Dover Lodge was chartered on August 6th 1874 in the village of Dover, Ohio (now Westlake, since 1940). The first lodge was located at the northwest corner of Dover Center Road and Center Ridge Road. This was the site of the James Hurst Grocery Store, which also served as the long-distance telephone station for the village. Dover Lodge was located on the second floor in a set of rooms rented from Mr. Hurst at $100 per year. During his tenure as Master of Dover Lodge, Worshipful Brother Hurst lowered the rent to $65 per year.
Dover Lodge continued to meet in this location under the service and leadership of 35 Worshipful Masters. During the tenure of Worshipful Brother D.O. Winslow early in 1909 the Masonic Lodge and the store beneath it burnt down in a fire. Dover Lodge was given temporary space to meet by the local International Order Of Oddfellows.
In November of 1910, the cornerstone for the rebuilt Dover Lodge was laid by Worshipful Brother I.G. Chester. This new building was completed in May of 1911, and was also located on the northwest corner of Dover Center Road and Center Ridge Road (now the location of Get-Go gas station). Seven months later, Dover Lodge rolls indicate membership at 122 men.
By the end of World War I, Dover Lodge celebrated raising it’s 200th Master Mason. On this night, August 10th 1918, 105 Dover Lodge members were present for the raising of this 200th Brother (Brother A.W. Wolf). A mere 9 years later Dover Lodge raised its 500th Master Mason (Brother L.L. Klink, 1927), and at the beginning of The Great Depression Dover Lodge’s membership rolls were at 574 Brethren. Interestingly it is noted with concern in the minutes of the year 1931 that member attendance at Lodge meetings was dropping sharply, with an average of only 60-90 men present at each meeting.
At the outbreak of World War II, membership had declined back to 450+ members due mostly to the financial impact of the Depression. During the height of the War Dover Lodge had 36 Brethren serving simultaneously in the Armed Forces. Following the close of the War membership again boomed, with 46 new Master Masons in 1946 and 44 in 1947. By 1949 Dover Lodge had 726 members on its rolls.
In 1960 Dover Lodge approved the building of a new Temple located on 6.7 acres of land at 29500 Center Ridge Road in Westlake (our current location). It took 10 years to complete the new building, and the old Dover Lodge property was purchased in 1967 by the Shell Oil Company for $57,000. On September 29th 1968 the cornerstone was laid for the current Westlake Masonic Temple. It was at this time that Dover Lodge changed it’s meetings to the first and third Thursdays of the month – a tradition that holds to this day. The building was completed and the Lodge Room dedicated on November 8th, 1970.
By the time of Dover Lodge’s Centennial celebration in 1974, membership rolls were steady at 477 Brethren. Although membership had declined sharply during the remainder of the 20th Century, Dover Lodge is seeing a tremendous revitalization during the first decade of the 21st.
Interesting Dover Lodge Facts
- Annual Dues (today’s money based on GDP per capita in last year of dues, source)
- 1874-1914: $3 per year ($381 in today’s money, 1914)
- 1915-1944: $5 per year ($148 in today’s money, 1944)
- 1945-1949: $6 per year ($157 in today’s money, 1949)
- 1950-1953: $8 per year ($158 in today’s money, 1958)
- 1954-1965: $10 per year ($127 in today’s money,1965)
- 1966-1968: $15 per year ($155 in today’s money,1968)
- 1969: Raised to $20 per year ($193 in today’s money)
- The Lodge Tyler was given a salary of 50 cents per meeting in 1876
- The Lodge Secretary was given a salary of $1 per meeting in 1893
- The Lodge Janitor was given a salary of $12 per year in 1898
- Lodges from which the first Dover Lodge members came:
- 20 from Berea Lodge #382
- 1 from King Hiram Lodge #33 (Canada)
- 1 from McKinney Lodge #318 (Allegheny City,PA)
- 1 from Cleveland City Lodge #15
- 1 from Bigelow Lodge #243
- 3 from King Solomon Lodge #56
- 1 from Shasta Lodge #372
- 2 from Geneva lodge
- Lodges that made donations to Dover Lodge following the fire of 1909:
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Thank you for reading about Dover Lodge’s history. Please check back as we will continue to update this page as we uncover more!