Local Masons dedicate centennial monument

Masons from North Big Horn County celebrated 100 years of Masonry in the area with the dedication of a centennial monument and time capsule at the lodge hall in Lovell last Wednesday, June 26.

Originally organized in Deaver, Tri-Mountain View Lodge No. 35 was granted a Dispensational Charter on April 10, 1919, with George P. Taylor as the first master, I.B. Hosig as senior warden and P.C. Vilander as junior warden. The officers were installed by George L. Blakeslee, worshipful master of Absaroka Lodge No. 30 of Powell under the authority of Grand Master of Wyoming George L. Brimmer.

The Lodge was granted a full, regular charter on Oct. 9, 1919, and Grand Master Arthur K. Lee instituted the lodge on Nov. 20. The first officers were George P. Taylor, worshipful master; P.C. Vilander, senior warden; and M.A. Bennett, junior warden.

Grand Marshal Gil Curry of Cody proclaims the Tri-Mountain View Masonic Lodge No. 35 centennial monument officially dedicated near the end of a ceremony June 26 at the lodge hall in Lovell. State officials and local members participating include (l-r) Ross Fuller, Steven Hough, Bryan Baird, Jackson Bassett, Grand Master of Wyoming Ken Badget, Shane Kannard, Beynon St. John, Tom Nance (hidden) and Jim Dickerson.
David Peck photo

The name Tri-Mountain View was chosen because three different mountain ranges can be seen from the area: the Big Horns to the east, the Pryor Mountains to the north and the Absaroka/Beartooth range to the west.

Lovell Lodge No. 36 was chartered on Sept. 9, 1920, with Peter Brand, a Great Western Sugar employee, as the first master.

In 1976, Tri-Mountain View Lodge No. 35 and Lovell Lodge No. 36 merged, retaining the building in Lovell and the name and number from Deaver. The Masonic code required that the name of the older lodge with the lower number be used for the consolidated lodge.

Rev. Al Kongable was the last master of Lovell Lodge No. 36 and the first master of the consolidated Tri-Mountain View Lodge No. 35 in Lovell.

Centennial ceremony

Officers of the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Wyoming led by Grand Master Kenneth M. Badget of Cowley performed a cornerstone ceremony June 26 to dedicate the monument at the corner of Third and Montana in Lovell.

Worshipful Master Jim Woody delivered dedicatory remarks.

Also attending were Deputy Grand Master Tom Hamm of Cheyenne, Past Grand Master Tom Nance, Grand Secretary Beynon St. John, Senior Grand Steward Greg Shiek of Sheridan, Grand Chaplain James Sturdevant of Sheridan and Grand Marshal George “Gil” Curry of Cody.

Local Masons filling roles during the ceremony were Bryan Baird and Ross Fuller of Cowley, Jackson Bassett, Shane
Kannard, Jim Dickerson and Keith McIntosh of Lovell and Steven Hough of Cody.

Secretary Baird said the idea for a monument and time capsule came about a year to a year and a half ago when then Deputy Grand Master Badget encouraged commemorating the centennial and members knew of a monument dedicated by the Riverton lodge for the same reason. Word went out, and Masons gathered items for the time capsule, which is contained within the monument. Dozens of items were donated and gathered for the time capsule.

A committee of six planned the monument, Baird said, and plans were developed. The concrete path to the monument is inlaid with aprons in the configuration of the three degrees of the blue lodge of Masonry, with three aprons surrounding the monument, acting as an altar, in the position of and bearing the symbols of  the three primary officers of the lodge, the master and senior and junior wardens.

The monument itself has a large commemorative plaque, and the pedestal includes bricks from the old Deaver school buildings in honor of the origin of Tri-Mountain View Lodge. It is overlaid by decorative river rock. Much of the material for the monument was donated by Bob Acton, and portions of the labor were donated by his sons Braden and Dustin, Baird said. 

The time capsule, sealed in PVC piping, is to be opened in 2119.

During his remarks Woody thanked the many people who made the monument possible, including committee members Baird, Fuller, Jackson Bassett, McIntosh and Badget.

He also explained the layout of the monument, noting that the plaque was set low so as to be ADA compliant. He said he hopes the lodge will still be active in 100 years when the time capsule is opened.

“It is with great hopes that this plaque will endure the next 100 years, and while it is more than likely to outlive the lodge seen standing behind it, we are all hopeful that Masonry and the brethren that uphold its teachings and values will ensure that there is still a lodge standing here in 2119,” Woody said.

Among those Woody thanked for work on the monument were Shane Kannard of Mountain Electric, Miller’s Fabrication, Aaron Workman of Workman Contracting, the Actons, and Dennis Monroy of Design, Fabrication, Installation in Cody, who he noted is both an operative mason and a freemason.

The ceremony was observed by a handful of citizens and family members from the community.

By David Peck

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