Heritage Lodge 371 was Established on April 29th, 1996; and Constituted 3 days later on May 2nd; but its ancestry goes back nearly two centuries.
Heritage Lodge is the combination of five Lodges that have consolidated throughout the years = Corinthian Lodge #488, Architect Lodge #519, Greenwich Lodge #467, Naphtali Lodge #752 and Sagamore Lodge #371. It is important to note the difference between a lodge merging into another lodge and two lodges consolidating together.
When a lodge merges into another lodge, as has happened within these preceding lodges, they usually loose their name and simply become a part of that lodge; however if two lodges consolidate together, the two lodges unite as one and come up with a mutually accepted name and usually adopt the lowest number of the two.
The first consolidation of the preceding lodges occurred in the early 1960’s, with Naphtali Lodge #752 and Sagamore Lodge #371, renamed Sagamore-Naphtali #371. Approximately 10 years later they consolidated with Greenwich Lodge #467, and went back to the name Sagamore Lodge #371. In 1967, Corinthian Lodge #488 consolidated with Architect Lodge #519 and was renamed Corinthian-Architect #488; and nearly 30 years later Corinthian- Architect consolidated with Sagamore Lodge, to form our lodge today, Heritage Lodge #371.
The following is the chronicle of each Lodge, their ancestral details, as well important dates related to each.
Greenwich Lodge #467 In January of 1825, Daniel H Weed and other Brothers petitioned the Grand Lodge of New York to grant a dispensation to form a Lodge in Greenwich Village, to be known as Greenwich Lodge #381. A dispensation was granted with W∴Weed serving as the first Worshipful Master. Greenwich Lodge continued for about 8 years until 1833—this is the last year that any record can be found, until the convention of the Grand Lodge in 1835, when the Grand Secretary reported that he had been informed that Greenwich Lodge #381 had no Lodge room, neglected to elect Officers, and that there was little probability of the reorganization of its members on a working basis.
The Grand Master then ordered the Lodge to elect their Officers and proceed with the business of the Lodge in due and ancient form or surrender their warrant. Thus on December 7, 1835, the warrant was surrendered to the Grand Secretary. Just over 24 years later on January 28, 1859, a petition was presented for a dispensation to revive Greenwich Lodge, and when granted the Lodge number was changed from 381 to 467. A couple of notes about Greenwich Lodge, in the following year in 1860, it was recorded that the Lodge had 65 members, with 24 brothers added in that year alone. At the 100th Anniversary celebrated on May 2, 1959; the Lodge had 203 members (136 active, 67 life members). Throughout the years the Greenwich Lodge was known as the Police Department Lodge; and at another time the Railroad Lodge.
Naphtali Lodge #752 Early in 1874, 13 Brethren petitioned the Grand Master of New York, M∴W∴Christopher G. Fox, for a dispensation to form a Lodge to be known as “Elm Grove Lodge”. The Grand Master issued the dispensation on February 20, 1874, and he changed the name to Naphtali, and they received their Charter on June 12th of that year. The 1st meeting was at 8 Union Square, which was across the street from Union Square Park, with Jeremiah Milford serving as the first Worshipful Master.
Naphtali translated means to “wrestle” and was one of the 12 sons of Jacob, and a Leader of one of the 12 Tribes of Israel. The Tribe of Naphtali was allocated on the bank of the Sea of Galilee. From the book of Deuteronomy 33:1 it reads “And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses, the man of God, blessed the children of Israel before his death.” And on verse 23 Moses says: “And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south.”
Sagamore Lodge #371 On March 31, 1855, M∴W∴Joseph D. Evans, Grand Master of New York, issued a dispensation to 12 Master Masons from Neptune Lodge #317, which was itself less than a year old, to form a new Lodge to be known as Sagamore Lodge #371. First meeting held on April 10, 1855, in a building @ Broome and Mercer Streets. It was officially constituted on July 3, 1855, W∴Morris Wilkins served as the first Worshipful Master. Nearly 25 years later in 1879, Sagamore Lodge moved to the Masonic Temple @ 6th Avenue and 23rd Street, which was the beautiful Gothic building that used to stand adjacent to the present Grand Lodge building, where the corporate side of the GL building now stands.
At the 50th Anniversary celebrated on March 1, 1905, nearly 300 members were present; this was held at Madison Square Concert Hall, which was part of the original Madison Square Garden located where the NY Life Insurance building now stands, across the street from Madison Square Park. R∴W∴William Andrews read the Anniversary address, and after recognizing the great services rendered to the Lodge by the founder and first Worshipful Master, Morris Wilkins, R∴W∴Andrews turned to the Box where W∴Wilkins was seated, calling upon the audience to rise, and saluted him with Grand Honors.
