Grand Lecturer’s Blog

GLC Niagara Orleans November 2017

 Niagara Orleans District Grand Lecturer Convention

October 27, 2016

            Red Jacket Lodge No. 646 was the host for the Niagara Orleans Grand Lecturer Convention this year.   Red Jacket Lodge meets at the historic Lockport Masonic Center in the heart of the city near locks E34 & E35 on the Erie Canal.   Ames Chapter No. 88 Royal Arch Masons hosted the dinner and social hour.  Many of the members of Red Jacket Lodge are also members of Ames Chapter; including MW James E. Sullivan.  There were over 60 in attendance for the lasagna dinner and many more for the GLC.  The comradery before and after the convention made for an excellent setting.

The GLC began with Niagara LaSalle 132 being presented with both the district ritual award for ritual excellence as well as the Potts Award.  Sutherland Lodge 826 was also presented the Meacham Award for conferring all three degrees with members only.    The next part of the convention covered the edict requiring all lodges to be certified for opening and closing.  The new additional proficiency in open lodge was also demonstrated and discussed.     

The work of the evening was rendered wonderfully with great emotion.  The Middle Chamber Lecture was divided among five brothers who performed wonderfully as they worked through the lecture.  The discussions that ensued on the many teaching points of the MCL were well thought out and provoked extended conversation.   Those in attendance agreed that there are many similarities in the MCL that can relate to personal growth and development as well as their Masonic progress.  Testimony to the depth of the discussion was displayed when no one complained as the convention extended beyond the normal quitting time.  Once again, it was a great GLC in Niagara Orleans.   

Just before ending the convention, Niagara River 785 was recognized for qualifying for the Potts Award.

Lockport, NY

Lockport, NY

Lockport is a city in Niagara County. , United States. It is so named from a set of Erie Canal locks within the city. Lockport is the county seat of Niagara County and is surrounded by the town of Lockport. It is part of the Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The New York State Legislature authorized the Erie Canal’s construction in April 1816. The route proposed by surveyors was to traverse an area in central Niagara County, New York, which was then “uncivilized” and free of White settlers. At the time, the nearest settlers were in nearby Cold Springs, New York. As it became known where the proposed canal was to be built, land speculators began to buy large plots along and near the proposed route of the canal. By December 1820, when the exact location of the step locks had been determined, the area that would become Lockport was owned by only fifteen men, many of whom were Quakers.

The canal reached Lockport in 1824, but the locks were not completed until 1825. By 1829, Lockport had become an established village. The community was centered on the locks, and consisted mainly of immigrant Scottish and Irish canal workers, brought in as labor. The workers remained in Lockport after the completion of the locks, giving the city a heavy Celtic influence still discernible today, especially in the Lowertown and North Lockport neighborhoods.

The Erie Canal was supplanted by the larger New York State Barge Canal in 1918, and the famous south “flight of five” locks was replaced by two much larger locks E34 and E35. The north “flight of five” lock chambers still remains as a spill way. In recent years public officials and private businesses have made an effort to incorporate Lockport history into a regional or national tourist attraction. This includes the completion of the Canal Discovery Center, the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride tour, and the Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises. Local officials are seeking state grants to reconstruct the historic “flight of five” and make it a living history site complete with boat rides and reenactors. Published reports state a living history site in Lockport marketed as a day trip from Niagara Falls could draw thousands to Lockport each year.

The city has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.  Lockport’s largest employer is General Motors Components, the former Harrison Radiator Corporation, which was founded locally in 1912 and which became a division of General Motors Corporation in 1918. Following 10 years of ownership by Delphi Corporation as Delphi Thermal Systems, it returned to General Motors in October 2009

Some Lockport Highlights:

  • The Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises boat rides are offered on the Erie Canal, with one proceeding upward through the modern locks for a short cruise, and returning to pass downstream under two lift bridges and then returning to the docks.
  • The Lockport Erie Canal Museum is located in an old lock control structure between the modern Locks 34 & 35 and the remaining original “Flight of Five” Locks spillway and contains historic photographs, maps, engineering drawings and antique machinery.
  • The Canal Discovery Center is housed in an old church about 100 yards to the west of the locks.
  • Lockport has the widest bridge (399′ wide x 129′ length) in North America which spans the canal to the southwest of the locks.
  • The Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride tour can be taken near the locks.
  • The Niagara County Historical Society located at 215 Niagara Street. It is a complex of buildings that together tell the story of Niagara County history.
  • 100 American Craftsmen is an annual show of arts and crafts held at the Kenan Arena. The arena is located on the historic Kenan Center campus.

