LODGE HISTORY
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Charles H. Stewart


First Worshipful Master
Melbourne Lodge No. 143 F. & A.M.

Brother Stewart was born in Joliet, IL on September 22, 1867. Prior to moving to Florida, he attended Northwestern University. After college, he married Annie Mable Nash of South Norwalk, CT, whose family-owned property in Daytona. In 1888, he moved to Melbourne, FL, and opened a drug store. Later, he entered into partnership with Francis Fee and opened a hardware store and undertaking business. The business expanded to include farm supplies, furniture, and a bank (Fee and Stewart founded the Melbourne State Bank on April 3, 1893). The original location of many of these businesses was on Front Street, but after the Great Melbourne Fire of 1919, they were moved to New Haven Ave. (current location of Hell ‘n Blazes Brewery).

Brother Stewart was a four-time mayor of Melbourne, serving from 1890 to 1891 and again from 1902 to 1905. He was a charter member of the Melbourne Kiwanis Club, and in 1920, he was one of the co-founders of the Melbourne Golf and Country Club. He served as a presidential elector in 1908 for the Republican Party. He was also known to be an accomplished organist who was often found playing during services at the First Congregational Church of which he was a leading member. In addition to being a pillar of the early Melbourne community, he was an active Mason and pillar in Masonic circles to the extent that, at his death, the Melbourne Times labeled him as the father of Masonry in Melbourne. Brother Stewart began his Masonic career when he petitioned Brevard Lodge No. 113 on September 6, 1889 (where his original petition is still on file today). He was initiated as an Entered Apprentice on October 18, 1889, passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on December 6, 1889, and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on December 20, 1889, in the same Lodge. In 1892, he served as Secretary for Brevard Lodge No. 113.

In 1893, he brought Masonry to Melbourne when he received a dispensation from the Grand Master, M:. W:. Marcus Endel, on February 20, 1893, to form a lodge. He served as master of the U.D. lodge and, in 1894, served again when the lodge received its charter and officially became Melbourne Lodge No. 143. Over the next 43 years, he served as Master 14 more times (1895, 1897, 1899, 1905, 1906, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1921, 1927, and 1931). In addition, he served as the Excellent High Priest and Secretary of Union Chapter No. 43 R.A.M. and Illustrious Master and Secretary of Hiram Council No. 13 R. & S.M., and he was a member of the Olivet Commandery No. 4 of the Knights Templar. He received his 32nd Degree in the Scottish Rite from the Valley of Jacksonville in 1910. Reports indicate that he was a member of the Shrine, but to date, records of his membership cannot be located, although in his photo, you can see that he is wearing a Shrine lapel pin.

In addition to being an active Mason at the local level, he was well known and active on the state level. In 1934, he served as the Grand Illustrious Master of the Cryptic Council of Royal and Select Masters of Florida. In the Grand Lodge of Florida, he served as District Deputy Grand Master for the 14th Masonic District in 1898 and 1899, for the 20 th District in 1906, 1907, and 1908, and finally for the 29th District in 1918, 1919, and 1920 and. He served as Junior Grand Deacon in 1901 and 1902 and Grand Standard Bearer in 1907 and 1908. In 1909, he was appointed as representative to the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan.

On June 18, 1936, at 10:30 AM, this good and faithful servant of the community and Masonry laid down his working tools and passed away at home due to a heart attack. His funeral was held on June 21st at the First Congregational Church, and he was interred in the family plot located in Pinewood Cemetery in Daytona Beach.

LODGE BUILDINGS
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Front Street, Melbourne, Florida

February 1893 – February 1919

The original location of Melbourne Lodge No. 143 was in a room on the second floor of Stewart’s Hall located on Front Street in Melbourne.  This building was owned by the lodge’s first master, Charles H. Stewart, from which he ran his hardware, drug store, and funeral parlor business, among other enterprises. The building was a central feature of early Melbourne as, in addition to the Freemasons, the building also rented meeting space to the Order of the Eastern Star, the Woodmen, and other fraternal or business-related societies. The building was lost in the “Great Fire of 1919,” when nine buildings along Front Street met their demise.

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Intersection of Highland and Law Streets, Eau Gallie, Florida

March 1919 – August 1920

Due to the loss of Stewart’s Hall in the “Great Fire of 1919,” the lodge had to relocate. With the exception of a few months during which the lodge met in a building not named in the minutes, Eau Gallie Lodge No. 228 was gracious enough to allow Melbourne Lodge No. 143 to use their meeting room. The room was located on the third floor of a three-story building located at the corner of Highland and Law Streets in downtown Eau Gallie. The second story of the building housed the Gleason Brothers Land Office, and the first floor was the location of the State Bank of Eau Gallie. This building still stands today.

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Vernon Place, Melbourne, Florida

August 1920 – December 1947

Stanley Lichty, a member of Melbourne Lodge No. 143 and the owner of the Melbourne Times newspaper, built a new building located on Vernon Place in Downtown Melbourne to house the newspaper. As the newspaper only occupied the first floor of the building, he offered the second floor to Melbourne Lodge No. 143. In 1920, the lodge moved in and took up residence. Over time, the space on the second floor would be rented out to other organizations, including a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, a Council of Royal and Select Masons, and the OES. In 1942, Brother Lichty passed away. He had already sold off the Melbourne Times, but upon his death, the building was sold in 1943 to a dry-cleaning company. Based on lodge records, the new landlord increased the rent of the space and let the building fall into disrepair. While this building still stands today (it is currently the home of National Medical Licensing), these events in the 1940s caused the lodge to look for a new home.

