The History of Norwood Chapter
No. 204 (GRC) and No.18 (GRA)
by Comp James Tirrul-Jones, Scribe N, from the Historical Register
Compiled by MExComp Melvin M. Downey, RExComp John W. Limb, W.G.B. Roomes, MExComp Edgar L. Boyd May 1990 Re-formatted from the original booklet
Table of Contents:
- Past Scribe E’s
- Past First Principals
- Chapter One – The Early Years 1915-1931
- Chapter Two – The Lean Years 1932-1949
- Chapter Three – Modern Times 1950-1990
- Chapter Four – Into the New Millennium
- Chapter Five – The European Concept
This work would not have been possible without the diligent work of Scribe Ezra. The largest part of the information herein is from the minutes and the Historical Register which has been kept up to date by Scribe E since Norwood Chapter was instituted in 1915. I would also like to acknowledge the 75th Anniversary committee, chaired by RExComp Bob Margot. This committee first suggested that a history be done and provided the inspiration and support that has assured its completion. Lastly I would like to thank all of the Companions of Norwood Chapter No. 18, for it is they who have created this history. Each Companion has contributed to the health and long life of our Chapter.
Past Scribe Es
|VExComp W. Thompson 1915
ExComp A. Russell 1916
Comp W.E. Oliver 1917
ExComp A.G. Aldridge 1918
Comp H. Ross 1919
RExComp G.W. Potter 1920-21
VExComp J.F. Hall 1922-35
RExComp J.H. Richardson 1936-40
|RExComp J.J. Clarke 1941-46
MExComp G. Grieve 1947-50
RExComp J.W. Limb 1951-72
Comp W.G. Roomes 1973-74
MExComp J.D. Lee 1975-84
MExComp E.L. Boyd 1985-90
Past First Principals
|E.Comp W.E. Clark
VExComp W. Thompson
E.Comp W.C. Whitely
RExComp F.S. MacPherson
R.E.Comp J.J. Green
E.Comp A.C Sloane
E.Comp A.G. Aldridge
VExComp R.S. Davis
RExComp G.W. Potter
E.Comp C.A. Potter
RExComp J.H. Richardson
E.Comp J.A. Spalding
E.Comp A. Russell
E.Comp A. Sugden
RExComp G. Glyth
MExComp G. Grieve
E.Comp J.G. Walker
RExComp N. Luciow
RExComp J.J. Clarke
VExComp R. Glen
VExComp J.F. Hall
RExComp F.A. Smith
|RExComp G.H. Thomlinson
VExComp J.V. Dodds
VExComp W.F. Urquhart
RExComp J.A. Dutton
R.E Comp J.W. Limb
VExComp F. Thomlinson
R.E. Comp J.L. Brownlee
VExComp R.E. Parton
RExComp A.B. Ericksen
RExComp V.T. Young
VExComp E.J. White
E.Comp K.A. Rowe
RExComp J.K. Cowan
E.Comp W.F. Quilley
VExComp J.E. Jay
RExComp S. Fearon
RExComp H.F. Boag
RExComp D.R. Gittens
VExComp G.E. Poole
MExComp E.L. Boyd
E.Comp R.G. Menchions
E.Comp W.S. Rider
RExComp R.J. Lawson
|RExComp R.H. Millen
R.E. Comp M. Satanove
R.E. Comp G. Fearon
R.E. Comp G.J. Grobel
VExComp W.E. Kirkham
M.E. Comp J.D. Lee
VExComp O. Cooper
RExComp J.W. Johnson
RExComp W.B. Roomes
VExComp K.B. Eyre
R.E. Comp H.E. McHargue
VExComp J. Croft
V. E. Comp D.T. Clarke
V.E. Comp R.D. McBride
RExComp R.J. Dockstader
E.Comp W.D. Bouillon
E.Comp M.T. Murray
E.Comp J.C. Elliot
E.Comp L.C. Ryder
The history of a Chapter as recorded in the minutes and the Historical Register is one of work done, bills paid, and goods acquired. What the record does not show is the warmth and fellowship that is experienced by the Companions at each convocation, festive table, special event, and simply as friends meeting friends. This is the strength of the Chapter.
This history does tell of the progress made throughout the years and how traditions have been made and kept. I have decided not to dwell on the actual Masonic work done within Chapter, although the conferring of degrees was a major part of most convocations. It is not the intent of this work to simply list the degrees conferred or those advanced, received, and exalted into Capitular Masonry. If one seeks this information it can be found by directly consulting the historical register, which is kept by Scribe E.
