Have you ever wondered what the inside of the Mountain Home Masonic Lodge looks like or what the Masons are all about and what they stand for?
Mountain Home Masonic Lodge #263 will host an Open House on Saturday, August 12 from 9 to 11 a.m. The lodge is celebrating its 120th anniversary since its first meeting. Anyone wishing to see the Lodge Hall or learn more about Masonry is welcome to attend.
JW Young, master; Jim Litten, lodge secretary; and other lodge officers will be at the open house to answer any questions that those attending may have concerning masonry.
“The open house is a great opportunity for anyone to visit our Lodge or find out more about the ways we support the community,” Litten said. “Many people know of the Masons but don’t understand what all Masonry involves.”
Masons around the world are also celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Grand Lodge of England, which is where Masons in the United States got their first charter to form a lodge. Though much has changed in the world since 1717, like the way people communicate, socialize, travel and many other aspects of life, Masonry has adapted to every age and maintains its relevance to both its members and society overall.
Freemasonry focuses on the internal qualities of men, continually bringing together good men of sound character to work in harmony. There are about 35,000 Masons in Virginia, representing a significant collection of talents, knowledge, skills and abilities. Masons are fathers, husbands and sons from various financial, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Masonry is not a religion. It is open to any man who is 18 years old and professes a belief in God. Masonry is not a secret society but does have a handshake and password, much like some other organizations.
The Masonic “emblem,” called the Square and Compass, represents the square of virtue and the compass of humility.
Masons were instrumental in the founding of the nation, as 13 Masons were signers of the Declaration of Independence. With them they brought the idea of liberty, which was a democratic form of government by the people. George Washington was the master of the first lodge in North America. Many presidents were Master Masons including James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Howard Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Gerald Ford.
Mountain Home Lodge #263 was founded and chartered on December 3, 1896, and placed in Masonic District No 40. Less than a year later, in 1897, records show that Mountain Home Lodge No. 263 was transferred to Masonic District No. 39 for better working relationships. During this year, the lodge grew in membership to a total of 19 members. In the early years of the lodge’s existence the going was tough, but there was a continuous growth in membership.
The first building for Mountain Home Lodge was the Neal building on Main Street. It was told that in the hot summer days, a fan placed behind a large block of ice was the only means of bringing comfort to the brethren during meetings. In the early part of the 20th century a large number of the local people were initiated into the lodge as members.
Mountain Home Lodge continued to grow from the day it was chartered. In 1905, there were 47 members; in 1910 it had increased to 61 members. This type of growth forced the brethren to think more about building a temple where it’s members could meet in comfort and feel more secure in their rituals. Plans continued for many years, and on June 9, 1955, they became a reality.
The new building was erected on the corner of Rye Cove Road and Buena Vista Avenue in Stuart. It is a one-story, open basement, brick building. The temple will seat approximately 100 people and there is a reception hall in the basement. The Order of the Eastern Star used to share this building also.
Most Worshipful Alan Wayne Adkins, a past master and long time secretary of this lodge, was elected the 152nd Grand Master of Masons in Virginia on November 12, 1996. On November 11, 1997, Brother Adkins was elected Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Virginia.
Most Worshipful James Edward Litten, a past master and long time secretary of this lodge, was elected the 171st Grand Master of Masons in Virginia on November 7, 2015.
The Masonic Lodge is proud to be a part of the Town of Stuart and a part of the hometown experience and will continue to support the community through charitable works, community events, its child ID program and blood drives.