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The History of the Lodges

·       Introduction

·       History of Crescent Lodge 1873-1973

·       History of Pittsfield Lodge 1919-1960

·       History of Pittsfield Lodge 1961-1971

·       History of Crescent Pittsfield Lodge 1990-2000

·       Composite List of Past Masters


Crescent Lodge and Pittsfield Lodge merged on September 28, 1990 to form Crescent-Pittsfield Lodge, one of the largest in the Pittsfield 16th Masonic district.  Their roots date back to the 1870s.     In 1873 a group of brothers demitted from Mystic Lodge, and under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge, they organized Crescent Lodge.  The lodge received its charter on September 8, 1874 from Grand Master Sereno D. Nickerson, and its first master was Henry Chickering, the Pittsfield postmaster at that time.  Meetings were held in the Masonic Hall on the upper floor of the old Berkshire Life building on the corner of North and West Streets in Pittsfield.   Membership at the turn of the century was 195, and reached 601 by 1923, when Harlan H. Ballard, past master, wrote Crescent's 50-year history.  Ballard was for many years librarian of the Berkshire Athenaeum.  Records from the 50th anniversary, along with other papers of record were sealed in a copper box to be opened on the 100th anniversary.

The many activities of the centennial year, 1973, included a meeting attended by nearly all Grand Lodge officers and past Grand Masters and distinguished Masons from surrounding areas.  The copper box was opened and its contents along with new contributions were placed in a new box, to be opened at the 150th anniversary (2023).  Pittsfield Lodge was constituted in 1921 by brothers who had demitted from Mystic Lodge.  Frank E. Pierson was master while under dispensation in 1920.

History of Crescent Lodge

written by

Wor. Harold S. Clark (1873-1948)


Stephen J. Twining, Sr. (1948-1973)


The Charter of Crescent Lodge is dated September 9, 1874.  This is signed by Most Worshipful Sereno D. Nickerson, Grand Master and Charles H. Titus, Grand Secretary.  Following are the names of the charter members: Henry Chickering, George C. Dunham, Hezekiah S. Russell, John C. Parker, Truman E. Cole, Dewitt C. Munyan, George Van Valkenburg, Theodore L. Allen, Henry Eastman, Charles Van De Mark, Clark F. Hall, William M. Prince, Jarvis N. Dunham, Charles D. Mills.

These Brothers demitted from Mystic Lodge, and we are told that the feeling between the two lodges was not very friendly.  This condition lasted for some time.  You will see later how this gap was closed by the diplomatic action and Masonic friendliness of two distinguished Masters, with the result that each lodge now regards the other in the highest degree, Brothers all.


However, it was on September 18,1873 that a dispensation was issued by the Grand Lodge to the above Brethren, to organize Crescent Lodge.  The Grand Master appointed Brother Henry Chickering to be the first Master, Brother George C. Dunham to be the first Senior Warden, Brother Hezekiah S. Russell to be the first Junior Warden.

It was at this meeting also that the Officers necessary to function as a lodge were selected and appointed, as follows:  Brother Charles W. Van DeMark, Treasurer; Brother Theodore L. Allen, Secretary; Brother Henry Eastman, Senior Deacon; Brother Dewitt C. Munyan, Junior Deacon; Brother Clark F. Hall, Senior Steward; Brother Charles W. Van Valkenburg, Junior Steward; Brother Truman E. Cole, Marshal; Brother Charles D. Mills, Inside Sentinel; Brother John C. Parker, Tyler.

Committees were appointed to make the necessary arrangements for lodge regalia, books, stationery, etc. The regular communications were held on the third Monday of each month.

The meetings were held in the Masonic Hall which was located on the upper floor of the Berkshire Life Building, corner of North and West Streets in Pittsfield. 

Worshipful Brother George C. Dunham served as Master from 1875 to 1878.  William E. Vermilye, M.D. was elected Master in 1878 and served until 1882.  In 1882 William F. Gale was elected Master and served one term.  Worshipful George H. Tucker served as Master from 1883 to 1886.  He was the first Past Master of Crescent Lodge to be appointed District Deputy Grand Master for this district.  Worshipful Brother Tucker was succeeded as Master by William P. Wood, 1886 to 1888, who was also later appointed District Deputy Grand Master.

Some very interesting meetings took place during the early eighteen-nineties between Ancient City Lodge, No. 452 of Albany, New York and Crescent.  It was on St. John’s Day, June 25, 1894 that Ancient City presented Crescent with an ivory gavel suitably inscribed and which we treasure very highly today.  Quoting from “The Graphic” Berkshire Gossip, dated June 28, 1894, “The Albany Free Masons and the Pittsfield Free Masons are just now swimming in a deep sea of brotherly regard, and have presented Crescent with a costly gavel with which its Master can call his audience from labor to refreshment.  How can Crescent return this marked compliment from the fraternity in the Capital City of New York, is bothering the brains of the Worshipful down to the guard at the outer door.  Wouldn’t it be a brilliant hit if a piece of the old Elm could be found large enough to make a handsome “rapper” to wake up the Albany brotherhood with a regular Mohegan thud on a hot night.”

It was in 1892 when Right Worshipful Frank E. Peirson, Past Junior Grand Warden, was Master of Mystic Lodge, and Right Worshipful Harlan H. Ballard was Master of Crescent Lodge that each invited the other to occupy the East of their respective lodges on a regular meeting night.  This was the start of the annual visits between the two lodges which have continued ever since.  Right Worshipful Brother Peirson was made an Honorary Member of Crescent Lodge in 1947, in token of the many things he has done which have benefited our Lodge.

The membership in 1893 was 102.  This number steadily increased due to some extent to the affiliation of Masons who were raised in nearby Lodges and locating in growing Pittsfield, demitted from their home lodge. 

The Twenty-fifth Anniversary was held September 26, 1898, in Masonic Hall, Berkshire Life Building.  Present and taking part in the ceremonies were the members of the original Crescent Quartet:  Brothers James P. Fryer, Fred T. Francis, Louis K. Willis and Thomas L. Jones.

The membership at the turn of the century was 195.  Worshipful Brother Charles H. Wright was Master in 1900.  There is a note appended to the report of the year.  Quote, “everything was peaceful and harmonious throughout the year”.

