The following account was written, in his own hand, by our late Past Master, W.B. Robert S. Wood, Sr. Judging from the list of Charter Member then living, it appears to have been written in late 1991. I apologize for any errors in spelling or grammar; this is a direct copy from the original author. -Webmaster
History of Horace W. Tyler Lodge No. 290
Some time about 42 years ago, Bro. Claud Anderson (a Past Master of John Paul Johns Lodge in Gig Harbor) and Bro. Authur J Mitchell (Jack Harrington’s father-in-law) met at the University Place Builders Supply, owned by Bro. Mitchell, and in a conversation, got to discussing the possibility of a Masonic Lodge on the West side of Tacoma. They were joined by several local Brethren and, after a while, some advertisements were put in the newspaper to that effect.
Thus Bro. A.J. Mitchell, Sr., and W.B. Claud Anderson were actually the originators of Horace W Tyler Lodge.
They met later with Lloyd Sell, Jr., who at that time was Worshipful Master of William P. Dougherty Lodge. W.B. Sell and the Lodge agreed to sponsor Horace W. Tyler Lodge and were joined enthusiastically by V.W.B. Alger (at that time the District Deputy in District No. 14) who offered his assistance. A petition was soon on its way to the Grand Master asking for dispensation.
This dispensation was granted to 33 member of various lodges on August 17, 1949. V.W.B. Alger also suggested the name ‘Horace W. Tyler’ after the late Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Washington. Subsequently we added members from other lodges, and made some at our own so that when our Charter was granded on June 21, 1950, we had 66 Charter Members.
Of the original Charter Members, time has taken its toll, only 11 remain of the original 66, they are:
- Bro. Donald U. Buri
- Bro. Frank Carson (now at San Antonio, Texas)
- Bro. Charles Gage
- W.B. Wayne Gotchy, Past Master
- W.B. John J. Hoheim, Past Master
- W.B. Melvin C. Monsen, Past Master
- Bro. Maurice Palmer (now in Vista, California)
- W.B. Horton O. Wilcox, Past Master (lives in Renton, Washington but has been ill)
- W.B. Herman M. Williamsen, Past Master of Cottage Grove Lodge in Oregon.
- And me, Robert S. Wood, Past Master
It is noted that at this date there are 5 of the original 66 Charter Members remaining, they are:
- Brother Donald U. Buri
- W.B. Wayne F. Gotchy
- Brother John J. Hoheim, Jr.
- W.B. Melvin C. Monsen
- W.B. Herman M. WIlliamsen
These 66 members succeeded in getting Freemasonry off to a great start on the West side of Tacoma. 76 new members were gained in the years 1956-1960 and plans were drawn up to build a top story to the basement building. Bids went out sometime in late 1960 and on January 28, 1961 the low bud of $20, 800 by V. W. McLinn, contractor-builder, was accepted. It should be noted that this bid did not include electrical, floor covering, heating, plumbing, or painting, and an extra $250.00 was allotted for hardware.
A list of the Memorials that was placed in the Corner Stone of the temple.
- A copy of the King James version of the Holy Bible.
- A flag of the United States of America.
- A 1962 United States Mint set consisting of the 5 coins currently minted in the Uni9ted States of America.
- A 1962 membership roster.
- A list containing the names of: The Charter Members, the Past Masters of the Lodge, and a list of the Brothers of Horace W. Tyler who have been called to that Celestial Lodge above.
- A copy of “Not Made With Hands” the history of the first 100 years of the Grand Lodge of Washington by VWB Paul W. Harvey of Wm. O. Dougherty #224.
- A copy of the By-Laws of Horace W. Tyler Lodge #290.
- A roster of the officers of the Grand Lodge of Washington for June 1961 to July 1962
- A Copy of the Tacoma News Tribune dated February 20, 1962 containing the story of America’s entry into the Space Age with the three orbital flights of Colonel John Glenn.
- A copy of the Tacoma News Tribune dated Sunday, April 8, 1962 containing a story of the Corner Stone Ceremony, and several articles concerning the 1962 Space Age World’s Fair “Century 21” opening in Seattle, April 21 1962.
The Story of the Carpet
About a year later, in June of 1973, the Tyler Temple Corporation started a campaign to raise money to carpet the Lodge Hall. Honorary Past Master Ray Packard drew up a chart. This chart, consisting of 360 squares, was then reproduced on a large plywood sheet by Bro. G. Lester Pederson. Each square represented $10.00, for a total of $3600.00. These squares were made avail.able to members of Tyler Lodge #290, Tyler Chapter #248 Order of the Easter Stare, Tyler Assembly #137 Order of the Rainbow for Girls, and Olympic View Chapter Order of DeMolay.
