History of Highland Park Masonic Lodge No. 1150 A.F. & A.M.
History of the Early Years and the Formation of
Highland Park Lodge No. 1150
On November 29, 1913, the town of Highland Park was incorporated and as masonry continued to expand within the city of Dallas, it was inevitable that a Masonic Lodge would be needed to serve the men of the growing region. World War I ended in 1918 and roaring ‘20s was just kicking off (and along with it, prohibition.) In 1920, Dallas County population was a mere 210,500, of which 159,000 were within the city of Dallas. Of those remaining 51,500, Highland Park only accounted for 2,321 people.
Regardless of that current census, in 1921 six 33rd degree Scottish Rite Masons, prominent citizens of the Town of Highland Park, organized Highland Park Lodge No. 1150 with 146 charter members. One of the reasons listed on petition was “for the convenience of our respective dwellings.” The Charter was approved by The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas on December 8, 1921 and made history when it approved not one, but six total new lodges. They were set to work with new officers ALL six lodges being installed on December 30, 1921.
The Six Dallas based lodges were:
Highland Park Lodge No. 1150
Hutchins Lodge No. 1154
Landmark Lodge No. 1168
R. C. Buckner No. 1176
Gibraltar Lodge No. 1179
Metropolitan Lodge No. 1182
Of these 6, only Highland Park, R.C. Buckner and Metropolitan lodges remain active.
When the lodge was set to work, the intention was for it to meet within or close to the town of Highland Park. In 1922, one of the lodge Brothers presented to the lodge a beautiful lot within the Town of Highland Park, but upon investigation, it was found that the Highland Park town code would not permit a Masonic lodge to be erected there. The lodge returned the property to the donor and several years later, in 1924, the Highland Park Town Hall was built. In the meantime, while they searched for a more permeant home, the lodge met in the Green room of the Scottish Rite Cathedral.
A year later, on July 1, 1923, the lodge found a desirable location on the south east corner of Knox and Travis Streets. The 2nd floor of the building was available with the 1st floor housing the Highland Park Pharmacy. The lodge room was designed and built by one of its members. And it wasn't long before Highland Park Lodge became known as "The Silk-Stocking Lodge" as many members were listed among the “Who's Who” of Dallas high society.
Highland Park Lodge No. 1150 met at that location for the next 52 years. Hundreds of men were raised as Masons in that room and from the beginnings with 146 Charter members, the membership grew to 415 by 1931, to 451 in 1945 during the time of World War II. The lodge membership exploded after the ‘Great War’ and peaked in 1954 with 930 brothers counted as members of the lodge.
Highland Park Lodge supplied substantial numbers of members to the formation of several other lodges in the Dallas Metro, including: Hillcrest Lodge No. 1318 (in 1948), John L. DeGrazier Lodge No.1349 (in 1955), Thomas B. Hunter Lodge No. 1356 (in 1955), and Roy Stanley Lodge No. 1367 (in 1956).
Fifty years after it was chartered, and on December 7, 1971, the six lodges that were formed simultaneously in 1921 held a joint Golden “50th” Anniversary meeting at the Scottish Rite Temple, where Highland Park Lodge first met in the Green Room.
Also, in 1971, the lodge purchased a property in Preston Center on Sherry Lane which would become their home for the next 20 years. It was during that time that Louis Priester Lodge was formed (see LP #1438 History) and a consolidation took place forming Louis Priester Lodge #1150 in December of 1976.
There were several moves once the property on Sherry Lane was sold 1994. Moving to Edwin J. Keist Lodge’s home at 10210 Hermosa, then to share space with Vickery Lodge #1351 at 7051 Twin Hills Avenue and then into the Love Field Masonic building on 8525 Midway before its final move back into the Scottish Rite Cathedral into the Green Room in 2005.
