Old Colony Lodge A.F. & A.M.

...the oldest child of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts...

Brief History of Old Colony Lodge

1792 – Present

Wor. Ronald E. Lincoln


“Man’s life on earth is brief, and the fashion of the world passeth away.  To attained to the one hundredth year of its prosperous existence by any human institution is a notable event. Joining in all the hearty congratulations which are rightfully forthcoming upon this happy and interesting occasion, I salute you, Brethren, in the noble confession of Freedom, Fellowship, and Love, which is Eternal Freemasonry.” These words were spoken on Friday, December 9th, 1892 by Rev. Bro. Joshua Young, D.D., Orator of the Day set apart for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Old Colony Lodge. These words Have been uttered at every anniversary celebration of the Lodge and are repeated here.

Looking back over the years that have passed, we find our beginnings in the small hamlet town of Hanover, at a time when the region west of the Mississippi was a vast unknown, an era which knew none of our modern conveniences of travel, living, education, entertainment, or the like, an age which found our Great American Republic just three years since its inception. It was at this time that seven Brethren presented a petition praying “that they, with such others as shall hereafter join them, may be created and constituted a regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, under the title and designation of Old Colony Lodge, within the Town of Hanover, Plymouth County, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” Their prayer was granted and the Charter under which Old Colony Lodge, now in Hingham, exists and works, was duly issued.

A complete and detailed history of the events surrounding the early days of Old Colony Lodge in Hanover, its first places of meeting, an historical, resume of the seven Charter Members of the Lodge, the events surrounding its removal to Hingham in 1807 is all a matter of Record as set down by those Historians of old in such a complete manner as to indicate to us how much this was truly for them a labor of love. 

From the Lodge’s beginnings, first meeting in the Tavern of Atherton Wales (the Tavern is still standing and is a residence across the street from the present Phoenix Lodge).

                                                                   Atherton Wales Tavern – Hanover Four Corners

(Courtesy Hanover Historical Society)

In 1807, Old Colony Lodge moved to Hingham, holding its first meeting on December 11, 1807. After occupying several halls in Hingham, the Lodge met in what was known as the Lincoln Building, and met there for a period of 69 years, at which time the Masonic Building at 85 Central Street was completed and put into use in March of 1929.

A Number of Anniversary Celebrations have been held in Hingham over the years, one of the more interesting ones were the 100th Anniversary Celebration held at the old Agricultural Hall, with over 3oo people in attendance. Wor Charles Hawks Marble was the master of Old Colony Lodge at the time. At our 150th Celebration on December 10th, 1942, R.W. Charles Hawks Marble opened the Lodge and sat in the same Oriental Chair as he had done 50 years previously, a remarkable and noble man. That celebration was held, standing room only, in these apartments, with a brief History read by Bro. Frank Cushing Allen. The Grandmaster then proceeded to Install the Officers for the ensuing year.

 Old Colony Lodge

(Photo Courtesy of Wor. Ronald E. Lincoln)

Our 200th year in Hingham was celebrated in December of 2007, with numerous members, ladies and guests present. A fine dinner was served in Wirkala Hall, catered by Bro. Dave Crest and a very informal meeting was held in these apartments with a brief history was read. We garnered a few new members from the non-members present.

Over the Last Few years, a number of improvements have been made to the Lodge building. A lift has been installed; the dining hall (named for bro’s Henry and Bill Wirkala, who took good care of our Lodge for all future generations) has been vastly improved along with the kitchen facilities. The Lodge Room has been made more suitable with the addition of the archway in the east that came to us along

 with Macedonian Lodge from the Quincy Masonic Building. The plumbing has also been upgraded, all of this under the supervision of RW Joe DeNicola and his Crew (the members of the lodge). Along with Macedonian Lodge, and Old Colony lodge, we have using our beautiful building St. Stephen’s Royal Arch Chapter and Dorothy Bradford Chapter, No. 135, Order of the Eastern Star. 

Old Colony has been honored to have 19 of our Past Masters serve the Grand Lodge as District Deputy Grand Master, from, R. W. Charles Turner, Jr., who served for 3 years, 1808-1810 (the second past master of OCL).  R.W. Winthrop J. Cushing served as Deputy Grand Master (1942) and R.W. F. Brian Emery also served as Deputy Grand Master in 1999. Two other Past Masters served as permanent Members of Grand Lodge, R.W.  E. Waters Burr served as Junior Grand Warden in 1871 and R.W. J. Irving Botting served as Senior Grand Warden in 1934. Three other Past Masters served as Grand Stewards at various times. One has served as Grand Sword Bearer, another as Grand Standard Bearer and a Grand Junior Deacon. The living District Deputies are R.W.’S Richard G. Weston, Paul E. Wuori, H. Lee Potter and Joseph C. DeNicola.

I would be remiss if I did not mention all of our previous Historians who so graciously lent me their words and insights into our beloved past. They are Rev. Bro. Joshua Young, D.D., Wor. Edwin Wilder, 2nd., (100th)  Wor. Charles H. Marble, Bros. S. Randall Lincoln, Frank, C. Allen, (150th) R.W.  E. Gardner Jones and Wor. J. Stewart Borland, (175th), Wor. Ronald E. Lincoln at the 200th Anniversary and at 200 years in Hingham.