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1955

The Officers installed this year were:

W M-----J A O'DellS D---G K Stephens
S W------S B LewisJ D----Lamar Hutcheson
J W------J A McLendon S S----C H Jackson
Treas----J W DumasJ S-----J O Coogler
Sec'y----J B Trimble Tyler--R W Camp
Chaplain----W G Sears

January 14, marked the first discussion of the formation of a chapter of the Eastern Star in our Lodge. The brethren heartily approved the measure.

Bro. Hancock informed the Lodge that the Potato House property would be advertised for sale shortly and asked for a discussion as to how much latitude he would have in bidding on this property. A motion was made and carried that he be allowed to spend up to $500.00 for this property if necessary.

Lamar Hutcheson, on the night of January 27, read a change in the by-laws that placed the top three officers of the Lodge on the Relief Committee. The same night, a motion was made and carried that the Lodge should build a smaller altar to allow the Eastern Star, who had apparently had been meeting here, more room for their meetings.

March 10, Bro. Hancock reported on the purchase of our property on Highway 85, which was sold at auction on the Courthouse steps for back taxes, and that Mr. Coogler was drawing up the deeds which would be recorded at the Courthouse as soon as they were ready. The minutes of this meeting do not reflect who the actual bidder was, only that Bro. Hancock reported it to the Lodge, but I have been told that Bro. J. A. "Mac" McLendon was the man who bid on the property.

At the stated meeting on March 24, a motion was made and carried that the Lodge reimburse Bro. Hancock for any expenses he incurred while conducting a title search on our new property. Bro. Hancock declined the motion by saying he would donate to the Lodge any expense that he incurred.

April 28. A letter from Bro. E. P. Smith Jr. was read in which he presented his father's gavel to the lodge.

The first petition for the degrees that was rejected by Riverdale Masonic Lodge #709 was on the 8th of September. In the interest of privacy, I will not disclose the name on that petition in this publication.

The 23rd of September marked the first meeting, and unfortunately the last, that the second Master of the Lodge did not preside as the top officer. Worshipful Master J. A. O'Dell had been taken ill. The minutes do not record what kind of illness it was, but I have been told by W.B. Carlton Ethridge that he had had a stroke and a motion was made and carried that the Lodge give $100.00 to Mrs. O'Dell to help defer her expenses in treating him. It must have been anticipated that W. B. O'Dell would not be able to attend the Grand Lodge Session this year, because Bro. S. B. Lewis was selected to represent Riverdale Lodge at the Grand Lodge Session in October. Bro. "Sam", as we all knew him, then served as Master of the Lodge for the remainder of the year.

October 13th. A Warrant (check) was drawn from the treasury to pay O. C. Floyd the amount of $360.00 for drawing up the plans for our new Lodge Hall. The committee appointed to purchase the needed materials for the construction of this new building were B. L. Hancock and Clyde Roberts. The Ground breaking ceremony for our present Lodge building was held on Sunday December 11, at 3 P M, the construction to begin in earnest in.......

1956

The Officers installed this year were:

W M-----S B LewisS D---F L Hutcheson
S W------J A McLendonJ D----C H Jackson
J W------G K StephensS S----J O Coogler
Treas----J W DumasJ S----E L Banks
Sec'y-----J B TrimbleTyler-R W Camp

Chaplain----J C Phillips

January 12. The Lodge is barely two years old and already a by-laws amendment to raise the annual dues from six dollars to ten dollars was read at the first stated meeting of this year, but this proved to be ill fated for at the next meeting, a motion to withdraw this amendment was duly seconded and passed by the Brethren.

February 9, the building committee had decided to increase the size of our new Lodge building to 40' X 70' 8" and the estimated cost of the building, with its increased size, would cost approximately $30, 000 (thirty thousand dollars).

September 13 marked the first meeting since his stroke that W.B. J. A. O'Dell returned to the Lodge to attend a regular meeting. W.B. Carlton Ethridge knew W.B. O'Dell and told me that he was a proud man and a fighter and refused to give in to his condition. He said that the stroke affected W.B. O'Dell's right side and it forced him to do with his left hand what he had previously done with his right. He also said that a few years after his stroke you had to be careful if you wanted to shake W.B. O'Dell's hand because he had developed enough strength in that left hand that he "could crush bricks" with it, figuratively speaking.

During the latter part of this year the building committee was trying to secure a loan from various financial institutions for the purpose of completing the construction on our new building and that search continued into......

1957

The Officers installed this year were:

W M-----J A McLendonS D---C H Jackson
S W------G K StephensJ D----J O Coogler
J W------F L HutchesonS S----E L Banks
Treas----J W DumasJ S-----J C Roberts
Sec'y----W W Darnell Tyler--R W Camp
Chaplain----J L Phillips

The first two banks contacted about this loan resulted in a rejection of our application. Undeterred, the building committee continued searching.

