Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Douglas Masonic Lodge Features Historic Signs

Douglas Lodge #12.

by Glenn Franco Simmons

At old newspapers I published, I used to photograph Masonic Halls in Northern California. Sadly, those photos reside with whomever bought the archives when the newspapers were sold.

My interest in Masonry began with my own initiation, but due to having twins and a son and being so involved with my community activities and working seven days a week, I did not progress very far.

It was then that I realized what a significant role Masons have played not only in Northern Nevada history, but U.S. history, with numerous presidents having been Masons.

Douglas Lodge #12.

Douglas Lodge #12 is a Western-style Lodge next to an antique store. I haven't been inside, but the outside is colorful and interesting, not to mention historical.

According to a posted directory at the Lodge, current Lodge officers are Al Bergstrum is Worshipful Master; D. Russ Bacon, Senior Warden; Roger Cole (PM), junior warden; and Larry W. Darling (PGS), secretary.

“The history of Douglas lodge begins in 1868, when twelve brethren in Genoa, moved by Masonic impulse, and in search of fraternal contact, and intent upon the establishment of a home wherein they might spread Masonic light, and diffuse the principles of the order, petitioned the Grand Lodge of Nevada for permission to organize a lodge under dispensation,” according to “History of Masonry in Nevada” by C.W. Torrence (Western Printing & Publishing Co., Sparks, Nev.).

Perhaps the Lodge was a store at one time. Let me know in comments.

On the 22nd of February, 1868, their petition was granted, and a dispensation was issued under authority of J. C. Currie, Grand Master, and naming Robert W. Rollen worshipful master; Silas E. Tuttle, senior warden, and Hiram Doyle, junior warden,” Mr. Torrence wrote. “Under this document, the lodge worked and was duly instituted, and its officers were installed; work was continued under this arrangement, until the seventeenth of September of the same year when, in conformity with the action of the Committee on Charters at the fourth annual communication of the Grand Lodge held in Masonic Hall in Virginia City, it was recommended that a charter be issued the brethren at Genoa, and their lodge be numbered twelve on the registry of Nevada lodges.

“Shortly after it was chartered and constituted, one of its first acts was to form a joint stock company among its members, which had for its object the erecting of a Masonic temple. This effort, however, was not productive of results, and after an outlay of considerable labor, infinite and careful planning and deliberation, as well as the investing of funds, the undertaking collapsed. Intermittently thereafter additional attempts were made to devise plans for the erection of a building, but in each instance prevailing conditions in the lodge and community prevented the accomplishment of their intentions.”

While at the Lodge, which was obviously closed the morning I was there, had a parking sign and another sign in the beautiful Masonic Blue. It made me think readers might be interested in the colors used in Freemasonry.

I love the color Masonic Blue.

“Colors are somewhat subjective for each of us,” according to the Masonic Lodge of Education's website. “Different people see colors differently. Even each graphics program and computer monitor displays them a little differently and so, even the color 'light blue' can denote a vast array of hues or tones of the same color.

“Freemasons learn that the answer to this question is that Masonic Blue is the color of the starry decked sky {;} the celestial clouded canopy that covers each and every one of us. But, why ‘blue?’ Why not purple or red or any other color in the spectrum? And what exact hue of blue does Masonic Blue represent {:} The light, clear blue of a Summer’s Day, the dark blue before the storm {,} the royal blue of a Mediterranean sky {,} or something in between?”

In another part of the website, it stated, “Blue was a sacred color to the priests of Israel in biblical times.  The color is mentioned first in the Old Testament in: Exodus XXV:3-4:  in which the Lord commanded Moses to speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goat’s hair.’ Throughout the Books of Exodus and Numbers are many references to the color, blue, and several more are to be found in Chronicles, Esther, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.”

The website ~ which I encourage you to visit after a search for it (as links often change, I am reluctant to use hyperlinks) ~ also stated, “... We see the colors blue and gold repeatedly used together throughout nature, in the scriptures and in the process of learning why blue is a sacred color. The sky is blue. The sun’s rays are gold in color.

“Therefore, it is easy to see why the colors blue and gold have historically been associated with Deity (God, G_d, the Creator, the Almighty, the Supreme Architect of the Universe).”

I have seen Masonic rings with such colors.