At the annual meeting held September 25, 1900, an amendment was made to the bylaws making the annual dues three dollars.

The 355th Stated and 27th Annual Communication was held September 23, 1901, William H. Barrows Master.  At this meeting a resolution was made and spread upon the records, on the death William McKinley, late President of the United States.

Worshipful Herbert A. Humphrey was Master in 1901.  It was during his term as Master that inter-lodge visits between Masters Lodge of Albany and Crescent commenced.  During this era Crescent’s Fellowcraft Team was the drawing attraction at many meetings. 

Worshipful Charles I. King was Master in 1902 and 1903.  During his term, and on April 27th twenty-one members were recognized for their twenty-one years of service.

In 1904, Worshipful William R. Thomas was Master.  At the annual meeting that year he was elected the second time to this office but declined the honor, on the second ballot Brother George W. Gardner was elected.  During his year thirty-three were admitted, and the membership August 31, 1905 was 302.  Worshipful Charles A. Byram was elected Master at the annual meeting.  On January 22, 1906 an invitation was extended to Masters Lodge of Albany, New York, to visit Crescent.  These inter-lodge visits were evidently taking place at about five year intervals.  During this year the San Francisco earthquake happened.  It is recorded in the minutes of the meeting September 25, 1906 that Crescent Lodge voted to contribute one hundred dollars to a fund being subscribed among the lodges of the country, to relieve the distressed Brethren in the stricken area.

Worshipful Brother Byram was succeeded as Master by William F. Rainey, 1906-1907.  Worshipful William H. Barrows was elected Secretary, and held this office until 1915.  Brother Levi D. Case was Master in 1908-1909.  Worshipful Brother Frank M. White was installed Master on October 18, 1919, served one term and was succeeded by Worshipful William F. McKenzie.

A Special Communication was held on April 27, 1914 in the Small Lodge Room, to confer the Master Mason Degree on Brother Joseph McArthur Vance, the architect of the new Masonic Temple.  Worshipful Charles A. Acly was Master at the time.  The corner stone was laid on October 10, 1912 by Most Worshipful Everett C. Benton, Grand Master,  The Temple was dedicated Monday, May 4, 1914.

Dr. Oliver L. Bartlett, Master in 1914-1915 was succeeded by Howard P. Brown.  Worshipful William H. Barrows retired as Secretary.  Brother Leopold M. Cone was elected to fill this office at the annual meeting September 25, 1916.  Also at this meeting a change in the by-laws was made raising the annual dues from three to five dollars.  The membership was then 434.

Worshipful Charles S. Shaw was elected Master in 1916.  On October 30, 1916, Brother Fred T. Francis was presented with a gold watch in recognition of faithful service as treasurer over a period of twenty-five years.  He was succeeded in office by Worshipful David B. King.

It was as you recall that in this period World War I was taking place.  Many new names were added to the roster of Crescent Lodge.  Those who rendered faithful service to their country and honor to the fraternity will never be forgotten, for their names appear on the bronze plaque hung upon the north panel.

Dr. Frank P. Simpson was elected Master on October 16, 1917.  It is noted in the minutes of the meeting held November 16, 1917, that a committee was appointed at the request of Right Worshipful Harry T. Brague, District Deputy Grand Master, to see if the formation of a third lodge in this city is advisable at this time.  The committee appointed, together with a committee from Mystic Lodge, reported that due to the unsettled conditions brought on by the was it would not be the thing to tackle at this time.

On June 17,1918, Crescent was again host to Masters Lodge of Albany.  The banquet was held at the Maplewood Hotel, corner of North and Maplewood Avenue.  It was mentioned that these fraternal visits have now extended over a period of thirty years.

Worshipful Oliver Root was Master in 1918.  He is the last member from Crescent Lodge to maintain membership in Pittsfield Lodge.  Pittsfield Lodge recognized this fact a few years ago and bestowed upon him an Honorary Membership.  He is also considered Chaplain Emeritus of Crescent, his home lodge.

Worshipful Herbert W. Andrews was elected Master September 22, 1919.  During his term the Memorial to those who served in the Armed Forces was dedicated, January 23, 1920.  At the ceremonies that evening twenty-eight out of the fifty-five were present, and eventually every one of that number returned safely.  Please note that during the year just passed eighty-four candidates were raised, and the membership September 27, 1920 was 546.

Worshipful Brother Andrews was succeeded in the East by Worshipful Robert A. Walker.  During this year the lodge reverted to a more normal course of activities.

At the Annual Communication held September 26, 1921 plans were made to observe the fiftieth anniversary of the Lodge.  Worshipful William T. Thomas was appointed general chairman.  Worshipful Russell O. Skinner, Master in 1922 had a very busy and successful term.  Another visit was made to Masters Lodge.  Also during his term a mass meeting was held.  Attending were all the lodges from both the fifteenth and sixteenth districts, to honor a visit from Most Worshipful Arthur D. Price, Grand Master.  The Grand Masters address was on the newly formed Masonic Service Association.

Worshipful Arthur F. Jones was elected Master for the 1922-1923 term and was also appointed in 1933 to be the District Deputy Grand Master for the sixteenth district.  Brother Leopold M. Cone retired as Secretary and was succeeded by Worshipful Herbert W. Andrews.  It was on January 31, 1923 that the first Joint Communication of Mystic, Crescent and Pittsfield Lodges was held.

The 466th Special Communication, September 26, 1923 was held to observe the Fiftieth Anniversary.  Most Worshipful Dudley H. Ferrel, Grand Master, made a very interesting address, and the historical address was given by Worshipful Harlan H. Ballard.  It was noted that one of the pleasing incident was the presenting of a beautiful basked of flowers to the lodge and fifty American Beauty Roses from Mystic Lodge.  The records from this meeting along with the other papers of record were sealed in a copper box, and are to be kept intact until our One Hundredth Anniversary.  The membership at this date was 601.

It is well that we observe these figures from time to time, as they will show the trend of the times whereby the number is affected.

