In our last episode of Evergreen Place I explained how we got to the point in our history when we occupied our first “long-term” home on 11th Street. Now let’s explore the years from 1912 on.
1912 marked the year when Wor. Henry D. French, Sr was appointed as Inspector. Wor. French also served as Evergreen’s Secretary from 1915 to 1926. This was the beginning of a long line of Inspectors from Evergreen Lodge.
In 1915 the mortgage on the building was reduced to $5,000 by the payment of $2,500 . Wow! Membership over the next 12 years went from 315 to 512. Wor. Harry W. Hammond was elected to serve as a Trustee. He served 34 years in this capacity. (You will have to ask our Secretary if he is related ) . In 1917 , the day of the April Stated Meeting, President Wilson declared war against Germany, thus entering the U.S. into World War I. March Field, (March Air Base) was opened on March 6, 1918. During the war years, the lodge purchased War Savings Stamps as lodge funds would permit. The dues of all brethren who were serving in the Army and Navy were remitted. 1918 also marked the year that O.K. Morton served as Jr. Steward and then went up the line eventually serving as Master in 1922 , and then on to an Inspector assignment . Oh yes, he was also a judge. O.K. Morton’s installing officer was Past Grand Master Dana Weller who installed 13 more years at Evergreen. In 1920, the mortgage was paid off and the lodge celebrated with a mortgage burning . In 1921, the lodge went “hi-tech” and purchased an Edison phonograph (that’s a record player, for those of you who aren’t into audio visual tech-history).
The 1920s were very active years for Evergreen. Not only did the membership boom but degree work was heavy. There were often three degrees at regular meetings as well as Saturday degrees to keep up with the new candidates. Special degree teams were organized in addition to the regular officers. It was in 1926 that the formation of Riverside Lodge took place. Finally, in 1930, Evergreen celebrated it’s 50 yr anniversary at the Riverside Memorial Auditorium with 1500 people in attendance. More on that in our next episode.