It is hoped that you will find the few words that follow interesting and enjoyable. This is, by no means, considered the last word on the subject of the history of Norwood Chapter. The author appeals to every reader to send any comments or suggestions for additions or improvements c/o Norwood Chapter #18, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Chapter One: The Early Years: 1915-1931
In 1914 world war one had just begun and many young men were leaving for the front. That same year saw the beginning and first convocation of the Grand Chapter of Alberta. But the first years for the Grand Chapter of Albert were not without troubles because the Grand Chapter of Canada did not immediately recognize this new Grand Chapter in the west. So when a number of Companions gathered together to form a new Chapter it was under the Grand Chapter of Canada. On May 19, 1915 Norwood Chapter No.204, Royal Arch Masons, under dispensation of the Grand Registry of Canada was instituted. The first convocation was held in the Norwood Masonic Hall, McQueen Block, Edmonton, Alberta. The first officers were installed. E. Comp W. E. Clark was duly installed as the First Principal and therefore was the only “Z” to officially hold office for less than a year (May to December). There were 40 Companions in attendance at this first convocation. The Chapter started well with no less than 17 applicants for exaltation in the first year.
The Charter, numbered 204, was granted to Norwood Chapter by the Grand Chapter of Canada in 1916. In July, Norwood Chapter was Constituted and Consecrated by MExComp Murch. But at that same convocation the Grand First Principal of the Grand Chapter of Alberta announced that “all differences between the Grand Chapters of Canada and Alberta had been adjusted”. Therefore, on November 1, 1916 Norwood Chapter No. 204 resigned from the Grand Chapter of Canada and became Norwood Chapter No. No. 18, R.A.M., Grand Registry of Alberta. RExComp Hiram Darling, Grand Superintendent of District #1 presented Charter #18 to the Chapter at this time.
There were so many things to be done in these early years. Regalia had to be purchased. Membership increased in 1916 to 63 members and in 1917 a design for the Chapter penny and seal were adopted.
Even with all of the expenses involved in starting a Chapter, a motion was passed in 1917 that all Companions serving in the armed forces were exempt from dues. It was also arranged that tobacco be sent to the front. By 1918 the auditor was forced to report that the financial statement was not good.
In spite of the trying times brought on by the war years there was still time for Companions to get together just for fun. One of these times was a hockey game arranged between Norwood and Northstar Chapters in the winter of 1917. Both sides played hard but in the end Norwood emerged the winner. The final score was Norwood 6, Northstar 5.
After the war, Companion Laing, who was returning from overseas, brought with him a gavel made from the stone of the Temple quarry. He also presented to the Chapter a picture of the entrance to the quarry. This was the first of many presentations made by Companions to the Chapter that are recorded in the register.
The first Life Membership presented by Norwood Chapter was conferred February 4, 1920 on RExComp Dr. J.A. Neff who was the Grand Superintendent in 1918. The first Life Membership was followed by the first Suspensions on March 2, 1921. However, membership continued to climb.
In the light of this success, a committee was appointed to consider building a hall in the Norwood District. However, these plans were abandoned only one year later when an old German church located on the corner of 116 Avenue and 93 Street came up for sale. The asking price was $5000. Norwood Lodge No. 90 pursued the opportunity to buy it and on February 1. 1923, E.Comp George Potter announced that Norwood Lodge was purchasing the church. It was decided that the Chapter would rent the use of the new hall for $300 per year.
Unfortunately, there were problems with the building from the start. No sooner had the Chapter moved in than Companions began complaining of the cold. Later, in 1927, just four years after the Chapter began using the hall, they negotiated for a decrease in the rent which was subsequently lowered in 1928 and again in 1930.
By 1925 the Chapter membership had climbed to 100 Companions. This remained a record high until the late 1950’s. Also in 1925, VExComp George Potter became the first Grand officer who had been exalted into Norwood Chapter when he was appointed Grand Junior Sojourner. Only one year later V.Ex Comp Potter was elected the District Superintendent and was appointed the Grand Representative of Texas. A moment of silence was observed for this very active Companion when he died in 1929.
It is sometimes difficult for us to imagine what life was like in Edmonton in the 1920’s. At this time horses could still be seen in the streets. The Chapter had a special fee of $5 for persons living outside a 10-mile radius from the hall, a distance that does not seem far to us today. Also, in the late 20’s, prices began to drop in Edmonton. The rent for the Chapter was lowered and, in 1932, the fee for exaltation was reduced to $35. Edmonton was a much smaller town than it is today and after the stock market crash of 1929 there was a lot less money in circulation.