The first Masonic funeral from the Temple was held July 24, 1924, that of Worshipful Brother William T. Petherbridge, Honorary Past Master of Crescent Lodge.  Worshipful George M. Emmerich was Master at the time.  During his year a series of dances was held, the proceeds being donated to furnish a room in the Williams addition  at the Masonic Home.

Worshipful J. Howard Fryer was installed Master of Crescent on September 24, 1924.  During his year many interesting meetings took place.  Notably American Legion Night, held Monday Evening, November 17,1924.  Particular effort was made at this meeting to introduce as many patriotic innovations as possible without interfering with the ritual.  The Crafts Club of the Boston and Albany Railroad was very active at the time, and took part in two meetings that year.

Since the celebration of our 75th anniversary in 1948, Crescent Lodge has been fortunate to have been able to have as its Master the highest caliber of men and Mason to continue the work of the Lodge. 

In the past 25 yeas we have seen many example of the fine spirit of Fraternalism that is so deeply seated in the Masonic Fraternity.  We have had the pleasure of many degree teams exemplifying the degrees to the enjoyment of all present.  It is quite impressive to the candidates to find fellow co-workers and friend participating in the work especially when the candidate had no previous knowledge of their Masonic affiliations.

Some of the more recent occasions were General Electric night, May 18, 1959 when the Third Degree was conferred on two candidates by a large team of officers who were all employees of the General Electric Company as were the two candidates.  November 23, 1959 brought Bankers Night when the stations were filled by bankers representing 15 banks, 12 Lodges and 5 Masonic districts.  The third degree was conferred on two candidates.  On February 18, 1961 the stations were assumed by eight Past District Deputy Grand Masters and conferred the Third Degree on one candidate; on September 28, 1970 the Nordic Trowel Club of Springfield journeyed to Pittsfield to confer the Third Degree on the son-in-law of one of their members along with four others.  The excellence of these degree teams is unsurpassed and is an inspiration to all regular officers to do their level best in introducing candidates to the mysteries of Freemasonry.

In the minutes of the last 25 years one unusual instance of Brotherly Love stands out.  On May 26, 1958 after the D.D.G.M. Karl D. Henry was introduced, he introduced Brother Carl E. Strattman, who he said had a very unusual presentation to make, he having traveled from San Diego, California specifically to be present in Crescent Lodge for the occasion.

Brother Strattman then briefly related how he had been responsible for Brother Russell G. Wilson’s moving to the West Coast in the early 1940’s to become a salesman for Brother Stattman’s new fruit juice company as a door-to-door salesman, and how it became necessary for Brother Wilson to return to the East, and because of financial reasons Brother Wilson was suspended from Crescent Lodge for non-payment of dues.  Brother Strattman was responsible for the recent re-instatement of Brother Wilson into Crescent Lodge membership.

At this point Brother Strattman walked up to Brother Wilson, and pronounced, that as Deputy Sheriff of Cochise County, Tombstone, Arizona, he was placing him under arrest for the heinous crime of non-payment of dues.  He then conducted him to the East before Worshipful “Judge” Karl D. Henry who ”sentenced” him to “Life” membership in Crescent Lodge.  Brother Strattman then presented Brother Wilson with a certificate of life membership in Crescent Lodge, mounted in a frame which Brother Strattman had made from wood obtained from the timber of the house built and lived in by Brother Paul Revere.

At this same meeting the Brethren of Columbia Lodge #98 Of Chatham, New York exemplified the Third Degree.  As mentioned above, them membership was 601 in 1923 and now in 1973 the membership is at about 350.  It seems that in this day and age there seems much more to do outside of the Lodge than there was fifty years ago when there was no television or outdoor movies and such.  The Lodge is still held in great respect but it does not seem to be the center of community life that it once was.  Today most of our members are over forty years of age and candidates have not been too plentiful in the last couple of years for Crescent Lodge.  This situation seems t run in cycles and we hope for the best.

In our Centennial year there has been a great deal of renewed interest by many members and many events have been planned and committees formed; the most notably is that which is headed by Brother Louis Esterman and his wife Ella to see that the Masonic Widows are kept track of, and that they are remembered on special days like Mother’s Day and that they are invited to all the functions that the ladies may attend.  This year also Brother Herman Garbowit was named Chaplain Emeritus and was presented with his own special jewel of his office.

A special Commemorative Medal has been struck for the 100th Anniversary.  It was designed by Brother Stephen Twining and the artwork was done by Brother Robert DiOrio.  Each member will receive on of the medals attached to a blue ribbon that may be worn at any symbolic lodge meeting.  Medals with no ribbons were made available for all those who wanted them for a nominal fee.

This year at the stated communication of April 23,1 973 Most Worshipful Donald W. Vose was elected to honorary membership in Crescent Lodge ad was presented with a silver commemorative medal to wear.

At the Centennial Meeting On May 12, 1973 the box that was sealed at the 50th Anniversary in 1923 was opened.  The Worshipful Master said that a similar box would be prepared to house the original box and appropriate additional items and that it would be sealed to be opened in the year 2023.

And so brethren at the close of the first century of Crescent Lodge let us thank the Grand Architect of the universe for a glorious past and pray that with his help Crescent Lodge will enjoy another century under his all seeing eye and that all our members, present and future, will always remember the more noble and glorious uses of the working tools of the Master Mason.

So Mote It Be!


History of Pittsfield Lodge 1919-1960

First twenty-five years written by

Right Worshipful Oscar S. Read

The last fifteen years written by

Worshipful Archibald Foster annd Worshipful Leonard E. Sweitzer

Force of circumstances dictated that Worshipful Brothers Foster and Switzer undertake the preparation and presentation of this 40th Anniversary sketch, adding the fifteen years which followed the first twenty-five reported by Right Wor. Oscar S. Read at the 25th Anniversary observance on April 2, 1946, when Worshipful Charles W. Ashley was Master.

Certain references in the first history have been modified to bring them up-to-date, and a few paragraphs have been omitted as being superfluous; with some other minor variations and omissions, the original subject matter has been retained.  Wor. Bro. Foster has reviewed the records of the last fifteen years and has chosen the new subject matter, while Wor. Bro. Sweitzer has endeavored to set down the form and arrangement.

