The Visalia Temple

Visalia Lodge History

Present Temple
At the northeast corner of Mineral King Avenue and South Locust Street. The cornerstone was laid May 14, 1934 and dedication ceremonies held March 23, 1935.
The First 100 Years of Masonry
In Visalia Lodge No. 128, F. & A. M.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and earth. And the earth was without Form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be Light' and there was light" Gen. C 1; 1-2.

The 100 years that today marks the centennial milestone in the progress and forward movement of the Visalia Lodge No. 128, F. & A. M., are years which have also measured the growth of a dynamic young State—a State only 107 years old, yet second only to the State of New York in population.

To this State and County in their early years came as colorful and genuinely vigorous parade of men as the panorama of the mountains which lured them westward—bringing with them as their heritage, their beliefs, and their aspirations for an abundant life. The poet truly spoke when he said—"Bring me men to match my mountains."

This was, also, the time when the country stood on the brink of Civil War—when private and public opinions were dividing the hearts of men, everywhere. The Constitutional Convention had just ended its labors at Monterey. It was attended by men who originally came from different States and by others who spoke only Spanish, yet it was passionately patriotic, and after six long weeks recommended to the Congress of the United States that California be admitted a member of the Union as a "Free State."

The history of Visalia Lodge is so closely interwoven with the early history of Tulare County, especially for the first few years immediately following the formation of the County, that it is impossible to discuss intelligently one without discussing the other. Tulare County was created by an Act of Legislature; April 20, 1852, and Visalia Lodge was given a Dispensation on December 19, 1857. Tulare County was carved out of Mariposa County and very roughly speaking, Tulare County as it then existed, embraced the territory now included in Fresno, Kern, Inyo and Kings Counties. There is no available description of the jurisdiction given to Visalia Lodge by the Grand Lodge, but, no doubt, it was the intention of the Grand Lodge to make the jurisdiction coextensive with the boundaries of the newly formed Tulare County. As a matter of fact, the jurisdiction of the Lodge exceeded the boundaries of Tulare County on the westerly side, as it was Visalia Lodge which in 1860 gave the consent that a new Lodge be formed in the town of San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo County.

In order that the reader may have a clearer prospectus and better understanding of the nature of the country and conditions which existed at the time Tulare County was created, a very brief resume of the early history is presented. This was a virgin country, untouched by civilized man; only very meager and inaccurate charts, crudely made by early explorers and trappers, were available. There were no roads, bridges or other land marks. It was overgrown with underbrush and natural grasses, traversed only by Indian trails leading to the shallow places in the several rivers where it was possible to ford such streams. There is very little available data relative to the formation of Tulare County, but all of the early county historians agree that the county was created by a number of questionable characters, and Mariposa politicians for their own personal gain. One of the early County historians wrote— "e;the history of Tulare County commenced in a record of blood and many and frequent have been the sanguinary affrays that have marked its course."

It is quite evident that, at the time of the institution of Visalia Lodge, the County, to a great extent, was governed by unscrupulous politicians and the population of the County was made up of persons who had come to California during the ‘49 “Gold Rush” with high hopes of finding the mythical"Promised Land" and the end of the rainbow but after toil and trouble, hardship, misfortune and ill luck, had failed to find either, and had reluctantly turned to other endeavors for a livelihood for themselves and families. From the many, a majority came not to spoil, but to do good. In this new environment men of principle soon rose above the lust for gold and, endeavoring to find a better life, sought the "Great Light" from above. Among the population there were unselfish men of integrity, with burning desires to make the newly formed county a better place in which to live. A number of such men, Master Masons, members of other jurisdictions throughout the then young United States, banded themselves together and petitioned the Grand Lodge of California, to grant to them a dispensation to form a new Lodge of Masons at Visalia, California. The Dispensation was granted on December 19, 1857, and thus a new Lodge was born, whose one hundredth birthday we are today honoring.