GLC Letchworth District 2017

Grand Lecturer Convention

Letchworth

November 8, 2017

The 2nd annual Grand Lecturer Convention in the Letchworth District was hosted by Olive Branch Lodge No. 39. The Lodge received its charter in 1811 and takes great pride in its Masonic heritage. The building is totally refurbished and the love of those brothers work provides a wonderful backdrop for performing Great Masonic Work. After a tour of the building, all were treated to a wonderful dinner that was hosted by many of the lodge’s Brothers with a strong assistance by the local Rainbow Chapter. Ham off the bone, chicken and a full complement including potatoes, vegetables, and salad completed the feast.

The convention began with a ritual update and a highlight of the past three years of conventions. I informed all present that the edict for certification to open and close lodge with only the elected, appointed and installed members of the lodge by memory was still in force. I also explained that the focus on the additional proficiency in open lodge was still going to be a focus of this year’s work.

I then made presentations to Warsaw 549, Eunice 830, and Hesperus 837 with their Potts Award for their attendance in the 2016 GLC. I also was extremely pleased to present The Meacham Award for outstanding ritualistic performance to Union 45.

The work of the evening was the opening and closing of a lodge in the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft Degree. It was explained that part of the rationale of opening on all three degrees dove tails nicely with the new North Star Project. Brothers proceeding through the lines will be encouraged to expand their depth and breadth of our ritual as opposed to rapidly being moved through the chairs.  This should help produce more informed Brethren and stronger lodges. Our mantra of quality over quantity will have added credibility as we progress in a more measure pace with our new Brethren.

There was much discussion as to the impact that this new option of opening on all three degrees can greatly enhance the educational process of our new Brothers. The consolidation of the old Livingston and Genesee Wyoming Districts are beginning to gel into a cohesive unit. I am looking for great things as the district continues to work together in all functions.

Letchworth Masonic District

Letchworth Masonic District

Livingston County is a county is named after Robert R. Livingston, who helped draft the Declaration of Independence and negotiated the Louisiana Purchase. On February 23, 1821, Livingston County, New York was formed from Ontario and Genesee Counties. The twelve original towns were: Avon, Caledonia, Conesus, Geneseo, Groveland, Leicester, Lima, Livonia, Mount Morris, Sparta, Springwater, and York.

Avon, Williamsburgh, and the hamlet of Lakeville competed for the honor of becoming the Livingston County seat, but the distinction was bestowed upon Geneseo, the principal village and center of commerce. The Wadsworths donated a suitable lot, beautifully situated at the north end of the village. The brick courthouse faced Main Street, the jail of wood construction was built directly west, and a one-story cobblestone building for the County Clerk’s office was built east of the courthouse. Until construction was completed in 1823, court was held in the upper story of the district school on Center Street (east of the present-day Livingston County Museum) and prisoners were housed in Canandaigua. In 1829 the county opened a poor house farm just outside the village.

Genesee County is a got Its name is from the Seneca Indian word Gen-nis’-hee-yo, meaning “the Beautiful Valley”. The county was created in 1802 and organized in 1803. Genesee County comprises the Batavia, NY Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also in the Rochester-Batavia-Seneca Falls, NY Combined Statistical Area.

When counties were established in New York State in 1683, the present Genesee County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). In 1784 Tryon County was renamed as Montgomery County.

Genesee County was included in the 19th century “burned-over district”- the Western region of New York consumed by religious revivals characterized by “the evangelical desire to convert the entire American population to Christianity and to create a ‘moral, homogeneous commonwealth.'” This religious moral crusade provided the social atmosphere that allowed Antimasonic sentiment to gain momentum as a significant church-oriented movement, and, later, a grass-root political party that became the nation’s first third party.

By the 1820s, Freemasonry was prevalent in Genesee County. From 1821 to 1827, half of all county officials were Freemasons ]In September 1826, William Morgan, a resident of Batavia, New York, disappeared after having been briefly imprisoned for failure to repay a debt. Morgan had been rejected from the Masonic lodge in Batavia, and, as a result, threatened to publish a book which exposed the secret rituals of Freemasonry. His disappearance and presumed murder ignited a campaign against Freemasonry. The investigation into Morgan’s disappearance confronted major obstacles from government officials and the judiciary- positions that were largely occupied by Freemasons. The Morgan Affair combined with existing suspicions and distrust of the secrecy of Freemasonry initiated mass meetings throughout the county to decide how the issue of Freemasonry should be handled. The Antimasonry crusade’s original goal was to oust Masons from political offices. Through the political guidance of party organizers, such as Thurlow Weed and William Seward, the crusade developed into a political party that enjoyed a political stronghold in Genesee County and the rest of the “burned-over district.”