In the words of Right Worshipful Brother Read, “The observance of an anniversary is a good thing for at least three reasons – it furnishes us with an opportunity to reflect on the Past, to enjoy the Present, and anticipate the Future”.

This evening, April 7, 1961, as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the founding of Pittsfield Lodge, let us turn back to the year 1919, when a group of prominent Masons met to consider the advisability of forming a third Lodge in Pittsfield.  Agreeing that it was for the best interests of the Fraternity to organize another Lodge,  a petition in regular form, designating the new Lodge as Pittsfield, and nominating and recommending Right Worshipful Frank E. Peirson to be the first Master, Brother Harry D. Sisson to be the first Senior Warden and Brother Charles R. Blakely to be the first Junior Warden, was presented to Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master, who caused a dispensation to be issued on March 2, 1920.

The Charter issued to Pittsfield Lodge under date of March 2, 1920 lists sixty-five charter members. The first stated communication of Pittsfield Lodge was held Friday evening May 7, 1920, with the following organization:

            R.W. Frank E. Peirson                               Master

            Bro.  Harry D. Sisson                                Senior Warden

            Bro.  Charles R. Blakely                           Junior Warden

            R.W. John P. Merrill                                   Treasurer

            R.W. S. Chester Lyon                                Secretary

            Bro.  Rev. Payson E. Pierce                    Chaplain

            Bro.  Daniel L. Hood                                  Marshal

            Bro.  George P. Hunt                                 Senior Deacon

            Bro.  William W. Howe                               Junior Deacon

            Bro.  Arthur E. Dietrich                              Senior Steward

            Bro.  Wallace S. Miller                                Junior Steward

            Bro.  Harold J. Martin                                Organist

            Wor. Olney J. Carpenter                           Tyler

At this communication twenty-two petitions for membership were received and referred to investigating committees and thus Pittsfield Lodge mad it bow to the fraternal life of the community.  More petitions for membership were received, and one has but to read the names of those first officers to know that the work during that first year was in capable hand and reflected credit on the new enterprise.

Degree work was the watchword in those early days, but one meeting of that first year was of particular interest to the Brethren.  It was when Right Worshipful Walter B. Sanford, District Deputy Grand Master for the Pittsfield Sixteenth Masonic District, paid the new Lodge a fraternal visit.

On the 20th of April 1921, Pittsfield Lodge was constituted according to the Ancient Usage of the Craft and the officers were installed by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, presided over, in the absence of the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, by Right Worshipful Claude L. Allen, Deputy Grand Master.  The address was given by Most Worshipful Leon Martin Abbott, immediate Past Grand Master.  At this communication Worshipful Harry D. Sisson was installed Master, and during the years that followed, it was his happy privilege to install two of his sons into the office of Master of Pittsfield Lodge.

On the evening of November 17, 1922, the thirty-fourth Special Communication was held for the purpose of installation of officers by R.W. Joseph L. Malcom, District Deputy Grand Master for the North Adams Fifteenth District, assisted by R.W. William H. Barrows, District Deputy for the Pittsfield Sixteenth District and R.W. Frank E. Peirson, Past Junior Grand Warden.  It was noted that among the distinguished guests was R.W. Herbert W. Dean, Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge.

The following year marked an important event, for on January 31, 1923, was instituted the fraternal communication of Mystic, Crescent and Pittsfield Lodges, an occasion that has been continued annually from that time to the present day.            

April 16, 1924, Pittsfield Lodge was honored by the presence of the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Dudley H. Ferrell, accompanied by Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Past Grand Master, Right Worshipful Herbert W. Dean, Director, Right Worshipful Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary, and Right Worshipful Frank H. Hilton, Grand Marshal.  This was the fourth anniversary meeting and was open to Master Masons and their ladies.  During the evening there was a musical program, remarks by the Grand Officers, and Right Worshipful S. Chester Lyon gave an interesting historical address.  Before the conclusion of the ceremonies, Most Worshipful Dudley H. Ferrell presented a Henry Price Medal to Worshipful William Thomas Petherbridge in recognition of his record of more than fifty years of unbroken loyal and faithful service to the Fraternity.  We are indeed proud to have the name of Worshipful Brother Petherbridge on our Charter.

It was during this year that a committee successfully solicited the members of Pittsfield Lodge for funds to purchase much needed regalia.

This year our first Past Master’s Night was held, the chairs being filled our three Past Masters, assisted by the affiliated Past Masters.

Also in this year the very pleasant custom of exchange visits with sister Lodges was started by a fraternal visit to Evening Star Lodge of Lee, where Pittsfield Lodge worked the Master Mason Degree.  Since that date there have been many exchange visits.

On January 15, 1926, Pittsfield Lodge observed Charter Member Night, at which time was served one of the lodge’s well remembered venison dinners.  The program included roll call of Charter members, roll call of new members, necrology by Rev. Bro. Maurice A. Levy, Chaplain of Pittsfield Lodge, a reception of the first officers, who worked the Second Section of the Third Degree.  The evening was voted a great success and or charity fund was materially increased by the net proceeds of the dinner.

June 3, 1927, Pittsfield Lodge was host to the Presiding Masters of the Sixteenth District, who filling the chairs, conferred the Fellowcraft Degree.  At a later date, the chairs were filled by members of the Sixteenth District Past Masters Association, who worked the Second Degree.

Another incident worthy of notice was the election and installation of Worshipful Lawrence W. Peirson, for he was the first member to fill the Master’s Chair who was raised in Pittsfield Lodge.  He was the eight Master and a nephew of R.W. Frank E. Peirson.

The minutes of October 2, 1925, refer to a letter received from Brother William Howard Taft, ex-President of the United States, and at the time Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, expressing regret at not being able to attend Pittsfield Lodge, due to lack of time and opportunity, and to a very restricted regime as to dinners and the like.  Brother Taft was in this vicinity on the occasion of the dedication of the Crane Memorial in Dalton.  On January 18, 1935, this letter was turned over to the Grand Lodge for safekeeping.

In 1934 Right Worshipful Oscar S. Read was appointed District Deputy Grand Master, he designating Worshipful Wallace S. Miller as his District Deputy Grand Marshal.