One of the most important events in the lodge history occurred when the property at 6137 Sherry lane was sold. The lodge, upon receiving a large influx of funds, decided to ‘give it back to the brothers’ and endowed all the current members and, also, all the deceased Past Master’s as a tribute. This created the status of a ‘Fully Endowed’ membership and since then to present day, lodge maintains that status. When new masons are raised, or other Masons want to affiliate with Highland Park lodge, everyone comes in through a process that provides that endowment.
Today, Highland Park Lodge members come from all over the DFW Metroplex, with some relocating to different parts of the country, like California, Arizona, Tennessee, and Illinois. There is even one Highland Park Mason that lives in Israel. Dallas County’s population is over 2.6 million people and there are 41 lodges in the Dallas Metro region (District 14 of the Most Grand Lodge of Texas.)
History of the Highland Park Lodge #1150 &
Louis Priester Lodge #1438 Merger
In the spring of 1975 Robert L. Dillard, Past Grand Master, contacted the officers of Highland Park Lodge No. 1150 to inform them that Louis Priester who was a former member of Washington Lodge No. 1117, Highland Park Lodge No. 1150, and was a charter member and Past Master of John L. DeGrazier Lodge No. 1349 had laid down his working tools for the last time, passing into life eternal on February 27th, 1975.
Brother Priester had left a provision in his will for a “Contingent Bequest for a New Masonic Lodge.” To wit: “Should a proper charter be granted by the Grand Lodge of Texas A.F. & A.M. to a Blue Lodge organized either in Highland Park, University Park, or in that part of the city of Dallas north of Mockingbird Lane, entitled Louis Priester Lodge, my Executor shall transfer and deliver to said Blue Lodge the sum of $100,000 to use for the purchase of a lot/or the purchase and construction of a lodge home. If after the expiration of one year from the date of my said wife’s death or my death, whichever should be the last to occur, no such Masonic Lodge has been chartered as outlined above, then in that event, the foregoing bequest and transfer of said $100,000 shall completely terminate, and be deemed an irrevocable disclaimer by said Grand Lodge of such bequest and transfer, and the said $100,000 shall revert to my residuary estate and pass as provided in paragraph VII of my last said will.”
After meeting at 4950 ½ Travis street for the prior 52 years, in August of 1975, Highland Park Lodge moved into a new facility at 6137 Sherry Lane. This building was purchased in May of 1972 for $100,000 after a six-month study that was conducted by the Lodge Building Committee. The site, in the Preston Center strip mall had been previously used as a ‘private club’ and needed renovations to allow the lodge to move in. Over the next several years, construction and renovations occurred readying it for use as a lodge.
Right Worshipful Dillard decided that money from Brother Priester needed to go to Masonry and Highland Park Lodge was the lodge he chose to make this happen. Brother William E. Reed, who was Master of the Lodge in 1974-1975 was asked by the Past Grand Master to make that happen and an ‘Executive Committee for the Proposed Louis Priester Lodge’ was formed with Brother Reed as the Chairman of that committee. A Petition for Charter was created, Brother Reed being selected to be the first Worshipful Master, Brother Thomas Edgar as first Senior Warden, Brother F. Carlton Cranor as first Junior Warden and Brothers Marvin K. Price and Riley E. Clack as first Treasurer and Secretary. All five of these men were Past Masters of Highland Park Lodge, and among the proposed charter members of the new lodge were all 19 [living] Past Masters of Highland Park Lodge who were eligible to become charter members. The intention was for the money from the bequeathment to be used to assist Highland Park Lodge in the completion of the new temple and the newly formed lodge was given approval to share those facilities with Highland Park Lodge.
Brother Reed visited every lodge in the 14th Masonic District over the course of the spring, summer and fall of 1975 presenting the proposal to form a new lodge within the District and requesting their approval to do so. And after a majority of the lodges approved the proposal, Louis Priester Masonic Lodge No. 1438 was formed that fall “Under Dispensation”. On December 4, 1975, at the Grand Lodge Communication, Louis Priester Lodge No. 1438 was officially set to work.
