New Philadelphia Inspection Has Historic Sidebar

by Dale Pierce On March  11, 2013, New  Philadelphia 177 F&AM in New Philadelphia, Ohio had its annual inspection. More or less, this was routine. However, there were some unusual sidebars. The event was not only attended by present Grand Master of Ohio, James Easterling, but also the seated Grand Master of West Virginia, G. G. Raines as part of what might best be termed as a reunification after the end of a three year rift between the lodges. No specific figure was available directly after the event, but at least 90 people attended. Worshipful Master Gary Donalson remarked that as far as he could recall, this was the first time to his knowledge an inspection had taken place in which Grand Masters from two states were in attendance. “No one in the lodge that night could recall or remember a time when such a thing as this happened, with two Grand Masters from two states being in any lodge together at an inspection,” reconfirmed Secretary John Gartrell. Whether or not this was a “first time ever” incident as far as Ohio’s long Masonic history might be concerned, it is most surely the first time in recent memory such an occurrence took place Lodge was opened on the Third Degree and the rank of Master Mason was installed upon a candidate provided by National Lodge of Barberton. Visitors from   several   lodges were in attendance as well, including members from Canton, Bolivar, Dover, Barberton, Cadiz and other localities. This would not be the first time, however, that New Philadelphia saw visiting “celebrities” during its own lengthy history. Several decades ago, the famed baseball player, Cy Young, came up from Newcomerstown for lodge meetings. He is also on record attending a father/son banquet at New Philadelphia 177. “When we were working on the lodge history and putting things into print, we went through all of the old minutes and found varied instances where he (Young) was here,” noted Ray Ripley, who served various positions within the lodge over the past several years. “The old minutes show this to be a fact and not a legend.”    . With all the fanfare, good times and hoopla, one of the most important factors from the evening should be noted. New Philadelphia 177 did indeed pass inspection.


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