Mysteries at the Carleton Place Masonic Lodge

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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.

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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:)

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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.

 

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About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

2 responses »

  1. I can share all kinds of secrets if you’re interested. I even have PDF of the handbook of an English chapter from the early 19th century.

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