Our Lodge History

History of our Lodge

After several years of discussions concerning the establishment of a Masonic lodge in Red Hook, a group of nineteen Master Masons of Monumental Lodge #374 in Madalin, New York and one of Margaretville Lodge #389 formally met on January 15, 1909 to endorse the idea of a lodge in the Village of Red Hook.

There followed several meetings dealing with the preliminary arrangements which included an election of temporary officers and the selection of "Armstrong" as the name for the proposed lodge. However, before plans were finalized, the name Hendrick Hudson was adopted. This selection was influenced primarily by the Hudson-Fulton exposition and the desire on the part of the members to add area rather than purely local prestige to the new lodge.

These meetings resulted in the announcement by the presiding officer, Robert V. K. Harris, that Masonic jurisdiction having been relinquished by Rhinebeck #432, Warren #32, Stissing #665, and Monumental #374 lodges, that on June 22, 1909 Hendrick Hudson Lodge Under Dispensation would be instituted by Right Worshipful Brother George H. Sherman, a representative of the Grand Master.

The list of Charter Members was made up of men representing all walks of life and many of the prominent business and professional men of the area. They were Frank E. Burnett, H. L. Cookingham, Andrew J. Gedney, R. V. K. Harris, M. C. Phillips, G. W. Thompson, W. S. Massonneau, Fred W. Feller, William S. Aucock, George S. Aucock, E. B. Bostwick, C. C. MacDonald, E. W. Pitcher, C. V. Henion, William A. Metzger, J. A. Curtis, E. R. Smith, Ben R. Horton, W. M. Van Steenburgh, John Griffing, William E. Traver, Eugene P. Budd, O. D. Rider, William Rosborough, Willett Harris, Ambrose E. Traver, Irving Fraleigh, H. W. Griffing, all members of Monumental Lodge #374, and George W. Storms of Margaretsville Lodge #389, Joseph Griffing of Justice Lodge #753 and Leonard Mattice of Schoharie Valley Lodge #491. From this group the first officers elected to direct the immediate destiny of the lodge were Master Frank E. Burnett, Senior Warden R. V. K. Harris, Junior Warden William S. Massonneau, Secretary Cecil C. MacDonald, Treasurer E. R. Smith and Trustees John Curtis, Joseph Griffing, and George S. Aucock.

Having served a year of apprenticeship during which time the lodge demonstrated its ability to continue its individuality, Hendrick Hudson Lodge #875 F. & A. M. was duly constituted, dedicated and consecrated on June 28, 1910 by the District Deputy Grand Master of the 14th Masonic District, John M. Janes, representing the Grand Master. The original meetings were held in the Christ Church rectory and were later moved to the I. O. O. F. Lodge rooms where the meetings were held through 1922. It that year the Masons rented quarters in the Aucock Building on the corner of Broadway and East Market Street where meetings were held continuously until February 27, 1963, the year the Lodge moved into its own building at 9 Graves Street in Red Hook.

The initial movement in the establishment of a building fund was started in 1928 under the mastership of Frank B. Naylor when it was decided to place $500 in a special fund for the future construction of a Lodge Building. Subsequently this fund was transferred to the Hendrick Hudson Association Incorporated which is charged with the responsibility of administrating the fund and property acquired for the use of the lodge. This fund increased rapidly at first by individual contributions from the members. There also were dramatic and social activities sponsored by the lodge through most of the 1930's which augmented the continuing individual gifts. There was an added flurry of activity during the mastership of Paul C. Fromer during the 1939-40-41 when purchase and renovation of the old Red Hook High School was considered but the time appeared to be not rite for this important step.

