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Image of Gibsonburg Lodge #575 room
Lodge room of Gibsonburg #575

Tell us about Gibsonburg Lodge. What makes it unique? What is it known for?

Gibsonburg Lodge was founded in 1895, it was originally in a different building, but moved to the third floor of our current building in the early 1900’s, and then down to the first floor in 2008. Perhaps not “unique,” but a point of pride, is that the work moving to the first floor was done almost exclusively by the Brethren, and incorporated many elements from the original third floor Lodge. My grandfather worked extensively on many appointments, and I am filled with joy when I walk in and view things that he, and so many Brothers who are no longer with us, did to make the old “Ben Franklin Store” in town into a Masonic Lodge. Gibsonburg Lodge has long been known for doing exceptional degree work within the District, and this can be traced back decades. 

The Ben Franklin Store was similar to a “5 & Dime” old store front shop. It operated until the 1990’s and was last owned by Brother Paul Helle, whom we purchased the building from prior to his passing in 2020. We held a Masonic Funeral Service at the Lodge on February 15th, 2020 (right before COVID-19 shut us down) at the request of his family.

Image of Ohio Mason John Tate with his son at an Officer Installation event at a Masonic lodge.
Installation of Officers for 2019 – 2020, Bro. Tate entered a Senior Warden pictured here with his son, John W Tate III.

What is the community of Gibsonburg, Ohio like? What is your Lodge’s interaction in the community?

The community of Gibsonburg, Ohio is a rural community. A rich farming history, and limestone production built the town which now is home to just under 2500 people. One local attraction is White Star Quarry which is home to an amazingly clear body of water, used for swimming and scuba diving. It is often very cool, leading to its use during the summer as a way to beat the heat. We award scholarships to high school students and try to participate in local parades and festivals, have begun doing “Friendship Days,” and hold an event with Santa in December.

On Friendship Days, we open up the Lodge for folks to come in, look around, ask questions, engage in fellowship, and learn about Freemasonry and what we do. The Lodge’s role is to host and entertain people interested in learning more about the craft. They’re always a great way to bring the community and lodge together.

We’re aware your lodge has an emphasis on history, community and fellowship. Can you tell us more about that?

Our Lodge does place an emphasis on history, and we cherish the items that remind us of those who came before us. Being a rural Lodge, most members are from the nearby area, and thus make up the community. We often meet on off nights, weekends, and after meetings to share in fellowship and work on ritual. We also travel to a local establishment for a beverage some nights after meetings, and our discussions often accompany us!

What is the relationship between Brothers in the lodge? How do they interact with each other and engage in Lodge events?

We are a tight-knit Brotherhood. We are a dedicated Brotherhood. Many Brethren have become mentors and are always willing to jump in and lend a hand.

Does your Lodge have any local events you’d like to share? 

We hosted a Santa and Mrs. Claus on Saturday, December 2nd! The Santa and Mrs. Claus event is always a great time for families to come in and see Santa, watch movies, decorate cookies, and play games – similar to a Friendship Day, but holiday themed. We also had our 2024 Officer Installation on December 17th and MWB Paul A. Weglage officiated.

Image of Masons on golf cart for Gibsonburg Parade in 2023.
Gibsonburg Parade 2023 with men from Gibsonburg Lodge #575.

What about this Lodge made you want to be part of it? What type of Mason does it attract?

My grandfather, James E. Holcomb Sr., was a member of Gibsonburg Lodge for nearly 60 years. I recently looked up his Masonic timeline while doing part of my Royal Scoffield Society work, and  was amazed at some of the connections and interactions that he enjoyed. When he passed, I became drawn to the fraternity because his children elected not to have the Masonic funeral service and that just didn’t sit well with me. Once I began to get to know the Brethren, I couldn’t help but become active, and boy, oh boy, have I been a busy Mason ever since being raised in 2017. 

I think Masonry as a whole attracts many different types of men, and Gibsonburg is no exception. From the blue collar factory worker, farmer, and professional to the mid-twenties or 50 year old gentlemen; we are a Lodge that attracts good men wanting to become better men because we are composed of good men striving daily to become better versions of ourselves for our community and for our family and fellow man.

I am extremely proud of the nearly 129 years of history we now have, imagine what we might do in another 130, 150, or 200. I hope that someone related to me, or impacted by something I’m able to do, is still a part of this Lodge for as long as it exists.

Read more Lodge Spotlights on Ohio Lodge happenings on the blog page of our website!