History of Saint Joseph Lodge #970

The U.D. Masonic Lodge AF & AM in St. Joseph was instituted on Saturday evening, October 18, 1913, by the District Deputy Grand Master, Wilson P. Jones, of Tolono, assisted by Judge W.G. Spurgeon of Urbana, Illinois.

Plans for a new Masonic Temple Building were immediately started. A.B. Glascock, who was chairman of the committee that was organized for the purpose of building a new Temple appointed a building committee, composed of Dr. H.E. Davis, U.G. Glascock, and U.G. Swearingen.

Lots were purchased from Norman C. Hoyt.

C.C. Fenwick, a brother Mason, drew the plans and work was soon underway.

During our year as a U.D. Lodge, eight candidates were initiates, passed and raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, and one candidate had been started on the road, having received the Entered Apprentice Degree.

This fine temple was erected during the year of our work Under Dispensation and was ready for occupancy by the time we received the Charter.

The Committee in attendance at the Grand Lodge Meeting in October 1914 (being the same committee that had attended the previous two meetings) telephoned home to the members here on Wednesday, October 14, that the Grand Lodge had granted us a Charter and henceforth would be the foregoing Charter Members of St.Joseph Lodge No. 970 A.F. & A.M.

The constitution, institution, and dedication all occurred on Tuesday, November 17, 1914, with Judge W.G. Spurgeon, acting as Grand Master. J.E. Jeffers as Deputy Grand Master had charge of these exercises. There were 22 members of the occasional Grand Lodge present to participate in the work of the constitution, institution and dedication. There were forty-five Charter members at the time of dedication, most of them having been previous members of the Ogden Masonic Lodge.

Charter Members of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 were:
John D. Lester, Henry Elmer Davis, Walter Cleveland Peters, Nathan Levi Walker, Joshua Douglas Henderson, Carey C. Fenwick, Lawrence Lewellyn Hall, John Grant Cook, Charles Byerley, Lew E. Stevenson, Foster McCarty, Charles M. Walker, Cady L. Hall, Albert Warren Firebaugh, Roscoe Samuel Perry, Benjamin F. Youmans, John Benjamin Dunn, Mortimer Kilbury, Christian Peter Jacobson, Ulysses G. Glasscock, Austin Bowers Youmans, Charles Wilson Dale, Isaac Newton Walker, Robert E. Mathis, Asa Kilbury, Charles Joseph Walker, William F. Fenwick, Mattison Fenwick, Nathan Arnold, Ulysses Grant Swearingen, John Thomas Pence, Milford Henry Johnson, Guy Nathan Walker, Albert Green, Thomas J. Woodin, Brent Calvin Green, Clyde Hildebrand Walker.

In 2010, the lodge began a series of facility improvements to the Masonic Temple building. The Lodge room was renovated with new carpet, repainting, and removal of the old theater seating. In 2011 air conditioning was installed in the lodge room and the 3rd-floor kitchen facility.

At the 172nd Annual Communication of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Illinois, St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 was presented with the 2011 Grand Masters Award of Excellence, this was the first time in lodge history that this award had been won.

In February 2012, St. Joseph Lodge was awarded the 2011 Mark Twain award for excellence in Masonic Awareness. This was the first time that a lodge in Illinois was ever given this prestigious award.

May 18, 2012 – Tracy R. Hogan was installed as Worshipful Master, Todd R. Hitt as Senior Warden, and Greg Vaughn as Junior Warden.

October 2012 – The lodge received the 2012 Illinois Grand Masters Award of Excellence and the Mark Twain Award from the Masonic Service Association. Additionally, for the 3rd year in a row, the Lodge won an award for an increase in membership.

May 2013 – Todd R. Hitt was installed as Worshipful Master, Greg Vaugn as Senior Warden, and Jeff Baine Junior Warden.

August 2013 – The lodge participated in the St. Joseph Community Festival with a float in the parade.

