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A Brief History of
St. John's Lodge No. 435 F&AM

On July 6, 1868, 10 brethren resigned their memberships in Lodge 62 in order to from a new Lodge in the City of Reading to be called St. John's Lodge.  This new Lodge was not to be formed without controversy over the need for another Masonic Lodge in Reading.  After a thorough investigation by Grand Lodge, and the Grand Master himself visiting Reading to hear the arguments for or against the formation of a new Lodge, a charter was granted to the St. John's Lodge No. 435 on March 1, 1869.
At a special meeting that day, the Right Worshipful Grand Master, Richard Vaux, accompanied by the Grand Lodge Officers Constituted St. John's Lodge, with Bro Frederick S. Boas installed as Worshipful Master. The other officers installed were John McKnight, Senior Warden, Edward H Shearer, Junior Warden, Edward P. Boas, Treasurer, and William G. McGowan, Secretary.  At the first stated meeting of St. John's Lodge, the following appointments were made; Brothers Thomas F. Hemmich, Senior Deacon, Henry M. Keim, Junior Deacon, Reese W. Frescoln, Senior Mastor of Ceremonies, Christopher Loeser, Junior Master of Ceremonies, and Albert A. Simon, Pursuivant.  These ten men being the same that resigned from Lodge 62 almost a year earlier.
At the stated meeting of August 6, 1869, the first by-laws were adopted.

300 S. 7th Ave, West Reading, 1969

Over the years St. John's Lodge has met at four locations in the Reading area.
Originally meeting at the American House on the South West corner of 4th and Penn Sts.

121 - 123 N. 5th St, Reading

Meetings were held on the upper floor of this building until a new Lodge meeting place was obtained on the 3rd floor of City Hall located at 5th and Franklin Sts. in 1873.  
Later a building was erected at 121 to 123 North 5th St in 1902.  The Reading Lodges meet at this location until 1963 when the new Masonic Temple was completed at 300 S. 7th Ave. in West Reading.

Through the years we have seen a wide fluctuation in membership.  From the beginning in 1869 with only 10 members, the Lodge grew rapidly, and by the close of 1870, eighty men were initiated into Freemasonry.  Membership was at 441 in 1919, the year of our 50th anniversary.  The year 1929 saw our highest membership of 750 members.  Membership fell due to the depression and WWII to around 530 through the 1930's and 40's but by 1957 we had regained members for a total of 728 by the close of that year.  Membership at the beginning of 1969, our 100th anniversary was 605. At the close of the Masonic Year 2005, membership was 334.
St. John's Lodge participated in the laying of the Corner Stone of the new Post Office at 5th and Washington Streets on May 1, 1939.
We were also the first Lodge to meet in the current Masonic Temple. On March 1st, 1963, St. John's Lodge had it's stated meeting in the new Lodge Hall in West Reading.

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Last modified: February 05, 2020
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