Grand Lecturer’s Blog

GLC Franklin Hamilton 2017

Grand Lecturer Convention

Franklin Hamilton District

September 14, 2017

The Franklin Hamilton Grand Lecturer Convention was held at the Whiteface Mountain Lodge No. 789.  Whiteface is located the township of Saranac Lake.  Whiteface Lodge is a very old building and houses a wonderfully kept up lodge room.  The craftsmanship and the attention to detail are evident throughout.  I commend the members of the lodge for maintaining this treasure.

I arrived at the convention to a home cooked dinner prepared by one of the member’s wife.  Meatloaf stuffed with mozzarella cheese was the highlight of the meal.  All in attendance indicated that this is the normal.  It is widely known that this district, especially this lodge travels on their stomachs.  Their motto is we don’t work for money, but food….. That is a different question.

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.

The work of the evening was the opening and closing of a lodge in the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft Degree.  The AGL is to be commended for properly preparing the ritualist who performed for the convention.  It was great to have two Fellowcrafts; Brothers Erick Engeholm and Sean Latham in attendance.  Both Brothers are involved with the lodge and will prove their proficiency in open lodge.  .    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 before being rapidly processed 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.

Thanks to RW William Gutersloh; District Deputy Grand Master and VW Troy Hazen; Assistant Grand Lecturer for ensuring the evening went off perfectly.     Brother Gutersloh was raised in the Noble Ninth and our AGL has served in his position for 10 years.  I Was happy to present Whiteface Mountain with a Potts Award for last year’s attendance and congratulate them on qualifying again this year.

Saranac Lake

Saranac Lake

Saranac Lake is a village in the state of New York.    The Village of Saranac Lake covers parts of three towns Harrietstown, St. Armand, and North Elba and two counties Franklin and Essex. The county line is within two blocks of the center of the village. At the 2010 census, 3,897 village residents lived in Harrietstown.   The village boundaries do not touch the shores of any of the three Saranac Lakes; Lower Saranac Lake, the nearest, is a half mile west of the village. The northern reaches of Lake Flower, which is a wide part of the Saranac River downstream from the three Saranac Lakes, lie within the village. The town of Saranac is an entirely separate entity.

Saranac Lake was named the best small town in New York State and ranked 11th in the United States in The 100 Best Small Towns in America In 1998, the National Civic League named Saranac Lake an All-America City, and in 2006 the village was named one of the “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  186 buildings in the village are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The area was first settled in 1819 by the Jacob Smith Moody. In 1827, settlers Pliny Miller and Alric Bushnell established a logging facility with a dam and sawmill, forming the basis for the village. The first school was built in 1838, and in 1849, William F. Martin built one of the first hotels in the Adirondacks — the Saranac Lake House, known simply as “Martin’s” — on the southeast shore of Lower Saranac Lake. Martin’s would soon become a favorite place for hunters, woodsmen, and socialites to meet and interact.

St. Lawrence Seaway

The Saint Lawrence Seaway

The Saint Lawrence Seaway (French: la Voie Maritime du Saint-Laurent) is a system of locks, canals and channels in Canada and the United States that permit ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes of North America, as far inland as the western end of Lake Superior. The Seaway is named for the Saint Lawrence River, which flows from Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean. Legally, the Seaway extends from Montreal, Quebec, to Lake Erie and includes the Welland Canal.

This section upstream of the Seaway is not a continuous canal; rather, it consists of several stretches of navigable channels within the river, a number of locks, and canals along the banks of the St. Lawrence River to bypass several rapids and dams. A number of the locks are managed by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in Canada, and others in the United States by the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation; the two bodies together advertise the Seaway as part of “Highway H2O”.  The section of the river from Montreal to the Atlantic is within Canadian jurisdiction and is regulated by the offices of Transport Canada in the Port of Quebec.

Grand Lecturer Convention St. Lawrence 2017

Grand Lecturer Convention

St. Lawrence District

September 13, 2017

The St Lawrence Grand Lecturer Convention began with dinner at the Club with many of the districts leaders.  The Club is conveniently located in Canton and is frequently used by many Masonic organizations.  The trip to our host lodge; What Cheer No. 689 was quite an adventure as the Assistant Grand Lecturer, VW Bertrand got turned around and decided to give me a tour of the entire coast of Norwood Lake (pond).  But we made it safely and the convention began promptly on Grand Lecturer time.

The evening events began with a ritual update.  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.

