by Midnight Freemasons Contributors
Gregory J. Knott
Todd E. Creason
Remember Geraldo Rivera when he was on live TV to open
Al Capone’s vault to reveal all that treasure? Homer Masonic Lodge No.
199 (IL) recently had our own version of this show. We all knew there were a lot of things in the
attic of the Homer Masonic Lodge. The building
was constructed in 1892 and has been used continually by the lodge since
that time. But what was exactly up
there was generally a mystery.
|The attic access at Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL)|
On a Saturday morning, with the help of the Homer Historical
Society, members of the lodge decided to bring down all the treasures from the
attic and see what they were. We had
much better luck than Geraldo did! It
was like opening a time capsule from the past with items from 1856 to 1950.
|Homer Historical Society Member Molly Shoaf and Homer |
Secretary Denver Phelps look over some of the treasurers
There were Lodge by-laws from the 1850’s, copies of the
Homer Enterprise newspaper from the late 1800s and early 1900s, petitions, old
Christmas decorations and a large library of Illinois Grand Lodge Proceedings.
|Some of the old papers and lodge items found stored upstairs in crates and cubby holes|
Homer was also was home to Royal Arch Chapter No. 94 that finally
gave up its charter in 2009 and the attic held a large amount of amount of
Royal Arch petitions, annual proceedings and minute books. An Eastern Star chapter was also at Homer and
there were treasurers from these years as well.
Through the careful guidance of the Homer Historical
Society, we are now going through all of the papers to get them organized and
to be stored in manner that will preserve them for future generations.
|1857 Lodge By-Laws|
Homer Lodge No. 199 is now in the process of converting a spare room into a museum so that some of these items can be displayed in glass cases. There were many interesting relics found in the attic that will be featured in this collection, including glass degree slides, phonograph records, a very old top hat worn by one of the Masters, several collections of officer jewels and regalia, old movie posters, etc.
|We found more than one set of beautiful glass degree slides|
There are also some unique lodge furnishings that will be displayed. Ogden Lodge No. 754 recently donated an old altar that belonged to Broadlands Lodge (no longer in existence) that will be set up on display in the museum.
|Entered Apprentice Degree music by the Sousa Band|
Homer Lodge is going to have the music on this old phonograph record, one of several discovered, digitally mastered and preserved by the University of Illinois Library.
|What was most likely the original collar worn by the Master of Homer Lodge|
Like Homer Lodge No. 199, many of our old Masonic buildings have been around for a long time, and very few probably know all the hidden treasures they contain hidden away in desks, attics, basements, and cupboards. So take a little time, and have a look at what your lodge may have tucked away in boxes and file cabinets. And if you're not sure what you have, contact your local Historical Society, and I'm sure they'll be anxious to help you go through what you find. What looks like junk to many people may contain very important lost pieces of history. The Homer Historical Society has already found a number of newspapers and documents that were up in the attic that they didn't have in their collection. Some of those items may very well shed new light on what life was like in our part of Illinois more than a century ago.
Todd E. Creason, 33° is
the founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and continues to be a
regular contributor. He is the author of several books and novels,
including the Famous American Freemasons
series. He is member of Homer Lodge No. 199, and a Past Master of
Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL). He is a member the Scottish Rite Valley of
Danville, the York Rite Bodies of Champaign/Urbana (IL), the Ansar
Shrine (IL), Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees,
and Charter President of the Illini High Twelve in Champaign-Urbana
(IL). You can contact him at: email@example.com
WB Gregory J. Knott is
the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a
plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and
Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish
Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the
Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a
member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356
Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The
Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society
and The Philathes Society. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle
Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic
Scouters. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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