The history of Nechako Lodge is bound very closely to the history of Prince George as a modern settlement. There had been some Masonic activity in the community of South Fort George where some brethren had already taken up residence. There were also some brethren residing in Central Fort George but as there was an intense rivalry between the two communities and one gathers that the bond of Masonic brotherhood did not always rise above this strife. In August 1913, Foley, Welsh and Stewart, the general contractor of the Grand Trunk Railway moved their base to Fort George. At that time there were approximately 50 Masons in their employ. The South Fort George group petitioned Grand Lodge of British Columbia to obtain a dispensation, but was refused, as the Grand Lodge officers appear to have wanted to wait until one of the sites had been established as the railway town. As a result, a Lodge of Instruction was formed so that the brethren could enjoy fraternal relations.
When WW I came along the next summer, this group fell apart as many of the members left to go overseas.
Freemasonry in Prince George was revived again after the WW I with the first recorded meeting of a Lodge of Instruction dated July 25, 1919. The meeting was called by Bro. Henry Wilson who had inserted an announcement in the Citizen paper asking any interested Masons to attend at his office at the northeast corner of George Street and Second Avenue. At that meeting, W. Bro. Ernest Jones was elected as Master, Bro. M.W. Skinner, Senior Warden and Bro. D.F.M Perkins, Junior Warden.
This group met weekly throughout the winter, practicing ritual and enjoying fellowship. They eventually elected to name itself Nechako Lodge and established the day of meeting as �Friday on or before the full moon.�
They prepared a Petition for Dispensation to form a lodge, and with the approval of Quesnel Lodge #69, Submitted it to the Grand Master. They rented the upper portion of the Ritts-Keefer Hall, on the east side of George Street between 4th Avenue and 5th Avenue for $20.00 per month.
Dispensation was granted and dated January 28,th, 1920 and a special meeting were called to institute the Lodge on February 27, 1920 at the Ritts-Keefer Hall. The first officers were as follows:
Master W.Bro. Ernest Jones
Junior Warden Br. Alexander Wimples
Junior Deacon Br. Wm. G.D. Harper
Senior Stewart Br. Robert Harper
Secretary Br. William Jones
Tyler Br. Ruben Edwards
Senior Warden: Br. John M. Paul
Senior Deacon Br. H.W. Gross
Inner Guard Br. George Bennett
Junior Stewart Br. George H. Bond
Treasurer Br. Henry Wilson
Chaplain Br. William Somerton
Other chartered members were brothers Fred Peterson, James Moriarty, Thomas Porter, Martin W. Skinner, C.H. Guile, W. Mark DeCew, J. McInnes, Arthur Dixon, C.A Blue, S.W. George, George Abbott, William Blair, Martin Framstad, Roy W. Alward, T.J. Largue, H.E. Carleton, W. McKim and D.F.M. Perkins.
The Canadian Work was adopted by the members.
At the April 2nd, 1920 meeting, which was now held at the new location upstairs of 1137 Third Avenue, 21 Petitions for Initiation were received. The dues were also fixed, after considerable discussion, at $75.00 for initiation fees and $10.00 annual dues.
The next milestone was at a special meeting July 23, 1920 when Nechako Lodge was constituted as Number 86 of the Grand Lodge of B.C registry. At this meting W. Bro. Ernest Jones and the other officers were duly installed.
Nechako Lodge continued to prosper and grow between 1920 and the beginning of WW 2, with furniture, organ and other various paraphernalia acquired. Committees were also formed to look into the possibility of erecting a Masonic Temple, but nothing came of these investigations until after WW2 when a lot was purchased on Third Avenue between Vancouver and Victoria Streets. This lot was sold and the lot on Fourth Avenue where the present Masonic Temple stands was acquired.
In 1953 the Prince George Masonic Temple Ltd. Was incorporated and shares were sold to members in order to raise capital to build the building. The permanent move to the new lodge room was made on April 20th, 1955 and the first floor was finished by June the same year and five year leases was obtained from several tenants.
The membership continued to grow and in early 1967 steps were taken to study the possibility of forming another lodge. On August 12, 1967 our sister lodge, Prince George Lodge, under dispensation was instituted, and was warranted as Lodge No. 178 on August 27, 1967 with the Ancient Work being adopted.
The two Lodge continue to enjoy close and friendly fraternal relations. The meeting nights for both lodges fall on Thursday with Nechako Lodge meeting on the 1st and 3rd and Prince George Lodge on the 2nd and 4th,., offering visiting Masons an opportunity to enjoy fraternal relations every week on the same day, 10 months of the year
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