The officers formed under the Charter in December of 1975 held over from formation into the new ‘Masonic Year’ being duly elected and appointed in July of 1976. During that year between summer of 1975 and summer of 1976, there was much discussion and a ground swell of support to merge Highland Park Lodge with Louis Priester Lodge amongst the members of both lodges.
Worshipful Master Ben Hamman, III (of Highland Park Lodge No. 1150) put out a letter dated March 16, 1976. In it he stated “Recently we were very fortunate to be able to obtain additional funds from a source outside the lodge. A $100,000 bequest from the estate of our former member, the late Louis A. Priester, was made available to us through the sale of interest in our building to the newly organized Louis Priester Lodge No. 1438.” “We believe one additional change could add momentum to this enthusiasm [of the new building and the influx of funds.]. The idea of consolidating … to be known as Louis Priester Lodge #1150 A.F. & A.M. is gaining widespread support of our members.” Worship Master Hamman went on to communicate that they had received tentative blessing from the Grand Master and the Jurisprudence Committee of the Grand Lodge of Texas. At the Grand Lodge Communication held that December, Highland Park Lodge No. 1150, and Louis Priester Lodge No. 1438 consolidated to become Louis Priester Lodge No. 1150. (This may be the only lodge merger where one lodge name and the other lodge number became the new lodge name and number.)
The consolidation petition to Grand Lodge had requested that the officers of Highland Park No. 1150 be the surviving officers. That request was denied, and the officers of Louis Priester No. 1438 became the officers of Louis Priester No. 1150 after returning from the Grand Lodge.
Louis Priester Lodge No. 1150 carried on its work at Sherry Lane until the building was sold in April of 1994 for $325,000. This windfall profit was used to purchase endowed memberships for every current member of the lodge at the time as well as all the deceased Past Masters. That was the start of what would remain the concept of the ‘Fully Endowed’ lodge membership that the lodge still enjoys today.
Upon leaving Sherry Lane, there were several moves between 1994 and 2004. The first into the building at 10201 Hermosa, renting from Edwin J. Kiest Lodge #1310. A few years later, in early 1999, the lodge moved again, this time to the home of Vickery Lodge #1351 at 7051 Twin Hills Avenue. And in February 2003 a move to 8525 Midway Road the home of the Love Field Masonic Facility.
It was at Love Field, in December of 2004, that Louis Priester Lodge No. 1150 petitioned Grand Lodge to change its name back to its namesake. Grand Lodge granted that request, based on the facts that the lodge that had formed to receive the inheritance, Louis Priester Lodge No. 1438, was no longer in existence and the building that the inheritance purchased was no longer a lodge meeting place. 29 years after it was formed and 28 after consolidating with Highland Park Lodge, the Louis Priester name was retired.
It is with great appreciation to Brother Priester for his charity and the benefits realized through his thoughtfulness towards promoting Masonry within Dallas County, specifically within the 14th District of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas. Over those nearly 3 decades, hundreds of men have sat in lodge together, dozens upon dozens of new Masons were initiated, passed and raised within this fraternity. Benevolent activities occurred, family gatherings took place, friendships and bonds have been formed. Men were made better through his generosity and benevolence. His legacy lives on through all of us at Highland Park Lodge and all those lodges within the 14th District which are better because Highland Park continues on.
Consolidation of the Highland Park Lodge #1150
into Pentagon #1080
In the winter of 2021, talks began between the leadership of Pentagon Lodge and Highland Park lodge with the concept of a merge. Consolidation committees were formed in both lodges and the sessions to hammer out negotiations on how best to ‘merge’ two financially stable lodges began.
Monthly discussions ensued and agreements, considerations, & compromises were made on both sides of the table. Officer line-ups, name change*, timing, taking the ‘best of the best’ from the bylaws and rules/regulations were all part of the talks. In October of 2021, the following (truncated) communication was delivered to the members of Highland Park Lodge.
