dalton, Charles W. Dale, St. Joseph; Charles M. Walker, Champaign and Albert Firebaugh Danville.  Guy N. Walker was a charter member but he demitted in 1957.
In 2010 the lodge began a series of facility improvements to the Masonic Temple building.   The Lodge room was renovated with new carpet, repainting and removal of the old theater seating.  In 2011 air conditioning was installed in the lodge room and the 3rd floor kitchen facility.

At the 172nd Annual Communication of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Illinois, St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 was presented with the 2011 Grand Masters Award of Excellence, this was the first time in lodge history that this award had been won.

In February 2012, St. Joseph Lodge was awarded the 2011 Mark Twain award for excellence in Masonic Awarness.  This was the first time that a lodge in Illinois was ever given this prestigious award.

May 18, 2012 - Tracy R. Hogan was installed as Worshipful Master, Todd R. HItt as Senior Warden and Greg Vaughn as Junior Warden.

October 2012 - The lodge received the 2012 Illinois Grand Masters Award of Excellence and the Mark Twain Award from the Masonic Service Association.  Additionally for the 3rd year in a row, the Lodge won an award for increase in membership.

May 2013 - Todd R. Hitt was installed as Worshipful Master, Greg Vaugn as Senior Warden and Jeff Baine Junior Warden.

August 2013 - The lodge participated in the St. Joseph Community Festival with a float in the parade.

November 30, 2013 - St. Joseph Lodge along with Ogden Lodge No. 754, Homer Lodge No. 970 and St. Joseph Boy Scout Troop 40 hosted a breakfast at SJO High School to help the relief efforts from the Gifford Tornado.  $3,000 was given to the relief fund.

May 2014 - Gregory Vaughn was installed as Worshipful Master.  Brother Vaughn's father was Master of St. Joseph Lodge in 1964.  Jeff Baine was installed as Senior Warden and Keven Forney as Junior Warden.

July 2014 - Tuckpointing was done on the exterior of the building to ensure long term preservation of the facility.

August 5, 2014 - the installation of the time capsule was completed for the dedication coming up.  Lodge member Tracy Hogan was one of those working on the project.