joppa lodge white rock

Recollections of Joppa Lodge History

  • January 26, 2020

It all began in 1924. There was sufficiency of numbers, but they were like Joseph’s coat, lacked uniformity, not of purpose, but well experienced in uniform ritual.


by Fabian Hugh

est. 1959

It seems but yesterday, yet it is now well over thirty-five years since a few of us called together by the late Alex J. Smith, sat around and discussed ways and means of starting a Masonic Lodge for White Rock.

There was sufficiency of numbers, but they were like Joseph’s coat, lacked uniformity, not of purpose, but experienced in uniform ritual.

Some came from Eastern Canada with Canadian work, some from across the seas with a mixture of English and other forms. Predominately our group was from British Columbia and south of the ‘border’, having principally what is generally known as ‘American’ work.

It was the consensus of opinion that the majority were versed in the ‘American’ ritual, the minority would fall into line and try and forget their early training. To this end the late R. W. J. J. Mahony of King Solomon Lodge #17 of New Westminster was asked to be the first Master and weld us into a working unit.

Once discipline was established, which meant ‘Joe’ Mahony was boss and insisted if he came 15 miles to teach us, we had to be on time, or else; and the ‘or else’ meant our proposed first Master would refuse to co-operate. W. Brother Mahony was a good teacher and a strict disciplinarian. Eventually we became a good, well ordered working unit,of which even he was proud to take out and display our prowess.

One of the first decisions to be made was, what should we call our Lodge ? Names without end were brought forward but none were acceptable until Brother O. R. Merklin suggested that as we in our location resembled the coast of Joppa of olden days, why not designate our Lodge Joppa. And so it was, and we are proud of our name and for the fine and firm foundation on which our membership superstructure stands.

As many of you will recall our first meeting place was on Washington Avenue where we found it necessary, for a time, to climb a step-ladder to attend our meetings. While this building suited our early purposes it was none too strong for large gatherings and it was decided to make a change at the first opportunity, for a building more suitable.

In 1950 our existing Temple was purchased from the proceeds of the sale of the old Hall and the floating of a debenture issue among the members, we were able to finance our present home. To the courage, work and foresight of those who effected this change go our everlasting gratitude.

Some of our furniture presently being used was of our own purchase. On the other hand we cannot forget those who came to our aid when we really needed it.

The Volume of the Sacred Law was a gift from the late W.Bro. J. D. MacMillan. The columns came from the veranda of a building being dismantled in Blaine, Washington. They were brought across the line, taken to the now abandoned Campbell River Mill of White Rock, where they were put in a large lathe, cleaned of all the old paint and dirt, polished and built as they are now. This was the idea of the late R.W.Bro. Moffatt and the gift of Bro. Hunter who at the time, if I recollect correctly, was Mayor of Blaine and a member of that city’s Masonic Lodge.

The candle sticks and first Senior Warden’s and Junior Warden’s pedestals were made by the late Clare Lemax, on his lathe, in the basement of the Surrey Municipal Hall at Cloverdale and presented to the Lodge. Bro. Clare Lemax was at the time, Clerk of the Municipality and a member of Joppa Lodge.

It is most unfortunate the original pedestals were not preserved, rather than being destroyed. They should have been retained, if only for their sentimental value and used on special occasions.

One of the most unique gifts we received came from a Scots blacksmith, not a Mason but certainly a very clever craftsman. I refer to the knockers on the Lodge doors.

These were hammered out by Mr. W. Y. C. Tarves, a resident of White Rock. It would be nice if we just dropped him a line telling him how much we still appreciate his work of art and its constant use by us.

The cushions and markers in the Volume of the Sacred Law were made by the wives of some of the Lodge members.

This is a little of the history of the early times of our Craft Lodge. Of the work and the things done by the individual members no mention can be made. So many did so much giving to us the resultant happiness we now enjoy and which we hope our children’s children will enjoy, that profit and pleasure shall be the result, of those things accomplished by those who have gone before and those presently with us.

These documents provide an insight into the beginnings of Joppa Lodge of White Rock, B.C.

Thus the preliminary work of these founding Pathfinders paved the way for the years of endeavor that lay ahead.

The results are a fine example of what perseverance, willingness to work, unflagging effort and in some cases plain old stubbornness, can produce. The members of Joppa Lodge can today look back with high regard for the efforts of these brethren, without which, who knows what would be here for us today ?