By 1930 the Chapter was beginning to notice a drop in membership. There were only five meetings in this year. Things looked bad for Norwood Chapter. In fact, the difficulties became so great that on December 17, 1931, at a regular convocation, it was seriously considered whether the Chapter should surrender its Charter. It was finally decided to carry on for another year with the same officers. There was no installation for the year 1932.
During this period there were, of course, banquets, and especially picnics held regularly. It is interesting to note that it appears as if the three degrees were sometimes done in a single night. Installations were always held in either December or January and were often honoured by the attendance of Grand officers. Also, they were usually celebrated with a banquet that same night. Regular Chapters of Instruction were also held most years. These were well supported with up to 70 persons attending.
Chapter Two: The Lean Years: 1932-1950
Indeed Norwood Chapter did carry on for one more year and 1933 began on a happier note with the installation of new officers in January. As was the custom a banquet was held, at which pictures of Bear Lake were shown by Comp John Michaels.
One of the Companions was commended for saving the lives of two persons in a plane crash in 1934. He was badly burned in the process but recovered well enough to serve the Chapter as First Principal in 1935. His name was Nick Luciow. Nick was later elected Grand Registrar of Grand Chapter in 1938.
The twenty-first anniversary of Norwood Chapter joining the Grand Chapter of Alberta was celebrated on November 4, 1937. The auditors report for this year was good but by 1938 attendance was falling and the Chapter lost more members at the start of the war. Many members were also in arrears. Nevertheless the Chapter forged ahead and decided to form a Past Principals Association with four other Chapters.
Due to the falling attendance, joint meetings were held with North Star and Capital City Chapters during the years of 1939 and 1940. Norwood Chapter also appealed to Grand Chapter requesting that all indebtedness be cancelled. In spite of the very serious financial situation, the Companions decided to keep all Companions who were in active service as members in good standing.
There were fewer convocations during the year. In 1942 the Chapter had only 26 members, the lowest number in its history. In 1943 there were only three convocations for the Companions to meet and share their thoughts and feelings. For the second time in the Chapter’s history, there was no installation for the coming year.
Norwood Lodge sold Norwood Temple in 1944. The Chapter met a few times at the Buffalo Hall at 118 Avenue and 86 Street then, in 1945, began meeting in the I.O.O.F. Hall at 95 street and 112 street. This was a very nice hall and well suited to the Chapter’s needs.
In 1947, Norwood Chapter was reported as being the smallest in Edmonton. However, during the most trying years from 1940 to 1947 the Chapter received compliments on its earnest members, its good work and its ability to maintain its good financial standing. Everyone felt that Norwood was built on a solid foundation and that the Chapter could weather any adversity. This spirit must have been the force behind the formation of a historical committee in 1946. By keeping up with the present and keeping with the traditions of the past, membership began to climb in 1948 and the Grand Superintendent RExComp A. Cashman reported “This Chapter is in a strong position and making good progress. Their books are in good shape and they have a splendid group of very good workers who take pardonable pride in doing their work well”. This was high praise indeed for the “smallest Chapter in Edmonton”.
The Historical Committee apparently had done its work, for on September 28, 1950, M.Ex.Comp M. Downey presented the Historical Register to the Chapter. This Register was a record of the first 35 years of the Chapter’s history and has been kept up to date from this time to the present.
Chapter Three: Modern Times: 1951-Present
No sooner had the decade begun than Norwood Chapter was hosting the District Meeting. Everyone was kept very busy. Membership increased so rapidly throughout the 1950’s that by 1960 there were 129 members. This was an increase of 79 members in a single decade!
On February 26, 1952, a memorial service was held for our late Companion His Most Gracious Majesty King George the Sixth, Past Grand Master Mason of Scotland, Honourary Past Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. One minute of silence was held for this worthy Companion who died on February 6 of this year.
Changes were being made during the 50’s. New regalia was purchased and the Tyler’s and the Scribe E.’s honoraria were increased. The bylaws were also changed to elect officers in November. This change is still in effect today. For the first time, in 1955, a past Z was presented with a past Z.’s apron at an installation. This presentation was made by the Grand First Principal George Grieve who was exalted in Norwood Chapter on 19 March 1924. He served as First Principal in 1933 and as Scribe E from 1946 to 1950. The meeting day was also changed to the fourth Wednesday of the month in 1957 and in the following year the Chapter began meeting at the Central Masonic Temple.
When Norwood Chapter celebrated its 50th anniversary (1965) V.E.Companion V.T. Young gave a resume of the history of the Chapter and noted that the design for the penny was adopted as early as 1916. R. E. Companion Nick Luciow also presented three collar chains to the Chapter. Only three years before the V.O.S.L. had been replaced and the old V.O.S.L. which E. Companion V. T. Young had repaired in 1952 was presented to the Ashlar Club.
