St. John’s No. 63 Masonic Lodge
Address: 55 Bridge Street Carleton Place, Ontario
Built in 1913 – Architect: unknown
On November 25th, 1842, a group met at Manny Nolan’s tavern to petition for dispensation. The first installation of officers occurred January 20th, 1843 after formal granting in December of 1842. The present lodge building was constructed in 1913 after the first hall was destroyed by fire in the great fire of 1910 in Carleton Place.
St. John’s Lodge met at the Carleton House, 4 Bridge Street) from 1843 to 1858. The building no longer exists. From 1858 to 1865, the Masons called Hurd’s Hall home (on Bell Street), and from 1865 to 1870 it was 250 Bridge St. – which later became the town’s fire hall.
For the next 17 years (1870 to 1887), meetings were held at “Dr. Cornell’s Hall” – at the corner of Bridge and William Streets. The inaugural meeting in the new building took place on Dec. 13, 1911, and a ceremony of dedication – by M.W. Grand Master Aubrey White – was held on Feb. 9, 1912.
When I was a young girl I was mesmerized with my father’s blue Masonic Lodge apron. I don’t know how many times I asked him what the “all seeing eye” meant in his Masonic Bible. More mystery shrouded my mind when my Grandmother left for her Rebecca Lodge meetings in her white dress. When my Grandfather became a Grand Master of the Cowansville, Quebec branch people shook his hands congratulating him and I just sat there and shook my head.
I asked once, okay, maybe I asked 50 times, but I was always told the same thing. Anything to do with the Masonic Lodge was a secret that they could not share with me. When my Grandfather and Father died, the local Masons came in their dress ‘uniforms’ and closed the door and had some sort of ceremony over their caskets. I still had no idea after all those years. I stopped one of my former classmates who was now part of the local Masonic Lodge and asked him point blank if the Masonic Lodge was about taking over the world. He laughed and said,
“Linda, if you stop and ask yourself logical questions the answer is very clear There are no major secrets in masonry. How can we be trying to take over the world when we have such a hard time organizing a fundraiser?”
Sigh— I still don’t know and never will, and each time I walk by the Masonic Hall in Carleton Place I wonder how these people can keep a secret for so long. Keeping secrets isn’t my specialty, and I think they can smell that from a mile away:)
This is a undated vintage picture of the back of Central Garage with the late Frank Robertson and late Ken Robertson of Carleton Place as children. The photo would have been taken in the late 1920’s. A view of the Masonic Lodge on can been seen in the background.