November 30, 2013 – St. Joseph Lodge along with Ogden Lodge No. 754, Homer Lodge No. 970 and St. Joseph Boy Scout Troop 40 hosted a breakfast at SJO High School to help the relief efforts from the Gifford Tornado. $3,000 was given to the relief fund.

May 2014 – Gregory Vaughn was installed as Worshipful Master. Brother Vaughn’s father was Master of St. Joseph Lodge in 1964. Jeff Baine was installed as Senior Warden and Keven Forney as Junior Warden.

July 2014 – Tuckpointing was done on the exterior of the building to ensure the long-term preservation of the facility.

August 5, 2014 – the installation of the time capsule was completed for the dedication coming up.

November 1, 2014 – The Lodge was rededicated for its One Hundred Year anniversary by the Grand Officers of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois as well as the members and officers of Saint Joseph Lodge No. 970.

June 2015 – Jeff Baine was installed as Worshipful Master of Saint Joseph Lodge. Keven Forney was installed as Senior Warden and Darin Lahners as Junior Warden.

June 2016 – Keven Forney was installed as Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge, Darin Lahners was installed as Senior Warden, and Ryan Fuqua was installed as Junior Warden.

October 2016 – St. Joseph Lodge receives the Grand Master’s Award of Excellence from the Grand Lodge of Illinois. Worshipful Master Keven Forney has the honor of receiving the award from the Grand Master.

June 2017 – Darin Lahners was installed as Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge. Ryan Fuqua was installed as Senior Warden and Fred Sturts was installed as Junior Warden. The same month, Darin Lahners joins Worshipful Brother Greg Knott as a contributor to The Midnight Freemasons blog, which is one of the most if not the most popular Blog for Freemasons.

October 2017 – St. Joseph Lodge receives the Grand Master’s Award of Excellence and is recognized as the second place lodge for Lodges having less than 79 members for that award for the year. It also receives an award for growth in membership. Worshipful Master Darin Lahners had the honor of receiving the three awards from MWGM. Anthony R. Cracco. Later that month, Saint Joseph Lodge held a trunk or treat event to gather goods for the Local Food Pantry.

June 2018 – Ryan Fuqua was installed as Worshipful Master, Fred Sturts was installed as Senior Warden, and Glenn Overby was installed as Junior Warden.

April 2019 – Past Master Darin Lahners is appointed as Area Education Officer for the Eastern Masonic Area by sitting MWGM Gregory Clark. Glenn Overby is selected to become the District Education Officer for the 7th Eastern District, showing the importance of Masonic Education at St. Joseph Lodge.

June 2019 – Fred Sturts was installed as Worshipful Master, Glenn Overby was installed as Senior Warden, and Travis Cain was installed as Junior Warden.

November 2019 – Darin Lahners was installed as Senior Warden, taking over for Glenn Overby who moved to Tennessee. Keven Forney is appointed to succeed Glenn as District Education Officer by the Area Education Officer Darin Lahners.

June 2020 – Darin Lahners was installed as Worshipful Master Virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Travis Cain was installed as Senior Warden, Eric Buzzard was installed as Junior Warden. Saint Joseph Lodge is able to meet virtually for June and July, in person for August and September, and then Virtually for October and November of 2020.

February 2021 – St. Joseph Lodge is able to meet in person again due to a relaxation of the COVID restrictions put into place by the Governor of Illinois. A new roof was installed on the building along with some other masonry work to ensure the preservation of the building.

June 2021 – Travis Cain was installed as Worshipful Master, Eric Buzzard was installed as Senior Warden, and Jeff Baine as Junior Warden.

June 2022 – Eric Buzzard was installed as Worshipful Master, Jeff Baine was installed as Senior Warden, and Darin Lahners was installed as Junior Warden.

June 2023 – Jeff Baine was installed as Worshipful Master, Travis Cain was installed as Senior Warden, and Todd Hitt was installed as Junior Warden.

Not Just A Man, A Mason

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