Early History of Parry Sound:

If you were standing at the front door of the Parry Sound Masonic Temple, just a mere 200 years ago, you would be in a very different environment, a scene which is hard for us to imagine today. Just below us is the Seguin River, which flows into Georgian Bay. 200 years ago, the whole area was covered with virgin forests. The poet Longfellow described North America in the days before European settlement with these words in his epic poem Evangeline.

“This is the forest primeval, the murmuring pines and the hemlocks, Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight, Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic.”

The “murmuring pines” of Parry Sound were monster trees. It was not unusual for a 400 year old white pine giant to be 4 feet in diameter at the stump, and over 125 feet high. The British Royal Navy regularly harvested Ontario white pine logs for ship masts that were 90 feet long, without a single knot.

Although we might call this the “forest primeval” 200 years ago, it was far from deserted. The area was home to the Ojibway First Nation. At the mouth of the Seguin River just below us, they held an annual fishing camp, going back hundreds of years. Just behind us is Belvedere Hill, a prominent high granite hill that overlooks the waters of Big Sound. The Hill provided an easily recognizable camping place for First Nations and early explorers to rendezvous on their journeys around Georgian Bay. It is believed that the French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, visited Belvedere Hill some time around the year 1615.

After the War of 1812, the good timber reserves and arable farmland in Southern Ontario were rapidly being claimed by waves of immigrants seeking a new home in Canada. It was not long before various interests started to look further north at the area around Georgian Bay for opportunities. A fur trader named Bourassa established a fur trading post about 1820 near the Ojibway fishing camp at the mouth of the Seguin River. In 1836, American loggers began to cruise the area, hoping to poach Canadian timber. This alarmed the Canadian authorities.

The Royal Navy was initially given the task of creating a formal government presence to protect Canadian interests, and founded the Naval Establishment at Penetanguishene in 1815. It was from here that survey parties mapped out Georgian Bay and the Upper Great Lakes in 1820, to 1822. The surveyors led by Captain Henry Bayfield quickly saw that Parry Sound was the largest natural harbour on Georgian Bay. They named the District after Sir William Edward Parry, the Arctic explorer. A reserve for the townsite of Parry Sound was eventually laid out and established by 1857, adjacent to the Ojibway fishing camp.

 

Arrival of the Beatty Family:

A government surveyor, W. M. Gibson, worked on the 1857 survey of the Parry Sound town site. He quickly recognized the potential of the area, the water power from the Seguin River to drive sawmills, the magnificent stands of timber, and the beautiful natural harbour. Even before the 1857 survey was complete, Gibson had purchased the timber limits and a saw mill site from the provincial government.

In1863, a summer storm led to a major milestone in local history. William Beatty senior, William junior, another son James, along with his son in law Nathaniel Wakefield, all from Thorold, were canoeing on Georgian Bay. They were looking to expand their business interests and were interested in the potential of lumbering. Taking refuge from a sudden summer storm, they canoed into Parry Sound harbour and happened to meet Mr Gibson. He offered to sell them his mill site and 2,200 acre timber limits, all for $439.00; that deal was accepted. Another equally huge timber limit was soon purchased  from the provincial government.

 William Beatty junior was a lawyer by education, but quickly fell into the role of a businessman, establishing the Beatty Company. He had the town all laid out and subdivided into lots by 1869. It was his intention to found a model community based on the principles of the Methodist Church and temperance. The Beatty Covenant, under which he sold town lots, stipulated that the purchaser forfeited his land if liquor was ever served on the premises. This edict was in force until 1950. While it may seem odd today, the abuses of alcohol on the frontier were more than excessive, leading to financial ruin and much human misery. Beatty was determined that these personal tragedies would not occur in his community.

In addition to lumbering, the Beatty company ran a general store that supplied  loggers with everything from tools, clothing, food and other supplies. The store was located on the corner of James and Seguin St, just a block away at the stop light, and the building is still standing as a commercial block.

