Pacific Lodge No.50 Founder
The Founder Of Pacific Lodge No. 50, A.F & A.M., dates from June 1870. Masonry in Salem had been represented for the 18 years prior to that date by Salem lodge No. 4, but with Salem growing rapidly at that time a group of masons headed by Brother Frelon J. Babcock decided it was time for a second blue lodge in the city.
Brother Babcock had come to Salem from St. Johnsbury, Vermont, where he had received all of the degrees of the York or American Rite. Soon after his arrival in Oregon he was active in ritualistic work in all of the masonic bodies of the state.
In June, 1870, Brother Babcock, together with B.F.Brown and J.A. Waymire attended the Oregon Grand Lodge communication at Astoria and asked that a charter be granted to a suitable number of brethren residing at Salem. The record does not go into detail but a charter was granted to Pacific Lodge No. 50 naming as it first officers, F.J. Babcock, Worshipful Master; B.F. Brown, Senior Warden; J.A. Waymire Junior Warden.
Pacific Lodge No. 50 had an active membership of more than 500 members and has numbered among them many men who have been and still are prominent in Masonic and civic affairs. Brother Babcock served as Grand Secretary for nine years, six of our members have been Grand Masters, on our lodge’s scrolls show the names of a U.S Senator, a Congressman, Governor, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, an Admiral, and many men holding positions in county and state governments.
The influence of Pacific Lodge No. 50 has always been recognized in Grand Lodge.
Masonic Temple History
December 1904 while the lodge bought a lot on the corner of High and State Street. It’s price was $5,500 which was paid with $1,000 down and the balance through a loan from Ladd and Bush Bank.
Seven years later, the lodge had a contract for construction of the temple, ground was broken in January of 1912. On June of that year, Grand Master George Burnett opened the Grand Lodge of Oregon for the purpose of laying the cornerstone. An appropriate ceremony was conducted.
Work progressed rapidly, and by January of 1913 both lodges had moved into their new home- less than one year after the groundbreaking. The Total cost of the seven storied, basement structure was $108,000 To finance the construction, the lodge borrowed money by a direct loan, and floated a bond issue. As set up, the lodges reserved the fifth, sixth, and seventh floors for their use. The first four were developed as rentals for the office and business purposes.
The Masonic Temple in Salem Oregon was sold in 1972 with both lodges moving out during the summer of the following year. At that point tentative plans were already in the mill for a new temple, with the expectation of renting meeting space until it’s completion.
The reason for disposal of the property was the contemplated expense of renovating the building to satisfy safety standards and operational requirements. Projected cost were staggering. Such items as plumbing, wiring, the furnace, elevator, and fire escapes were in need of replacement, there fore the decision was to sell.
The Temple board representing the two lodges, labored industriously in the acquisition of a building site, development of the plans and attending pre-construction detail meetings relating to the new temple. During that time Salem No. 4 held their meeting at Capital Masonic Temple and Pacific No. 50 held their meetings at the Scottish Rite Temple. Both lodges were grateful to these lodges for their brotherliness in inviting them to share their facilities.
A favorable financial picture did not prevailed until 1919, with the spaces all rented. But in the 1920’s, rentals problems arose due to an economic downtrend. Matters worsened when the great depression cast its gloomy shadow over the next decade. Many tenants vacated in favor of cheaper quarters. Sad to relate it took a disaster to help solve the lodge’s financial woes. In the winter of 1935, a fire-destroyed Oregon’s Capital leaving state government with some serious problems, none the least the crucial need for office space. As a partial solution a lease agreement was put in place, granting the state use of the fifth floor. The added revenue enabled the lodge to pay off the building loan and retire the bonds in 1943. This left the lodge free of all financial debt.
When you petition for our lodge and we find you a suitable candidate for initiation, we will invite you to a ceremony. Before we get started with that, let’s go over how our charters began in Oregon.
Masonry in Oregon had it’s beginning in 1846 when several members met in Oregon City and petitioned the Grand Lodge of Missouri for a charter. A vast distance and the difficulties of travel, this charter did not reach Oregon City until 1848 when Multnomah Lodge No.84 of Missouri was organized. In 1850 and 1851, Willamette Lodge No. 11 and Lafayette Lodge No. 15 were authorized by the Grand Lodge of California and these three lodge’s formed themselves into the Grand lodge of Oregon.
On September 15, 1851 these lodge’s respectively became the number one, two, and three newest charter’s under the Oregon jurisdiction. All the present lodges in Oregon were chartered by the Grand Lodge of Oregon.
Further studies will show that Masons in Oregon were leaders in the political, economic and social development of our state. You will find that the men who were prominent in our lodges have also been prominent leaders in our community.
Freemasonry is a fraternity that encourages personal and individual character development, introduction of moral and virtuous lessons and behavior into your daily life. After a few months of mentorship and the willingness to study the ritual, you will pass through one of the most profound and memorable experiences of your life. When you are raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, then you will have the opportunity to seek further light in other masonic degrees.
Pacific Lodge No. 50 is a Blue Lodge located in Salem, Oregon. Please feel free to contact us with any further questions you may have.