History

During the year 1921, forty-eight Master Masons who were to become charter members of this Lodge signed a petition addressed to Most Worshipful John S. Bottimore, Grand Master of Masons in Virginia, requesting permission to open and hold a regular Lodge in the City of South Norfolk, Virginia. Twenty-eight members of Doric Lodge No. 44, eighteen members of Berkley Lodge No. 167, one member of Lake Drummond Lodge No. 178, and one member of McAllister Lodge No. 185 made up the group. The Grand Master approved the petition and issued the dispensation on November 26, 1921, authorizing the formation of South Norfolk Lodge Under Dispensation.

Appointments to offices were made as follows:

C. R. Fentress Worshipful Master
W. F. Davis Senior Warden
T.G. Harrell Junior Warden

The first stated communication of the Lodge was held in the Odd Fellows Hall in South Norfolk on December 7, 1921. Right Worshipful Frank F. Champion, District Deputy Grand Master, installed the officers. Brothers S. H. Dennis and W. T. Madrin offered to serve respectively as treasurer and secretary without remuneration until the financial status of the Lodge was well established.

The first special communication was held on January 7, 1922. Four candidates were initiated Enter Apprentices. Three of them were passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft on January 21, 1922, and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on January 25, 1922.

During the stated communication on March 22, 1922, the Lodge authorized the purchase of stock in a building and loan association, its first financial investment and the first step toward the acquisition of a meeting place of its own. It was at the stated communication on June 28, 1922, that the Lodge decided that a photograph of the petitioner must accompany all future petitions.

At the first annual stated communication on December 27, 1922, Senior Warden W. F. Davis was elected Worshipful Master for the ensuing year, but was not to be installed in office until March 1923,when the Lodge was to be constituted. During the first twelve months under dispensation, the Lodge raised thirty-four candidates to the sublime degree of Master Mason and accepted twelve petitions for affiliation. This increased the membership from forty-eight to ninety-four, a gain of only two less than 100 percent. At the stated communication on January 24, 1923, the Lodge changed the meeting night from the fourth Wednesday to the first Tuesday in each month. This became effective in February 1923.

On March 3, 1923, South Norfolk Lodge No. 339 was duly constituted with the following officers:
W. F. Davis Worshipful Master

T. G. Harrell Senior Warden
P. G. Etheridge Junior Warden

The Worshipful Master, and the Senior and Junior Wardens were selected to represent the Lodge at the laying of the cornerstone of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria.

In August 1928, Brother T. G. Harrell reported for the special committee and recommended the purchase of a piece of property on which South Norfolk Lodge No. 339 now stands and also submitted a proposal for the erection of the temple. A resolution was passed to purchase the property for $1,000.00.

In 1932, the Lodge traveled by steamer to Washington, D.C. and from there to Alexandria to attend the dedication of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, at which President Herbert Hoover was the principal speaker.

A temple building committee was formed in 1936, and finally in May of 1940 a temple suitable for the purpose could be erected for $10,000.00. On October 19, 1940, the laying of the cornerstone of South Norfolk Lodge No. 339 was held with Right Worshipful C. D. Freeman, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, officiating. The building committee reported at the November stated that the building was completed and ready for acceptance. The dedication of the temple was held on November 26, 1940. Earlier, in July of that year the Lodge voted unanimously to invite Friendship Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, to share in the use of the temple without assuming any financial responsibility. The mortgage note was burned at the stated communication in December 1943.

At the stated communication on October 1, 1946, Brother Ray Ford presented to the Lodge a piece of stone said to have come from King Solomons Temple along with a letter with information as to how it came into the Ford family. Most Worshipful E. D. Freeman, Past Grand Master, received the stone on behalf of the fraternity and passed it onto the Lodge.

At the stated communication on March 2, 1965, the Lodge paid tribute to Right Worshipful T. G. Harrell. He was Worshipful Master in 1924; District Deputy Grand Master of Masonic District No. 35 in 1929, schoolmaster for more than forty years and Secretary for twenty-eight years. On this evening Most Worshipful Dr. Walter A. Porter, Grand Master of Masons in Virginia, presented and unveiled a portrait of Brother Harrell which is hung over the chair of the Junior Warden, the station Brother Harrell held when the charter was granted for the Lodge. With the permission of the Grand Master, this event was filmed and a program of congratulations was presented on Channel 3 television in Norfolk.

In September 1971, the Grand Master ordered Masonic District No. 36 to be split into 36-A, which included Lodges of the city of Virginia Beach, and 36-B, which included Lodges of the City of Chesapeake. In 1975 Masonic District No. 36-A became Masonic District No. 56 and Masonic District No. 36-B became Masonic District No. 36. This was approved at the Grand Annual Communication in February 1976.

The last living charter member, Worshipful William Bart Daniel, departed this life in the Masonic Home of Virginia on February 6, 1981.

Photos

 C R Fentress
 

 

The 48 charter members when the lodge chartered Feb. 14, 1923.

 

 W. F. Davis, Worshipful Master when the lodge chartered.

 

Wor. J. P. McClain, Worshipful Master when the cornerstone laid in 1940.

 

Howard M Cannon received his 65-year plaque in 1973. With him are his two sons (Mason & Jim Cannon) and son-in-law (Neal Cowand). All three boys are members of South Norfolk 339.