After notification, during the December Stated meeting, a majority of the Highland Park members signed the consolidation document which was then read in Pentagon’s stated meeting that very night. One month later, Pentagon voted to accept the consolidation and shortly thereafter all the proper documents were delivered to Grand Lodge for review and signature.
The signing of the consolidation document by Most Worshipful Grand Master Brad Billings was dated Feb 9th, 2022, and delivered to the Secretaries of both Highland Park Lodge shortly thereafter, allowing for one last official stated meeting for Highland Park Lodge.
On February 8th, 2022, WM Alan Badger gaveled open for the last time Highland Park Lodge No. 1150 for the last official meeting of a lodge that was created 100 years prior.
District Deputy Grand Master Frederick Sloan of District 14-B was officially received into lodge for and before he relayed the Grand Master’s message, the Worshipful Master and several officers and members of the lodge pontificated on the end of just over a century of Masonic history but all looking forward to 100 more years as part of Pentagon Lodge.
It was bittersweet, but the promise of expanding and growing the Masonic experience provided all with an excitement for the future.
*The resolution submitted to Grand Lodge to change the name from Pentagon Lodge to Pentagon-Highland Park Lodge #1080 was tabled after some confusion on the consolidation itself, which was unfortunate, but is how Masonry works. Another resolution will be submitted to Grand Lodge in the spring of 2022 to again put before the West the name change as recommended by the consolidation committee and approved by the lodge.
Highland Park Lodge intends to consolidate with Pentagon Lodge #1080 in January of 2022, after the Annual Communication and the installation of the new Grand Lodge officers takes place. Back on February 12, 2021, a committee was first formed to explore merging Highland Park Lodge #1150 with Pentagon Lodge #1080 and after several months of discussion it became the recommendation of the committee to move forward with the consolidation. However, as this year (2021) is HPL's centennial, the decision was made to wait until after this calendar year was completed and a recognition of the 100 years of history could be accomplished.
The consolidation decision did not come easily or without great thought and discussion. The combining of resources of the members of each lodge, the combination of the assets and history of each of the lodges is and was of paramount importance. Who would merge with who? How would the stations and places be filled that first-year post-consolidation? These and many other questions were considered and answered.
The concept of HPL and Pentagon joining forces has many synergistic qualities. Both lodges meet on the same night, at the same time and in the same building for stated meetings (HPL in the Green room and Pentagon in the Blue room). Both lodges have approximately the same number of total members and about the same number of 'active' members. Both lodges have NO property, other than furniture and various Masonic accompaniments. Both lodges have approximately the same amount of liquid assets. Neither lodge NEEDS to consolidate for financial reasons, but both lodges would benefit from having more active members participating in Masonic activities. There are some financial considerations that would be realized, small as they may be, such as Sec/Tres salary, rent, insurance, and other duplicitous costs that would be mostly halved. The current officers from each lodge and several of the PMs from each lodge are excited about this opportunity for the future of growing Masonry in such a way to spread the load of managing the lodge, to be even more financially secure and to focus on the business of making masons and becoming even better stewards in our community.
First - Highland Park Lodge will consolidate into Pentagon Lodge. And as per Art. 245, this email (and snail mail to our non-email savvy brothers) will be your 20-day notice of that intent.
Second - Pentagon Lodge has submitted a resolution to Grand Lodge to change it's name to "PENTAGON-HIGHLAND PARK LODGE No. 1080" which will be voted on (and hopefully approved) during Grand Lodge Communication in January of 2022. This was done to properly recognize that while a consolidation sometimes feels like an absorption, this is meant to be a true merging of lodges, whereby each lodge brings to the table a strong culture and long histories which will be zipped together into a new entity.
