Evergreen History Articles
John Channon, P.M., H.A.

PART 1

 

1932- 2018   A  True Mason to the Heart

 

           Brother Henry Coil  was initiated, passed, and  raised in Riverside Lodge #635 and has been a member for better than  62 years.  He affiliated with Evergreen Lodge in 1977 after completing the construction of the new Evergreen Masonic Center on Chicago Ave.    Brother Coil passed to the Great Architect's Lodge  on Oct. 3rd,2018.

           He was a noted contractor of many historic buildings as well as being a very generous donor to Riverside City College,  UCR , Centennial Plaza School for the Arts,  and  to the California Masonic Foundation.  

           Our brother and his firm Tilden-Coil Constructors was responsible for building the Pechanga Resort & Casino,  renovation of the Riverside County Courthouse (on Main & 11th st),  Martin Luther King High School,  University of Redlands Center for the Arts,  Cal Baptist School of Business, the aquatics complex at RCC,  Evergreen  Masonic Center,  and the Press Enterprise building on 14thSt.  

           Henry served on Riverside City Council from 63 to 67, was a founding director of the California Museum of Photography,   He has made a significant impact on the city of Riverside through his philanthropy, volunteerism and commitment to the arts

He has won numerous awards and has served on the boards of many community organizations, including the Riverside Arts Foundation, the American Red Cross, the Community Foundation, the Mission Inn Foundation, the Boy Scouts, the Carolyn E. Wylie Center for Children, Youth and Families, and the national Council for Resource Development, which named him a Benefactor of the Year in 2011 as one of the top 10 philanthropists in the country for their support of community colleges.

    He held leadership positions on the boards of numerous institutions in Inland Southern California, including the Riverside Community College District Foundation, La Sierra University, University of Redlands and. He has served on the UCR Foundation Board of Trustees since 1982, serving as board chair from 1999 to 2001.. He served on the boards of the Mission Inn Foundation and the Riverside Arts Foundation and worked extensively with the Historic Evergreen Cemetery and the Riverside Sports Hall of Fame. 

He received   the Distinguished Eagle Award from the Boy Scouts of America  and Mason of the Year in 2006 from California  Masonic Grand Lodge.    

He received the  Riverside 2016 City Spirit Award  which recognizes local residents for extraordinary deeds, community spirit, citizenship and dedication to enhancing the quality of life in Riverside.

“Henry W. Coil Jr. represents the best of Riverside, and he has set the standard for future business leaders and philanthropists,” “His service to his hometown is unmatched, and his devotion to his community runs deep. Riverside is very fortunate.”    Brother Coil  represents the finest example of what Masonry is about ;  charity  of one's time and resources.  

“I like doing things that are meaningful and I like leading by example,” Coil said. “My intent wasn’t to collect awards, but if it helps get others to give also, it’s even a bigger benefit.”

 

--------------------------------------------------------------

PART 2

The first  meetings were held in the Odd Fellows Hall  (also known as  Town Hall) on “The Full-of-the-Moon” because there were no street lights.  Meeting on the  full moon provided light to see their way there.   By the end of 1884 the membership had grown to 46.   By the  end of 1886, they were meeting in the Castleman Building (at the corner of University  and  Main St) on the second floor and the dining room was in the attic on the 3rdfloor.   Note- no elevator,   no electric lights.    Electric lights weren’t installed until    Evergreen was the mother lodge for the formation of a lodge in Elsinore in 1887 and another in South Riverside  - now called Corona , called Temescal Lodge.

     The two pillars in the NW corner of the lodge were purchased in 1892 for $83.50  - the ones we still have. 

Wor. Kingsbury Sanborn ,  who served as  Master in 1895  at the age of 31 , left his  estate to Evergreen . He died in 1947.  

In 1903 the  property on the corner of Eleventh and Main St was purchased for $4000.  In May,  the Grand Lodge laid  the cornerstone for the Courthouse across from the new lodge land.  The architect for the new building , Francis Burnham , also designed the Carnegie Library and the Riverside County Courthouse.  The  cornerstone was laid in February of 1908  -   eventually moved to our present location in 1976.     The records show that the building cost $21,872  to  build and donations were $20,618.

