The year was 1920, Otisville Masonic Lodge No. 401 was an active Lodge located on M-15 in the town of Otisville with members from the surrounding area, including the village of Geneseeville.
In the fall of 1920, due to the long distance from Geneseeville (about 9 miles, which was quite a distance in 1920) and often difficulties in attending regular communications and degree work, nineteen Master Masons from the Otisville Lodge decided to petition the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Michigan for a dispensation to form a Masonic Lodge in the village of Geneseeville to be known as Welfare Masonic Lodge.
The proposed Lodge Officers were listed as:
Brother F.G. Rogers, Worshipful Master,
Brother F.F. Upton, Senior Warden
Brother B.R. Scott Junior Warden
The petition was submitted to the Grand Lodge that fall where Most Worshipful Grand Master Ira A. Beck denied issuing the dispensation.
Not to be discouraged, the Brothers worked that fall gathering information, drawing maps, charts and documents to show that they were acting in good faith and could maintain an active Masonic Lodge in Genesseeville.
The Brothers brought their documentation to the Grand Lodge’s Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden Brother Charles A. Durand, who arranged a conference with the new M.W. Grand Master Brother Robert P. Anderson. He reviewed the maps, charts and documents that the Brothers presented and then issued a dispensation to the Brothers on Nov. 19, 1921.
On May 24 , 1922 a Masonic Charter for Welfare Masonic Lodge No. 517, located in Beautiful Downtown Geneseeville, was granted.
Welfare Masonic Lodge was located in three rooms above Brother Rogers’ store, was dedicated on June 7, 1922. R.W. Senior Grand Warden Brother Charles Durand acted as proxy for the M.W. Grand Master.
Welfare Masonic Lodge was successful in drawing more members into Lodge growing from nineteen to seventy Brothers. It soon became apparent that a larger Lodge was needed. The Brethren of the Lodge studied many different plans and methods of financing the cost of a new Lodge. On Decoration Day, 1926, the first shovel of dirt was turned by Worshipful Master E.M. Bobb on land donated by Brother and Sister Young in Geneseeville. (about where the Bank building is now located).
The new building for the Lodge was to be 32’ x 64’, located due East and West. The excavating and rough work on the building was done by the Brothers of the Lodge at little cost to the Lodge. On September 7,1926, the Brethren of Welfare Lodge No. 517 and the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Free and Accepted Masons of Michigan Brother Donaldson assembled to lay the cornerstone of the Lodge. On Friday, April 29,1927 the Seventy Five Brethren of Welfare Lodge gathered at the Lodge for it’s dedication ceremony by M.W. Grand Master F. Homer Newton and other Grand Lodge Officers.
In addition to the Masonic Lodge Brethren there was a very active Order of Eastern Stars of 75 Sisters at the Lodge who contributed to the success of the building and furnishing of the new Lodge.
In the Seventies, Welfare Lodge had again out grown its' building. The Brethren once again discussed plans and methods to construct a new Lodge room. In April, 1972 the new Lodge was dedicated at G-6208 N. Genesee Rd. The Lodge is used by the Masons, Order of Eastern Stars and the Jobs Daughters.
Our first Worshipful Master was Worshipful Brother Francis G. Rodgers, PM. For a list of our Worshipful Masters, then and now check out the Past Masters page . We have about one hundred fifteen active and lifetime members and 15 honorary members at this time.
The Lodge is tiled for business on the first Wednesday of each month, unless it is a legal holiday, then we meet on the second Wednesday of the month, The months of July and August we are Dark. We share a light meal and fellowship at 6 PM and open Lodge at 7 PM.
If you are a Master Mason check the calendar page for our meeting schedule.
You are always Welcomed to join us.
(The information above was taken from an article in the Masonic News dated Apriil 1932)