Hope Lodge No. 251 Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons is celebrating the group’s 150th anniversary this year. It was chartered Oct. 15, 1868.
Members will mark this milestone with a special dinner next week at the lodge.
Throughout the years, Hope Lodge No. 251 Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons has participated in Washington community life taking care of the widowed, orphaned and needy people. The lodge traces its history back to 1853.
The Masons also contributed money for the helicopter pad at Mercy Hospital and Korean War Memorial in Krog Park.
In 1992, when Charles G. Coy was worshipful master, Evergreen Lodge No. 28 A.F. & A.M., New Haven, consolidated into Hope Lodge.
Evergreen Lodge was instrumental in helping Hope Lodge obtain a new charter in 1868.
Also, in 1992 Hope Lodge established an annual $500 scholarship for a senior at Washington High School and a senior at New Haven High School.
On occasion the lodge, with the help from the Grand Lodge, has awarded a $1,000 scholarship to a Washington High School senior for each year the student attends a school of higher learning.
In the fall of 1996, when Coy served his second term as Hope Lodge worshipful master, the lodge helped to erect and dedicate the Korean War Memorial in Krog Memorial Park.
The lodge participated in Washington’s 150th Anniversary Parade in 1989 by having Masons ride a float in full costume of the 14 U.S. presidents who have been Master Masons.
Missouri Masons are proud of President Harry S Truman, who served as the grand master of Missouri.
A Family Affair
At one time, six members of the Lindauer family were members of the lodge. Also, six members of the Koirtyohann family were Masons at the same time.
Freemasonry is a family affair, and the fraternity is carried on from generation to generation.
The three Lindauer brothers, Harold Lindauer, Max Julius Lindauer and Felix Lindauer, received their 60-year member pins about 10 years ago. Harold is the only living brother and will receive his 70-year pin in about one year.
For years, Oscar Koirtyohann, as worshipful master, and Harold Lindauer, chaplain, conducted the Masonic funeral for departed brothers. Today, Charles G. Coy, as worshipful master, and Terry D. Coppotelli, as chaplain, conduct the Masonic funerals.
John L. Erfurdt Jr. serves as marshal today, and served as marshal under Koirtyohann.
Oscar was noted for frying fish for Masonic gatherings. He fried fish he caught and mixed them with cod from Droege’s Supermarket. He always fried fish in peanut oil.
History Dates to 1853
Hope Lodge No. 251 A.F. & A.M. traces its history back to 1853 when it was formed in Washington as Martha Washington Lodge No. 19.
It lasted during the Civil War until its charter was revoked officially in 1863 for nonpayment of dues. Rumor has it that the charter was revoked for drinking beer in the fellowship room.
During the Civil War, most Masonic lodges had an ongoing problem of not having enough members to hold a meeting. Most of the lodge members were enlisted in the military.
On Jan. 7, 1867, the lodge reopened on the Third Degree with six brothers from Evergreen Lodge No. 28, New Haven. It takes seven brothers to open a lodge.
By July 5, 1867, Washington Freemasons were meeting in the Odd Fellows Hall. The past master of Pacific Lodge presided under special dispensation from District Deputy Grand Master W.E. Glenn, for the purpose of organizing and setting the lodge at work.
Meetings were set for every Tuesday evening on or before the full moon. The worshipful master/secretary was Bayless Fry.
On July 16, 1867, the lodge was opened on the Third Degree as “Hall of Hope” Lodge A.F. & A.M. Those present were:
Bayless Fry, worshipful master; S.M. Davidson, senior warden; A.W. Powell, junior warden; Steven Jones, treasurer; R. Junior Nally, secretary; William Taylor, senior deacon; R.P. Sertis, junior deacon; Bernard (Bemar) Weisie, tiler; three brothers from Pacific Lodge and one brother from Polar Star Lodge in St. Louis.
The Lodge adopted the bylaws of Mirabele Lodge No. 166 until Hope Lodge published its own bylaws. Fees adopted were set at $40, which included $20 for initiation, $10 for passing and $10 for being raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.
It was not until Oct. 17, 1868, that the new charter was dated and presented to Hope Lodge No. 251, Washington.
Members Have Been Prominent People
The Fraternity of Freemasons is the oldest fraternal organization in the world.
There are numerous artifacts in Hope Lodge like the old tracing boards, the tracing board tapestry, numerous gavels (one of which was given to the lodge was made from the wreckage of a well-known riverboat).
Lodge members have been many prominent merchants, judges, doctors, pastors, lawyers, policemen, skilled tradesmen, business owners, farmers, Pacific Railroad workers as well as laborers and hired hands.
On Oct. 31, 1868, the Grand Lodge of Missouri convened at Washington. Most Worshipful Grand Master William R. Bibb presided. From Hope Lodge, Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master S. M. Davidson (a farmer formerly from Virginia) took part in the ceremonies.
The charter was presented and the lodge hall was consecrated and dedicated as the hall of Hope Lodge No. 251, Washington. At that time, the Lodge was meeting above what was known as Western Auto Store, now Pecka Sales and Service.
On July 27, 1869, the first lodge of Instruction was held at Hope Lodge, under the direction of Right Worshipful Brother Bibb. Members from Evergreen Lodge, Pacific Lodge, Cedar Lodge, Union Lodge, Sullivan Lodge, Jefferson County Lodge, and De Soto Lodge were present.
Brother Burgoine from St. Louis Lodge No. 1 did the work and lecture on the first degree. The Lodge of Instruction lasted three days each until midnight, The annual School of Instruction was where the members learned ritual in all three degrees.
The School of Instruction became an annual event, usually a one-day affair, and it was held at Hope Lodge until about 1999. The Grand Lodge lecturer conducted the School of Instruction and Masons from all over Missouri attended it each year. Many Masons from St. Louis County were in attendance.
The members of Hope Lodge first met in a building on Jefferson Street near the corner of Second Street in 1855.
They later met at the Missouri Valley Creamery building and later at the Pecka Building on the second floor while the new lodge at 109 Lafayette St. was being constructed.
Many Items in Cornerstone
One of the important milestones in Hope Lodge’s history was the 100th anniversary celebration in October 1968. A dinner was held with many Grand Lodge Masons and city officials in attendance.
The present Lodge building at 109 Lafayette St. in Downtown Washington was dedicated Oct. 15, 1928. Construction was funded by Masons who sold stock to members.
The Masonic Temple Association still owns the building today.
In the cornerstone are many Masonic items along with a copy of a local newspaper and a 1819 silver half dollar representing the year Franklin became a county.
The county seat was at New Port and the county land size was much larger when the county was chartered.
Many Mason brothers are and were members of Pacific Lodge No. 86, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and many prominent Washington citizens with dual membership are buried at Wildey Cemetery.