By 1905 membership had increased to 205.  By 1908  membership had increased to 238  and  by 1911 to  308. 

------------------------------------------------------------

PART 3

    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.  

------------------------------------------------------------

PART 4

 

Evergreen History 1931 to 1943

 

   There was a degree team known as the 233 Club of Hollywood who was composed of professional actors dressed in gentleman  Revolutionary war period costumes   who provided the 3rddegree on many occasions.  . 

There were many social events :  dances and bridge tournaments,  Saint Johns’ Day Picnics held at Fairmont Park featuring baseball games,  snow fights , and  music.  We still have the card tables from those bridge tournaments. 

Dues were raised from $9 to $12 per year and  dinners were 75 cents.   

   1932-  1935 was  the Great depression,  during which membership fell a little  from 551 to 508.   It was a slow time for degree work but social and educational  activities abounded.  They had fellowship at the lodge every Friday night .   There were movie nights,  hoby sharing nights,   etc.   In  1935, Evergreen and Riverside Lodge presented a program “The Making of the Constitution” at Memorial Auditorium.    Brothers shared stories and slides of their travels and holidays. Guest speakers were frequent.  The lodge had a stereoptician (that’s the lantern slide projector),  Charles Shiels, who had slides to accompany the  lectures.   A few years later,   Grand Lodge disallowed their use.    Guess what -  now its being encouraged again.  He served as Electrician from 1928- 1948.

   The  installation of officers in 1941 was performed by Past Grand Master Earl  Warren – yes the  same  Earl Warren who later became  Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.     Later that year,  Willard Babcock (the District Inspector)  conferred the 3rddegree upon his son Sherman Babcock.   In 1943  O.K. Olson conferred the third degree upon his son, Byron Morton.    The next time that happened was in 1998 when Past Grand Master   (and past Inspector) Stan Channon was in the East to confer all 3 degrees for me , John Channon (who also served as Inspector later).

 Over the next few years,  the  activities continued and numerous special degree teams conferred degrees on a regular basis. 

Stay tuned next season for the 1944  to early 50s era.  

--------------------------------------------------------------

PART 5

 

Evergreen History   1944  to  1955

 

         In the period from  1944 to  1947 membership increased by over  100.  During 1944 there were 111 degrees conferred with the help of  ten degree teams.   As the war ended in 1945,   degrees and  social programs along with educational programs filled the year.  1946 saw 37 new members and  20 degrees were conferred in the month of August alone.   John Vanderzyl became Master in Dec. 1946.  One of the  highlights of 1947 was a Third Degree conferred by a team of judges from Southern California  led by Wor.  O.K. Morton.  The  St Johns' Day picnic at  Fairmount Park was attended by 700 members and family between the lodges  enjoying a baseball game, boat rides,  and  other games.

         By 1949, the  influx of new members slowed down and  the membership in 1951 had reached 638.     I   will  note here that  Bill Penrod was the  Tiler  from 1941 until 1966 (25 yrs)   Wow! 

    It should also be noted  that Bro. Philip Gunsolus was the  5tholdest Mason in the United States  in 1952, He served as Tyler  for 9 years. He received the 3rd 75yr membership pin of a California Mason , presented to him March 31, 1950.    

          Wor. Willard Babcock (then Inspector) installed his son Sherman Babcock as Master of Evergreen Lodge for the 1952 Masonic year.   Sherm Babcock became Secretary in 1954 and  served as such until 1966.

    1953 had 71 degrees conferred.  The  Tavaglione family began an annual tradition of providing an Italian dinner which was enjoyed by more than 200.   (I remember going to those dinners as a kid)  The  75thAnniversary of the  granting of Evergreen's charter was the  highlight of 1955 being celebrated at a gala dinner at the Mission Inn attended by over 500 members and wives.  John Vanderzyl ,and his wife Mary donated 2 aluminum doors for the front of the  11thStreet  Temple.   Too bad we weren't able to keep those for the new building. 