The Brethren named in the Dispensation were:

Edward Farris Storey, W.M. J. S. L. Wood
Harvey Howard John Page
S.V. Hardesty, SW. Samuel Kelsey
B.F. Wallace John Barton
A.H. Clark, J. W. J. D. Stephens
J.D. Thompson Wm. Hussey
Thomas Baker J. R. Keeney
S.W. Beckman R. B. Sagley
N.B. Johnson John P. Majors
Joseph Rice J. S. Meckley
John Shelton J. J. Mankin

The circumstances leading up to the granting of the Dispensation and the difficulties experienced prior to the issuance of a Charter on May 14, 1859 were: that on September 24, 1857, a number of Masons, who resided in and around Visalia, assembled for the purpose of organizing a Masonic Lodge at Visalia, and providing a suitable meeting place for such body. Brother Thomas Baker, (who later became our first Secretary) was chosen to preside over the meeting and Brother J. S. Meckley acted as its Secretary. There were seventeen men present. After due examination, it was found that fourteen of the men were Master Masons and that three were Entered Apprentices. Much of the time of the meeting was consumed in a full discussion of a suitable meeting place. A committee of five was appointed to make investigations and report back to the assembled men its findings and suggestions. The committee was ordered to report at 3 p.m. the same day. At the appointed hour the meeting reconvened for the purpose of hearing and considering the committee’s report. The committee submitted two propositions.

  1. To build an additional story over the Methodist-Episcopal Church (south), which was then being constructed on South Church Street, or
  2. To build a two story brick building as per plans submitted. (As per plans submitted, is very indefinite to the reader of today, but doubtless the committee had a rough plan of the proposed building and a definite location, which were readily understand able to the gathering.)

After submitting its report the committee was discharged. The entire body then considered the committee’s report, and after due deliberation, rejected each of the propositions. Undaunted by the rejection of the report, unyielding in their determination to obtain a meeting place, and having full faith in themselves, as Masons, they solemnly resolved then and there to build a Masonic Temple in Visalia. Whereupon, another committee was appointed to receive donations toward the financing of a Masonic Hall in Visalia. The committee was directed to report back on Saturday, September 26, 1857 at 10 am.

The committee reported as directed, and at this meeting there were ten additional men in attendance. The examining committee announced that nine of the new men were Master Masons, and that one was an Entered Apprentice. Plans were tentatively adopted for the erection of a Temple, and a committee was appointed to act as a Building Committee. The duties of the Committee as shown by the minutes were as follows:

       "Vested with full power and charge of all and every portion of the building about to be erected, to receive donations, sell shares of stock, collect moneys, and make payments by taking receipts or vouchers for the same, and to keep a correct account of all receipts and disbursements."

The Committee consisted of Brother Thomas Baker, Chairman, Sam W. Beckman, Secretary, S. V. 1-Tardesty, E. F. Storey and N .B. Johnson.

The matter of a meeting place having been temporarily solved, the next order of business was the preparing and signing of the petition for a Dispensation and choosing the officers to be named therein. The officers chosen were: Edward Farris Storey, W. M.; S. V. Hardesty, S.W.; and A. H. Clark, J. W.

‘When the petition was properly prepared and signed, it was given to Brother E. F. Storey to be taken to Texas Lodge No. 46, F. & A. M. at San Juan in Monterey County to obtain the consent of that Lodge for the establishment of a Masonic Lodge at Visalia. (San Juan is now San Juan Bautista, in San Benito County.) Brother Storey was one of the organizers of Texas Lodge and served as its first Master, which, no doubt, influenced him to secure the consent of Texas Lodge. The consent was freely given, after which he continued on his journey to Sacramento, where the petition and consent were presented to N. Greene Curtis, the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of California, who on December 19, 1857, granted a Dispensation to Visalia Lodge, until the next annual communication of the Grand Lodge to be held in May, 1858. Upon receipt of the Dispensation Authorizing the Masons at Visalia to form a Lodge, the Brethren named therein met on February 25, 1858, and in addition to the officers named in such Dispensation, proceeded to organize Visalia Lodge U.D. The entire corps of officers included:

  • Edward Farris Storey, Worshipful Master,
  • S. V. Hardesty, Senior Warden,
  • J. D. Thompson, Junior Warden,
  • Joseph N. Thomas, Senior Deacon,
  • William Hussey, Junior Deacon,
  • Edmund P. Hart, Steward,
  • Abram Hunter Murray, Steward,
  • John Shelton, Tiler,
  • Thomas Baker, Secretary, and
  • N. B. Johnson, Treasurer.

The by-laws of Mariposa Lodge No.24 were adopted for the government of Visalia Lodge U. D. The regular communication of the Lodge was fixed as the third Saturday of each month. The initiation fee was set at $25.00

Referring back to the preliminary meeting on Saturday, September26, 1857, at which time plans were tentatively adopted for the erection of a Temple and the building committee was given almost unlimited powers, we read in the minutes that two days later the building committee met and that all of the members were present. Thomas Baker, the Chair man, presided. The committee authorized the purchase of a lot of 58 feet square at the southwest corner of Church and Main Streets from Thomas Baker for the sum of $100. (This is the present site of Tulare County National Bank.) It also authorized the erection of a two story brick building to be used as a Masonic Temple. It also adopted the following specifications for the building.