Right Worshipful Frank E. Pierson passed away on July 18, 1952.  This distinguished Mason had served as District Deputy Grand Master and as Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, before becoming Master of Pittsfield Lodge Under Dispensation.  He was a source of light and inspiration to the brethren throughout his long Masonic life, and was affectionately known as “Uncle Frank”.

The Masonic Association’s Library and Museum, which he was instrumental in founding in 1942, and which occupied his interest until his passing, will be monuments to his memory for generations of Masons to come.

The Museum contains many valuable Masonic aprons and diplomas, as well as other old and historic memorabilia.  The Library has some 1100 volumes and hundreds of pamphlets.  One source of pride is the possession of the complete Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts from 1733 to date.

The Museum and Library have a distinct Pittsfield Lodge flavor, for Right Worshipful Brother Peirson was associated in this work by members of Pittsfield Lodge.  Worshipful Charles R. Blakely implemented his labors on behalf of the Library by two gifts of one hundred dollars each.  Right Worshipful Brother Read contributed many volumes, as did Worshipful Brother Freeman M. Miller of Mystic Lodge, who left his private library after his death.  Worshipful W. Harold Silvernail of Mystic Lodge succeeded him.  Then the pattern again reverted to Pittsfield Lodge, when in 1929 Worshipful Archibald Foster became, and still is, the librarian.

Right Worshipful Walter N. Cooper was appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the 16th District for the years 1951 and 1952, and in December 1957 this distinguished Brother was elected Senior Grand Warden.  He is believed to be the first Mason from this District to be elected to this office in some ninety years.

A reception was held on March 7, 1958, in honor of Right Worshipful Brother Cooper which was attended by Most Worshipful Andrew G. Jenkins, Grand Master, and a notable suite of Grand Officers.  252 Masons attended the dinner prior to the reception and afterwards 356 Brethren were present at the meeting.  On this occasion Right Worshipful Brother Cooper was honored by being the recipient of the Henry Price Medal.

In 1959, under the inspiration of Worshipful John E. Ozolinsh, a very thoughtful custom was initiated whereby Veteran Lapel Buttons are presented to all members of Pittsfield Lodge who have served the Lodge for 25 years, and additional five-year periods.

On Past Master’s Night February 5, 1960, a beautiful sterling silver square and compasses, now used on our altar, were dedicated to the memory of Worshipful Harold C. Eckart, who passed away on February 16, 1958.  A tape recording of the ceremony was made and later presented to his widow.

This brings the significant events of the history of Pittsfield up-to-date.  While not an old Lodge as Masonic Lodges go, it deserves the pride and affection in which it is held by its members.

Besides having a very active and dedicated group of Past Masters, ever concerned in promoting the best interests of Pittsfield Lodge and Freemasonry, it has earned the reputation, as have most Masonic Lodges, of being a “Friendly Lodge”.

Pittsfield Lodge has for many years been an active participant in the 20th Lodge of Instruction, of which Worshipful John E. Ozolinsh has just been elected Master for the coming year of 1961-1963.

The Lodge also with pride is maintaining an active part in the Grand Lodge Blood Donor Program.

We are confident that through the next forty years, and even beyond, Pittsfield Lodge will continue to promote the best interests of Freemasonry and Brotherhood of man, remembering that “love of man is next to love of God, man’s first duty.”

During the years that have passed, the lodge has been the recipient of many evidences of good will from the other Lodges in the city and also from individual members.  Mystic and Crescent Lodges presented the Lodge with a handsome banner and a complete set of working tools, and individual members have contributed, among other things, aprons for the brethren, warden’s truncheons, marshal’s baton, an inlaid ballot box, Bible, square and compasses, gavel made from a block taken from King Solomon’s mines, and a beautiful specimen of the bookbinder’s art—the bound records of the first twenty-five years of Lodge activities.  We have every reason to be proud of this volume.

In looking over the records of forty years we find the following:

One Past Master, Wor. Charles R. Blakely, served as a Junior Grand Steward in 1926-1927, being the first member of the Lodge to be appointed a member of the Grand Lodge organization, following the constitution of our Lodge.

Right Worshipful Frank E. Peirson was a Past Junior Grand Ward, while Right Worshipful Walter N. Cooper later (in 1958) was elected Senior Grand Warden.

Right Worshipful Brothers Oscar S. Read and Walter N. Cooper served with distinction as Deputy Grand Masters for the Pittsfield Sixteenth Masonic District.

Worshipful George F. Ames served the Lodges of the District as Zone Committeeman for several years –1959 and prior.

We have been pleased to elect four prominent Brothers as Honorary Members:  Right Worshipful Frank E. Peirson, Past Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge and Master under Dispensation of Pittsfield Lodge; Right Worshipful Felix H. Scharmann, Past Master of Berkshire Lodge of Adams, Past District Deputy Grand Master for the North Adams Fifteenth District and Manager of Zone VI, Masonic Service Department and Worshipful Oliver Root, a Past Master of Crescent Lodge, a Charter Member of our Lodge, and an earnest, loyal supporter of the Craft.

Three Pittsfield Brethren are Past Master of the Twentieth Lodge of Instruction:  Worshipful Brothers Lawr3nce W. Peirson, Stanley E. Hood, and George F. Ames.

Our records carry the names of forty-one Past Masters to date, including the one Under Dispensation, of whom we are fortunate to have twenty-nine still with us.  Twelve rest from their labors.

This brief history may well be concluded again in the words of Right Worshipful Oscar S. Read:

And so as we pass from the Past to the Present–tonight–to this auspicious occasion, when presided over by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, attended by members of Grand Lodge, supported by the loyalty of our members, happy in the felicitations of many friends, we close the record of (now forty) eventful years, firm in the belief that when we open to a new page, the Future will hold as bright a prospect as the Past, and that Pittsfield Lodge will go forward on herMasonic career, and continue to justify the judgment of those Brethren who met in the year 1919.


History of Pittsfield Lodge 1961-1971


Of the many facets of the definition by the dictionary of “history”, two brief ones may be cited as most applicable to our present purpose.  “History is a record of facts”.  Also, “History is something belonging to the past”.