By January, 1974, $2000, 00 had been donated. A semi-retired carpet dealer and a devoted Mason, Harry Kirisham, an Honorary member of Tyler Lodge and Past Master of Fair Weather Lodge #82, advised the Temple Board that there was enough money to complete the project, as he could get the carpet at a very good price. The 1974 Temple Board consisted of : Brothers Edward Morgan, Charles Craig, Richard Roberts, Clarence Ramier, William Taylor, Robert Wood, Don Ferfuson, G. Lester Pederson, and Steven Scott.
At the January Board meeting, the board appointed Clarence Ramier and Charles Craig, assisted, by Faye Anderson, Past Matron of Tyler Chapter #248 OES, to select the carpet and make a purchase. Under the supervision of Bro. Harry, the carpet was laid in February 1974, by volunteers from the lodge and Board members.
The Story of the Two Pillars
As early as 1910, the Grand Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Washington State had expressed some concern about a clandestine group calling themselves the “American Masonic Federation” which had made some inroads into parts of the northwest. A groupo which Paul Harvey had noted in his book, Not Made With Hands, “as motivated more by greed than by Masonic principals.” In about 1918 this group, perhaps as anticipated, organized Calidonia Lodge No. 1, which met in Fraternity Hall, located on Tacoma Avenue, across the street from the present Tacoma Library.
For about 3 years they apparently met with some measure of prosperity but by 1922 had fallen on rather hard times. Their ultimate demise probably came about through word of mouth and the realization of their ‘members’ that they were not regular Masons. During the time of their prosperity they had purchased some rather deluxe lodge furniture apparently to be used in a building to be constructed. This furniture was delivered shortly before the lodge’s timely demise.
During the three years prior to 1923, it is supected that they made a Mason of one Son-of-Norway, a man who must remain nameless. In1922, the Sons (and Daughters) of Norway, who had been rented a space in the Eagles Hall on Fawcett Avenue, laid the Corner Stone for the spacious and beautiful Normana Hall at 15th and South K Street. Almost coincident with the move of the Sons of Norway to the now completed Normana Hall, came the delivery of the Masonic furniture for Calidonia Lodge #1. Probably through the nameless brother, who had since discovered his error and joined a regular Lodge, the Sons of Norway were approached as to whether or not they would be willing to store the new furnishings in their new building, with the proviso that they could any part of it of so desired. Like many organizations who have completed buildings, the Sons of Norway seemed a but pressed for funds to furnishings their new building, so accepted the offer with considerable enthusiasm. So, in 1923 the stations, alter and other items ordered for Calidonia Lodge #1, began their service to the Sons of Norway. All items were put to use except the two columns, which being of no use to that organization, were summarily stored in the building attic. 5 years passed.
In 1928, probably as a result of some litigation, it is unlikely that Calidonia Lodge ever paid for the furnishings, the Sons of Norway, made formal payment to someone and became the owners of the property. For 27 years from 1923 until a fire in 1950, the columns rested in the attic at Normania Hall.
About the time that Tyler Lodge was given a dispensation, Brother Harry Christopherson of Fairweather, Brother Julius Tollefson of Wm P. Dougherty and a Carl Berg, (now deceased) possibly of Fairweather, all acting as committee for the Sons of Norway to clean up the attic of Normana Hall, (they had been getting some guff from the Fire Department) discovered the long forgotten columns. They immediately thought of a good home for the long ‘exiled’ pillars.
Permission was received from the Sons of Norway and the columns were dusted off and repainted. On May 15, 1951, a delegation lead by W.B. John Diamond, Master of Fairweather Lodge visited Horace W. Tyler Lodge and presented the columns to the Lodge. Harry Christopherson made the presentation with the story just related and according to the minutes of Tyler Lodge, the columns were accepted with great gratitude. They have been refurbished twice; once by our late Brother Lyle Heinberger and latter by W.B.’s Hahenkratt and Roberts. New Capitals were added for the Terrestrial and Celestial Spheres and new bases were added to give them a bit more height. Their origin was cloudy and the ‘exile’ had been long, but at Tyler Lodge the columns had at last found a respectable and permanent home.