       "Walls of the Masonic Hall should be 11 feet high; base and foundation to ground floor 2 feet 6 inches; first story 18 inches and the second story 14 inches thick and that the length of the building be extended to 48 feet; first or ground floor to be made of brick, inside of wall to be made of raw brick."

The brick was authorized to he purchased from Brother Thomas Baker—burnt brick at the rate of $14 per one thousand, and raw brick at the rate of $8 per one thousand. It also accepted the proposition of Mankins & Collins to do the brick work for $7 and of B. F. Wallis to do the carpentry work for $6.50. (From the foregoing, it is reasonable to assume that the building was to be constructed of burnt and adobe bricks, and that the $7 meant that the cost of laying the bricks would be $7 per one thousand, and that the $6.50 meant that the carpentry work would be done for $6.50 per day). The minutes further disclosed that the rate of interest to be allowed on the stock subscribed was one and one half per cent per month, or eighteen per cent per annum.

Five days later the building committee again met, but the minutes refer to it as a meeting of the joint stock company. At this meeting the following agreement was adopted:

      

"We the undersigned do agree to organize ourselves into a joint stock company for the purpose of building a two-story brick building or house in the town of Visalia of the following dimensions; 24 feet wide and 48 feet long. We do further agree:

1st. That the stock of said company shall be divided into shares of fifty dollars each.

2nd. That the interest allowed on said stock shall be one and one-half per cent per month, or eighteen per cent per annum.

3rd. That the stock shall be paid by installments, according to the assessments of the building committee.

4th. That the full amount of Stock subscribed shall be paid by the time the said house shall be completed.

5th. That said house shall be under the control and for the use and benefit of the Masonic fraternity, and shall revert to said fraternity as soon as the fraternity shall be able to redeem the amount of stock subscribed, together with the interest thereon.

6th. That as soon as the full amount of stock subscribed shall have been paid in, the Chairman and Secretary of the Building Committee shall issue a certificate or certificates to the stock-holders which shall be evidence of ownership.

7th. That all stock delinquent at the completion of said house, shall be forfeited, together with the amount credited thereon, to the said Masonic fraternity, which fraternity shall thereby become bona fide owners thereof."

It is not disclosed by the minutes the amount which the building was to cost. By reason of the fact that some of the brethren agreed to do work and others agreed to furnish materials in return for stock, no doubt, made it difficult to establish a definite cost figure.

The Grand Lodge met in May, 1858, and as the Dispensation was granted only to that time, it was necessary to appear before the Grand Lodge and request the issuance of a Dispensation. Brother E.F Storey again traveled to the Grand Lodge communication in Sacramento and made the request. The request was denied because the Secretary had sent certified copies of the proceedings of the Lodge instead of the original records and had omitted certain reports. Brother Storey advised the Grand Lodge of the growing and prosperous condition of the Lodge and assured it that all of the irregularities would he corrected in future reports. In view of his statement, the Grand Lodge extended the Dispensation to the next meeting of Grand Lodge in 1859. (In the 1896 publication of "Fifty years of Masonry in California" the following statement is made, "Here was a Lodge that had been exceedingly industrious, conferred fifteen degrees in Masonry in four months, and had gathered together and affiliated no less than twenty-eight Master Masons in all, and with work laid out ahead upon the Trestle-Board, set back and disappointed by an incompetent Secretary and through the failure of the Master and Wardens to comply with the Constitution and Regulations of the Grand Lodge."

Individually, the committee feels that this report is much too severe and unfair, as these pioneers were good men, and true, who were more interested in doing good deeds than in making records of them.

During the ensuing year Visalia Lodge U. D. continued to be very active, increased its membership, and completed the erection of the two story brick Masonic Temple. However the luster of this brilliant year of achievements was dimmed by the actions of two of its own members, which resulted in the expulsion of the Senior Warden named in the Dispensation, and the suspension of another member. The repercussion on the Lodge was severe, and a serious split was narrowly averted. But time seemed to have healed the wounds and harmony, once again, prevailed among the craft.

At the communication of the Grand Lodge in May of 1859, Brother Storey again attended the conclave at Sacramento and requested that a Charter he granted to Visalia Lodge U. D. He was successful in his request, and Visalia Lodge No. 128, F.& A.M. was granted its Charter on May14, 1859.

