Freemasonry in the North Quabbin Region

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Early History

On March 23, 1795, Joseph Pierce and Hiram Newhall became the first Athol men to join the Masons. The name of the Lodge is not documented.

On October 13, 1803, the first Masonic Lodge in Athol, Harris Lodge, was instituted by Isaiah Thomas of Worcester, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. This Lodge held its meetings in the Athol Meeting House on Pleasant Street. A bronze plaque now marks the location.

Orange Lodge

Orange Lodge was formed in Orange, Massachusetts in 1859.

Star Lodge

Star Lodge was chartered in Athol on July 4, 1864 with Andrew Atwood as its first Master. Their early meetings were held in Houghton Hall downtown. The following are listed as charter members:

  • Andrew Atwood
  • H. Hapgood
  • O.C. Knox
  • Seth Holton
  • H.B. Adams
  • Charles W. Bannon
  • Earl Shepardon
  • George L Hunt
  • Erastus Smith
  • P.G. Sloan
  • I.S. Cook
  • C.H. Adams
  • F.G. Lord
  • A.M. Sawyer
  • R. Beard
  • S.A. Bemis
  • E.M. Taylor
  • G.W. Babbitt
  • L.B. Lord
  • John H. Williams
  • Amos Cheney
  • T.W. Savage
  • E.T. Lewis
  • G.W. Black
  • L.V.B. Cook
  • Ebenezer Cheney
  • George Osgood Isaac Stevens
  • J.W. Whitney
  • Jesse Brown
  • D.W. Houghton

Athol Lodge

The first regular meeting of Athol Lodge A.F. & A.M. was held on October 16, 1872. The place of meeting is unspecified.

Erastus Smith, a charter member of Star Lodge, was Worshipful Master. Joseph H Holton was Senior Warden and Henry M. Humphrey sat as Junior Warden. The appointed officers were:

E.A. Thomas
Senior Deacon
G.L. Sawyer
Junior Deacon
E.B. Horton
Rev. Ira Baily
George H. Hoyt
Senior Steward
J.J. Twitchell
Junior Steward
L.B. Morse
Henry Gray

Dues at that time were $2.00 per year. Grand Lodge assessment was $1.00, making a total of $3.00.

The original records of Athol Lodge were destroyed in a fire of the Music Hall Block on April 8, 1876. They were recreated from reports found in the ashes, copies of reports that had been filed with Grand Lodge, and from the recollections of the members.

At the very first meeting of the new Lodge, petitions for membership were read from Edward L. Foster, Fred E. Stratton and Elmer H. Fisher. They were elected to membership and the Entered Apprentice degree was conferred on them at the November meeting.

It appears that there was no regular Organist at these early meetings, however W.S. Wiggins is listed as Organist at a special meeting held on February 26, 1873.

The first residents of Royalston to be made Masons in the newly chartered Lodge were Peter Lund and Granville L. Cobb. Their petitions were read on June 4, 1873.

Semi-public installations were in vogue then as now and on October 23, 1873, Erastus Smith was installed Master for a second term. Joseph A. Holton and Henry M. Humphrey were again installed as Senior and Junior Warden respectively. Brother Smith was elected for a third term in November of 1874 but declined to serve. Brother Holton was then elected to become Athol Lodge's Second Master.

At least two early members met with violent deaths. In the Spring of 1875, Charles A. Stone was murdered, apparently by a woman as the Lodge hoped that "his supposed murderess would be punished." and on Sunday, September 13, 1885 at 12:30 p.m., a Masonic Funeral was conducted for Brother J.C. Shean, 32º who was murdered in Mexico on the night of September 3.

One member died while in office. Cephus L. Sawyer was Senior Warden when he passed on in July of 1880.

After the Music Hall Block burned, the Lodge had been meeting in the Fellows Block. This was deemed unsuitable and in 1885 a lease was signed on the G.S. Brewer block which had just been erected at the corner of Main and Chestnut Streets. On Friday evening, December 11, 1885 this new Lodge hall was dedicated by Most Worshipful Abraham H. Howland, Jr. of New Bedford, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts.

Recent History

On March 14, 1939, the new Athol Post Office was officially opened at Main and Church Streets. This building became the Athol Masonic Temple in 1969, and has been in use ever since.

Star Lodge and Athol Lodge united to become Star-Athol Lodge on September 13, 1997.

In April of 2007, Orange Lodge merged with Star-Athol Lodge to become North Quabbin Lodge.