The Antimasonic Party found strong support within Genesee County from 1827 to 1833. The party averaged 69 percent of the vote and won every county office. After continuous domination of Masonic politicians, citizens saw Antimasonry as a solution and an opportunity to restore justice and republicanism. The Baptist and Presbyterian churches favored Antimasonry and encouraged their members to renounce ties with the fraternity. The party was originally associated with populist rhetoric, however, strong Antimasonic sentiment throughout the county correlated with positive economic developments and high population densities. Larger towns, such as Batavia, the county seat and Le Roy, harbored the strongest support for the party. The timing of the creation of the Antimasonic Party coincided with a time in New York politics that encouraged the expansion of political participation. The party leaders made the Antimasonic Party, and later the Whig Party, a great success in Genesee County and other neighboring counties.

Wyoming County is also within the Letchworth District. The county seat is Warsaw. The name is from a modified Delaware Indian word meaning “broad bottom lands”. Wyoming County was formed from Genesee County in 1841.

As with the rest of Western New York, Wyoming County was part of disputed territory throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, with Massachusetts Bay Colony, Connecticut Colony, Pennsylvania Colony, New York Colony, and (to a lesser extent) New France; New York’s claims would not be recognized until the Treaty of Hartford was ratified in 1786 and would not be actively asserted until the Holland Purchase.

In regard to New York’s claim, as of 1683 the present Wyoming County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766, by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770, by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.

On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately five miles west of the present city of Schenectady, and the county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York.

In the years prior to 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled to Canada. In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, the name of Tryon County was changed to Montgomery County in order to honor the general, Richard Montgomery, who had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebec, replacing the name of the hated British governor.

In 1789, Ontario County was split off from Montgomery as part of the establishment of the Morris Reserve. Almost all of the land west of the Genesee River, including all of present-day Wyoming County, was part of the Holland Land Purchase in 1793 and was sold through the Holland Land Company’s office in Batavia, starting in 1801.

GLC Oswego 2017

Grand Lecturer Convention

Oswego

November 3, 2017

The annual Grand Lecturer Convention in the Oswego District was hosted by Central Square Lodge 622. Central Square is another of our older buildings which appears to be quite normal in the North Country. Looking at the interior it is the tender loving care of the membership is apparent.    We had lasagna as a pre-convention dinner provided by a local restaurant. It was plentiful in both quantity and quality and I believe there were many take home packages going out.

The convention began with a ritual update and a highlight of the past three years of conventions. I informed all present that the edict for certification to open and close lodge with only the elected, appointed and installed members of the lodge by memory was still in force. I also explained that the focus on the additional proficiency in open lodge was still going to be a focus of this year’s work.

The work of the evening was the opening and closing of a lodge in the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft Degree. It was explained that part of the rationale of opening on all three degrees dove tails nicely with the new North Star Project. Brothers proceeding through the lines will be encouraged to expand their depth and breadth of our ritual as opposed to rapidly being moved through the chairs.  This should help produce more informed Brethren and stronger lodges. Our mantra of quality over quantity will have added credibility as we progress in a more measure pace with our new Brethren.

There was much discussion as to the impact that this new option of opening on all three degrees can greatly enhance the educational process of our new Brothers. Among those in attendance were Oswego stalwarts and close friends: RW and ME Richard Trust and RW John Fuller Past Grand Senior Warden. I was also pleased to have a Fellowcraft in attendance.

Central Square 622 received the Sheldon Blank Attendance Award. Scriba 414 qualified for the Potts Award for having their top seven officers in attendance. In addition, Scriba was awarded the Richard Dowling Award for best attendance of lodge officers and the Vernon Goettel Award for longest distance traveled. Pulaski was presented The Potts Award for their 2016 GLC attendance. It was truly a great day and convention. In addition RW Charles Roberts; Grand Chaplain emeritus performed the chaplain work for the convention.

Thanks to All!

