Welcome to St. Paul’s Lodge Newsletter. This regular monthly communication is intended to keep you, as well as friends of the Lodge, informed of recent activities and upcoming events. Your input and feedback is welcome and appreciated.

On Saturday, October 20, 2018, the brothers of St. Paul’s Lodge held their first (at least in recent memory) Ladies at the Table Dinner and Ceremony at La Cupola Ristorante in Bantam. In attendance were 17 brothers and their Ladies, who enjoyed a wonderful gourmet dinner along with an evening of entertainment and conviviality. In addition to recognizing the wives, mothers and significant others present, the participants also offered toasts to some special ladies from the past. The ladies honored were Harriet Beecher Stowe, Susan B. Anthony, Aretha Franklin, Mother Teresa, Katherine Hepburn, Marie Curie and Ella Grasso. RW Brother Paul Chapin organized and hosted the event, and our sincere thanks go out to him for a most enjoyable program.

The By-Law Committee has prepared a set of revision to the by-laws of St. Paul’s Lodge, which will be considered by our brothers at our annual meeting on December 5, 2018. The proposed revisions have been sent to every brother for his review. Once approved at the annual meeting the revisions will be forwarded to the Most Worshipful Grand lodge of Connecticut for its approval before becoming final. Please take a look at the proposed changes and forward to me any questions you may have. I want to thank WB Mark Dzurnak, WB Chuck Harrell and Brother Jamie Fischer for serving on the committee.

At the Grand Lodge meeting on October 20, 2018, the following officers were elected:
MW Melvin Johnson . . . . . . . Grand Master
RW Stephen W. Petri . . . . . . Deputy Grand Master
RW. William E. Bohman . . . . . Grand Senior Warden
RW Bruce R. Bellmore . . . . . . Grand Junior Warden
RW Newton Buckner II . . . . . . Grand Treasurer
RW Grant Gould . . . . . . . . . . . Grand Secretary

• November 7th – S.C. Featuring a presentation on the Scottish Rite. Pot-Luck Dinner 6:30 pm.
• November 21st – S.C. (Originally Scheduled Entered Apprentice Degree POSTPONED)
• December 5th – S.C. Annual Meeting & Elections. Pizza Fest 6:30 pm.
• December 14th – Mason Appreciation Night. Dinner at La Cupola Ristorante 5:30 pm
Christmas Angelicus Program at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church 7:00 pm
• December 19th – S.C. New Officer Installation. Dinner at 6:30


St. Paul’s Masonic Temple

While Methodism was preached in Litchfield since the 1790’s, efforts to establish a Methodist church in the town did not begin until 1836. On August 23rd of that year the Litchfield Society was formed and five trustees were appointed. On August 25th the trustees purchased a parcel of land of about 50 by 80 ft. on Meadow Street from Samuel Bolles for $150.00. The church was built the following year and was dedicated on July 12, 1887. William Stoddard and Charles C. Buell were the carpenters.

Enormous stones were hauled from a local farm to provide the foundation. Jacob Morse provided huge timbers from his own property for the sills that ran the full length of the building. He cut and shaped them himself during winter, and in the spring he carted them on two sets of wheels to the building site.

When the church was built, the sills were placed the first day. As Methodism was unpopular in Litchfield during this period and the Society being so small, there could not be found enough men to lift the heavy timbers of the tower and upper floor into place. There the workers stood and waited well into the next day. Then Capt. Ambrose Norton, a Congregationalist, hearing of the cause of the delay and pitying the “poor deluded fanatics,” told the men of his carriage shop to quit work and go down and help raise the church.

At the time there were no houses on the west side of Meadow Street to break the wind from Mount Tom and Bantam Lake, and the church lot was too small for horse sheds, so summer and winter, through sunshine, rain and snow, the parishioners tied their horses to the fences on the opposite side of the street where there was not a tree to shelter them. It was said that these animals could not have appreciated Methodism.

The church was planned with a basement classroom, but this was found to be impractical because of the wet soil that existed, so the front balcony was partitioned off and used for that purpose as well as for social gatherings. Although the church was originally built with two chimneys, one at each back corner into which stovepipes from two great stoves entered, this arrangement, while sufficient for the main building, did not provide any heat for the front balcony room.

In 1851, an addition was added to the rear of the building to serve as a classroom and the petition was removed from the front balcony to make a choir loft. In 1866 the church and classroom were thoroughly made over; painted, carpeted, blinds added, a more suitable window put in the front, and the pews upgraded with doors and cushioned seats. The new classroom was more than twice the size if the one built in 1851. The original chimneys were replaced with a new one in the center of the new back room, to which the stovepipes from the two original stoves were connected.

The last sermon preached at the church was delivered Sunday evening on July 26th, 1885, 48 years after the building had been dedicated. From that point on, the Methodist church occupied new quarters on West Street where it still exists today. Later that year, the brothers of St. Paul’s Masonic Lodge, who had previously met in a variety of venues around town, acquired the building for $2000.00 and the hall was dedicated as a Masonic Temple on November 12, 1885.

Significant changes were made to the lodge building during the years after it was acquired by the Masons, starting with the removal of the church steeple. Following the end of World War II, the back room was converted into a banquet hall and a lavatory was installed. In 1977 a fire swept through the lodge causing considerable damage. After regrouping, the building was overhauled and once again became a beautiful place for gathering. (to be continued)