On June 13, 1859, Visalia Lodge No. 128, F. & A. M. was instituted by Brother William A. King, a Past Master of Mariposa Lodge, acting as Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of California. The following officers, elected and appointed, were installed:

  • Edward Farris Storey, Worshipful Master,
  • S. V. Hardesty, Senior Warden,
  • J. D. Thompson, Junior Warden,
  • Joseph N. Thomas, Senior Deacon,
  • William Hussey, Junior Deacon,
  • Edmund P. Hart, Steward,
  • Abram Hunter Murray, Steward,
  • John Shelton, Tiler,
  • Thomas Baker, Secretary, and
  • N. B. Johnson, Treasurer.

(At the close of the meeting, the minutes show that a collection was taken up, which amounted to $24.50 and was given to Brother King to help defray his expenses. Also, that another collection was taken up, amounting to $10.62 for the Visalia Band for its services during the ceremonies of Installation.)

For the first few years after the institution of the Lodge, it prospered and exerted a very definite stabilizing influence in the community. But, beginning with the National Election of 1860, which was very bitterly contested, and the start of the Civil War, conditions grew worse. The Lodge became divided against itself and suffered financial reverses which eventually forced it to sell the Temple.

Perhaps at this point something should be said regarding the meeting of December 27, 1859. (St. John's Day.) The Lodge was previously opened, but called from Labor to Refreshment. A very large number of the substantial citizens of Visalia were present. The meeting was held in the evening, and it was a gala affair. It was the largest fraternal meeting ever held in Tulare County up to that time. Among other things, the ladies of Visalia presented to the Lodge a banner. On one side of the banner was inscribed—"Visalia Lodge No. 128, F. & A. M.," together with the Insignia of the Order; on the other appeared the significant motto—”Donum Femanarum.” The presentation was made by a Miss Ellen B. Skinner and the acceptance was by Edward Farris -Storey, the Master of Visalia Lodge. (The presentation address and the response are found elsewhere.)

The average person of today cannot visualize the bitterness which existed between the brethren because of the North and South issue. The more conservative and cooler heads on each side pleaded with the members to be more tolerant in speech and action because the people of California had no cause for revolt. Their homes and property were secure. This course of action, naturally, did not appeal to the younger hot-headed element, who were quick to take offense and just as eager to resent insults. Of course, at every corner was a saloon—some Union, some Rebel. Courage and recklessness could be freely purchased, and street brawls and even bloodshed were common occurrences.

In 1862, the Lodge was forced to sell its new Temple. The selling price was $2,100. However the Lodge continued to meet in the Temple until 1873, at which time it and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows erected a new building at the northeast corner of Center and Church Streets.

Following the end of the war, the Lodge pulled itself together. The teaching of Masonry was common ground on which all factions could agree and it was only a limited time before the Lodge again began to prosper and grow. During this period of rebuilding, the Lodge took its proper place in the community.

By reason of the fact that the Lodge continued to grow, the thinking of the members was unconsciously directed toward a new "Temple of their own." In the early seventies in conjunction with the Odd Fellows, the two organizations agreed to erect a new building to house the Masonic Lodge and the Odd Fellows Lodge. After careful consideration by both organizations, it was decided that the southwest corner of Block 22 at the northeast corner of Church and Center Streets in the City of Visalia, was the most suitable location for the building. Elias Jacob, a Past Master of Visalia Lodge was the owner of the selected property and the property was acquired from him. (This is the site on which is located the old Masonic Temple, now owned by the County of Tulare.)

A magnificent building was erected on the property, which certainly was an important mile-post in the life of Visalia Lodge, as it was the finest and most imposing Masonic Temple between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Excerpts from an article appearing in the Tulare Times (Visalia), dated November 30, 1872 states: Masonic & Odd Fellows Building Association — at a meeting of this Association held on Saturday evening, the twenty-third, plans were submitted from architects from San Francisco and Stockton, and those of Kenitzer and Roun of San Francisco, were accepted. This plan gives a frontage of 40 feet on Church Street, by a depth of 65 feet on Center Street. Architecturally considered, this will be inferior to no building outside of the City of San Francisco. The exterior finish will be rustic in mutation of brown stone. The lower story will be 14 feet, and the upper 16 feet high, crowned with a high French roof, surrounded with balustrades. The lower story will be divided into a store 25 by 65 feet, and a Town Floor 34 by 52, with two dressing rooms attached for the convenience of balls, etc. The upper floor will contain a Masonic Lodge Room 30 by 50. An Odd Fellows room 30 by 50 and a banquet hall between the two lodge rooms, 20 by 50. Each lodge room will be furnished with two, perhaps three ante-rooms.