 

Waubuno:

If you had decided to travel to Parry Sound in the 1860‘s, you would have found your journey to be somewhat of an adventure. The closest railroad station to Parry Sound was located in Collingwood at the southern end of Georgian Bay. Roads were nothing more than rough trails through the bush. It could easily take a day and a half by stagecoach to reach Parry Sound from Gravenhurst or Bracebridge.

 Travel by ship was more comfortable, but there were no regular steamships on the Upper Lakes until William Beatty’s Company ordered the Waubuno in 1865. The Waubuno was built at a shipyard in Port Robinson. She was 135 feet long, and displaced some 500 tons. Power was provided by a wood fired steam boiler, which drove a walking beam steam engine attached to a pair of side wheel paddle wheels. The ship was designed to carry everything from passengers to general freight and livestock. The route ran from Collingwood in the south, to Parry Sound, and then on to the Upper Lakes. At time the Waubuno was launched, it was the only steamship traveling a regular route on the Upper Lakes.

The Beatty Company and the town received a huge boost in 1868 with the passing of the Free Grant and Homestead Act. Since the good farmland in Southern Ontario was now all taken up, settlers were attracted by the promise of a free homestead in the Parry Sound - Muskoka area. The next decade saw thousands of potential settlers from Southern Ontario taking the train as far as Collingwood. From there it was a voyage on the Waubuno to Parry Sound, where the Beatty Company would provide their provisions and farm tools. Ever looking for a business opportunity, the Beatty Company secured several contracts to improve the Great North Road, the route for the homesteaders to their land grants.

Given that William Beatty had his hand in almost every local social and business venture, he quickly earned the nick name of “The Governor.”

 

Chicago Fire 1871:

Events in 1871, in Chicago, had a great influence on the development of Parry Sound. On the evening of October 8, 1871, Mrs. Catherine O’Leary went out to the barn on her property to milk the family cow. Unfortunately on that evening, the cow decided to be cantankerous and kicked over  Mrs. O’Leary’s lantern, setting fire to the straw on the barn floor. Within seconds, the fire had engulfed the barn. A warm south west wind fanned the flames which quickly jumped from one wooden structure throughout the city to the next. The resulting fire burned for 2 days, destroying 17,500 buildings. Over 100,000 residents were left homeless, and 300 people died in the flames.

 People in both the United States and Canada were horrified by the destruction of property and loss of life. The Grand Lodge of Canada contributed $2,000.00 towards an international relief fund set up to assist the victims.

 However, there is an old saying, “it is an ill wind that blows no good.” The rapid reconstruction of Chicago would have been impossible without a limitless source of Ontario building materials. The sawmills of Parry Sound worked night and day filling orders for American merchants. Fleets of Canadian and American schooners and steamships tied up at the town docks waiting their turn to load white pine timbers, sawn lumber, and cedar shingles for the trip to Chicago. The impetus given by this massive boost to the economy of Parry Sound contributed greatly to the growth of the town from a frontier outpost to a prosperous mill town. The lumber mills, given such a firm economic foundation, thus became the cornerstone of the local economy that lasted right up until the middle of the 20th century.

  

Courthouse:

 As the District developed, it soon became evident to the Provincial Government that peace, order, and good government had to be established in a formal manner. Approval was therefore given, in 1870, for the construction of a courthouse in Parry Sound. It is the first ever courthouse built in Northern Ontario, and included a courtroom, registry office, and jail. Although the building has been added to and altered over nearly a century and a half, the original structure continues to this day as an important part of the legal system and the built heritage of Parry Sound.

As with so many events in Canadian history, there is a strong Masonic element to the story. The Chief Architect for the Ontario Department of Public Works was a Brother Mason by the name of Kivas Tully. He was assigned the task of designing and supervising the construction of the courthouse. Some of his other projects included Osgoode Hall, old Trinity College at the University of Toronto, the St Catharines town hall, and other Ontario classics.