The inflationary times of the 60’s and early 70’s were also experienced within the Chapter. Dues were increased three times from $6 to $12. The rental rate also increased from $35 to $60. The generosity of the Companions, however, was never greater. Comp L.A. Byers presented a set of three gavels to the Chapter in 1967, RExComp Luciow presented an altar cloth, twelve chain collars and a pedestal cloth between the years 1969 and 1972, E.Comp J.D. Lee presented a square and compasses set in 1973, and in 1976, R.E.Comps. Boag, Gittens and Lee presented the three Principals robes to the Chapter. This generosity within the Chapter was tempered by the words spoken by R.E.Comp . D.R. Gittens in 1966 “that we should live our Masonry as letter perfect on the streets as we do in our Chapters”.
In 1973 Norwood Chapter moved to Acacia Masonic Hall, 10433-83 Avenue where the Chapter met until 2016. But more importantly, the year will be remembered for the conferring of the title of Scribe E Emeritus on our beloved and well respected RExComp J.W. Limb who lived up to the letter of his obligation in the most creditable manner by serving as Scribe E for the past 22 years.
On the year of the 60th anniversary of the Chapter the day of meeting was changed to the fourth Tuesday of the month. The celebration of the 60th anniversary was held on January 27, 1976 when E.Comp P. Zrobok was installed as First Principal. At the festive table a history which was prepared byRExComp Jack Lee was delivered by MExComp George Grieve. It was noted that the original Junior Sojourner, RExComp Walter Hill was in attendance.
During the next 15 years from 1975 to 1990, the Chapter saw considerable growth, improvement, and several honours were bestowed upon its members. Still, there were the regular increases in costs and fees with which the Chapter coped well and maintained financial stability.
The increase in membership meant that the Chapter was doing a considerable amount of work. In 1981 alone the membership increased by 25 Companions. Still, the traditions of the Chapter were not forgotten. Time was taken out to celebrate the 70th birthday of Companion D.A. Bartlett (Treasurer) in August of 1980 and social events and reaffirmation Church services were held regularly.
The look of the work in Chapter improved a great deal during the late 80’s. MExComp Jack Lee fashioned a beautiful new ark which was used for the first time on March 26, 1985. Walter Hill left a bequest to the Chapter which was used for the purchase of new banners and standards in 1986, while in 1988, new crowns were ordered. These arrived only just in time for a Royal Arch Degree which was conferred on November 22, 1988.
The improvements in the Regalia did not in any way lessen the Chapter’s charitable assistance to others. In 1978 it was duly moved, seconded, and passed that the Chapter would make an annual donation to the Youth Endowment Trust Fund. Dennis Bartlett left a bequest of $1000 which was directly transferred to the Life Membership Fund. In addition to this R.E Comp Robert Margot provided meals at all festive tables free of charge and in return the Chapter donated funds to the Royal Arch Youth Endowment Fund and the Masonic Higher Education Fund.
Many members of Norwood Chapter have dedicated their time to serving Grand Chapter. In 1982 alone no less than 8 Grand officers from Norwood Chapter were installed, including the Grand First Principal MExComp Jack Lee. Only one year later another Companion from Norwood Chapter, MExComp Edgar Boyd was made Grand First Principal. Several of our members were honoured in other ways. Companion D.A. Bartlett was granted the title of Treasurer Emeritus of Norwood Chapter on January 25, 1983, While RExComp Henry Boag was awarded the Grand Chapter Special Award in 1985. This was only the fourth time in the history of the Grand Chapter that this award had been given and Henry is the only living holder of it.
This record of the Chapter began with the work of Scribe E. who has, through these 75 years, kept the minutes of the Chapter. In 1985, MExComp Jack Lee retired after 10 years as Scribe E. and the new Scribe E., MExComp Ed Boyd presented to him, on behalf of the Chapter, five bottles of Remi Martin XO Brandy. After five years of dedication and duty to this post, Ed turned over the Register to a new Scribe E. who carried on the records of this great order. May we all lift our glasses in a toast to this high office and look forward to many more years of work and Companionship within this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons.
Chapter Four: Into the New Millennium
(To be completed)
Chapter Five: The European Concept
(To be completed)
Moving On To A New Home
With the financial state of Acacia Masonic Hall, several Masonic lodges and North Star Chapter decided to move out. After 43 years of holding meetings at Acacia Masonic Hall, the companions of Norwood decided it was time to move, so as not to be burdened with higher membership costs. As of January 2017, the Chapter is holding its meetings and events at Strathcona Place Seniors’ Centre.