The below passages were written in 1973, when Lombard celebrated their 50th anniversary.

It all started when an informal meeting was held at the residence of Dr. T. F. James on the evening of January 23rd, 1922. This meeting was held to discuss the formation of a Masonic Club with the ultimate intention of forming a Lodge of Masons in Lombard, Illinois. The Lombard Masonic Club was officially formed on February 15, 1922, its By-Laws were adopted and its Officers elected:

  • President: Dr. T. F. James
  • Vice President: Harry B. Davies
  • Secretary: Harold P. Flint
  • Treasurer: F. W. Robinson

The Masonic Club originally met in the Lombard Parish House of the First Congregational Church, but apparently problems were encountered. The records and correspondence at this time indicate that some Parish members were anxious to have the Club vacate their premises and the Club began seeking ways to obtain other quarters.

In November of 1922, the Club borrowed $800.00 from the Bank of Lombard to pay for the renovation of O’Connor Hall and accepted the lease for the 3rd floor of the O’Connor Building. The first meeting in these new quarters was held on December 11th, 1922. The Lombard Masonic Club and ultimately what became the Lombard Lodge met at this location through the month and year of February 1926. At this point it was decided to move to 9 North Main Street in Lombard, Illinois. O’Connor Hall was a renovated attic with a low ceiling and  was noted as the hottest place on Earth during the summer and coldest in winter. Much of the business meeting time back then was taken up with plans for ventilation or heating the hall; as well as the installation of a fire escape.

Early in 1923, fifty-two members of the Masonic Club signed a petition to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, A. F. & A. M. of the State of Illinois for dispensation to form a Lodge of Masons in Lombard. On June 4th, 1923, C. W. Norris, Right Worshipful District Deputy Grand Master of the 29th District of the State of Illinois, by authority of the Most Worshipful Grand Master of  A. F. & A. M. of the State of Illinois instituted Lombard Lodge U. D. and installed William J. Smarden as Worshipful Master. At this meeting, Lombard Lodge U. D. adopted its new By-Laws and received seven petitions for Degrees. In the period of June 1923 through August 27th, 1923, Lombard Lodge U. D. was very busy with Degree work; conferring nine Entered Apprentices; eight Fellow-Craft Degrees and eight Master Mason Degrees. Albert Nathan Curlee was the first candidate Initiated, Passed and Raised by Lombard Lodge U. D.

At the October 9th, 1923 session of the Eighty Fourth Annual Meeting of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, A. F. & A. M. of the State of Illinois, Lombard Lodge No. 1098 A. F. & A. M. was granted its charter and was signed by Elmer E. Beach, Grand Master. There were fifty-nine members listed as charter members and William J. Smardon was designated Worshipful Master. On Friday, October 19th, 1923, Lombard Lodge No. 1098 was instituted with the Right Worshipful Brother William Tinsley as proxy for Albert E. Woods, Grand Master. This institution meeting was held at the First Congregational Church and it was at this meeting that Lombard Chapter No. 918, Order of the Eastern Star presented Lombard Lodge No. 1098 A. F. & A. M. its Bible.

On November 19, 1923, the Lombard Masonic Club was absorbed by Lombard Lodge No. 1098 along with all assets and liabilities. New By-laws were adopted at the Annual Meeting of the Lodge on December 3, 1923, and the first election of Officers was held. Harry F. Burns was elected Master and the first official Installation of Officers was held at the Stated Meeting of December 17, 1923.

The formation of a new Lodge required money and equipment, and it was fortunate that much of the Lodges equipment and furniture was donated: The Bible was donated by Lombard Chapter No. 918, Order of the Eastern Star; the pedestal for the lights by Hugo Rossbach; the silk American Flag by Elmhurst Chapter No. 294 Royal Arch Masons; the furniture and carpeting was purchased from donations made from Lodge members; other equipment came from the Lombard Masonic Club and Lombard Lodge U.D.; the pillars were donated by Glen Ellyn Lodge No. 950 A.F. & A.M.

The first year of Lombard Lodge’s existence was a busy one. There were fifty-six meetings held and thirty-two Degrees conferred. The Lodge membership had increased to seventy-seven.

There has always been a great deal of interest shown in the meetings of the Lombard Masonic organizations and there has always been good attendance. Membership rose steadily from the fifty-nine original members to 174 in 1933. During the Depression years the membership dropped to a low of 145 and from 1936 to the present (1973) has steadily increased to 314.

The years of the Depression were trying times for all organizations and Lombard Lodge was no exception. During 1934, twenty-four members were suspended for non-payment of dues and in 1936 the dues for fifty members was remitted. Although the Lodge managed to maintain their charity program and pay the Officers salaries they did not have enough money to pay the rent – and during the period of 1931 to January 19, 1937 were in debt to the owners of the building at 9 North Main Street in the amount of $1507.00. The Lodge was fortunate that the building was owned by two charter members of the Lodge, Ernst and Theodore Hammerschmidt, who in 1937 took over all the Lodge and kitchen furnishings with the exception of the ritual furniture and equipment in payment of this debt – and – who on January 4, 1938 deeded these same furnishings back to Lombard Lodge for the sum of $160.00. It is impossible to calculate what this contribution has meant to Lombard Lodge’s existence. Private loans from Harry B. Davis helped the Lodges finances through this trying period. In order to attract new members, the fees for Degrees were lowered from November 19, 1935 through 1938. During the Depression years so few Degrees were conferred in the entire area that Lodges were invited to attend and participate whenever Degrees were held at any Lodge in the District. These visitations led to very good relationships between all Lodges in the area.

Lombard Lodge received a bequest of $500.00 in the will of Colonel W. R. Plum on July 16, 1928 which was invested in Lombard Building and Loan Capital Stock. From its receipt to the present (1973) this bequest has never been touched even though the original loan of $800.00 at the Bank of Lombard had to be renewed time after time and was finally paid off on July 6, 1937.

During the Installation of Officers in 1941 the Lodge was put at ease so that the radio address of President Franklin D. Roosevelt could be heard. The war years found Lombard Lodge sponsoring the local service canteen one Saturday each month. The Lodge was also requested by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge to donate $2.00 per member to the Masonic Service Center. During this period a Masonic War Committee was appointed.

Lombard Lodge has never been obsessed with invitations to visiting dignitaries. Outside of the usual visitations with other Lodges in the District and the required annual official visits of the District Deputy Grand Masters, Lombard Lodge has had only one occasion when the Most Worshipful Grand Master was received: Hal C. McCloud, May 12, 1936 and one occasion when a Most Worshipful Past Grand Master was officially received: Paul R. Stevens, June 23, 1970.

From the start of the Lombard Masonic Club to the construction of the present building (1973), the main desire of the Lodge was to have a meeting place of their own. In March, 1922, the Masonic Club was discussing the acquistion of property at the Southwest corner of Maple and Main Streets, and at one time actually had a down payment on the property. While renting at 9 North Main Street notification was received that the building was to be sold and a committee was appointed to inquire into the advisability of the Lodges purchase of the property. In 1946, The Westmore Methodist Church building was for sale and a committee was appointed to investigate – but returned with the recommendation that the building was not fit. The Worshipful Masters reports of 1945, 1946, 1947 and 1952 indicate the need and desire of securing a meeting place.