By Jenn Watt
Published May 4 2017
For Masons a visit from the Grand Master is a rare occurrence. Representing all Masonic lodges in Ontario Grand Master John C. Green isn’t able to make appearances at all of the locations he oversees.
However on Thursday April 27 he made his way to Minden’s Arcadia Masonic Lodge for a rededication ceremony for the lodge and the mosaic pavement within.
“To have the Grand Master come is a big deal” said Worshipful Brother Barry Robb secretary at the Minden lodge. “It’s an honour to have him come to your lodge.”
Green visited Minden because of the lodge’s overhaul that involved adding the Minden Food Bank on the main floor and a community kitchen upstairs. The renovations were necessary to the structure of the building itself and the partnership with the food bank allowed the Masons to give back to the community.
The history of the Masonic lodge in Minden is nearly as long as that of the village itself. Formed in 1896 first as the Algonquin Lodge and later as Arcadia (to avoid duplication with another Algonquin Lodge) the institution has deep roots in the Highlands.
Until The Spry Lodge in Fenelon Falls voted to form the Minden lodge Masons had to travel out of the area. Arcadia Lodge ended up forming the Somerville Lodge in Kinmount in 1903 and North Entrance Lodge in Haliburton. This history has been recorded by Gareth Kellett.
“In each case Ed Fitzgerald was instrumental in forming these lodges being the first master of Kinmount and the immediate past master of Haliburton” Kellett wrote in a history document shared with the Times .
In the last 121 years the lodge has had three incarnations. Meetings were initially held in a room above Donald Hartle’s store said Kellett. By 1928 the group had outgrown that space and they bought land and built a new structure at the end of Main Street. Today that building houses Gravity House Cafe. Then in 1947 they purchased the current building from St. Paul’s Anglican Church.
Inside the lodge the entranceway is filled with large photographs of past members. The black and white images watch over those who come and go today from the main room which is covered with decoration and symbolism.
The mosaic pavement which is typically a carpet in most lodges is a true mosaic created by local artist Worshipful Brother Wayne Rose.
The lodge has 66 members.