The Building Fund continued to grow slowly but steadily until 1961 when agitation developed to accept a parcel of land owned by O. T. Cookingham or another owned by Mr. and Mrs. S. R. Anderson gave added impetus to the desire for a Masonic Temple. Under the Mastership of Miner S. Treat in 1961, Ellroy C. Hand in 1962 and Frank B. Martin in 1963 plans and arrangements were formulated for this important undertaking. The Lodge subsequently accepted the offer of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson of these grounds in memory of her grandfather Jacob Whiteman Elsiffer and in September 1962 broke ground for this Masonic Building. Construction was accomplished by contract with an outside contractor for the erection of the shell and completion of the lodge room with the finishing of the remaining interior areas completed by the voluntary labor of many local brothers. The first meeting in the new building was held on February 27, 1963. The Cornerstone was laid by the then presiding Grand Master Harry Ostrov on April 20, 1963 and the dedication ceremony during that year. Beacon Lodge #283 granted a 25-year mortgage enabling Hendrick Hudson Lodge to realize its hopes. This Mortgage was paid off in 10 years due to dedicated work of the lodge members, mostly through both private and public dinners and similar functions.

In 1997 it was decided to implement improvements to the lodge building and grounds. The special committee spent considerable time with the architect and contractors and their effort was well supported by the brothers of the lodge. 75% of the cost of the project has been contributed or pledged (2002). The lodge improvements include a building extension for an office, storage room and an elevator. The latter has access to the parking lot though an exterior door as well as both levels of the lodge. The electrical service of the lodge was upgraded and new lighting fixtures were installed in the dining area. There is now a handicap accessible bathroom. Lower entry stairs and door have been improved and both parking lots have been paved and lighting standards installed.

During its existence Hendrick Hudson Lodge has been honored by Grand Lodge by the appointment of Grand Lodge officers:
> 1937-38, Herbert E. Saulpaugh, District Deputy Grand Master
> 1949-50, Elmore Fraleigh, District Deputy Grand Master **
> 1949-50, Herbert C. Wilkin, District Service Representative**
> 1959-60, Warren W. Rockeller, District Deputy Grand Master
> 1959-60, Stuart R. Anderson, District Service Representative
> 1969-70, Ellroy C. Hand, Grand Director of Ceremonies
> 1974-75, Douglas Freer, District Deputy Grand Master
> 1974-75, Chester A. Damon, District Service Representative
> 1977-78, William E. Johnson, Grand Sword Bearer
> 1982-83, M. Douglas Magley, District Deputy Grand Master
> 1984-86, Coral Allen, Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Ceara, Brazil
> 1988-90, Raymond W. Tuton, Grand Sword Bearer
> 1992-94. Nils Anderson, Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Brazilia, Brazil
> 1996-98, Fred W. Grieve, District Deputy Grand Master
> 1998-00, Burton A. Barrenger, District Deputy Grand Master
> 1998-01, Otto Tatar, Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Hungary
> 2000-05, Albert F. Hejnal, Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska
> ** Columbia/Dutchess District (All following DD's and other officers of
> Dutchess District)

The lodge members have served in other district positions on committees as well as Assistant Grand Lecturers:
> 1949-50, Lloyd J. Maynard, Assistant Grand Lecturer
> 1959-60, Douglas H. Freer, Assistant Grand Lecturer
> 1974-75, William E. Johnson, Assistant Grand Lecturer
> 1982-83, Albert F. Hejnal, Assistant Grand Lecturer
> 1984-85, Paul G. Weiner, Assistant Grand Lecturer
> 1985-86, Harold E. Coons, Assistant Grand Lecturer
> 1986- , Harold E. Coons Regional Assistant Grand Lecturer
> 1994-96, Harold E. Coons, Assistant Grand Lecturer
> 1996-98, Albert F. Hejnal, Assistant Grand Lecturer
> 2002-05, Albert F. Hejnal, Assistant Grand Lecturer

A number of the lodge brothers have been presented with the Dedicated Service Award over the years.
> Raymond H. Brenzel
> Stanley W. Lynk
> George W. Vassily
> Miner S. Treat
> G. Warren Shaw
> Charles E. Schaefer
> J. Sprague
> Robert F. Ludwig

Over the years the membership of the lodge grew steadily to approximate 150 members. Many of the newer members where and are younger and are very active in all activities of the lodge as well as their communities. In 2003 the lodge was one of 11 lodges in the Duchess District.
Hendrick Hudson Lodge continues to be a very active lodge. Attendance at meetings is always good and degree rehearsals are well attended making the degree work very proficient.