By Rt. Wor. Bro. D.A. Massie P.D.D.G.M.*
The Eastern region of the Boundary District first saw the influx of sizeable numbers of settlers during the last two decades of the 19th century . These people earned their livelihood by lumbering , mining ,farming and laboring in service industries .Because of the fluctuiating nature of the lumbering and mining industries, men were drawn to the Grand Forks Valley from all parts of North America and, because so many of them were "birds of passage" , it is not surprising to discover that the more permanent inhabitants knew but little of the backgrounds of these men .Thus , when the creation of a Masonic Lodge was first mooted in the summer of 1902, the Brethren in charge of the movement were astonished to discover that no less than forty Masons were living within the district. Further, not only were these Brethren drawn from Lodges in every corner of the continent,but in addition , the majority had not attended a Lodge of any kind for periods up to twenty-five years .The history of Harmony Lodge dates back to October 20th ,1902 when a dispensation to create the Lodge was issued by the Grand Master , M.W. Bro. E.E. Chapman of Kaslo. The opening meeting was held on November 19th, 1902. A.L. 5902 , at which time the E.A. Degree was exemplified by R.W. Brother Hering of Rossland, D.D.G.M. of District No. 7, and the visiting Brethren present. The Lodge was duly consecrated on August 5th, 1903 by the Grand Master , M.W. Bro. Rev.C. Ensor-Sharpe who was assisted by six other Grand Lodge Officers.The appropriate page in the porch book for the day shows a full slate of officers , ten members and twenty-two visiting Brethren.
After the conclusion of the consecration ceremony and the presentation of the Charter, the Lodge adjourned to the opera house where a banquet was served to the Brethren and their ladies . The success of this particular banquet was largely attributed to Mrs. Westwood, W. Bro. Westwood, our first W.M. ,and to the many rousing songs provided by a certain Brother McMynn.
Our Lodge was named Harmony after the suggestion of W. Bro. Westwood and Harmony has been our watchword ever since .This Lodge has been free of dissension of any kind throughout its history.
The first candidate to be entered passed and raised was W. Bro. J.A. McCallum who was raised to the Sublime Degree on May 6th 1903. Since that time , through all the ups and downs of the ensuing one hundred (plus) years, Harmony Lodge has maintained an average membership of seventy , and it is noteworthy that our active membership stands at something close to forty. Over the years our Lodge has provided seventeen D.D.G.M.s and a number of our Brethren have served Grand Lodge in various minor offices. In 1938, Harmony Lodge was honoured by having one of our Past Masters, M.W. Bro. Dr. C.M. Kingston chosen Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of B.C.
The first Lodge room was in Chapple Hall, which stood just to the North of the old Gazette office and present Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.This hall was destroyed by fire in 1908 and thus Harmony Lodge moved its meeting place to Averill Hall which then stood across from the present site of Johnny's Motor Court.The ground floor of those premises was a stable and our records indicate the difficulties of conducting the work of the Lodge to the accompaniment of the noise and odours from below. Within a year the Lodge had moved its meeting place once more, this time to the Bonthron Hall; in 1952 the Lodge moved to the Davis Block. In 1972, after seventy years of moving and renting , the Brethren decided to purchase the I.O.O.F. Hall as a permanent home for our Lodge .Following extensive renovations, the first communication was held at this location on January 3rd, 1973.
.....This brief history would not be complete without mention of King Edward Lodge No.36 of Phoenix BC & Greenwood Lodge No. 28 - which amalgamated into the present King Edward Lodge No.28 in Greenwood B.C.;and Ferry Lodge No 111 of Republic, Washington which amalgamated with Kettle Falls Lodge No.130 ,Kettle Falls Washington. It was to these lodges that Brother F.A,. Sinclair appealed for help when he first began to draw together that small nucleus which was our beginning .This cry did not go unheard and ever after these sister lodges have been ever ready to help aid and assist us in time of need. (Interesting to note ,King Edward and Harmony lodges were both Under Dispensation at the same time).
Today, many of those Freemasons who were raised to the Sublime Degree in Harmony Lodge are scattered across the face of North America ; many more have gone to the Grand Lodge on High,including all of our Charter Members and those whose names appear on our Roll of Honour; but new Brethren continue to come forward to fill the vacant chairs and our Lodge continues in strength. Truly, when our Charter Members first gathered together so long ago they laid a stone which has proved a sure foundation for the building blocks of Freemasonry , and which under God's Will , will continue to support the growing edifice as long as Freemasons, those men of good will , are abroad in this land.
MW Bro. Rev. C. Ensor-Sharp
* This history was originally written in 1977 and has been updated by the web page author .