Fraternal and sororital organizations represent just one of the many ways that we associate with one another. Some exist at the national scale (and beyond) like Masons, Eagles, and Elk; some were only regional or local. A few are religiously based (Knights of Columbus); some occupational (Foresters, UCT); some ethnic. Then there is the Ku Klux Klan which was, much to our embarrassment, a Yankee institution.
Most lodges made distinctions in gender; some in age. Members of the Order of DeMolay, for example, are young men who may eventually “graduate” to become Masons. The female counterpart to Masonry is the Order of the Eastern Star, and its members often come from among Job’s Daughters. But most of these organizations cut across divisional lines of religion, ethnicity, and income to help unify what might otherwise have been fragmented communities.
Ancient Free & Accepted Masons or the Masonic Lodge would have been present in Agincourt from the beginning. Their presence is implicit in virtually every endeavor during the community’s one hundred and sixty year history. Relationships forged in these fraternities built business alliances and laid the foundation for political careers. Whether I’ve mentioned it or not, assume it’s there.
Agincourt’s 19th-century lodge hall stood at the northeast corner of Broad Street and Agincourt Avenue, until a New Year’s Eve celebration brought the building down: a tragedy, to be sure, for the Masons but a window of opportunity for the library board who acquired the site for a new library already in planning.
MASONS LOSE HOME.
TEMPLE AT AGINCOURT TOTALLY DESTROYED BY FIRE YESTERDAY.
Agincourt, Jan. 1. — The Masonic temple building here was destroyed by fire of unknown origin yesterday. It contained the Dodge theatre and offices of the Standard Oil Company. The loss is estimated at $40,000, most of which is covered by insurance. The firemen were handicapped in their efforts by the intense cold, the temperature being 20 below zero at the time the fire was detected about 2:00 a.m.
The Daily Plantagenet 1912-01-02
Post-fire investigation revealed that the loss resulted from an undetected kitchen fire after the party goers and staff had gone home.