It was reported at the stated meeting of January 10, that an agent of the Atlanta Federal Savings and Loan Association would entertain our application if certain requirements were met.

Emeritus membership in our Lodge had its beginning at this meeting. If a Brother had attained the age of seventy years, had twenty-five or more years in our Craft and was a member in good standing in our Lodge then he would not be required to pay any annual dues.

February 14. The building committee reported that if all of the materials and labor that had thus far been applied to the new building were paid for and were free and clear of all indebtedness, the loan from Atlanta Federal S&L could be secured provided that a contractor be found to complete the job and then only if several members of the Lodge would co-sign on the note. The committee then went to work to obtain several bids from contractors to comply with this requirement.

April 25. Bro. N. C. Roberts read a bid that had been secured from a building contractor for $45,281.32. He also requested that the Lodge entertain a bid from himself on this project because he was sure he could do the job far cheaper. It was clear that he had the interest of the Lodge in mind. The building committee reported, on June 27, that all the plans and paperwork were ready to be presented to the finance committee for their review and discussion and a time was set for them to meet at the civic building for this purpose.

Brethren, the subject of a dues increase again surfaced at the regular meeting on August 8th. The following is a letter submitted by B.L. Hancock at this meeting and was read in open Lodge. I include it here primarily to present the logic of the argument to you.

"To the Worshipful Master and Brethren.

In our By-Laws, Rules and Regulations page 13 Chapter 5, See-one it reads, in part, 'The dues for the members shall be six dollars a year'. I make a motion to amend the by-laws to read 'The dues for the members shall be Ten Dollars a year'. The reason for this is because the Lodge is not self-supporting in have drawn each year out of building fund to meet expenses. Any Lodge that is not self-supporting will soon go defunct. I would guess we have drawn at least $600.00 out of the building fund since we were granted a Charter."

B.L. Hancock

Seconded by G.K. Stephens

The Post Script reads:

Voted Aug. 22, 1957, unanimously carried. Notify each member about this.

October 24. W.M. J. A. McLendon instructed the secretary, Bro. Darnell, to write to the Grand Lodge and get a ruling on the permissibility of constructing a one story Lodge building instead of a two story one and report back as soon as he had acquired the ruling. Apparently there had been some discussion on this matter because the Lodge was quickly running out of money as the minutes record a declining balance in the checking account plus the present building was growing ever smaller as the membership grew and more room would definitely be needed in......

1958

The Officers installed this year were:

W M-----G K StephensS D---J O Coogler
S W------F L HutchesonJ D----E L Banks
J W------C H JacksonS S----J C Roberts
Treas----J W DumasJ S-----W W Darnell
Sec'y----W A Hanson Tyler--R W Camp
Chaplain----Lee Williams

January 9. The trustees were asked to contact the owner of a building that would have the extra room needed until the new Lodge building could be completed. They were told to secure a one year lease if possible.

At the next stated meeting in January, the Trustees reported that a lease had been signed for one year for a new building, which was the old Coogler building and was the former home of Riverdale Lodge #441 eighteen years previously and which was now owned by Mr. T. B. Hunt. The minutes record that the Lodge was supposed to move into the new place on the 25th of January and I assume that they did.

The building committee's efforts to secure a loan had thus far been fruitless. Bro. J.W. Dumas had contacted a man who would be willing to loan the Lodge up to $10,000.00 for this purpose which was to be paid back at $1000.00 per year, plus interest over a 10 year period.

March 27. By order of the Worshipful Master, a summons had been sent to every member of the Lodge after the meeting of February 27 to be present at this meeting to vote on a loan estimate to complete the new Lodge building. Of the 80 Brethren summoned, 60 of them were present, 19 furnished reasons why they could not be there, and one did not respond at all. Bro. Roberts had itemized a list of materials which came to $9382.00. Bro. J.W. Dumas explained the details of the loan agreement to the Brethren and after considerable discussion, the Brethren voted to approve a loan of $10,000.00.

Our benefactor was apparently not ready to part with the money at this time because on July 24, Bro. J.W. Dumas reported to the Lodge that we probably could not get the money until Feb. 1959.

October 23. The Trustees had recommended that the Lodge borrow $4000.00 to proceed with work on the new Lodge building and again with considerable discussion a unanimous vote by the Brethren approved the measure.

At the meeting on Nov. 13, Bro. F.L. Hutcheson explained the terms of the contract to the assembled Brethren and the amount of the payments which were to begin in........

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