Tell us about Edon Lodge. What makes it unique? What is it known for?
Edon Lodge was granted a charter to work in 1873 and has recently celebrated 150 years of building brotherhood. Edon Lodge #474 is much like most Lodges, but with this exception, the Lodge burnt down twice in its storied history, and recently its roof collapsed partially. Despite these calamities, the Brothers of Edon Lodge #474 stand more united than ever. In the past, Edon was known for its fantastic degree work, for which we did win the best inspection award this year, but lately, we have earned a reputation for putting on good degrees, followed by great food and fellowship.
What is the community of Edon, Ohio, like? What is your Lodge’s interaction with the community?
Edon, Ohio, is a typical American small town in the state’s top left corner. We have only one stop light in the town center and our beloved Edon Farmers Co-op towers overhead, with our old Lodge building on the corner. Warm smiles and waves of the hand greet you as you enter our little town.
Edon Lodge has been spending our time helping the local youth organizations. Recently, the lodge sponsored the youth summer baseball league.
We’re aware your Lodge has an emphasis on history and community. Can you tell us more about that?
Edon’s history starts a little chaotic because of the first great fire that swept through our little town in 1894. Edon’s early history became lost to that great fire, but we can piece together some events from historical documents.
We know that after the first fire wiped out a good chunk of the town, the Worshipful Master of Edon Lodge #474 petitioned the Grand Master of Freemasons in Ohio to solicit funds from the other lodges around the state. The Worshipful Master sent a letter to all the Lodge’s in Ohio requesting aid and aid they did receive. The Lodge’s pooled resources to help rebuild the community and build a new lodge for Edon.
Edon Lodge was almost lost a second time to a town fire in 1913. This time the building was spared, only receiving damage to its exterior windows, which remain boarded to this day. Brothers from our Lodge helped rebuild the city.
Our once-busy pioneer city was home to an astonishing population of 10,000 individuals. After decades much has changed, and our sleepy village holds a little more than 800 people where 10% of the population call each other Brother. Our lodge is very present in our community.
What is the relationship between Brothers in the Lodge? How do they interact with each other and engage in Lodge events?
I love our Lodge; I bet it is similar to many Lodges across the state and country. There are Brothers from all walks of life; at any meeting, you could sit with school teachers, factory workers, farmers, retired military members, managers, college students, or mechanics. We typically meet before and after Lodge for food and refreshments, just hanging out and having fun. We are looking to change this routine by gathering before Lodge at local restaurants. This would allow us to support the town’s eateries and make us more visible in our community. Not to mention everyone wouldn’t have to sit through my cooking (or rather lack of cooking)!
Edon Brothers do a great job being there for each other and are always willing to lend a helping hand.
Does your Lodge have any events you’d like to share?
We don’t have anything planned “in the books,” but we will be doing a Lodge cookout at my place later this month. We also have Edon days on August 12th, in which we will be in the parade.
What about this Lodge made you want to be part of it? What type of Mason does it attract?
Originally I wanted to be a Mason because I thought it was so cool. I didn’t know what it was, but I thought it was awesome. I was 14 years old when my best friend showed me his recently deceased grandfather’s Masonic ring and ritual book. I instantly knew I wanted to be a part of it. My best friend told me I couldn’t join because my father or grandfather wasn’t a Mason.
Then when I was a Senior in high school, I noticed the Square and Compass on the back of my teacher’s truck. I told him the next day I wanted to become a Freemason, hoping my friend was just giving me some bad information and I didn’t have to be related to a Mason to become one. My teacher told me I couldn’t. Later I found out he was referring to Prince Hall Masonry.
I spent most of my early adult life wanting to join the Masons but thinking I could not. It wasn’t until I met Worshipful Brother Jeff Mill at our daughter’s school “Father – Daughter” dance. I was dressed in my full military dress blue uniform, and Worshipful Brother Mill walked up to me, shook my hand then thanked me for my service. Before answering, I saw he was wearing the Square and Compass on his lapel. I asked him if he was a Mason, and he responded, smiling proudly, “yes, I am.” I said to him, “I always wanted to be a Mason,” his smile grew even more prominent, and then he said, “Well, I can help you with that.” And the rest is history.
I wanted to be a Mason because I thought it was cool. I stayed a Mason because it is cool, and I gained a family. I love my Brothers with all my heart, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.
I would like to leave one thought, take my story and learn its lesson. I urge every Brother to talk about their experiences in masonry with the people they love or hold dear. Let our communities know how to become masons and let your experience be their inspiration.