Grand Lecturer Convention

Otsego Schoharie

November 2, 2017

 

The annual Grand Lecturer Convention for the Otsego Schoharie District was held in the historic Oneonta Lodge Building in the center of the city.  The evening began with a tour of many of the architecture and memorabilia of the building.   The storied past of the Masonic history of the district was photographed by be previous to the convention.   Dinner was provided by the lodge and then we moved to the 3rd floor for the convention.

The convention began with a ritual update and a highlight of the past three years of conventions. I informed all that the edict for certification to open and close lodge with only the elected and installed members of the lodge by memory was still in force.  I also explained that the focus on the additional proficiency in open lodge was still going to be a focus of this year’s work.

The work of the evening was the opening and closing of a lodge in the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft Degree.  VW Adam Sokolowski; AGL is to be commended for properly preparing the ritualist who performed for the convention.  I also would like to thank Adam for moving the conventions to four different sites during the course of my four years. It was explained that part of the rationale of opening on all three degrees dove tails nicely with the new North Star Project.  Brothers proceeding through the lines will be encouraged to expand their depth and breadth of our ritual as opposed to rapidly being moved through the chairs.  This should help produce more informed Brethren and stronger lodges.  Our mantra of quality over quantity will have added credibility as we progress in a more measure pace with our new Brethren.

There was much discussion as to the impact that this new option of opening on all three degrees can greatly enhance the educational process of our new Brothers.

I also want to thanks Schenevus valley 592 for qualifying for the Potts Award. Special thanks to ME Newsham and Stoy for their attendance.

Fort Ontario & Fort Oswego

Fort Ontario

Fort Ontario is a historic fort situated by the City of Oswego, in Oswego County, New York. It is owned by the state of New York and operated as a museum known as Fort Ontario State Historic Site Fort Ontario is located on the east side of the Oswego River on high ground overlooking Lake Ontario.

Fort Ontario was one of several forts erected by the British to protect the area around the east end of Lake Ontario. The original Fort Ontario was erected in 1755, during the French and Indian War in order to bolster defenses already in place at Fort Oswego on the opposite side of the river. At that time its name was the “Fort of the Six Nations,” but the fort was destroyed by French forces and rebuilt by British forces in 1759

At the conclusion of Pontiac’s War, Pontiac urged moderation and agreed to travel to New York, where he made a formal treaty with William Johnson at Fort Ontario on July 25, 1766.

During the American Revolutionary War, a detachment from the 3rd New York Regiment destroyed the fort in July, 1778, after the British abandoned it. The British returned and rebuilt the fort in 1782. There was an aborted attack on the fort by Colonel Marinus Willet in 1783. The British held the fort after the war was over until 1796 after the signing of Jay’s Treaty.

The fort was attacked and destroyed by British forces during the War of 1812 in the year 1814. After a period of disuse, new construction was undertaken in part because of tensions with Great Britain as well as to check smuggling activities between Canada and the United States.

During the Civil War the new construction began at the fort because of fear of British help from Canada to the South. Although the fort remained a military base, the fort itself fell into ruin, since funds were used to create more modern quarters outside the fort. The 2nd Brigade  of the U.S, 1st Infantry Division called Fort Ontario home until the brigade was deactivated on June 1, 1940.

Fort Oswego

Fort Oswego was an 18th-century trading post in the Great Lakes region in North America, which became the site of a pitched battle between French and British forces in 1756 during the French and Indian War. The fort was established in 1727 on the orders of New York governor William Burnet, adjacent to a 1722 blockhouse that had originally been a way station for French traders. The log palisade fort established a British presence on the Great Lakes.

In 1756 the fort’s garrison of British soldiers from the 50th and 51st regiments were easily defeated by a combined French and Native American force. More than one hundred British soldiers were killed, many of them after the fort had been formally surrendered. The French took a further 1,500 British prisoners, and destroyed the fort itself. The site is now included in the city of Oswego, New York.

GLC 2nd Erie 2017

Grand Lecturer Convention

2nd Erie District

October 30, 2017

The annual Grand Lecturer Convention for the 2nd Erie Masonic District was held at Western Star Lodge No. 1185 in downtown Lackawanna. A dinner was provided by the lodge’s “R” Club as was consumed with vigor.   The convention began with a ritual update and a highlight of the past three years of conventions. I informed all that the edict for certification to open and close lodge with only the elected and installed members of the lodge by memory was still in force. I also explained that the focus on the additional proficiency in open lodge was still going to be a focus of this year’s work.