The work of the evening was the opening and closing of a lodge in the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft Degree.  The AGL is to be commended for properly preparing the ritualist who performed for the convention.  It was extremely rewarding to see two 18 year olds take ritualistic parts in both degrees.    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 before being rapidly processed 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.

Thanks to RW Thomas Jennison; District Deputy Grand Master.    We closed the evening by stopping at an old railroad watering hole: Gandy Dancer Restaurant.

Grand Lecturer Convention Jefferson Lewis 2017

Grand Lecturer Convention

Jefferson Lewis District

September 8, 2017

The Jefferson Lewis Grand Lecturer Convention began with a dinner catered by the local Order of Eastern Star Chapter.    This was the first Grand Lecturer Convention in the reconstituted Jefferson Lewis District.  Rising Light Lodge No. 637 was the host lodge.  RW Peter Payne and Daniel Lort presided over the convention.  DDGM Payne opened the convention and DDGM Lort closed the evening.

The evening events began with a ritual update.  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.  I then presented Potts Awards and a Meacham Award that were earned last year.  Bethany 821, Philadelphia 916, and Rising Light 637 were all presented their certificates.  Alexandria Bay Lodge 297 received the Meacham Award for their ritual excellence.  In addition, Alexandria Bay qualified for the Potts Award to be presented next year.

The work of the evening was the opening and closing of a lodge in the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft Degree.  Although none of the ritual is new, the Brothers that were presenting the ritual had some initial problems.  But once we began the work was much improved.  It was explained that part of the rationale dove tails nicely with the new North Star Project.  Brother proceeding through the lines will be encouraged to expand their depth and breadth of our ritual before being rapidly processed through the chairs.  This should help produce more informed Brethren and stronger lodges.

Thanks to RW Peter Payne and RW Daniel Lort; District Deputy Grand Masters of the Jefferson and Jefferson Lewis Districts respectively.  I also need to thank VW Patrick Gibbens; AGL of the Jefferson Lewis District for his outstanding work at the convention.

Alexandria Bay

Alexandria Bay

While Alexandria Bay has a relatively low population during the winter months and has no colleges, the late spring, summer, and early fall seasons bring an influx of vacationers and avid boaters that cause the population of the village to exceed 15,000. Several motels and hotels are available in the immediate village area. Boat tours are available of the bay and river area daily.

Boldt Castle is a 120-room mansion on Heart Island, located near Alexandria Bay. The castle was designed by the firm of W.D. Hewitt and G.W. Hewitt, Architects of Philadelphia, who also designed Druim Moir Castle in Philadelphia. Boldt Castle was built at the turn of the century by multi-millionaire George C. Boldt for his wife, Louise, as a testimony of his love for her. Mr. Boldt invested over $2.5 million to build this replica of a Rhineland castle.

 

Boldt Castle in winter

Boldt planned on presenting it to his wife on Valentine’s Day. Work was underway on the eleven buildings that would comprise the castle complex when in January 1904 Louise Boldt died, ending the dreams of a lifetime. George Boldt ordered that all work be stopped and for 73 years the Castle and the other structures on the island were left to the forces of nature. The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the property in 1977; since that time, several million dollars have been spent rehabilitating and restoring the castle and surrounding structures. Ferries allow access to the castle on an hourly schedule daily.

Every August, 10 days are devoted to “Bill Johnston’s Pirate Days”, a town-wide festival that features professional performers acting out pirate battles and a “siege” of the town by the “Pirate of the Thousand Islands”, Bill Johnston, whom the festival is named after. It is encouraged that attendees dress in pirate attire, as do the actors who line the streets. The festival is also educational, with many groups providing galleries, displays, and informative presentations of the weapons and ships used during the Golden Age of Piracy.

GLC Columbia – Greene Ulster – Dutchess 2017

 

Grand Lecturer Convention

Columbia – Greene Ulster – Dutchess

April 18, 2017

This year Columbia, Greene Ulster, and Dutchess Districts hosted a combined Grand Lecturer Convention (GLC).   The GLC was hosted by Monumental Lodge 374 in Tivoli which is in the Columbia District.  It was fortuitous that the district leaders choose a location that could accommodate the convention because of the sheer number in attendance.  The hall was plenty big to accommodate the more than 75 diners.  When we moved upstairs for the convention it when we maxed out the lodge room.  The number of those in attendance enthusiastically increased by more than 50.  There was little room for the floor work.  But everyone was in a good mood and we made it work.

