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150 years: Renovo Masons celebrate major milestone

KEVIN RAUCH/FOR THE EXPRESS State dignitaries joined local officers at the Renovo Masonic Lodge #495 recently to honor the charters Sesquicentennial Anniversary. Having been founded in 1871 the Renovo Lodge was founded just five years following Renovo’s birth in 1966. Pictured are first row from left, Steven L. Gee-DDGM; Robert Brink-Junior Grand Warden; Thomas Cameron IV-RWGM; Larry Derr-Senior Grand Warden; Jason W. Ditty-PM Worshipful Master. Second row, John Stewart-PM Secretary; William K. Bauer Jr.-PM Senior Warden; Millard W. Long Sr.-PM Junior Warden; Fred E. Miller-PM Junior Master of Ceremonies. Third, Wayne E. Short Sr.-PM Treasurer; William L. Probst Sr.-Senior Master of Ceremonies; Richard S. Grenell Sr.-PM Chaplain.

RENOVO — The Renovo Masonic Lodge #495, F&AM recently celebrated its Sesquicentennial, having chartered in Renovo in 1871. Invited guests from not just Renovo but throughout the state took part in marking the event with ceremonial pictures at the Lodge on 3rd Street in Renovo before a dinner at the Chapman Township Fire Hall.

The town of Renovo itself was established just five years earlier in 1866. It is generally believed that the Masonic Lodge #495 is the town’s longest running organization basically spanning the town’s existence.

A history of notable milestones of Lodge #495 provided by Renovo historian and Lodge member Wayne Short includes:

On July 25, 1871 Renovo Lodge #495 Free & Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania was chartered by the Right Worshipful Grand Master Orrin T. Noble and the PA Grand Lodge Officers in the Patriotic Sons of America Hall on the corner of Huron Avenue and 4th Street in the borough. Two months later the by-laws were read and unanimously approved.

Failing to reach a rental agreement for the PSA Hall in 1876 the officers decided to move the lodge to the Odd Fellows Hall located on the corner of 6th and St. Claire streets. Unfortunately, a disastrous fire completely destroyed the Odd Fellows Hall six months later, and forced the lodge to return to the PSA Hall.

In 1887 the trustees signed a lease with Brother Daniel Spangler to rent Spangler’s Hall on 6th and Huron Avenue. The lodge would meet there until 1891 when brethren returned to the Odd Fellows Hall, where they celebrated the lodge’s 25th anniversary.

On July 2, 1912 after 12 years of trying to locate a building site the lodge’s building committee recommended purchasing three lots on 3rd Street which were originally occupied by the Renovo Hotel. Since the lodge could not own real estate the Renovo Masonic Temple Association was organized and granted a charter in incorporation on July 22, 1912. The cornerstone was laid on Nov. 8, 1912 and Renovo Lodge #495 held its first meeting in its new (and current) home on Dec. 13, 1913.

On July 25, 1921 the lodge celebrated its 50th anniversary with a banquet on the 5th floor of the Masonic Temple and a concert in the Renovo High School by the Imperial Teteque Band of Williamsport.

The 100th Anniversary was celebrated on Sept. 25, 1971 with a meeting at the lodge and a banquet in the Bucktail High School cafeteria. At the time, RWGM Hiram P. Ball presented a Grand Lodge Medallion honoring his term to the membership.

The 125th Anniversary was celebrated on July 13, 1996 with a parade consisting of a float and a single trip around town. A dinner was held at the Carmella Room in Hyner followed by entertainment and desert in the Lodge Room.

Over the past century and a half the Renovo Lodge has endured a variety of changes but it continues for move along. The principles, values, lessons and comradeship taught in Free Masonry are alive in the Renovo community and are demonstrated by Brother Masons and in their actions.

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