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Palmetto Avenue, Melbourne, Florida

January 1948 – May 1958

Due to the state of the building on Vernon Place, Worshipful Brother Ben Van Lengen contacted the local Women’s Club and was able to come to an arrangement to rent space from them in their building on Palmetto Avenue. This building appears to have been another one of those buildings that provided space to many of the local civic, fraternal, and business organizations that existed in Melbourne over the years and provided a social outlet for the residents of Melbourne at that time. Melbourne Lodge No. 143 was intimately tied to that building as they had laid the cornerstone in 1905. This building no longer exists. It’s location of 609 Palmetto Ave is now the location of some residential properties near Trinity Towers.

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Babcock Street, Melbourne, Florida

May 1958 – June 2000

Throughout a majority of the lodge’s history, members had searched for a building that they could own and call their home. The minutes show a variety of attempts over the years to locate suitable property on which to build a lodge building. It was not until 1957, through the efforts of members and friends of the lodge, that they were finally able to secure the finances needed to purchase property and erect a building on Babcock Street. This would become the first lodge building that Melbourne Lodge No. 143 owned and did not rent. Construction of the new building began in February 1958 and was completed by May. For nearly the rest of the 20th Century, this building would be the home of the lodge. This building still stands and is part of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church complex on Babcock Street.

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Dairy Road, West Melbourne, Florida

October 2000 – present

As the lodge building on Babcock Street began to age and need repair, it became necessary to seek accommodations in a newer and more modern building. In 1999, the Babcock property was put up for sale and sold to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in October, at the same time land was purchased at the current site of the lodge building on Dairy Road. In 2000, the land was cleared and construction on a new building began. The lodge held its last meeting in the Babcock property on June 19, 2000. Construction of the Dairy Road building continued over the summer while the lodge was dark. Even though the inside of the building was not complete, the members of the lodge held their first meeting in the new building on October 2, 2000, and the building officially became the home of Melbourne Lodge No. 143.

PAST MASTERS

MASONIC YEAR 1974 - 1993

MASONIC YEAR 1994 - 2013

2014 JD Velie
2015 TW Stratton
2016 JF Leitz
2017 RA Sigman
2018 MS Goshen
2019 CR Boettcher
2020 CE Hughes

2021 RD Earls

MASONIC YEAR 1894 - 1913

1894 CH Stewart*
1895 CH Stewart*
1896 FH Fee*
1897 CH Stewart*
1898 TC Nicholson*
1899 CH Stewart*
1900 RW Goode*
1901 LA Peek*
1902 LA Peek*
1903 GF Paddison*
1904 GF Paddison*
1905 CH Stewart*
1906 CH Stewart*
1907 LA Peek*
1908 C Campbell*
1909 CH Stewart*
1910 CH Stewart*
1911 CH Stewart*
1912 C Campbell*
1913 CH Stewart*

MASONIC YEAR 1914 - 1933

1914 CH Stewart*
1915 CH Stewart*
1916 C Campbell*
1917 AH Stewart*
1918 EA Svedelius*
1919 VC Brownlie*
1920 JB Rodes*
1921 CH Stewart*
1922 JB Rodes*
1923 AG Basch*
1924 EA Svedelius*
1925 CM Beaujean*
1926 WR Butter*
1927 CH Stewart*
1928 FU Bennett*
1929 GM Simmons*
1930 CG Trammell*
1931 CH Stewart*
1932 B Van Lengen*
1933 TR Bernitt*

MASONIC YEAR 1934 - 1953

1934 S Wells*
1935 WG Riech*
1936 TG Beck*
1937 DE Beaujean*
1938 S Wells*
1939 RL Groves*
1940 WM Capell*
1941 T Holmes Jr*
1942 HI Teate*
1943 HC Kennedy*
1944 HM Houchins*
1945 BL Johnson*
1946 BD Cromer*
1947 B Van Lengen*
1948 B Van Lengen*
1949 WJ Edge*
1950 T Holmes Jr*
1951 CR Yeager*
1952 BC Forte*
1953 F Van Lengen*

MASONIC YEAR 1954 - 1973

1954 RD Britt Sr*
1955 LF Gardner*
1956 HJ Jungbluth*
1957 CH Faulstick*
1958 JL Cain Jr*
1959 H Wisenberg*
1960 ER Rhuhlander*
1961 FB Reimer*
1962 CM Howell*
1963 JE Prescott*
1964 FR Right
1965 DT McAnally*
1966 HE Bircher*
1967 CE Hall*
1968 HA Sayball*
1969 R. Jones*
1970 GE Watkins*
1971 WE Wellman*
1972 RM Hartley*
1973 HC Mullins*

1974 JE DeBolt*
1975 CF Crowl*
1976 JO Hackett*
1977 RE Lamb*
1978 WJ Rycrott*
1979 JC Gibbs
1980 WF Meyers*
1981 TW Rooney*
1982 CE Manchester
1983 A Francisco*
1984 CA Justice
1985 G Schoffstall*
1986 UD Brown
1987 DW Phillips*
1988 SC Gills
1989 R Oktela
1990 K Kelley
1991 ML Hampton
1992 DL Bryant*
1993 DW Phillips*

MASONIC YEAR 2014 - PRESENT

1994 CR Pate*
1995 T Woodbury
1996 MA Duval
1997 JA Grantham
1998 WL Cate*
1999 RG Green
2000 BI Herron*
2001 CA Rasmussen
2002 DL Redford*
2003 GA Blue*
2004 WE Lowry
2005 JF Egerton
2006 WK Ingraham
2007 JJ Boylan
2008 J Wolfersberger
2009 CE Hughes
2010 RR Barker
2011 KM Gholston
2012 BC Fleeger
2013 CJ Durie

* Denotes Past Masters who have Passed to the Celestial Lodge Above