Brief History of Western Star Lodge,
A.F. & A.M.
No. 50 on the Register of the Grand Lodge of Nova
in what was
then called Acadia Village. Coal was discovered here in 1865 and by
1868 three coal companies produced and shipped coal from their
collieries. At a public meeting the name Westville was chosen for the
before the town incorporated but in that same year, 1868, eighteen
men gathered to found a Masonic Lodge and petitioned the Grand Lodge
for a dispensation. In October 1868 the Grand Master. M.W.Bro. S.R.
Sircom and Grand Secretary Charles J. MacDonald granted the
The Brethren of
their first meeting on October 22nd and James Roy was elected as
first Worshipful Master of the Lodge. In December 1868, Grand Master
Sircom and Grand Secretary MacDonald traveled to Westville and
constituted and consecrated the Lodge.
slate of officers:
Josiah E. Johnes
there were five
charter members: Norman MacDonald, Alex Lorrimer, Murdock MacKenzie,
Benjamin Barret and John Roy.
The Lodge was
created at the
as the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia was being formed and was given the
number 24 in June 1869. When other Lodges from the county came into
the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, the Lodges in the jurisdiction were
renumbered and Western Star was given the No. 50, which it still
For the first
year the Lodge
met in the
upstairs of John F. Oliver's store which was later occupied by Mrs.
George E. MacLeod. In November 1869, on the completion of the first
Chelsea School, they were given the use of one of the upper rooms and
held their meetings there for a year or two. The Lodge then moved to
Dan Munro's Hall, next to the old Westville House hotel. A few years
later, they moved to the upper part of John McDougall's store, where
the late H. A. McQuarrie had his store. On February 9th,
it was decided that a new hall be built for the contract price of
$3,600, and to be completed by July 1st. The cornerstone was laid on
June 8th, 1886, and on August 24th, 1886, the first meeting was held
in the new building.
that on July
11th, 1893, a
committee was formed to look into costs of wiring the hall for
electric lighting and in August 1893 they reported an estimate of
about $50 and the light bill would be about one cent per light per
hour. The Scot blood seemed to be prevalent, as the committee was
then instructed to see if it couldn't have done it at little cheaper,
so it wasn't until April 1894 that the first light bill appeared.
Water was installed in September 1895.
The Lower Hall
was used for
time for concerts and dances and for a number of years was rented as
a shoe store by Murdock MacKay. It was also rented for a few years to
the Salvation Army, and in 1925 to the St. Andrew's Presbyterian
congregation. In 1930 the Lodge rented the Lower Hall to the Nova
Scotia Liquor Commission and they occupied it until 1983. As the
first Temple was approaching a hundred years, maintenance and heating
became so onerous that the Brethren of Western Star decided in 1986
to raise a new building. Built almost entirely with the volunteer
labour of its members and friends, it was completed in September of
1987. On October 17th, 1987 the Grand Master, M. W. Bro. J. Roy Hale,
a member of Western Star Lodge, and the officers of Grand Lodge
consecrated the new hall.
Members of our
town as mayors and several of them have served on the town council
and as town clerks. A number were elected to the provincial
Legislature: Brothers R. H. MacKay, H. A. McQuarrie, Robert Douglas
and James Maddin. Brother Russell MacEwan was a representative in the
House of Commons. Members of Western Star Lodge laid the cornerstones
of two of the town’s churches; the first for St. Philip’s Church
in 1870, and the other for St. Bees’ Church.
settled the town
Scottish traditions are honoured and respected to this day. For over
one hundred continuous years Robert Burns' birthday is celebrated
with a public ceremony on the Friday closest to his birthday. The
format has remained unchanged for as long as anybody can remember:
Musical and dance presentations by local talent, a lunch (with
Haggis) and a dance. It still packs the auditorium year after year.
ago the Past
founded the Western Star Drama Team and put together a set of
historical costumes. This team not only enhances our own ceremonies
but has also assisted in the raising of hundreds of new Master Masons
across the jurisdiction.
distinction of Western
Star Lodge is that, after more than 130 years, no Master has served
in that capacity twice and we are confident that this tradition will
March 2000, J.
Robert H. Meyer, Secretary