Masons hold open house

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 9/17/96.

The Paynesville Masonic Lodge #71 is 128 years old and happy to be hosting an open house on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at their new lodge site on Washburne Avenue. The open house is from 5 to 9 p.m. The Chamber of Commerce is also hosting a coffee at the same time at 111 Washburne Avenue, Paynesville. Refreshments are available throughout the evening.

Part of the original Haines Addition in 1886, the building has seen many owners over the years. The building at one time housed the James Cafe, Bergies Food Market, Dr. Myre's office, decorating business of Don Hanson, and a paint store owned by Cal Davidson. The building sat empty for many years before the Masons purchased it from Frauenshuh and Spooner in 1994.

The Masons had owned the building where Color Max is located today for many years. With the loss of their tenant and dwindling funds, they felt they needed to seek a smaller building.

A sizable donation from the Carol Weaver estate allowed the Masons to purchase their present building and to remodel the interior and exterior of the building. The building features a meeting room and recreation area. It is completely handicapped accessible.

The meeting room features the altar, and three high backed chairs. On the south is one chair for the junior warden who is the time keeper and observes time; on the west is the senior warden who observes the close of day and on the east is the master who observes the start of day.

The Masons are a fraternal organization affiliated with the Order of Eastern Star, Jobs Daughters, and the Shriners. The Masons are possibly the oldest fraternal group in the world dating back to 926 A.D. to the cathedral builders.

Charles Griswold was the first master of the Paynesville Lodge #71 in 1868. Other officers were Henry Shirtliff, senior warden; John More, junior warden; Alexander Howard, acting secretary and Peter Hanson, acting tyler.

Early records show the Masons first held their meetings in the back part of the Darby and Moore Store building. The rent was $1 per meeting, which included oil lights. The second place for their meetings was on the second floor of the H.F. Sheldon building. The ground floor was occupied by H. F. Sheldon as a blacksmith shop which was located on the former Helmut Drager residence. This place was used until 1872. The rent was $25 per year.

The Masonry give $2 million per day to charities in the U.S. Charities receiving funds include children's hospitals and burn hospitals, aphasia clinics, dentistry for the handicapped, eye foundation, cystic fibrosis research, diabetes research and more. The Paynesville Masons recent donations include: $650 to the school scholarship fund, glucose monitors to the schools, $1,000 to the new Chutes and Ladders playground, $500 to the library project and $500 to the Paynesville Historical Society.

Present officers of the Masons are: Wally Payne, master; Cliff Rossler, senior warden; Dale Bast, junior warden; Doug Hendrickson, senior deacon; Jeff Thompson, junior deacon; Wes Nehring, tyler; Herb Link, secretary; Reed Ringstad, treasurer; Mike Nehring, senior steward; Bruce Vanderpool, junior steward and Don Brady, chaplain.

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