Updated: May 2
In the year 1861, a group of Master Masons living in Reynoldsburg and vicinity and being members of Hebron Lodge No. 116, decided a lodge in this community would be warranted due to the distance to Hebron to attend lodge. Subsequently, they petitioned the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio for a Dispensation to form a lodge in Reynoldsburg. Accordingly, on the twenty-fourth day of February 1862, a Dispensation was granted by the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Ohio, George Rex to the brethren to form a lodge in Reynoldsburg, Franklin County, Ohio.
Original signers of the petition for Dispensation were: R. W. Meredith, J. Taylor, M. D. Brock, R.R. Johnson, J. Beckwith H. Booper, G. Tussing, L.W. Babbitt, J. Dickey PDDGM., and J. Noe.
The Grand Master appointed the three principal officers to govern the newly formed lodge. Appointed were: M. D. Brock, Worshipful Master; J. Dickey, Senior Warden; and L. W. Babbitt, Junior Warden. M. D. Brock was a past Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio and J. Dickey was a past District Deputy Grand Master. The new lodge adopted its bylaws. The meeting nights were set to be held each month on the Wednesday night preceding the full moon and two weeks thereafter. The fees to be changed were set at $10.00 for the Entered Apprentice degree, $5.00 for the Fellowcraft degree, and $5.00 for the Master Mason degree. Yearly dues were established at $1.50.
The lodge was constituted as Reynoldsburg Lodge No. 340 by District Deputy Grand Master Cornelius Moore of Cincinnati under the charter dated October 21, 1862. Pataskala and New Albany Lodges were formed by brethren belonging to Reynoldsburg Lodge under similar circumstances to those of our lodge.
From the time the lodge was chartered until 1873, meetings were held in rented quarters. In 1873, a building was purchased in which to hold meetings. The purchase price was $734. Part of the building was rented out to a grocer. Rent was sometimes paid in form of produce. A notation in the lodge minutes states, "During refreshment, apples tendered as rent were enjoyed by the brethren".
In the year 1882, the brethren decided to purchase a lot in the village of Reynoldsburg on which to build a new lodge. Lot No. 14 was purchased for the sum $445. This lot was adjacent to the I.O.O.F. hall. A new lodge building was subsequently built on this site.
In the year 1891, a motion was made and approved stating that no more smoking would be allowed in the lodge room while lodge was in session.
For a ten month period in 1892-3, by permission of the Grand Lodge, our lodge room was rented to Jasper Lodge No. 579, K of P. In the early 1900's, the lodge discontinued the practice of heating with coal. Services were installed for natural gas and provided by the Ohio Gas Co. With the advent of the telephone, service was obtained. Not only did the lodge secretary find this a very useful and time saving device for the transaction of business, but this was one of the first phones in the community and was often used by others.
Masons in Ohio first observed St. John's Day in 1908. By order of the M. W. Grand Master, the brethren first observed this day by attending Reynoldsburg Methodist Church on Sunday, December 27, 1908.
The brethren and their families have always enjoyed family outings. A favorite outing of the early years was to charter a railroad car from the old Ohio Electric Railroad Co. and travel to Buckeye Lake for a group picnic. In 1908, the lodge paid $33.20 to charter the cars for this trip. The lodge still enjoys sponsoring a picnic each summer and a Christmas party each year to promote unity among the brethren and their families.
On May 17, 1910, our lodge was dedicated by the Grand Lodge All the Grand Lodge Officers were present including M. W. Bro. B. F. Perry Jr.
With WWI, many problems faced the brethren and the lodge. One interesting highlight during this period comes from a stated meeting held on Sept. 18, 1917. A motion was unanimously carried to remit the dues of all members serving in the Armed Forces, for the duration of the war. The lodge invested all resources possible for the purchase of "Liberty Bonds". Our lodge room was offered to the American Red Cross for whatever uses it could best serve.
The practice of sending boxes of candy to the widows of deceased brethren at Christmas time was imitated in 1922.
The era of lighting with gas lamps ended in 1923 with the advent of electricity. In keeping with the time, the lodge was wired for electricity.
The Eastern Star Chapter was permitted to meet in the lodge in 1926. Starting with the installation of elected lodge officers in the fall of 1926, the ladies of the Eastern Star served the installation dinner. A fine turkey dinner was served that year.
