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