On the basis of these definitions, your present narrator has culled from the official minutes items judged to be of historical significance and has recorded them here for ready reference.  Therefore, this narrative is more factual than rhetorical.  We now pick up where the previous ones left off.  The account of the first 40 years has not been altered – though a few names and dates have been added herein to bring the listings up to 1971.

On February 3, 1961, Em. Sir Michael D. Hashim, Commander of Berkshire Commandery No. 22, Knight Templars, accompanied by his officers and a sizable contingent of Sir Knights, was received on a visitation by the Knights Templars as a gesture of good will and fraternal fellowship towards Pittsfield Lodge.

Presiding Masters of the Pittsfield Sixteenth Masonic District filled the chairs on March 29, with Wor. Leonard E. Sweitzer of Pittsfield Lodge as Worshipful Master, conferring the Master Mason Degree on one of our candidates.

April 7, 1961 was a red-letter day for Pittsfield Lodge with 130 Brethren in attendance on the occasion of the observance of it’s 40th Anniversary.  Most Worshipful Laurence E. Eaton, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, with an imposing suite, honored us by his presence.  The Grand Officers were appropriately welcomed, in behalf of Pittsfield Lodge, by Wor. Leonard E. Sweitzer, Master.  With the Grand Master presiding, the program consisted of an historical sketch of the Lodge prepared by Wor. Archibald Foster, vocal solos by Brothers William S. Kent, Jr. and Donald A. Moors, an address by the Grand Master and remarks by prominent guests.

The 39th Annual Tri-Lodge Fraternal Communication, following an unbroken custom, held interest for us when a candidate from each of our local lodges – Mystic, Crescent and Pittsfield – was raised to the sublime degree.

Under date of August 30, 1961, Most Worshipful Laurence E. Eaton, issued a Dispensation authorizing the three Pittsfield lodges “to open your several lodges in a joint communication for the purpose of participation in the Pittsfield Bicentennial Parade with a Masonic float on Monday, the fourth day of September, 1961”.   Depicted on this float, representing the lodges of the Pittsfield 16th Masonic District, was a simulated lodge arrangement and station lights.  Blue and white panels on the sides of the truck carried the legend:  “Build Through God”.  The stations were occupied as follows:  Wor. Bertram B. Robinson, Jr. Of Crescent Lodge sat in the East, Wor. Leonard E. Sweitzer of Pittsfield Lodge in the West, and Bro. Roy L. Derosia, Senior Warden of Mystic Lodge in the South.  Attired in tuxedo and proper regalia, it was a test of endurance on a hot, sunny day.  The public applause as the float moved along was most gratifying.

As has been the unique custom for a number of years on Past Masters Night, a Necrology Service was held on February 2, 1962, by the Past Masters of the Lodge.  Four Brothers who left us during the past year were remembered.  Bro. William S. Kent, Jr. was soloist.

November 2, 1962 was the occasion of an appropriate presentation to the Lodge.  Wor. William H. Sweeney, Master, reque3sted that the “old Pittsfield Lodge Banner” be retired from the lodge room, after which a new banner, complete with ple and a standard, was presented to the Lodge by Wor. Stanley E. Hood on behalf of the family of our departed Brother, Robert Ralston, Jr., brother-in-law of Wor. Bro. Hood.

Under dated of June 7, 1963 is recorded in the minutes the presentation by Wor. Donald A. Moors of a leather bound gold engraved 24 inch gauge.

The frequent custom of recent years was continued by a Public Installation of Officers when Wor. Robert M. Leslie was installed as Worshipful Master on October 19, 1963.  At the conclusion of the installation, Wor. Bro. Leslie was presented a beautiful rosewood gavel by his friends of the Melha Highlanders of Springfield.

Due to the resignation of Wor. Sherwood R. Sprague from the office of Secretary (to work in another city), an election was held by Dispensation to fill the vacancy.  On December 6 1963, Wor. William H. Sweeney was chosen and installed.  But, on February 7, 1964, after serving by t nine weeks, Wor. Bro. Sweeney in turn resigned because of moving out of Pittsfield.  On March 6, 1964 Bro. Edward Tooley was elected and installed and has served us well and faithfully ever since.

September 4, 1964 is remembered as the time when Melha Highlanders Degree Team conferred the Master Mason Degree with Wor. Robert M. Leslie presiding over the Second and Third Sections.

Recognition was made of the gift of December 2nd to the Pittsfield Masonic Association by Wor. Stanley E. Hood of two complete sets of Hi-Fi equipment.

On December 1, 1967 a significant event occurred when a Testimonial was held to honor Wor. Lawrence W. Peirson for his “faithful service to Masonry through Pittsfield Lodge”.  Wor. Kenneth H, Phillips recited a brief listing of his activities, including the fact that he was the first Brother raised in Pittsfield Lodge to become Master of the Lodge. 13 Past Masters were present.  Letters of greeting and expressions of good will were extended to our retiring Treasurer, who had served “with the hope of fee or reward” for 39 years.  Very soon afterward his Brethren were grieved to learn of his admission on January 16, 1968 to the Celestial Lodge above.

During the April 5, 1968 communication “Bro. S. Henry Bailey was escorted to the East, whereby it was brought to the attention of the Lodge that Wor. Samuel H. Bailey (of Unity Lodge in Dalton), Bro. S. Henry Bailey (son of the former), and Bro. Donald A. Bailey (S. Henry’s son) had totaled 115 years of Masonic Service.”  The group was appreciatively applause.  This is another “Masonic oddity” which adds interest to Masonry.

A beautiful Square and Compass was given to the Lodge on May 2, 1969 in memory of Wor, Harold C. Eckart.  In this connection Rt. Wor. Walter N. Cooper presented a brief commentary on “those useful implements which teach Friendship, Morality and Brotherly Love”.

“After lodge closed”, on September 5, 1969, “Wor. Donald A. Moors spoke to the Brethren on Prince Hall Masonry”, his presentation being on of historical information.

October 31, 1970 was the date when Rt. Wor. Walter N. Cooper was honored with a Testimonial Dinner by a large company of admiring Masonic Brethren recognizing his having received the 33rd Degree in The Scottish Rite.  He had previously been warmly greeted in the Lodge on his nomination.