In the year 1929, the first 50yr pin was presented to Brother W. S. Rochelle, on May 7.
The Grand Lodge program on educational talks was initiated in our lodge on May 20, 1930.
The depression years had a drastic effect on Freemasonry. Reynoldsburg Lodge was not spared, our membership dropped below 100 members due to deaths and few petitions coming in.
A 75-year Diamond Jubilee celebration was held on May 17, 1937.
The first Past Master's Jewels were presented to 27 past masters in the Ashton schoolhouse auditorium. The practice of presenting Bibles to newly raised Master Masons was started in our lodge in December 1941.
Our lodge participated in the support of WWII by purchasing War Bonds. In addition, pocket Bibles were sent to all members of our lodge serving in the Armed Forces.
The Sandal Club of Fellowcraft was founded in 1946.
Bethel 64 of the International Order of Jobs Daughters was chartered on January 16, 1960, under the sponsorship of Reynoldsburg Lodge and met until the 1990s. Tri-City Chapter Order of DeMolay was created from the remnants of Whitehall Chapter in 1979. Several of our members have joined due to these two youth organizations.
In the year 1966, the brethren decided that larger and more efficient quarters were needed. The finance and construction committees determined that the Ohio Bell building was very adaptable to our needs and within our financial means. The equity of our old lodge building, our savings account and individual pledges from numerous brethren and associated groups made the present lodge hall possible. So, after 84 years, the brethren, in the spring of 1966, voted in open lodge to purchase and remodel the building to serve as our lodge.
Over the years since then, several renovations have been made. Among these were the replacement of the roof, several renovations of the kitchen and the addition of air conditioning (which was made possible by contributions from Tri-City DeMolay).
Among the current activities of our lodge are our Ladies Night (formerly Wives and Widows Night), our traditional Wild Game Dinner, annual Spaghetti Dinner. For many years, Secretary Ralph Connell provided the main course for the Fish Fry Dinner.
In 1984, the lodge held it's first Table Lodge under WBro. Ed Kayser.
A monthly breakfast is held year around which serves as a focal point not only for lodge members, but also the community. The breakfast not only supports lodge programs, but also helps support the local Special Olympics programming. The lodge holds fundraisers at the Tomato Festival and the Millersport Corn Festivals each year. In 2012, the lodge was celebrated its Sesquicentennial with a Reconsecration ceremony led by MWBro Kevin B. Todd.
On October 16, 2018, Whitehall Lodge No. 761 became part of Reynoldsburg Lodge No. 340.
As the brethren travel, so has the Lodge. Our lodge has made visits to Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Michigan in recent years. The lodge made trips to Washington DC in 1961 and 50 years later in 2011. We also travel annually to the V. A. Hospital in Chillicothe and the Ohio Masonic Home in Springfield. Our lodge has opened at the Ohio Village Lodge No. 10 and in the historic lodge room at the Grand Lodge in Worthington for the purpose of conferring degrees. Many distinguished masons have come out of Reynoldsburg Lodge and have served in various capacities in other Masonic related bodies. Among these hard working masons are/have been:
Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio * M. D. Brock (prior to the formation of Reynoldsburg Lodge)
District Deputy Grand Master * J. Dickey * W. V. "Pete" Ashton * E. Paul Howard Jeff Rannebarger Ken Cohen Knights of the York Cross of Honor * W. V. "Pete" Ashton * W. Fishpaw George Roloson Paul Beatty Arthur Long Rod Basye John Wronski Don Lutz Roger Bair
Grand Worthy Patron of the Order of Eastern Star Ray Belfrage Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons * N. Emerson Taylor
Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masons * George Roloson
Knights of the York Grand Cross of Honor * George Roloson
District Education Officer Bill Peters Ed Kayser Jeff Rannebarger Ken Cohen
Presidents of the 14th Masonic District * Ralph Shively * E Paul Howard William Lane Ken Cohen Jeff Rannebarger Harold Davis Bradley Love
33° A.A.S.R. * N. Emerson Taylor * W. V. "Pete" Ashton * Kenneth Brown * Jim Steckel Dick Luckay Jeff Rannebarger
Past State Master Councilor of Ohio DeMolay Sam Cohen
As this brief history has illustrated, Reynoldsburg Lodge has continually served Masonry for many years and will continue to do so!