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A Brief History of
Fellowship Lodge No. 265  F. & A.M.

Fraternally submitted by Worshipful O. Robert Luse, Secretary Emeritus

In the early part of 1928, a group of Masonic Brothers met at Trinity Methodist Church for the purpose of forming a Masonic Lodge on the west side of the Hillsborough River. After several meetings it was agreed to make application to Grand Lodge for a Charter in the name of Fellowship.

On the 9th day of July 1928, The Most Worshipful Grand Master, LeRoy Brandon, signed a Dispensation for us to proceed as Fellowship Lodge, U. D. until the next Communication of Grand Lodge. Having no meeting place of our own or Regalia of any kind, John Darling Lodge No. 154, most graciously gave us permission to use their Hall.

On July 16, 1928 Most Worshipful Grand Master Brandon called a meeting at John Darling Hall and Fellowship Lodge, U. D. was instituted with the following Officers:

The first Officers of Fellowship Lodge No. 265 F. & A.M.
Worshipful Master B. P. Scruggs
Senior Warden W. H. Springer
Junior Warden W. C. Hardy
Senior Deacon Leroy Mote
Junior Deacon Emmitt Clark
Secretary  J. F. Treasure
Treasurer C. H. Cole
Senior Steward Harry Hubert
Junior Steward O. D. Snow
Tyler R. H. Miller

There were 36 Members on the Rolls as Charter Members.
New Petitions received and Brothers raised while under Dispensation were:
  • Douglas E. Clarke
  • John Jiretz, Jr
  • Frederick H. Schwarz

One of these Brothers, John Jiretz, Jr was our Worshipful Master in 1940 and was our last surviving Charter Member to pass away, in 1990. Brother Jiretz was just 21 years and 1 month old at the time of his Initiation and served Masonry for over 60 years.

On January 10, 1929, the first meeting was held in our new location, 1527 Grand Central Avenue. The following paragraph is copied from the minutes of that date:

“It was moved that a letter of thanks be sent to John Darling Lodge No. 154, for the use of their hall during the time it was needed. Also a letter of thanks was sent to Hillsborough Lodge No. 25 for the loan of Jewels and other equipment. A rising vote of thanks was given to Brother Scruggs for the alterations given to the Lodge room at the new location and the furnishings he had so generously donated.”

On Tuesday March 26, 1929, the last meeting before Grand Lodge convened, our financial report was:
For Charter$55.00
Eight initiations @ $5.00 each$40.00
Total expense$95.00

This left us with a balance of $213.87 in our Treasury.

At this session of Grand Lodge, our request for Charter was granted and we were duly instituted as Fellowship Lodge No. 265. Brothers C.H. Cole, Frederick Greenslade, William F. Colton, Leroy Mote and William Husband drew up our first by-laws.

Our Treasurer’s Report for the year 1929 stated that:

28 meetings were held with average attendance of 25 Brothers.
Fees collected$529.00
Dues collected$340.00
Cash in Lafayette Bank$288.61

The cash in Lafayette Bank was lost when the bank failed.  (Several years later the Lodge did get a few Dollars back.)

The 30`s were hard times for the Lodge to make ends meet.   The Lodge had many Fish Fries and fund raising events to keep it going, in fact we became known as the "Fish Fry Lodge".   But the work paid off as the Lodge did prosper when many failed. The Brethren caught most of the fish that were fried; they did not buy them as we would today.

In 1939 our Grand Lodge assessment was $148.25. Twenty years later in 1959 it was $4,045.00.

In 1944 the Brothers became desirous of having our own building.   A committee was appointed with Brother W. H. Springer as Chairman, to see if a suitable location could be found, and one that we could afford.   After checking several locations, a building located at 302 Memorial Highway (now Kennedy Blvd) was selected. A branch of the U. S. Army had occupied it and a lot of remodeling had to be done. W. J. Oatley was the Worshipful Master and Brother Springer remarked that if arrangements could possibly be made, he wanted Worshipful Brother Oatley to hold Communications in our new home before the end of the year.   Thanks to a group of hard working Brothers, this came to pass and with very little money spent for labor.

Dispensation for a change of meeting place from 1527 Grand Central Avenue to 302 Memorial Highway was issued by Most Worshipful Grand Master Warren S. Taylor on December 14, 1944. For financing of this purchase, Fellowship Masonic Temple Corporation was formed and charter was granted by the State of Florida. Nine Brothers were elected as Trustees for one year.   The officers were Wallace Springer, President, Worshipful B. T. Morris, Secretary, and seven other Brothers.   We had enough in Bonds and Cash to make a down payment of $1500.00.   The Mortgage was in the amount of $5500.00 with payments of Fifty Dollars a month, including interest of 6%.   The first payment was made January 8, 1945 by selling non-interest bearing debentures at $50.00 each, with no more than two to each member, also keeping sales within Fellowship Lodge.   This was done with the exception of one debenture that was sold to a Brother very close to Fellowship Lodge. These debentures were numbered and at any Stated Communication, duplicate numbers were placed in a box, and drawing was made for as many as we had money to purchase. Our final payment was made January 11, 1946.

Membership in 1946 was 186 and each year after that was a steady gain of membership until 1960 when the membership reached 904. For the next fifteen years membership stayed in the upper 800`s, after which time began a steady decline in membership.   During this time of growth the lodge again changed locations to the building pictured below at 2506 Grand Central Avenue.



The best year was 1954 when 75 Brothers were raised and the next year, 74 were also raised.   Good times indeed. The worst year was 1984 (the year I was Master) with a loss of 32, mostly due to death, as we did raise a reasonable number that year.



This is our Lodge building as it looks today.   We are located at 306 North Lincoln Avenue, near the Fox 13 Television Station.   Our illuminated American Flag flies 24 hours a day.   The Lodge Room, Secretary’s Office, storage rooms and foyer were built and opened in 1965 with Worshipful Harry Lyle as Worshipful Master.   The Entrance foyer and dining room and kitchen were added in 1978 with a Mortgage that was paid off in 1988, several years ahead of time.

Fellowship Lodge remains one of the most active Lodges in the District and Has an Eastern Star Chapter, White Shrine of Jerusalem and an Amaranth Order all meeting at our Lodge building.

Over the years, Fellowship Lodge has been privileged to produce five District Deputy Grand Masters:
RW Walter F. Harris
RW Con H. Ehret
RW Joseph C. Fowler
RW Richard S. Agster
RW Robert I. Moore

In 1994, our Lodge Brother, RW Joseph C. Fowler became Most Worshipful Joseph C. Fowler, Grand Master of Masons in Florida.

Fellowship Lodge has been fortunate in having had so many dedicated Brethren working to make it a successful, friendly and one of the larger Lodges in the area. Without Brethren like Worshipful Fred Greenslade, B. P. Scruggs, Walter Oatley and many other Past Masters and the Brethren on the sidelines who did the work, our Lodge might not be the strong and active Lodge it is today.

Socialize With Us 306 N. Lincoln Avenue; 33609
Call Us: (813) 876-9179