Third - After the consolidation is approved by the Grand Master, Highland Park Lodge No. 1150 will be no more, final business will be cleaned up and the charter and seal will be turned in. The current Officers' term will be over. Worshipful Master Alan Badger will convert to Past Master Alan Badger and will be the last sitting master of HPL No. 1150. The sitting officers from Pentagon No. 1080 (and at that time - Pentagon-Highland Park No. 1080) will continue through their term until June/July 2022 when a new slate of officers will be elected and thereafter installed.
Fourth - It has been approved by both lodges for an 2022-2023 ‘principal’ officer line up. It will be this line that will be nominated and voted upon through the normal course of officer election. This group was selected by both lodges as Masons not just deserving of these roles but best to fulfill them for the good of the lodge itself.
Fifth - There will be a new set of by-laws along with a new set of Rules and Regulations which are currently being created which are intended to bring together the best of both lodges and set the stage for the future of the newly consolidated lodge. The by-laws will follow FORM 23 and the Rules/Regs will combine the active/current 'Major Resolutions' from Pentagon and R&R from HPL which were updated and approved back in 2016. It is expected that after the committee completes this and the lodge members have ample opportunity to review and pontificate, they will be sent to GL for their blessing as well as voted on by the lodge to adopt. Dues/Degree Fees/Financial management of accounts and any lodge salaries will be subsequently updated during this time.
Sixth - Highland Park Lodge created a 501c3 several years ago called Highland Park Lodge Charity, Inc. You all should recall that this semi-independent organization was formed to facilitate charitable activities in a way to benefit contributions and to segregate this activity from the pure operations of the lodge. It has been decided that this will stay as is, however will be adapted such that the Officers of the 501c3 and its Board of Directors will be pulled from Pentagon-Highland Park Lodge No. 1080. An amendment to the by-laws of the 501c3 will be put into place to ensure this is managed appropriately.
Seventh - Highland Park Lodge is a fully endowed lodge (a status we are very proud of and has been a financial benefit for many years). It is the intent to ensure that every PM (living or deceased) from both lodges are endowed as well as to convert whomever at Pentagon lodge who is not endowed to be so - carrying on the endowment tradition.
Eighth - We have all gone through some tough times in the past couple of years and many members have fallen to the wayside and/or have become less active (or not active at all) and this consolidation is a great opportunity for everyone to re-engage and reconnect with your masonic brothers and to become participatory in lodge activities. The WM and his officers hereby provide the 92 MMs, 1FC & 4 EAs this written notice via email. And the remaining HPL members are receiving this via print letter and delivery from the USPS.
Since our November Stated Meeting will not carry any business and be an OPEN meeting to celebrate the Centennial Anniversary, the Proposal to Consolidate will be the first item of business during the DECEMBER STATED MEETING on DEC 14th. This PROPOSAL (FORM 20) will be prepared in advance, and it will be the intention that all those members present who deem it in the best interest of Masonry to consolidate HPL with Pentagon Lodge to sign off on this document. HPL will also provide the other information required as per Art. 147, which includes our list of members (in good standing - which you all are) and the list of our property and together with the proposal, they will be hand delivered by order of the WM to the Sec. of Pentagon Lodge prior to opening of their stated meeting such that it can be read in open lodge at their 'next stated meeting' (as per Art. 148), entered into their minutes and carried over until their 2nd stated meeting on Jan 11th (JANUARY stated meeting) for a lodge vote. In January, as per Art. 249, they must have a 2/3 majority present to vote to accept the proposal.
Assuming a positive vote, as per Art. 250, the secretary will deliver to the signed proposal to the GM (after he is installed in January), certified copies of the minutes of receipt of the proposal and minutes of the vote. He also will have certified copies of the minutes from HPL of the meeting when the proposal brought before the lodge and to include this notice. Assuming the GM approves, Arts. 250a, 251, 252 & 253 will be followed which will allow for the transfer and consolidation of property and the certificate of GM approval to be spread across the minutes of the next stated meeting (hopefully this will be on Feb 8th) and Grand Sec to record this all officially with Grand Lodge.