This holiday season as we think about ideas of unity and goodwill toward all, we highlight this 1934 photograph of members from Golden Rule Lodge No. 5 on Owl’s Head Mountain in Vermont. Since 1857, members of the lodge, located in Stanstead, Quebec, Canada, have hosted this annual gathering. They meet in June at the summit of Owl’s Head Mountain, 2,425 feet above Lake Memphremagog. The lodge, originally founded in 1803 in Derby Line, Vermont, and named Lively Stone Lodge No. 22, included members from both Canada and the United States.
During the War of 1812, local governments prohibited Lively Stone Lodge from meeting, prompting Canadian members of the lodge to establish a new lodge in Stanstead. The new lodge, named Golden Rule Lodge, received its first charter from the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813. In 1856, the lodge received a new charter from the Grand Lodge of Canada. In 1857, the Grand Lodge of Canada granted the group a dispensation to carry out an outdoor Masonic communication at the summit of Owl’s Head Mountain. In 1861 the lodge petitioned the Grand Lodge of Vermont for the charter of Lively Stone, which had surrendered its’ charter in 1826.
In addition to the annual gathering—open to Masons from both countries—Freemasons from three American and Canadian villages in the area—Derby Line, Vermont and Rock Island, and Stanstead, Quebec—have often gathered for parades and other celebrations. This photograph shows a 1903 Masonic parade in Rock Island (below).
Members of Golden Rule Lodge No. 5 still make the annual trek to Owl’s Head Mountain each June. The excursion is open to all Masons. Each year, a candidate for the Master Mason degree at the meeting on top of the mountain, carries a wicker basket that contains ropes, the flags of Quebec, the United States, and Canada, and Masonic tools, including a Bible, and a square and compasses. This ongoing tradition illustrates the power of brotherhood to transcend political borders and war. Do you know of other border lodges like Golden Rule Lodge No.5? Let us know in the comments below
Members of Golden Rule Lodge No. 5, 1934. Derick Studio, Orleans, Vermont. Gift of Philip N. Grime, 89.38.
Masonic Parade, Three Villages, 1903, from Matthew Farfan, The Vermont-Quebec Border: Life on the Line( South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2009), 58-59.
Matthew Farfan, The Vermont-Quebec Border: Life on the Line (South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2009)
Lee S. Tillotson, Ancient Craft Masonry in Vermont (Montpelier, VT: Capital City Press, 1930).