“We see the colors blue and gold repeatedly in Masonic paraphernalia such as gold Masonic rings with the ring's face or background being blue,” the website continued. “We see Masonic Blue on a Masonic lapel pin, most Masonic cufflinks, Masonic gifts and the overwhelming majority of Masonic jewelry {~} not to mention upon Masonic aprons and other Masonic supplies.”

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Genoa Has Historic Cemetery

Looking northwest at the Genoa Cemetery.

by Glenn Franco Simmons

Tucked away two-thirds north of Genoa-proper, off Jacks Valley Road, is the historic Genoa Cemetery, which remains in use today. 

While walking through the cemetery, a profound sense of history soon evidenced itself in the form of various types of gravestones.

The cemetery, operated by the Genoa Cemetery Association,  is well-maintained and, if I may say with respect, picturesque.

According to the excellent “A History of the Genoa Cemetery,” by Billie J. Rightmire, on Sept. 9, 1897, “J.W. Haines and wife Rosa, deeded seven ... acres to the Douglas Lodge No. 12, F & A.M., and Genoa Lodge No. 15 ~ I.O.O.F., and Douglas County for the sum of $1.00 gold co{i}n, a certain parcel of land north of the Haines home to be used as the Genoa Grave Yard.

“At the time, 1897, and through a chain of property ownerships. {T}his land was already being used as a place for burial. Senator Haines and his wife purchased their 320 acres of Genoa property in 1877.

As with many cemeteries, Genoa's is sectioned.

“The Genoa Cemetery, as per the deed, had a Genoa Section, an Odd Fellows Lodge Section (I.O.O.F.) and a Masonic Lodge Section {(}F & A.M.),” according to Rightmire. “A small Indian Section is located at the Northeast corner of the Cemetery. The Genoa Cemetery Association was formed in the early 1950s.”

I encourage you to read more of the cemetery’s history at the Genoa Cemetery Association’s cemetery history webpage, or what cemetery association president Bob Whear noted is the association's first newsletter. (At the date of posting, the web links were current.)

Amity Lodge Will Host Communication

Amity Lodge, Silver City. © Glenn Franco Simmons. Taken several years ago.

by Glenn Franco Simmons

Travelers might notice the well-cared-for white building with blue trim in Silver City, Nev., without realizing it is part of a living history that dates all the way back to the origins of The Comstock Lode.

Silver City's Amity Lodge No. 4 F. & A.M. — located at 175 Main St. — was chartered in 1863. The Lodge's regular communication will take place on Thursday, May 2. Dinner is at 6 p.m., followed by Lodge opening at 7 p.m.

"Amity Lodge No. 4 had its beginnings as Silver City Lodge No. 163," according to Amity Lodge's website. "Sojourning Masons living in Silver City, Nevada, under the guidance of Brother John C. Currie expressed their desire to organize a lodge, by framing a petition to the Grand Lodge of California.

"A dispensation was granted by Grand Master William C. Belcher on March 20, 1863, to the sundry Brethren at Silver City, Nevada Territory, and a charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of California on May 15, 1863, as Silver City Lodge No. 163.

"The officers and members included — John C. Currie, W. M.; Charles F. Brant, S. W.; William B. Hickok, J. W.; August Koneman, Treasurer; Henry W. Arnold, Secretary; James A. Cowden, S. D.; Moses J. Rourke, J. D.; Henry Lun, Tyler. Other members included Master Masons M. J. Henley, R. P. Kerr, and Robert H. Watson.

"Lodge membership increased to 36 Master Masons, 4 Fellow Craft, and 12 Entered Apprentices in 1865, when the Lodge severed it connection to the Grand Lodge of California, and united with other Lodges in the organization of the Grand Lodge of Nevada, from which it received a charter at the time as Amity Lodge No. 4 on January 16, 1865.

"Its first Master, Brother John C. Currie, withdrew, and united with Virginia City Lodge at Virginia City, and was elected Grand Master of Masons of the State of Nevada, and also served as Mayor of Virginia City. Brother Richard T. Mullard was the last Master under California jurisdiction, and Master under newly formed Amity Lodge No. 4, he would later became Deputy Grand Master."

There is a stated meeting first Thursday of each month at Amity Lodge.

There are many misconceptions about Free & Accepted Masons, so I refer readers to an excellent rebuttal to common fallacies regarding Freemasonry that the Grand Lodge of Virginia published: "Myths of Freemasonry."

(Photos taken by Glenn may be used without restriction by Masons. For Masons, photo credit is not required.)

Amity Lodge in Silver City. © Glenn Franco Simmons.