RW Cornelius Hageman, DDGM of the Columbia District opened the convention and he promptly acknowledged all from the three districts, especially all who were responsible for bringing this event together.  The number of Brethren and the enthusiasm they brought to the convention exceeded everyone’s wildest dream.   This is extremely good news as the districts are trying to come to a consensus as the try to consolidate into one Masonic District.

The degree work of the evening was portrayed in a professional manner with feeling and dignity.  The discussions that ensued were though provoking and awakened many of the Brethren to the depth and breadth of the deep meanings that reside in the Middle Chamber Lecture.  I as Grand Lecturer was in heaven.  Masonry does not get much better than this.

Congratulations to Adonai Lodge 718 for qualifying for both the Meacham and Potts Awards.  That brought more members that exceed some GLC totals.  It appears that are a very dedicated group of Masons.  In addition for qualifying for the Potts Award.   It was also a source of pride for the district to have representation from every lodge in the district.  The sidelines were full and the energy was outstanding.  In addition Unity 9 and Wappingers 718 qualified for the Potts Award.  It was great to see the enthusiasm on my good friend RW Uhle ( Worshipful Master of Wappingers) jump up and flash a great big smile when his lodge qualified for Potts Award.

Ain closing I want to thank all those in the three districts that made this and outstanding event.  My hope is that this a a lightning rod for future talks.

West Point Military Academy

The United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, The Academy, or simply The Point, is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in West Point, New York in Orange County. It sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, 50 miles north of New York City. It is one of the four U.S. military service academies, and one of the five U.S. service academies.
The Academy traces its roots to 1801, when President Thomas Jefferson directed, shortly after his inauguration, that plans be set in motion to establish the United States Military Academy at West Point. The entire central campus is a national landmark and home to scores of historic sites, buildings, and monuments. The majority of the campus’s Norman-style buildings are constructed from gray and black granite. The campus is a popular tourist destination complete with a large visitor center and the oldest museum in the United States Army.
Candidates for admission must both apply directly to the academy and receive a nomination, usually from a member of Congress or Delegate/Resident Commissioner in the case of Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. Other nomination sources include the President and Vice President of the United States. Students are officers-in-training and are referred to as “cadets” or collectively as the “United States Corps of Cadets” (USCC). Tuition for cadets is fully funded by the Army in exchange for an active duty service obligation upon graduation. Approximately 1,300 cadets enter the Academy each July, with about 1,000 cadets graduating.
The academic program grants a Bachelor of Science degree with a curriculum that grades cadets’ performance upon a broad academic program, military leadership performance, and mandatory participation in competitive athletics. Cadets are required to adhere to the Cadet Honor Code, which states that “a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” The academy bases a cadet’s leadership experience as a development of all three pillars of performance: academics, physical, and military.
Most gThe United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, The Academy, or simply The Point, is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in West Point, New York in Orange County. It sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, 50 miles north of New York City. It is one of the four U.S. military service academies, and one of the five U.S. service academies.
The Academy traces its roots to 1801, when President Thomas Jefferson directed, shortly after his inauguration, that plans be set in motion to establish the United States Military Academy at West Point. The entire central campus is a national landmark and home to scores of historic sites, buildings, and monuments. The majority of the campus’s Norman-style buildings are constructed from gray and black granite. The campus is a popular tourist destination complete with a large visitor center and the oldest museum in the United States Army.
Candidates for admission must both apply directly to the academy and receive a nomination, usually from a member of Congress or Delegate/Resident Commissioner in the case of Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. Other nomination sources include the President and Vice President of the United States. Students are officers-in-training and are referred to as “cadets” or collectively as the “United States Corps of Cadets” (USCC). Tuition for cadets is fully funded by the Army in exchange for an active duty service obligation upon graduation. Approximately 1,300 cadets enter the Academy each July, with about 1,000 cadets graduating.
The academic program grants a Bachelor of Science degree with a curriculum that grades cadets’ performance upon a broad academic program, military leadership performance, and mandatory participation in competitive athletics. Cadets are required to adhere to the Cadet Honor Code, which states that “a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” The academy bases a cadet’s leadership experience as a development of all three pillars of performance: academics, physical, and military.
Most graduates are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army. Foreign cadets are commissioned into the armies of their home countries. Since 1959, cadets have also been eligible to “cross-commission”, or request a commission in one of the other armed services, provided that they meet that service’s eligibility standards. Every year, a very small number of cadets do this, usually in a one-for-one “trade” with a similarly inclined cadet or midshipman at one of the other service academies.
The academy’s traditions have influenced other institutions because of its age and unique mission. It was the first American college to have an accredited civil-engineering program and the first to have class rings, and its technical curriculum was a model for later engineering schools. West Point’s student body has a unique rank structure and lexicon. All cadets reside on campus and dine together en masse on weekdays for breakfast and lunch. The academy fields fifteen men’s and nine women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sports teams. Cadets compete in one sport every fall, winter, and spring season at the intramural, club, or intercollegiate level. Its football team was a national power in the early and mid-20th century, winning three national championships. Its alumni and students are collectively referred to as “The Long Gray Line”, and its ranks include two Presidents of the United States (as well as the President of the Confederate States of America), presidents of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, numerous famous generals, and seventy-six Medal of Honor recipients.
raduates are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army. Foreign cadets are commissioned into the armies of their home countries. Since 1959, cadets have also been eligible to “cross-commission”, or request a commission in one of the other armed services, provided that they meet that service’s eligibility standards. Every year, a very small number of cadets do this, usually in a one-for-one “trade” with a similarly inclined cadet or midshipman at one of the other service academies.
The academy’s traditions have influenced other institutions because of its age and unique mission. It was the first American college to have an accredited civil-engineering program and the first to have class rings, and its technical curriculum was a model for later engineering schools. West Point’s student body has a unique rank structure and lexicon. All cadets reside on campus and dine together en masse on weekdays for breakfast and lunch. The academy fields fifteen men’s and nine women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sports teams. Cadets compete in one sport every fall, winter, and spring season at the intramural, club, or intercollegiate level. Its football team was a national power in the early and mid-20th century, winning three national championships. Its alumni and students are collectively referred to as “The Long Gray Line”, and its ranks include two Presidents of the United States (as well as the President of the Confederate States of America), presidents of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, numerous famous generals, and seventy-six Medal of Honor recipients.