The cornerstone of the building was laid by the Grand Master of Masons of California on February 22, 1873. Dedication ceremonies were held on June 24, 1873. Articles from the Tulare Times (Visalia) under date of March 1, 1873 and from the Visalia Weekly Delta under date of May 29, 1873 give silent testimony to the bigness of the affairs. Excerpts from News Item in Tulare Times (Visalia) under date of March 1, 1873 and a photostatic copy of announcement in Visalia Weekly Delta under date of May 29, 1873 will be found elsewhere in this booklet.

After the erection of the new Temple, the growth and influence of Masonry were stimulated and it played an important part in the development of the social and political life in Tulare County, especially in the town of Visalia. Perhaps the most spectacular and colorful celebration ever held in Tulare County (present or past) was the laying of the cornerstone of the then new Court House October 27, 1876, by the Grand Lodge of California under the auspices of Visalia Lodge.

From the erection of the Temple, the Lodge thrived and experienced a healthy growth from year to year, and continued to exert an influence for good in the growing community. The several branches of Masonry and the Order of the Eastern Star were instituted and made use of the then new Masonic Temple as their home.

As the Lodge grew and the population of the City and community increased, the Lodge’s place in society, also, became more conspicuous. In the early 1900's each Mason was cognizant of the fact that the Lodge had outgrown the size of the Temple and that it had served the fraternity well, for nearly a half century, but was becoming obsolete by reason of its age. The ever present feeling among the members, but not too openly expressed, was that there should be erected a new and modern Temple of adequate size, equipped with modern conveniences to properly house the Lodge and the several Masonic bodies of Visalia.

In 1913, Visalia Chapter No. 44, R. A. M. purchased the interest of the Odd Fellows Lodge in the Masonic-Odd Fellows Building. This vested the whole title in two Masonic organizations. In 1919, the entire property was sold to the County of Tulare, with the provision that the Masonic bodies, upon payment of specified rentals, should be permitted to continue to occupy the entire second floor of said building. This gave renewed hope to the members, because they envisioned a new Temple. In the latter part of the same year, the present site of the United States Post Office was purchased. I thereafter a Building and Finance Committee was appointed. This committee very soon determined that it would he for the best interest of Visalia Lodge to join with the other branches of the order in erecting a Masonic Temple. Having arrived at this conclusion, the committee conferred with similar committees from the Royal Arch Chapter and Visalia Commandery and definitely decided that a Masonic Building Association would be formed by the three bodies. Also during the several meetings of the joint committees, all ways and means of financing a Temple were fully discussed. It was the well considered opinion of these committees that, financially, the bodies would be better off to sell the high priced property, where the Post Office now stands, and purchase less expensive property further from the center of town for a Temple site. Consequently in 1933 the property was sold to the government.

In 1933 the three Masonic Bodies (Visalia Lodge No. 128, F. & A. M., Visalia Chapter No.44, R. A. M., and Visalia Commandery No, 26, K. T.) took steps to form a Building Association. The Association was set up as a California Corporation, designated as the "VISALIA MASONIC BUILDING ASSOCIATION." There were three stockholders in the corporation, namely, Visalia Lodge No. 128, F. & A. M.; Visalia Chapter No. 44, R. A. M.; and Commandery No. 26, K. T. In September 1933, the Articles of Incorporation of the Association were filed in the office of the Secretary of State in Sacramento, California, and suitable by-laws were adopted for its government. The Articles of Incorporation provided that the capital stock should be $50,000 divided into 2000 shares having a par value of $25 for each share. Immediately there after all of the available assets of the stockholding bodies were transferred to the Visalia Masonic Building Association, in exchange for stock in the corporation.