After the consolidation with Naphtali Lodge in the early 1960’s, Sagamore-Naphtali Lodge consolidated with Greenwich Lodge #467 in 1971. They had first agreed on the name Masonic Lodge #371 but this caused confusion in the craft, thus they went back to the name Sagamore Lodge #371, and it was noted in their By-Laws that, quote: “The Seal shall consist of the Head of a tan Indian with Inscription Sagamore Lodge #371 Free and Accepted Masons, July 3, 1855”.
Corinthian Lodge #488 Dispensation was granted on June 29, 1859, the Charter was dated a year later on June 20, 1860. A few notes regarding Corinthian Lodge: The 1st Stated meeting was held on July 29, 1859 at the Utah House, on the corner of 25th Street and 8th Avenue. There were 75 Charter members, with 33- years-old being the average age, only 4 Brothers were over the age of 60. On October 9, 1880, Corinthian Lodge was among several lodges to assist the Grand Master and Grand Lodge Officers in the corner stone laying ceremonies of the Obelisk, or Cleopatra’s Needle, which rests in Central Park. The 50th Anniversary was celebrated on October 20, 1909 @ the Harlem Casino, which was on 124th Street & 7th Ave. The largest membership was at 481 members recorded as of December 31, 1929, at the beginning of the Great Depression. The Van Court Jewel was instituted in 1937, in honor of Past Master Fredrick K. Van Court, who was Raised in 1878. This was Corinthian’s “Distinguished Service Medal” and awarded to a member who had rendered outstanding service to the Lodge over and above his Masonic Duty and Obligation— eligible to all except the sitting Master and Wardens. On May 3, 1967, the Lodge merged with Architect Lodge #519 to form Corinthian-Architect #488.
Architect Lodge #519 Although Established in 1861, little historical information has been found except for a few interesting facts. Nearly two weeks before the stock market crash, on October 16, 1929, we know that they met at the Yorkville Masonic Temple located at 157 East 86th Street; a couple of years after that Architect Lodge moved to the current Grand Lodge building. On Friday, February 17, 1933, President- Elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt paid a visit, as his son Elliott was being Raised as a Master Mason. They met in the Grand Lodge room as they were received by 1500 masons. Brother FDR clothed himself in a white lambskin apron, and the doors were closed and guarded by 2 Tilers. After the Degree, Bro. FDR was introduced to the Lodge by M∴W∴Christopher C. Mollenhauer, Grand Master of New York. In response, FDR made a speech which included, “Fraternalism in this country is a great bulwark in times like these and in dark hours. Freemasonry stands for Loyalty to Country, Fidelity to Ideals and Faith in God, which are things needed at this time.”
A couple of years later on November 7, 1935, President Roosevelt made another visit enroute from New Hyde Park to Washington, DC, as his two sons, FDR, Jr. and James Roosevelt, were both being Raised, and Bro. FDR was to become an Honorary Member of Architect Lodge on that evening. The following is an excerpt from the address that Bro. FDR delivered that night:
“Architect Lodge has made me very happy. Let me say from my heart that tonight has meant very much to me. All my life I shall cherish the thought of coming here to Architect Lodge tonight to take part in the work of the Third Degree for my own sons. And, of course, this last act of you good people in making me an Honorary Member, giving me opportunity to be a member of the same Lodge to which my boys belong – that is something I shall never forget.
To me the ceremonies of Freemasonry in this State of ours, especially these later ones that I have taken part in, always make me wish that more Americans, in every part of our land, could become connected with our Fraternity.
Since I have seen you last I have traveled in many foreign lands. The more I come in contact with the work of the Masonic Fraternity the more impressed I am by the great charitable work and the great practical good which we are carrying out, especially in that line which is so close to my heart – the care of little children.
Not only in that work, but also in acting as a leaven for a better society and better citizenship wherever it may be. I violate no confidence in saying that I wish the same could be said of Masonry in other lands.
Today, as you doubtless know, we in our own nation are still proceeding under orderly government, under the same form of government under which our fathers lived, and so far as the broad affairs of government are concerned, we are making definite progress from day to day.
I wish that this could be said of all other nations. It is unfortunate for us that in certain other nations Freemasonry, sometimes through fault of its own, sometimes because of the rise of new forms of government, has lost much of the strength and force for the good civilization which is possessed several generations ago. And so I am not heartened by what is occurring in other nations. Because of the leaven of Masonry throughout our own country, because of the opportunity given to pursue an even course in a democratic society, the way of Masonry in this country constantly grows smoother.
And that is why I feel we can give thanks for living in America. And in giving thanks we should now do as the Pharisees did – giving thanks that we are not as other men are, but rather giving thanks the Good Samaritan way, for the Good Samaritan went out of his course to help his less fortunate fellow-citizens. That is the rule we must follow as Freemasons. And so I can say to you good Brethren of Architect Lodge, and to your Worshipful Master, that I am very grateful to you, and I have had a wonderful party tonight.”