Brother Tully had originally been initiated, passed and raised in Limerick Lodge No 13 in Ireland, and immigrated to Ontario in 1844. In Ireland, he was already a skilled architect, and soon found employment in the Provincial Public Works. Although much pressed by his public avocations, he quickly joined Canadian Masonry, and was installed as Worshipful Master of Ionic Lodge No 18 in Toronto in 1848. Recognizing that Ontario Freemasonry had stagnated, he worked tirelessly with Most Worshipful Brother William Mercer Wilson to establish the independent Grand Lodge of Canada in 1855. He later served the Craft as DDGM of Toronto District in 1857, Grand Representative to Ireland in 1858, and supported the founding of several new Lodges. Grand Lodge recognized his considerable contributions to the Craft, and awarded him the rank of Past Grand Master (Hon.) in 1897.

 

1871 - 1880:

If you were standing on this exact spot around 1871 to 1880, you would see a very busy small town. Most of the trees were gone, having been cut for lumber or firewood. The area in front of us by the Seguin River was occupied with sawmills, and piles of fresh cut lumber the size of a 2 story house. The smell of wood smoke would be a constant feature of the town, from firewood in homes used for heat and cooking, and piles of sawdust being disposed of in massive sawdust burners.

 The local residents were  beginning to enjoy the fruits of their labours. 800 people lived and worked in Parry Sound. The town had the courthouse, 3 lumber mills, a doctor, lawyer, school, plus many skilled trades including carpenter and blacksmith. Commercial fishing took advantage of the schools of sturgeon, whitefish and pickerel. Given that the Beatty Company’s steamboat service now connected Parry Sound to the railhead at Collingwood, the natural environment of the area attracted summer tourists, hunters and sports fishermen. The Beatty Company, seeing another opportunity, purchased Belvedere Hill just behind us, and built a luxurious resort on the summit called Belvedere Hotel. It was a key part of the tourist trade until it was destroyed by fire in 1964.

 

Granite Lodge No 352:

It was natural that the logical evolution of the community would eventually include plans for a  Masonic Lodge. Accordingly, a group of Masons from all over the District met at the Parry Sound courthouse on September 11, 1876. It was the decision of this founding group that a petition should be sent to the Grand Master to authorize the  Dispensation for a new Lodge to be formed. Permission was enthusiastically granted, and Granite Lodge No 352 held its first meeting at the courthouse on October 24, 1876. The Lodge members then learned that the Methodist Church built by William Beatty was available for lease. The Lodge moved into this building in September 1877.

As is the custom even today in establishing a new Lodge, existing Lodges in the District must support the new initiative. R W Bro John Nettleton was an experienced and skilled Lodge Master, from Manito Lodge No 90 in Collingwood. As such, he was the first W. M. installed in the chair of King Solomon at Granite Lodge. At that time, Manito Lodge was the closest Lodge in the District, thanks to the steamship route provided between Collingwood and Parry Sound by the Waubuno. It is to the credit of R. W. Bro. Nettleton that while his residence was in Collingwood, he never missed a meeting in Granite Lodge thanks to the Waubuno. Regular Masonic visits between Manito and Granite Lodges became a feature of Masonry on Georgian Bay. To make the trip worthwhile, fraternal visits to a Lodge meeting in either Parry Sound or Collingwood would often be organized as a 2 or 3 day affair with banquets, lectures, and multiple Degrees conferred.

Sadly, Masons would not have the service of the Waubuno forever. The ship left Collingwood for the last time on November 21, 1879, bound for Parry Sound and heavily laden with 24 passengers, and winter supplies for the town. On the early morning of November 22, she ran into a heavy gale with blinding snow near Wreck Island at Moose Point. In the storm, the ship capsized, and was a total loss. None of the passengers or crew were ever seen again. While other ships would replace the Waubuno, no other vessel ever captured the affection of local Masons as she did. It would simply have been impossible to establish Granite Lodge without the Beatty Company’s paddle wheel steamship Waubuno.