The Building Association then took an inventory of its assets, and found that the amount was not sufficient to fully pay for a building site and for a Temple, the plans for which had been tentatively adopted. The matter was reported to the stockholding bodies, which agreed that each body would contact its own members and friends for donations to wards the erection of the new Temple and then turn the donations, so received, over to the Building Association, which in turn would issue stock to the organization which made the donation. The drive for donations was successful, and later in 1933, the Visalia Masonic Building Association purchased the southwest one-fourth of Block 44, in the City of Visalia, which is located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Locust Street and Mineral King Avenue, (Site of the present Temple.) The plans which had been tentatively approved by the Building Committee were adopted by the Visalia Masonic Building Association and immediately ground was broken for the erection of a new Masonic Temple. On May 14, 1934, the cornerstone of the Temple was laid with appropriate ceremonies by Past Grand Master Francis Wilbur Mixter, and on March 23, 1935, the Temple was formally dedicated by a meeting of the Lodge in the main Lodge Room of the Temple. (Brother Mixter was raised a Master Mason in Visalia Lodge and had advanced to be its Senior Warden, at which time he demitted to become a Charter member of Exeter Lodge No.424, F. & A. M. He became the second Master of Exeter Lodge.)

The Visalia Masonic Building Association has charge of and operates the Masonic Temple. The ownership of shares now is:

  • Visalia Lodge No. 128, F. & A. M., 1325 shares;
  • V Chapter No. 44, It A. M., 473 shares; and
  • Visalia Commandery No. 26, K. T., 166 shares.

There are 36 shares of stock not issued. The Association is administered by five directors; the by-laws provide that the directors shall be elected annually by a majority vote of the stockholders. By custom, three directors are elected from Visalia Lodge, and one each from Visalia Chapter and Commandery. The presiding officer of each Masonic stock- holding organization is empowered to vote the stock of such organization, and, the President of the Board of Directors presides at meetings of the stockholders.

It is true that there have been hardships and disappointments along way —yet they are of small consequence, as compared to the good accomplished. The forward march of progress continues toward a better world—and may the teachings of Masonry continue to be a beacon to guide all those who seek Truth, and cherish Freedom, and be an inspiration to all Masons to be better Men and Citizens.

 


First Temple
Erected in 1857-58 at the southwest corner of Church and Main Streets.





Second Temple
At the northeast corner of Church and Center Streets.
The cornerstone was laid February 22, 1873, and dedication ceremonies held June 24, 1873. By reason of being one of the finest fraternal buildings in the State of California, and one of the important landmarks in the San Joaquin valley, it rated a place on the official map of Tulare County, issued in 1876.
Excerpts From A News Item Appearing In Local News
In The Tulare Times (Visalia), Under Date March I, 1873

"Laying Of The Cornerstone Ceremonies"

Last Saturday the corner-stone of the new Masonic and Odd Fellows’ Temple was laid with appropriate and imposing ceremonies. The day dawned auspiciously, and the sun shone clear and bright;

“The Banquet”

The banquet at the court house was a grand affair. It was gotten up by Mr. Henry Cousins, of the Graham I-Intel, and was a marvel of culinary labor and skill, directed by the best taste as to what was appropriate for the occasion. It was recherché in all its parts. The fresh salmon from the bay was delicious, the roast pig, cold turkey and fowl were superb, the condiments, fruits and confectionery unexceptionable, while the wine—comprising white wine, claret and leidsock and Widow Cliquot champagne—ordered direct from a noted wholesale house in San Francisco, was worthy of the gods. The tables, four in number, stretching- the entire length of the court room, fairly groaned under the weight of good things. . . And amidst the good Cheer at command, mirth, good feeling and feasting continued until after 10 o'clock—the 'feast of Wit and flow of Soul' combining with and doubly enhancing the physical pleasures of eating and drinking.

“Toasts”

W.W. Cross, Esq. We must not forget that this is the birthday of our country's father. Die first in war, the first in peace, and the first in the hearts of his countrymen. May his name ever be cherished, the halcyon days of his time return to us, and the virtue he inculcated he taught and practiced in coming time.

"The ceremonies of the laying of the cornerstone passed off most agreeably, and the whole affair reflected great credit on Visalia."

(Note—The cornerstone was laid by Judge L. E. Pratt, Grand Master of Masons of California.)

The present Brethren wish to express our gratitude to the 1957 Centennial Committee for the comprehensive history of the “Mother of Lodges” which they compiled.
They were:
  • James B. Lawson, Past Master, 1940, Chairman
  • Frank C. Barboni, Past Master, 1945
  • Roy 0. Brooks
  • George R. Coats, Senior Warden
  • Mitchell Lunstra, Past Master, 1954
  • John W. Mantiell, Past Master, 1949
  • William P. Nash
  • Knox W. Nicholson, Past Master 1925
  • Theodore F. Thompson, Past Master, 1955
  • Bertrand L. Payton, Worshipful Master
  • George R. Prestidge, Past Master, 1921
  • Emerson Westcott, Junior Warden
  • Homer D. Woodard