The work of the evening was the opening and closing of a lodge in the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft Degree. VW Douglas Mekeel; AGL is to be commended for properly preparing the ritualist who performed for the convention. It was explained that part of the rationale of opening on all three degrees dove tails nicely with the new North Star Project. Brothers proceeding through the lines will be encouraged to expand their depth and breadth of our ritual as opposed to rapidly being moved through the chairs.  This should help produce more informed Brethren and stronger lodges. Our mantra of quality over quantity will have added credibility as we progress in a more measure pace with our new Brethren.

There was much discussion as to the impact that this new option of opening on all three degrees can greatly enhance the educational process of our new Brothers.

Congratulations to Living stone 255, West Seneca 1111, and Western Star 1185 for receiving the Potts Award for their attendance at the 2016 Convention. In addition, Western Star also qualified for the Potts Award this year. In addition, Western Star retained the Masonic Scholl of Instruction Gavel. Hats off to RW Drzewucki for all his hard work and support these past two years. It is always great to come back home and receive such warm greetings. A Grand Lecturer Convention in Erie County is never complete without the attendance of my great friend and mentor, MW Edward G. Gilbert.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States; more specifically, between the province of Ontario and New York State. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge. From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lies on the border of the United States and Canada with the American Falls entirely on the United States’ side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also on the United States’ side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island.

Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world that has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet. During peak daytime tourist hours, more than six million cubic feet of water goes over the crest of the falls every minute. Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America, as measured by flow rate. Niagara Falls is famed both for its beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Balancing recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 19th century.

The Horseshoe Falls drop about 188 feet, while the height of the American Falls varies between 70 and 100 feet because of the presence of giant boulders at its base. The larger Horseshoe Falls are about 2,600 feet wide, while the American Falls are 1,060 feet wide. The distance between the American extremity of the Niagara Falls and the Canadian extremity is 3,409 feet.

The peak flow over Horseshoe Falls was recorded at 225,000 cubic feet per second. The average annual flow rate is 85,000 cubic feet per second. Since the flow is a direct function of the Lake Erie water elevation, it typically peaks in late spring or early summer. During the summer months, at least 100,000 cubic feet per second of water traverses the falls, some 90% of which goes over the Horseshoe Falls, while the balance is diverted to hydroelectric facilities. This is accomplished by employing a weir – the International Control Dam– with movable gates upstream from the Horseshoe Falls. The falls’ flow is further halved at night, and, during the low tourist season in the winter, remains a minimum of 50,000 cubic feet per second. Water diversion is regulated by the 1950 Niagara Treaty and is administered by the International Niagara Board of Control (IJC).

GLC Cortland Madison 2017

Grand Lecturer Convention

Cortland Madison District

October 27, 2017

The annual Grand Lecturer Convention for the Cortland Madison District was held at Hamilton Lodge No. 120. The building was built in 2006 for the expressed purpose of having a modern Masonic facility in the town. The building is wonderfully appointed with many Masonic artifacts, tracing boards, and many Masonic memorabilia. The displays are tastefully presented and provide a warm welcoming atmosphere as you enter the building, Dinner was a home-made Italian dinner prepared by the Worshipful Master.

The convention began with a ritual update and a highlight of the past three years of conventions. I informed all that the edict for certification to open and close lodge with only the elected and installed members of the lodge by memory was still in force. I also explained that the focus on the additional proficiency in open lodge was still going to be a focus of this year’s work. Those in attendance were also informed the Custodians of the Work are working on improving the Hiramic Legend Ceremony.

The work of the evening was the opening and closing of a lodge in the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft Degree. The AGLS are to be commended for properly preparing the ritualist who performed for the convention. RW Scott Carey worked as Worshipful Master for both the opening and closing.  He was forced into service when emergencies prevented the appointed Brother from attending. It was great seeing Scott back in the ritual saddle. Once an AGL always an AGL!

It was explained that part of the rationale of opening on all three degrees dove tails nicely with the new North Star Project. Brothers proceeding through the lines will be encouraged to expand their depth and breadth of our ritual as opposed to rapidly being moved through the chairs.  This should help produce more informed Brethren and stronger lodges. Our mantra of quality over quantity will have added credibility as we progress in a more measure pace with our new Brethren.

Congratulations to Cazenovia Lodge 616 for qualifying for the Potts Award. Thank you to our host for inviting us into their home. I am also humbled by the wonderful present presented me by the lodge. I wish the district and especially Hamilton Lodge nothing but a wonderful future.

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