In the years that followed, Granite Lodge prospered along with the town. William Beatty, “the Governor” served as W M in 1884-1885, following his brother David Beatty, who had earlier assumed the gavel in 1879-1880. The old Methodist Church became too small for the Lodge, so new quarters were purchased as part of a business block at the corner of Seguin and Miller St. In 1897, the Lodge opened a newly renovated Lodge room with spacious dimensions of 22 by 30 ft, and a banquet room of 16 by 20 ft. (This is the same location as the current Parry Sound Masonic Temple.) From an original total of 24 charter members in 1877, membership grew to 64 by 1900.

 

Railroad Comes to Parry Sound 1907:

 As Parry Sound entered the 20th century, it was still missing one important resource, a direct railroad connection. A railroad had been constructed to the town of Depot Harbour a few miles south of Parry Sound by 1899. However, travelers wishing to go all the way to Parry Sound still had to transfer to a steamboat or stagecoach to complete the journey.

 One can imagine the local excitement when it was announced that the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) would construct a rail line from Toronto to Sudbury, and would come right through Parry Sound. Construction began in 1906 and was completed in 1908, employing multiple companies, and over 5000 people. As an example of this hive of activity, one Parry Sound contractor employed 24 teams of horses to haul gravel from Mill Lake.

The most challenging part of the railroad was the construction of the riveted steel CPR Trestle Bridge, crossing over the mouth of the Seguin River in Parry Sound. This is the huge structure standing right beside us. It spans 1,695 feet in length and towers 105 feet above the water.

 To this day it is the longest steel trestle bridge east of the Rocky Mountains. Although it is well over a century old, several trains still cross over the Seguin on the trestle bridge each day, longer and heavier than were ever imagined by the builders. 

 The Trestle Bride has fired the imagination of generations of local residents and visitors alike. The late Vera King was a resident of Parry Sound. She and her husband Morley were both active members of the local Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. A half century ago, she penned a brief but descriptive work praising the trestle, as follows:

 CPR Bridge

It spans the Seguin

High above traffic it floats

Gibraltar of rails.

 The other obvious Masonic connection to the trestle is that with the arrival of the CPR, it was a lot easier to arrange Masonic visits, and the annual trek to Grand Lodge.

  

Great War 1914-1918:

By 1914, Parry Sound had grown to a population of 3,000 citizens. Granite Masonic Lodge No. 352 with its 161 members was well established. Wor. Bro. Henry Milton Purvis, was a successful merchant in Parry Sound. He was Installed into the Chair of King Solomon at Granite Masonic Lodge as its Worshipful Master for the 1913-1914 Masonic year.

The District Deputy Grand Master of Muskoka District paid his official visit to Granite Lodge on April 15, 1914. At that time, Granite Lodge was part of Muskoka District No. 19.

  1. Wor. Bro. Grant submitted his report to Grand Lodge on July 15, 1914 in Niagara Falls. (Pages 276-277 Annual Proceedings.) The R. W. Bro. noted that Granite was the largest Lodge in terms of numbers and finances in the District, and showed “every prospect for success.” The work of the evening was a 1st Degree and a 3rd Degree which were performed in a most satisfactory manner.

The D.D.G.M. took time to compliment the Lodge Secretary, R. W. Bro. John H. Knifton, saying that the Secretary kept his books “in exceedingly neat shape.” R. W. Bro. Knifton moved to Parry Sound in 1893 to take up the duties of town clerk. He affiliated with Granite Lodge in 1893, and was installed as Worshipful Master in 1901. The 100th anniversary Granite Lodge booklet says that he was a retired Boer War Colonel. As such “he exhibited a booming voice in Lodge, and degree work was performed in a military manner.”

The peaceful existence of the sumer of 1914 would not last. On August 4th, the world and Canada changed forever. Germany had just invaded neutral Belgium, and Britain as an ally of Belgium, declared War on Germany. The Dominion of Canada, with our 8,000,000 citizens, was a key part of the British Empire. When Britain declared War on Germany, Canada was automatically at War too.

 Volunteers for the 1st Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force were quickly recruited, trained, and prepared for overseas duty. When War was first declared, Canada’s military was in its infancy. Yet within 3 months of the declaration of War, the 1st Canadian Expeditionary Force of 30,000 soldiers with 7,000 horses had been assembled.