 Membership in 1955 had reached 685.   

 

--------------------------------------------------------------

PART 6

 

Evergreen History   1956 to  1966

 

        By 1956  there was already talk of moving the meeting day …  and  in 1958 the  lodge voted to change from  Friday to Wednesday.    Articles of Incorporation and by-laws  were drawn up for Evergreen Masonic Temple Association.  Riverside Lodge moved to its new building in1959,  hence , Evergreen dues went from $12 to $18 .  Wow!   A concert was given to dedicate the new Conn Organ at the Evergreen Temple.     In June 1959, a committee was formed to consider the long range plans for the lodge which included finding potential locations,  create plans and  financing for a new location. Assets of the lodge were reported at  $347,000 ,  most of which was in the Kightlinger Estate.  

      By the  early 60s the  social climate  had taken a big turn.   Fairmount Park became an undesirable place to hold picnics  so the lodge shifted to BBQs  held elsewhere.   Evergreen donated $10 per member to the  new Masonic Memorial Temple in  San Francisco.     Several repairs and improvements in the 11thStreet temple were done to meet the requirements of the Fire Marshall including fire-proof drapes .   The Lodge paid $150 per month  as rent.   Bethel 264 became a regular Thursday evening tenant.    

 

     Moreno Valley  Lodge and  Victoria Palms Lodge were formed.    Willard Babcock retired as  Inspector in late  1962 and  Bill Price became Inspector.     There were a few  dinner-dances held at the  Elks Club  with prime rib or lobster at  $4.    In  1965 the lodge assumed the sponsorship of Riverside Chapter DeMolay 

      In December 1965 the Lodge approved the purchase of5.5 acres at the SW corner of Arlington and  Victoria for  $110,000.   They could not move ahead on a building because the  Kightlinger estate was  still tied up.  

      Sherm Babcock retired after 12 years as Secretary .  Willis Copeland  replaced him for a brief time,  then “Stocky” Stockebrand took over for several years.   William Price was appointed Assistant Grand Lecturer in 1966 and  Stan Channon became the new Inspector.  

             Numerous  social programs  carried thru this  decade.  The  Masonic education and attention to the dedicated members were quite prevalent                                         

 

                                                                                 --------------------------------------------------------------

PART 7

 

Evergreen  History  1967  to  1974

 

           In 1967 the  St John's day event went  from a picnic to a breakfast,   Constitutional Observance was a trip to Knott's Independence Hall .   The  play “Rose on the Altar” was presented.  Also included was a trip to the lodge  in Columbia (not  the  country, the  town) .   The Christmas party in 1968 featured the  MacPherson Highland Band (bagpipes and drums).  The  first District golf tournament began in 1969 which attracted 60 golfers and 120 dinner guests.  This tournament  continued for several  years thereafter  (annually that is).  Dues went up to  $24 that year.   Membership was  at 712.   Our Past Master of Evergreen Lodge,  William Price was  elected Jr. Grand  Warden  that year.    Our lodge sponsored a young man, Craig Hunter,  at the Covina Masonic Home in 1970.    Remember that  we were still in the 11thStreet building  …   the lounge was  refurbished that year with  new carpet,  furniture , drapes, and lighting.    1971 ended with membership down to 639.  

          In October of  1972,   William H. Price was installed as Grand Master .  William Holsinger served as his  Grand  Marshal.   

         On September 30, 1972 the  11thStreet temple became the victim of a fire . The  smoke and water-  damage was so extensive that the entire interior of the building had to be  cleaned and  painted.  We  had insurance.   Meanwhile,  meetings were held at  McCallum Temple and  Temescal Lodge .    Also significant that year was the  finalization of the  Kightlinger Trust .   The funds were divided evenly  between Evergreen  Lodge and Ungava Chapter  (Eastern Star)

    The  year 1973 featured a cornerstone ceremony at  Riverside City Hall.   M.W. Price presided ,  Bro. Wayne Holcomb  (City Councilman) was Master of Ceremonies,  and  Bro. Ben Lewis (Mayor) gave the address.    The lodge voted to sell  the old temple building to Riverside County for $85,000 cash with the  stipulation that we have free use of the building for 2 years  until a new building could be constructed.  A  year later, after consideration of  over 60 locations,  the Lodge approved the Chicago Ave location property for  $35,000.  