Under the direction of the Presiding District Deputy Grand Master, Ro. Wor. Henry C. Edwards of Occidental Lodge of Stockbridge but raised in Pittsfield Lodge, a s cast of Past District Deputy Grand Masters on January 2, 1970 conferred the Entered Apprentice Degree on Howard William Evans, who, before the end of the year, was appointed Chaplain of the Lodge for 1971.

April 6, 1970, after an irregular lapse of a total of three years (1966, 1967 and 1969), the 45th Tri-Lodge Communication was reactivated through the efforts largely of our Wor. Fred Turner.  The Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Most Wor. Herbert H. Haynes, Honored the occasion with his presence and participation.  A record attendance of 245 enjoyed a splendid evening.  The Grand Master took occasion to congratulate Rt. Wor. Archibald Foster for his work as Temple Librarian, in making the library in the Pittsfield Masonic Temple what it is today.

By virtue of a Dispensation issued to permit holding a communication outside its own jurisdiction, Pittsfield Lodge held a Special Communication on September 4, 1970 at the Masonic Home in Charlton to confer the Entered Apprentice Degree on one of its candidates, Wor. Fred Turner presiding.  Thirty-three Brethren made the trip – 17 members of Pittsfield Lodge and 16 others.  A tour of the Home was enjoyed afterwards.

Bro. Samuel Pullano of Crescent Lodge was on September 9, 1970 voted and received an Honorary Member of Pittsfield Lodge.  He has been a regular attendant at our communications for a long time.

March 5, 1971 was an outstanding annual Past Masters Night.  The program began early with the regular officers conferring the First Second of the Second Degree on one candidate, after which there was a dinner recess.  The Lodge resuming its labors, Rt. Wor. John M. Watson, District Deputy Grand Master, was received on his first visitation to our lodge.

In accordance with the program developed by Wor. Jerome Goldenberg, the first special feature was the presentation by the District Deputy of a 50-year Medal to Wor. Leonard E. Sweitzer.  He was assisted by Bro. Kenyon L. Sweitzer, son of the recipient, as Chaplain, and following this, assisted in the presentation.  Incidentally, Wor. Leonard E. Sweitzer was the first Brother to be raised by courtesy in Pittsfield, this on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Colorado.

The second feature was unique in that a Memorial was dedicated to our late Wor. Lawrence W. Peirson, who was the 9th Master of Pittsfield, including his uncle, Rt. Wor. Frank E. Peirson, Master Under Dispensation in 1920.  He was further distinguished, as previously noted, as being the first Brother raised in the Lodge to become its Master (in 1928), and then served as Treasurer from 1929 to 1968.  The memorial chosen was a set of three open-flame candle altar lights of our own design.  A labor of loved was performed by Rt. Wor. Walter N. Cooper and Wor. Leonard E. Swietzer in developing and executing this Memorial Dedication.

The third feature was the customary yearly Necrology Service in memory of the Brethren whom the Lodge lost during the past year.  This brief service is in our area unique and exclusive to Pittsfield Lodge, and most dignified and impressive.  Wor. David R. Pryde, who has now lived in Schenectady, New York for a number of years, presided most graciously.  The Past Masters concluded an outstanding evening wit the conferring of the Second Section of the Second Degree.

As this is being written, plans are formulating to officially observe the 50th Anniversary of Pittsfield Lodge.  An appropriate program will be presented on September 3, 1971 at the Stated Communication of the Lodge, Wor. Jerome E. Goldenberg presiding.

During the past 50 years, Pittsfield Lodge has been served by but five Treasurers:

·        Rt. Wor. John P. Merrill (under Dispensation)

·        Bro. E. Earle Brundige

·        Bro. (later Rt. Wor.) Oscar S. Read

·        (39 years)  Wor. Lawrence W. Peirson

·        March 1, 1968 to date Wor. William S. Kent, Jr.

Seven Secretaries have served:

·        Rt. Wor. S. Chester Lyon (under Dispensation)

·        Bro. Leo H. Traver

·        Bro. E. Earle Brundige 1923-1954 (31 years) 

·        Wor. Chester L. Green

·        Wor. Sherwood R. Sprague 1954-1963 

·        Wor. William H. Sweeney Dec. 6, 1963 to Feb. 7, 1964 

·        Bro. Edward Tooley March 6, 1964 to date 

To the names of Rt. Wor. Oscar S. Read (1934-35) and Rt. Wor. Walter N. Cooper (1951-52) may now be added that of Rt. Wor. Archibald Foster (1965-66) as District Deputy Grand Masters of the Pittsfield 16th Masonic District.

Pittsfield Lodge Brethren who have served as Masters of the 20th Lodge of Instruction are Wor. Lawrence W. Peirson (1932-22), Stanley E. Hood (1946-47), George F. Ames (1955-56), John E. Ozolinsh (1961-62) and Donald A.  Moors (1970-71).

Long-time instructors in the 20th Lodge of Instruction are Rt. Wor. Archibald Foster and Wor. William S. Kent, Jr. in the First Degree, and Wor. Leonard E. Sweitzer in the Third.

Including the Master U.D., Rt. Wor. Frank E. Peirson and our presiding one, Wor. Jerome E. Goldenberg, 50 different Masters have graced the East of Pittsfield Lodge.  Wor. Donald A. Moors served two different years (1966 and 1969) while Wor. Kenneth H. Phillips presided in both 1967 and 1968.  Of the 50 Masters, 21 have been called to their final rest, and 29 we still have with us.

50-Year Veterans Medals awarded during the past decade have included the following old-timers of the Lodge:

·        January, 1963  Bro. Henry Stentiford, Jr.

·        June, 1963  Bro. Frederick Maskell

·        June, 1968 Wor. Arthur E. Dietrich

·        October, 1969  Wor. James F. Thompson

·        June, 1970  Bro. Frank Eckard North

·        November, 1970  Bro. Harold Dunham

·        March, 1971  Wor. Leonard E. Sweitzer

·        June, 1971  Bro. Edward H. Lyman

Our Lodge continues its active support or participation in various Masonic related activities.  It has invited DeMolay boys and Rainbow girls from time to time to exemplify their degrees before the Brethren.  Periodic Public Installations of Officers have been enjoyed by families and friends.  Bloodmobile donations continue to be given.  Appropriate events have been sponsored which our wives and lady friends have shared with us.  Above all, we continue to try to justify our reputation of being a “friendly lodge”.

