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Fidelity Lodge #113 F&AM

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1900 to 1920

Fidelity Lodge rose to its full stature among the family of New Jersey lodges during this period, assumed all its obligations under the Grand Lodge and became conspicuous as one of the leading lodges of the state. During this period W. Bro. Harold J.F. White was appointed to the office of Senior Grand Steward by Most Worshipful Grand Master William R. Meakle. He was Fidelity's first Right Worshipful.

Worshipful Brother William J. Tonkin was called a second and third time to lead Fidelity Lodge as Master, in 1900 and 1901 and to consolidate the gains of the past few years. In 1900, fourteen new members were added. In the following 20 years Fidelity Lodge grew and prospered and harmony prevailed. Of the many highlights of this period, several are worthy of special mention.

Ryerson Hall to First National Bank Building

Fidelity Lodge was prosperous and growing by great strides in 1900. The need for a larger hall was indicated. The First National Bank was planning the erection of a new building at the southeast corner of East Ridgewood Avenue and Prospect Street. The building was completed during the winter of 1900 and Fidelity Lodge leased the hall from May 1901.

The first meeting in the new quarters took place on the evening of May 14, 1901. When the Lodge moved it had very little furniture. Through the efforts of the Master, upwards of a thousand dollars was raised by subscription. With this money the lodge room was carpeted and equipped in a manner which made it compare favorably with the best lodges in the vicinity and won praise from its visitors.

First National Bank Building to 99 South Maple Avenue

Meetings had been held in the hall at the bank building for almost twelve years when, on March 28, 1913, the Master, W. Bro. J. Oscar Bunce, appointed a committee to investigate the possibility of securing separate and independent lodge quarters. This committee, headed by W. Bro. William H. Moore, deliberated for nearly a year and then on February 13, 1914, when W. Bro. Harold J.F. White was Master, made its report. They found that the club house of the White Star Athletic Club, located at 99 South Maple Avenue, could be made suitable for a lodge room and that it could be purchased. The committee recommended that the Lodge buy this property and that a Masonic Association composed of all members of Fidelity Lodge be incorporated for this purpose. The Lodge voted to accept these recommendations.

The Masonic Association of Fidelity Lodge was organized and incorporated the next day, but it required a full year to finance and to make over the new quarters into a lodge room and recreation hall. The Lodge is indebted to W. Bros. J. Oscar Bunce and William H. Moore for the design and construction of the building. To finance this undertaking money was borrowed from the bank and in addition bonds in denominations of $10 were purchased by Fidelity's members. During this year W. Bro. Harold J. F. White dispensed with Ladies Night and buffet suppers following Lodge meetings. The first meeting at 99 So. Maple Avenue was held on the evening of April 30, 1915, the year W. Bro. Alonzo Barrett was Master. The District Deputy and one hundred sixty-five members and visitors attended the celebration which included a dinner in the banquet hall.

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