Granite Lodge to celebrate centennial

It’s the oldest fraternity in the world–and the local chapter is turning 100.
The Granite Lodge in Fort Frances will be celebrating its centennial anniversary with a dinner/dance Sept. 26 and an open house the following day.
Alan Tibbetts, Past Master and lodge historian, said it will be only the second open house the Masons here have ever held.
“We’ll be explaining what it’s all about, what we are, what we do,” he said. “We had one open house two years ago. It was quite a success.”
Tibbetts noted it’s only been in the last five years that the Grand Lodge in Hamilton encouraged all “speculative” Masons to become more visible in the community.
That’s not to say the Masons were a “secret society,” Tibbetts stressed, just a quiet one.
“There’s virtually nothing the public can’t find out about us through books at a good library,” he remarked. “If you look back in the archives [of the newspaper], there used to be a lot of activities held by the Masons.
“It was only after World War Two that the fraternity went into itself,” he added.
Although the Masons traditionally date back to the building of King Solomon’s temple, the first documented manuscript goes back to 1390. Those were “operative” Masons, Tibbetts said, people who actually worked with stone and mortar.
“Speculative” Masons, which is what the members of Granite Lodge are, started up in 1717 in London, England.
But both operate on the same three basic principles, or degrees–charity, self-improvement in knowledge, and integrity. Many notable men have belonged over the years, including Scottish poet Robbie Burns.
Tibbetts hoped the open house will help show what role the Masons have played in Fort Frances, and perhaps stir up some interest with possible new members.
“It’s the oldest fraternity in the world,” Tibbetts said. “We see the lodge as part of the community and, hopefully, they will see us as part of the community.”