Rhinebeck

Rhinebeck
Rhinebeck is a village in the town of Rhinebeck in Dutchess County. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown. European settlement in the Rhinebeck area dates to 1686, when a group of Dutch crossed the river from Kingston and bought 2,200 acres of land from the local Iroquois nation. Later, Henry Beekman obtained a patent for the land and saw a need for development to begin. He brought into the area Casper Landsman, a miller, and William Traphagen, a builder. In 1703, the New York colonial assembly approved money for the construction of the King’s Highway, later known as the Albany Post Road and today most of Route 9. Three years later Traphagen bought a tract of land in Beekman’s patent where the King’s Highway intersected the Sepasco Indian Trail, the route today followed by Market Street. He built a house and tavern on the trail a short distance west of the King’s Highway. This was the beginning of Rhinebeck.
A decade later, in 1715, Beekman’s son brought in 35 German Palatines who had fled religious persecution at home and had just concluded an attempt to produce naval stores for the British government on the lands of Robert Livingston to the north in what is now Columbia County. The village grew with the new arrivals. New trades established themselves, and in 1733 the Reformed Dutch Church was built. Its first building was on the site of its current one at Mill and South streets. In 1766 the beginnings of the current Beekman Inn were erected. It has remained in operation as a hotel ever since.
In the mid-1770s, a former soldier named Richard Montgomery moved from Knight’s Bridge (now the Bronx) into the Rhinebeck village with his new wife, a member of the Livingston family. He had just begun to settle into life as a farmer when the American Revolution began. After being elected to the New York Provincial Congress, he was commissioned a general in the Continental Army, and died at the end of 1775 in thRhinebeck
Rhinebeck is a village in the town of Rhinebeck in Dutchess County. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown. European settlement in the Rhinebeck area dates to 1686, when a group of Dutch crossed the river from Kingston and bought 2,200 acres of land from the local Iroquois nation. Later, Henry Beekman obtained a patent for the land and saw a need for development to begin. He brought into the area Casper Landsman, a miller, and William Traphagen, a builder. In 1703, the New York colonial assembly approved money for the construction of the King’s Highway, later known as the Albany Post Road and today most of Route 9. Three years later Traphagen bought a tract of land in Beekman’s patent where the King’s Highway intersected the Sepasco Indian Trail, the route today followed by Market Street. He built a house and tavern on the trail a short distance west of the King’s Highway. This was the beginning of Rhinebeck.
A decade later, in 1715, Beekman’s son brought in 35 German Palatines who had fled religious persecution at home and had just concluded an attempt to produce naval stores for the British government on the lands of Robert Livingston to the north in what is now Columbia County. The village grew with the new arrivals. New trades established themselves, and in 1733 the Reformed Dutch Church was built. Its first building was on the site of its current one at Mill and South streets. In 1766 the beginnings of the current Beekman Inn were erected. It has remained in operation as a hotel ever since.
In the mid-1770s, a former soldier named Richard Montgomery moved from Knight’s Bridge (now the Bronx) into the Rhinebeck village with his new wife, a member of the Livingston family. He had just begun to settle into life as a farmer when the American Revolution began. After being elected to the New York Provincial Congress, he was commissioned a general in the Continental Army, and died at the end of 1775 in the Battle of Quebec. Montgomery’s cottage still stands, although it was moved to 77 Livingston Street, where it houses the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter; the street it was on was later named in his honor.