Thus is chronicled the 50-year historical narrative of Pittsfield Lodge, A.F. & A. M.  in three periods to date as follows:

            25th Anniversary 1946, Wor. Charles W. Ashley, Master written by Rt. Wor. Oscar S. Read

            40th Anniversary 1961, Wor. Leonard E. Sweitzer, Master prepared by Wor. Archibald Foster

            50th Anniversary 1971, Wor. Jerome E. Goldenberg, Master written by Wor. Leonard E. Sweitzer.

May the future of Pittsfield Lodge be mirrored by a projection of the past for even greater effectiveness in our Masonic contribution to a better world around us.

Leonard E. Sweitzwer

3 September, 1971


History of Crescent Pittsfield Lodge 1990-2000

Under construction


Past Masters of Crescent, Pittsfield and Crescent-Pittsfield Lodges


Crescent (1873-1989)

Pittsfield (1921-1989)


Henry Chickering *



Henry Chickering *



George C. Dunham



George C. Dunham



George C. Dunham



William E. Vermilye



William E. Vermilye



William E. Vermilye



William E. Vermilye



William F. Gale



George H. Tucker #



George H. Tucker #



George H. Tucker #



William P. Wood #



William P. Wood #



John F. Noxon



Charles W. French #



Charles E. Bennett #



Walter Cutting



Harlan H. Ballard



Harlan H. Ballard



Almon H. Harrison



Sears Chester Lyon #



Sears Chester Lyon #



George C. Fish



G. Albert Kenyon



Charles W. Wright



William H. Barrows #



Herbert A. Humphrey



Charles I. King



William R. Thomas



George W. Gardner



Charles A. Byram



William E. Rainey



Herbert J. Bradley



Levi D. Case



Frank M. White



William F. McKenzie



Robert A. Barbour



Wilfred H. Castle



Charles A. Acly



Oliver L. Bartlett



Howard P. Brown



Charles S. Shaw



Frank P. Simpson



Oliver Root



Herbert W. Andrews



Robert A. Walker



Russell O. Skinner

Harry D. Sisson, Sr.


Arthur F. Jones #

Charles R. Blakely


George M. Emmerich

George P. Hunt


J. Howard Fryer

William W. Howe


Charles H. Martin

Arthur E. Dietrich


Harry C. Darling

Wallace S. Miller


Albert E. Wing

A. Russell Gifford


John Glass

Lawrence W. Pierson


George D. McKay

Arthur K. Ferry


Emil Bolza

Edwin L. R. Bliss


William G. Dominick

Irving D. Sisson


Irving H. Farrar

Walter N. Cooper #


Frank F. Wilkins

Oscar S. Read #


David B. King

Leman H. Lowe


Wendell G. Ahem

Ensign P. Foot


Harold N. Currier

Harry D. Sisson, Jr.


J. Everett Mason #

Edward T. Martin


Wallace R. Dee

Floyd H. Ellsworth


Harold S. Clark

John O. Roser


Ralph D. Jones

Howard W. Chapin


George S. Murphy

Russell H. Davis


William F. Bolza

Vernon C. Organ


William F. Bolza

Stanley E. Hood


Ernest H. Thomas

Michael Broverman


Harry E. Adams

Harold C. Eckart


Robert H. Bolza

Charles W. Ashley


Harry T. Bardwell

Chester T. Green


Lloyd A. Stokes, Jr.

Myron T. Coleman


Louis J. Heidel

David R. Pryde


Karl O. Lepisto

Clarence E. Wilner


James D. Fryer

John W. Walker


Thaddeus F. Robinson

Howard R. Lanfair


Donald G. Butler

George F. Ames


Harrison M. Douglas, Jr.

M. Richard Bolender


Leavitt L. Wood

Sherwood R. Sprague


William E. Skinner

James F. Thompson


Edward Armstrong

Walter H. White


Carl E. Mesnig

Archibald Foster #


Walter W. Syrett

John E. Ozolinsh


Bertram B. Robinson, Jr.

Earl R. Lee, Jr.


Richard K. Cooper

Leonard E. Sweitzer


Frank J. Trato

William A. Robair


Victor R. Carmon

William H. Sweeney


Jules E. Gillette

Robert M. Leslie


John J. Dooley

William S. Kent, Jr.


George S. Torrey

Donald A. Moors


James W. Wagstaff, Sr.

Kenneth H. Phillips


Arthur W. Clark

Kenneth H. Phillips


Irving I. Siegel

Donald A. Moors


Alfred J. Campagna

Fred Turner


Carl E. Mesnig

Jerome Goldenberg


Benjamin G. Robinson #

Charles E. Thompson, Jr.


Benjamin G. Robinson #

Robert A. Mason


Irving I. Siegel

Geoffrey Rushton


Stephen J. Twining, Sr.

Dominick B. DaSilva


Frederick E. Fiske #

Howard W. Evans


James F. Anderson

William R. Theroux


John R. Sutton

Robert A. Mason


Richard C. Johnson

A. Frederick Hall, Jr.


Edgar F. Sewell

Fred Turner


Stephen J. Twining, Sr.

Dominick B. DaSilva


Richard G. Lunt

David H. Darcy


Richard C. Johnson

Donald A. Leonard, Jr.


Frederick E. Fiske #

Ronald G. A. Cowan


Howard C. Fiske

Charles E. Thompson, Jr.


Howard C. Fiske

Richard P. Duval


Frederick E. Fiske #

Richard P. Duval


Michael H. Westphal

Richard P. Duval


Harold M. Melle

Vincent A. Brazeau





Harold M. Melle



Frederick E. Fiske #



Donald A. Johnson



Jerry J. Smith, Sr.



Frederick E. Fiske #



Frederick E. Fiske #



Jeffrey R. Wallace



Lawrence F. Ray



John H. Lewarn



Luis M. Coelho



*  Past Senior Grand Warden

#  Past District Deputy Grand Master

Last Updated on 06/30/1999