 Many of the newly enlisted soldiers were of course Brother Masons. Historians estimate that the number of Masons serving in the Canadian Army was approximately 15% of those enlisted. That is a respectable figure, when one recalls that a man must be 21 years of age before he can apply to a Lodge. War is a young person’s game, so many of our younger Canadian soldiers had not yet had an opportunity to join a Lodge when the War broke out.

 Canadian Masonic soldiers firmly believed that their Masonic Lodges were part of the way of life that they were fighting to preserve back home. They also had the reassurance that their Lodges would support their families while they were on active service overseas, or were killed in action.

 

Grand Lodge Dispensation:

Canadian Lodges on the Home Front encountered a unique problem as the War progressed, with more and more young men volunteering for active service overseas. Realizing the length of time that it could take for a new member to become a Master Mason, Grand Lodge granted dispensation for the process to be accelerated. Thus we see that some new members were Initiated at one meeting, and then Passed and Raised at a subsequent meeting. There were also occasions where a candidate would be Initiated in the morning, and then Passed and Raised in the afternoon of the same day! While the rituals would have been somewhat of a blur for the newly made Mason, the dispensation from Grand Lodge ensured that the new member would be able to serve overseas as a Master Mason.

Granite Lodge No 352 in Parry Sound was no exception to this accelerated process. Gordon Burgess Jackson, was a barrister working in Parry Sound. He was Initiated on November 1st, 1916. He was then Passed and Raised at one meeting, on the 29th of November, 1916. Brother Jackson served overseas, and fortunately survived the War.

 

Purvis 1916:

 Meanwhile, back in Parry Sound, an event in December, 1916, shows how the War was having a direct effect on the Home Front. A special patriotic gathering and recruiting drive was held at the Royal Theatre, downtown. (This is the present location of the Strand.) The local North Star newspaper reported that it was standing room only, with many people waiting outside.

Wor. Bro. Purvis, Past Master of Granite Lodge, was active in municipal politics and was much respected in the community. Accordingly, he was called upon to make a special presentation to the Jackson family at the Royal Theatre event, on behalf of none other than His Majesty, the King.

Lieut. Percy Jackson, was the brother of Gordon Burgess Jackson mentioned earlier. Unlike his brother, Percy Jackson was not a Mason, but like his brother, he too had enlisted. Lieut. Percy Jackson was awarded the Military Medal for his heroic actions with the Canadian Army at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Lieut. Percy Jackson survived that particular battle, but was was killed in action a short time later. Wor. Bro. Purvis therefore presented the Military Medal posthumously to Lieut. Jackson’s grieving father. Percy Jackson’s name can be seen today, engraved into the Cenotaph in nearby Bala.

 

1917-1918:

1917 and 1918 were significant years for the Home Front. The town of Parry Sound was enjoying a great deal of wartime prosperity. During the First World War, two explosives factories were developed at Nobel, The British Cordite Limited and Canadian Explosives Ltd.  (The companies eventually merged as CIL.) These factories shipped thousands of tons of ammunition and explosives to the Allies overseas. The demand for lumber saw the local mills working at capacity. Given all the opportunities for employment, our town doubled in size by 1918. The mayor of Parry Sound in 1918 overseeing all this rapid Wartime growth was none other than our Past Master from 1913-1914, Wor. Bro. Henry Milton Purvis.

 Economic prosperity on the Home Front was reflected in new members at Granite Lodge. In 1917, the Lodge processed 22 new Masons. In May of 1917, the Lodge performed 5 First Degrees in one evening, and 4 First Degrees at another meeting shortly after. In 1918, the number of new Granite Masons was 14.

At the annual installation of officers a century ago in 1918, Wor. Bro. Milrow T. Armstrong was installed into the Chair of King Solomon. Our Brother had been born in 1888, and was Raised on March 3, 1913. He served the local community as a dentist.

