History of Eola Lodge No 207, F&AM
A new Masonic Lodge in Orlando, Florida was considered at an informal meeting on September 29, 1923 with Worshipful Master R. P. Buckmaster presiding and 65 Master Masons signing the petition to M:.W:. John L. Hall, Grand Master of Masons of Florida, for dispensation to form a new Masonic Lodge in Orlando, Florida. The name Eola was proposed by Bro. D. W. Selby and was unanimously adopted. On October 4, 1923, M:.W:. John L. Hall granted the dispensation and the first regular meeting of Eola Lodge No.207, F.&A.M. was held on October 12, 1923 with W:. R. P. Buckmaster as Worshipful Master, IL H. F. Dale as Senior Warden and H. W. Ertel as Junior Warden. The stated communications were set for the 1st and 3rd Fridays and in November, 1923 were changed to the lst and 3rd Tuesdays, where they have remained until the present time. Eola Lodge No.207, F.& A.M. was chartered on January 17, 1924 and the Grand Lodge of Florida met to present the charter and install the officers on February 4, 1924, with Most Worshipful L. C. Massey, Past Grand Master representing the Most Worshipful Grand Master.
Eola was chartered in the 23rd Masonic District, transferred to the 15 District in 1932, and in 1951 to the l6th Masonic District. The 16th District was renumbered in 1995 to the l7 District.
Eola Lodge’s first meeting place was in the Cheney building (now demolished) on the south side of Pine Street just west of Orange Avenue. Eola moved to the new Masonic Lodge built by Orlando Lodge No.69 at 205 E. Central St. bordering on Lake Eola in 1926, where it remained until January 1973.
Many of the Lodge’s customs that were initiated when the Lodge moved to the new temple are in practice to this day. One of those customs was initiated in 1928 was to present a Lambskin Apron, properly endorsed to each Master Mason who passed a satisfactory proficiency examination in Open Lodge.
The years 1924 to 1932 we’re active years for Eola no.207 with a steadily increasing number of petitions, regular Schools of Instruction and increasing excellence in degree work. In 1932 a special degree team from Eola No.207 exemplified the Master Mason Degree for Most Worshipful Wallace R. Cheeves, Grand Master of Masons in Florida, and he complemented them for the “perfect work done
In 1932 the Great Depression reached its peak and Eola No.207 entered the years of struggle for its existence. On several occasions serious discussions were held pertinent to relinquishing the Charter. This matter reached its climax in 1938 when a resolution was offered by W:. R. T. Tucker, P.M., that Eola No.207 retain its Charter. This resolution was adopted and there is no record of any further question of Eola’s continued existence.
The first record of the Fellow Craft Organization appears in the August 17, 1943 minutes when W:. Blenus Williams, P.M. referred to “conferring the Master Mason Degree in full form and suitable costume”. The Eola Degree Team soon gained fame and was in constant demand for exemplification of Third Degree. This was climaxed in May, 1959 when the Eola Degree Team and candidate traveled to Washington D.C. to exemplify the Degree. High praise was frequently awarded for these conferrals and Eola Lodge No.207 continues to excel in the three Masonic Degrees.
At Grand Master’s Night on November 14, 1952 in honor of M:. W:. Perry IL Marsh, Grand Master of Masons in Florida, Eola Lodge No.207 presented the “Ark of the Covenant” fashioned by Brother George P. Bragden together with four silver chalices to the Grand Lodge of Florida for use in laying corner stones and dedicating lodges throughout Florida These furnishings are still in use by The Grand Lodge and were used by M:. W:. Evabs Crary, Jr. Grand Master of Masons in Florida in dedicating the New Temple for Eola Lodge No.207, F.&A.M. on April 3, 1973.
The year 1954 was one of the busiest in Eola’s history. Degrees were conferred each meeting night and on March 16th, 1954 over 300 Master Masons observed the Degree Team exemplify the Master Mason Degree in full regalia.
On May 4, 1965 the practice of presenting Bibles to newly raised candidates was initiated. Master Masons now receive their Bibles and Lambskin aprons from the Worshipful Master of Eola No. 207 when they pass a satisfactory proficiency in Open Lodge.
Eola has had a continuous record of contributing to the work of other Masonic Lodges and was a contributor of 23 charter members for the establishment of Mokanna Lodge No.239 in July 1959.
While the years 1938-1960 were characterized by growth and excellence in degree work and instruction, the years 1960-1973 hold an added dimension – the retention of the then existing accomplishment level and the work of financing, planning and building a new Masonic Lodge Building for Eola No.207. In May 1960 it was voted to purchase the property at the corner of Gore Avenue and Lucerne Terrace to provide a site for the lodge building. On June 18th the Lodge voted to purchase additional land adjoining the Gore property. As this property appreciated in value, it became apparent that it would not be adequate for the growth which Eola Lodge No.207 was experiencing. An option was taken on the 4.4 acres of land on the southeast corner of Grant and Crystal Lake Drive for a purchase price of $28,000. The Gore Avenue property was then sold and in 1972 a contract was signed for the construction of the new Eola Lodge Building with Contractor Right Worshipful Jack Quisenberry, Past District Deputy Grand Master of the 16th Masonic District.
The years of 1970-1973 were characterized by the building and furnishing of Eola Lodge’s beautiful new home. Much credit must be given to the Building Committee under the Chairmanship of Right Worshipful Richard J. Carr, P.D.D.G.M., W:. John Cudd, P.M. and Bro. John B. Fletcher, Jr. all of Eola Lodge. The ground breaking was held of June 10, 1972 and the completed building was delivered to Eola Lodge No.207, F.&.A.M. in the last days of December 1972. The basic furnishings were constructed by members of the Lodge or financed by groups of members. On December30, 1972 W:. Paul B. Miller was the first Worshipful Master installed in the new Lodge Building, Bro. Arthur M. Jones, as Senior Warden and Bro. William E. Cook as Junior Warden. W:. Miller was also the first Worshipful Master to sign the Bible as outgoing Master.
W:. Arthur On April 3, 1073 M:.W:. Evans Crary, Jr., Grand Master of Masons of Florida dedicated the new Lodge Building in formal ceremony with the Grand Lodge of Florida in session. W:. Arthur M. Jones was installed as the second Master to be installed in Eola’s new lodge building on December 29, 1973 with Bro. William E. Cook, as Senior Warden and Bro. John B. Fletcher, Jr. as Junior Warden.
The years 1976-l988 show that Eola Lodge continued to grow and in 1989 had the largest membership of any lodge in the District. In 1999 a committee was appointed under the chairmanship of W:. Clay H. Oehlert to upgrade the facade of the Building and a plan was approved to add a drive through under a portico to serve as a dry place to off load passengers and equipment. The new portico was completed in 2000 and added much to the outward appearance of the Lodge Building. This brings the History up to the present day.