         The year 1975 comes  next.  This was the year of intense planning of the new building under the direction of  M.W. Stan Channon and the Building Committee.  Henry Coil Jr (Tilden-Coil Construction) was  selected to be the contractor.  

 

--------------------------------------------------------------

PART 8

 

  Evergreen History  part 8      Birth of a new  facility…

       As the  building committee  set out , in 1975 , to design the  new Center, they  visited numerous lodges around the state to see  what  features they might want or  NOT want.  One of those features was to move away from the multi-story style of building so members would not have to go up and down stairs.   Although the original design had a set of  storage rooms on the  south side of the lodge room,   those were dropped as a cost-cut.   Inflation and Building costs  were rising quickly due to the  economy then.   ( so when did it ever stop?)  They also had a basement planned,  but that was scrapped too.   One of the last  things to go was the  front patio cover that was  to extend out to the  parking lot.  They actually had the beams but finally  sold those after the decision was made to eliminate that part.  

         The ground breaking ceremony was held May 7, 1975 and construction began June 4, 1975.   By the end of the year , the building was framed and those huge roof trusses were in place.   The cornerstone /dedication ceremony was  held in the  front of the building on April 17, 1976.  It was a full Grand Lodge ceremony .  I provided the  sound system outside.  

         Although the  building was primarily constructed by Tilden Coil Co. ,  the  landscape was done entirely by lodge members :   Stan Channon,  Bill Holsinger,  Howard Born , and many others contributed many many hours to trenching,  laying pipe,  and  planting.

        The  birds of paradise along the front of the building came from our home on Daventry Rd..    The huge cornerstone you see  by the  entrance was  moved from the  old building.     Now that’s a heavy  piece of rock.  The interior columns,  pillars and stations seen in the  lodge room were extracted from the old  building and  moved to the  new building. 

           All of those  display cases ,  the Tiler’s desk,  the  cupboards in the pantry were produced by Wor. Hank Goatcher.  The  kitchen was equipped by the  Eastern Star Ungava chapter.   The large emblem way above the East  inside was constructed by Wor. Everett Ross

            When the  temple was completed , the lodge owed nothing but had  nothing to spare either  thanks  to the  very  careful control the  building committee had  over the  finances.  

--------------------------------------------------------------

PART 9

 

 Lodge  History  Part  9       1976-78

           The year  1976  was especially busy.  Besides the enormous task of  moving parts of the  old  building and its contents  to the  new Chicago location,   the  opening /cornerstone laying dedication event had  to be planned.    The columns and  pillars  were still being  assembled two weeks before the ceremony.   On April 17 Grand Lodge was opened with  Grand Master John Roberts presiding.   It was  an outdoor event held in the  front patio and  parking lot . Music  was  provided by the  Highlander bagpipe band and  dancers.    This  was  followed by a lunch (the first meal in the new building) serving over 400 people,  filling the  dining  room , lobby  and  rear patio. .    

           The lodge room  had the  old  carpet from the old facility for the time being. Lodge dues were increased from  $24  to $36. 

 There  was  no  air conditioning in  the  dining room yet so  large fans  were purchased to circulate the air .   The first  public reception was  held on Aug 29 as a golden wedding anniversary for  Roy and Maurine Haglund.  On September 18, a dinner and entertainment  “roast”  was held honoring  Wor. Stan Channon for his work as  Chairman of the Building Committee. . 

           In  the next couple of years  the  lodge room received the  “orange”  chairs along with  orange/brown carpet.     In 1978,   the  Board was increased to 9 voting members.    

            And   so you  have it…….       The first   100 years …..   

 

--------------------------------------------------------------