 The District Deputy Grand Master for 1918 was R. W. Bro. W. P. McKay. He paid his official visit to Granite Lodge on April 17th. The R. W. Bro. noted that he “was met in a most cordial manner,” and that the Granite visit was the largest of any he attended in the whole District. The work of the evening was a 3rd Degree.

 The District Deputy Grand Master also took time to highlight the work of the Lodge Secretary, R. Wor. Bro. Knifton, who he said had “been Secretary for many years, and this reflects a great deal in the able manner the business was conducted.” (Page 242 Annual Proceedings 1918.) The overall mood of the 1918 Official Visit was one of cautious optimism. The War was mentioned in passing. It seemed that the Lodge was providing a welcome refuge and distraction from the news of the Western Front.

All Canadians were in fact very War weary as it seemed that the death and destruction would never end. Finally, hostilities ceased on November 11th, at 11:00 am, 1918. A total of 13 members of Granite Lodge served during the Great War, and fortunately all survived.

 

Great Depression and Second World War:

 While Parry Sound and Granite Lodge would enjoy the post WW1 era boom of the 1920’s, the world would change for the worst in 1929 with the Great Depression. In company with most other Lodges in our Grand Jurisdiction, hard times were the order of the day. Some men had a hard time keeping a roof over the head of their families, let alone Lodge dues. Usually the attitude of a Lodge Treasurer was “just pay what you can, when you can.” In 1932 at the height of the Depression, no new members joined Granite Lodge. However, the next year, 10 were initiated.

 The next big challenge came in 1939 with the outbreak of WW2. As with the Great War of 1914 - 1918, Grand Lodge encouraged local Lodges to contribute to War charities and to support the War effort wherever possible. Almost overnight, the economy of Parry Sound turned around. The chemical plants at Nobel produced explosives and millions of rounds of ammunition for the Canadian military, while the lumber mills worked flat out to provide lumber needed for the War effort. An average of about 10 new members joined Granite each year throughout the War. Unlike the heavy demands of WW1, where a Mason could have 2 or even 3 Degrees conferred in one evening, no more than one degree per Mason per evening was conferred.

  

DDGM night 1945:

 Parry Sound and Granite Lodge heaved a sigh of relief when the Second World War came to an end in August, 1945. The DDGM., R. Wor. Bro. T. Millest, Muskoka District, enjoyed a unique evening when he paid his official visit to Granite Lodge, shortly after the War had ended.

The W.M. of the Lodge, W. Bro. D. MacFarlane, had earlier received a special message from Grand Lodge. The Grand Chaplain prepared a Service of Thanksgiving to commemorate V-E and V-J Day, and Grand Lodge had instructed all Lodges to conduct this Service. In addition, Grand Lodge had directed each Lodge in Ontario to observe 2 minutes of silence as a token of respect for American President Franklin D Roosevelt, who had recently Passed to the Grand Lodge Above. While he was of course the popular leader of one of our allied nations during WW2, he was also a Masonic Brother, in his role as Past Grand Master, Grand District of Georgia, (Hon.)

 The DDGM. complimented Granite Lodge on the fine Masonic work of the evening. He had particular praise for the Masonic choir, musical ritual, and special mention for Lodge Organist, R. W. Bro. M. Limbert, who provided musical accompaniment throughout the evening.

 

Post War to Today:

With the end of the War, Parry Sound reflected life in Ontario. It was a time of prosperity and also change. Lumbering declined as Parry Sound’s principal industry, but other economic opportunities were explored. The Nobel explosives plant worked for a few more years, but the equipment was dated and past its prime. The engines for the supersonic jet fighter, the Avro Arrow, were produced at Nobel and gave the region some optimism, but the Arrow project was scrapped in 1959. Eventually, the explosives plant was closed and what was left, was dismantled in 1985. Parry Sound also benefited for a time from its role as a Great Lakes distribution port for shipping coal and petroleum products. Fortunately, tourism had been a feature of Parry Sound almost from the beginning, and has now taken over as the mainstay of our economy.