After independence, the village continued to grow. The town of Rhinebeck, which contains the village, was organized in 1788. The current Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1802, making it the oldest church in the village. The current route of East Market Street was laid out the same year during construction of the Ulster-Saulsbury Turnpike, later to become Route 308. Rhinebeck continued to attract politicians. George Washington visited in 1796, dining at Bogardus’s, the second Traphagen Tavern, when he stayed at a nearby friend’s house. During the 1804 gubernatorial election, both Aaron Burr and Morgan Lewis used taverns in Rhinebeck as campaign headquarters.
The village was incorporated in 1834. Ten years later, Alexander Jackson built the Henry Delamater House at 44 Montgomery Street. It still stands today, one of the best examples of the early use of the Gothic Revival style in American residential architecture.
By the 1850s, Rhinebeck had grown even further and acquired a reputation as a woodworking center. The town’s name on milled products was a symbol of quality, and its furniture was shipped as far away as South Carolina. It was said to have no better in making carriages, coaches and sleighs. Some makers of clothing also achieved national prestige. The area was also acquiring a cachet as a location for the country estates of the Gilded Age wealthy, and those people could frequently be seen in town during the summer and on weekends.
e Battle of Quebec. Montgomery’s cottage still stands, although it was moved to 77 Livingston Street, where it houses the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter; the street it was on was later named in his honor.
After independence, the village continued to grow. The town of Rhinebeck, which contains the village, was organized in 1788. The current Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1802, making it the oldest church in the village. The current route of East Market Street was laid out the same year during construction of the Ulster-Saulsbury Turnpike, later to become Route 308. Rhinebeck continued to attract politicians. George Washington visited in 1796, dining at Bogardus’s, the second Traphagen Tavern, when he stayed at a nearby friend’s house. During the 1804 gubernatorial election, both Aaron Burr and Morgan Lewis used taverns in Rhinebeck as campaign headquarters.
The village was incorporated in 1834. Ten years later, Alexander Jackson built the Henry Delamater House at 44 Montgomery Street. It still stands today, one of the best examples of the early use of the Gothic Revival style in American residential architecture.
By the 1850s, Rhinebeck had grown even further and acquired a reputation as a woodworking center. The town’s name on milled products was a symbol of quality, and its furniture was shipped as far away as South Carolina. It was said to have no better in making carriages, coaches and sleighs. Some makers of clothing also achieved national prestige. The area was also acquiring a cachet as a location for the country estates of the Gilded Age wealthy, and those people could frequently be seen in town during the summer and on weekends.

St. Johnsville

St. Johnsville

St. Johnsville is a town in Montgomery County, New York. Accounts vary as to the naming of St. Johnsville, but most accounts state that the town and its village are named after an early surveyor and commissioner, Alexander St. John.  Still others credit the naming of St. Johnsville to a former name for the area, St. John’s Church.  The Town of St. Johnsville is in the northwest part of the county. The town contains a village, also called St. Johnsville. Both town and village are about halfway between Utica and Amsterdam.

The Erie Canal, as part of the Mohawk River, is at the town’s south border.  The town was first settled around 1725. The territory was part of the Palatine District.  In 1769, Sir William Johnson built a church in the town for the benefit of his Indian allies.  A brief skirmish was fought in the town in 1780 near Fort Klock, a fortified house.  The Town of St. Johnsville was formed in 1838 from the Town of Oppenheim which then became part of the newly created Fulton County.

In 1857, the community of St. Johnsville set itself off from the town by incorporating as a village.  According to the Enterprise and News, Nov. 17, 1937, by 1934, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Reaney had given 120 acres of land to the Village of Saint Johnsville. This land was named Klock Park after Dr. Charles M. Klock, a highly regarded local physician. Today the H.C Smith Benefit Club utilizes the building to host many community events.

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