"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Sunday, May 02, 2021

Masonic Sightseeing in Lafayette, Indiana with Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research

by Christopher Hodapp

On Saturday, the Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research spent the day exploring Masonic sites around Lafayette, Indiana: the Tippecanoe Battlefield where the Grand Lodge placed a historical marker in 1966; the beautiful Battle Ground Lodge (which has just been restored following a wintertime flood from the roof); and the one of a kind J. H. Rathbone Museum of fraternal order ephemera from the Golden Age of fraternalism.

Masonic marker memorializing the death of Kentucky Grand Master Joseph Hamilton Daveiss
and other Masons at the Tippecanoe Battlefield Park.

While at the park, we had the opportunity to tour the on-site museum. We had 27 Masons and guests in attendance, and the weather was absolutely perfect.

Next was a visit to the Masonic hall of Battle Ground Lodge 313.

WB Dave Hosler was our host for the day and gave a presentation at Battle Ground Lodge about a brother elected as Master of the lodge at age 24 who survived World War I, but tragically died in the flu pandemic of 1918 before he could be installed.

The lodge's entry features artwork by Indiana Masonic 
artist Steven McKim, originally a member of Octagon Lodge, 
which subsequently merged with Battle Ground lodge.

Our third stop for the day was at the J.H. Rathbone Museum. Located in a former Knights of Pythias meeting hall in Lafayette, the museum is one of the largest collections of costumes, regalia, artwork, medals, ephemera and rituals from literally hundreds of fraternal groups that flourished throughout the U.S. between the Civil War and the 1930s. Curator Ken Moder, members of the museum's board, and other local volunteers have been sorting and organizing in recent years, and there were several in our group who had been unaware of just how extensive the collection really is.

Joining us for the day was Heather Calloway, her husband Todd, and their son, Simon. Heather worked for many years at the Scottish Rite SJ House of the Temple in Washington DC, and she’s now teaching at IU in Bloomington in the Museum Studies department. A fascinating project is getting underway in Bloomington which will be of great interest to Masons and others interested in the subject of fraternal organizations, and Heather is spearheading it. News will be forthcoming.

My deepest thanks to WB Dave Hosler for handling the day’s arrangements and Ken Moder for opening the Museum for us. But I especially want to thank everyone who attended. The COVID pandemic and shutdowns hurled a large monkey wrench into our lodge plans over the last 14 months, and I was happy we were able to make this work out just before our Masonic year ends in mid-May. The consensus among everyone Saturday afternoon was that we should have other similar events like this in the coming years.

The Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research operates as a lodge under dispensation at the will and pleasure of the Grand Master, so we will have new appointed officers later this month. It has been my honor and pleasure to serve as Master of our research lodge over the last two years, and I thank all of our officers and members for their support.

For more information about the lodge, including membership or affiliation, visit our website at http://dlslodgeofresearch.net

Photos: Dave Hosler, Heather Calloway, Chris Hodapp

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