 The Lodge looked forward to peace and prosperity after WW2, but suffered a catastrophic event in 1954. On the evening of April 4, 1954, a fire broke out in the Masonic Temple. The fire spread quickly throughout the old wooden structure, and in spite of the best efforts of the local volunteer fire department, the Lodge was a total loss. Lodge furnishings, regalia, and the Lodge Minute Books from 1876 to 1956 were all consumed by the flames. Several neighbouring businesses were also destroyed.

To this day, the cause of the fire is unknown.

 As Masons, you are of course familiar with the story of the Phoenix. This mystical bird, reminiscent of an eagle, builds a special nest every 600 years. The nest and the bird are both consumed by fire, but the Phoenix bird then arises from the ashes in a new and better resurrected form.

The story of the Phoenix was an inspiration for Granite Lodge. Grand Lodge gave a dispensation for Granite to meet temporarily in the IOOF building a block away. Construction began on the site of the destroyed Masonic temple in December 1955, and was completed within a year. The brand new Masonic Temple, which arose, Phoenix like from the ashes, was officially dedicated on November 21, 1956. The Grand Master, M.  Bro. Bishop W L Wright led the ceremonies. This building continues in use today.

 

Brother Adam Brown:

 One of the many prominent 20th century Masons in Parry Sound was the late R. W. Bro. Adam Brown. Born in 1864, he first came to Parry Sound in 1886 and worked as a fisherman based in the Mink Islands, out in Georgian Bay. Eventually, he secured the position of light keeper on Red Rock lighthouse. As a light keeper on a remote lonely station, he had plenty of time to himself. He used this time well, as an opportunity to memorize most of the Masonic Book of Ritual. In winter, when the lighthouse was closed, he greatly enjoyed the fellowship of attending Granite Lodge, and took an active part in the ritual.

  1. W. Bro. Brown affiliated with Granite Lodge in 1920, and in December 1926 was installed as Worshipful Master. He later served as DDGM of the District, and on his 90th birthday in 1954 was the Installing Master for the annual installation of officers, performing the lion’s share of the work.

 W. Bro. Brown was still active in the Lodge in 1961. In that year, the Lodge could boast a total of 399 members, the highest number ever recorded.

Sadly, Brother Passed to the Grand Lodge Above on August 17, 1968, at the extreme age of 104, and his Masonic Memorial Service was a huge event. He is remembered to this day by the Lodge as a “pillar of the Lodge, a ritualist, a clear and distinct speaker.”

  

Conclusions:

In spite of the local enthusiasm for Masonry, Granite Lodge sadly went into darkness after 138 years of service to the Craft. The last regular meeting of Granite Lodge was held on May 21, 2014 with a final emergent meeting on May 28, 2014. Most Granite Brethren affiliated with other Lodges in the District to maintain their Masonic standing.

 The former Brethren of Granite Lodge met socially at the Granite Social Club in the banquet room of the Masonic Temple. The last W.M. of Granite, W. Bro. Paul Goodfellow, worked hard to keep a local fraternal spirit alive, with the aim of forming a new Lodge some day in Parry Sound.

It is to the credit of the hard work, vision, and dedication to the Craft given by W. Bro. Goodfellow, that Goodfellows Lodge No 748 was consecrated on October 4, 2017, (although the Brethren had been meeting under dispensation since November 24, 2016.) W. Bro. Paul Goodfellow had the remarkable distinction of serving as the last W.M. of Granite Lodge, but also the first W.M. of the new Goodfellows Lodge.

 Today, Masonry is alive and well in Georgian North Masonic District in general, and Parry Sound in particular. Goodfellows Lodge No 748 started out with 77 charter members, and now has 93 regular members with 3 applications for initiation this fall. The Waubuno Shrine Club, Seguin Chapter No 261 Royal Arch Masons, and Unity Council No 4 High Priests, all meet in the Parry Sound Masonic Temple.

Masonry has been a key building block in the foundation of the story of Parry Sound. We are much indebted to the hard work of the pioneers who built our wonderful community.

  

 R.W. Bro. Daniel J Glenney,

Grand Archivist

October, 2019