Brother Joe Griffin, Sr. is a Pineville native and the author of several books. Most notably for our Lodge is his NC Society of Historians award winning publication “My Hometown Pineville”. This book details an extensive history, along with rare photos, of Pineville as it emerged from its small town roots into a thriving metropolitan suburb. This book can be purchased for $26.95. Please contact Brother Griffin at the number below.
Brother Joe Griffin
JAMES K. POLK MASONIC LODGE #759 ORGANIZED
In 1981 WB James Van Wilson, Past Master of Friendship Masonic Lodge in Charlotte, started talking with other Masons in Pineville about organizing a Masonic Lodge in Pineville. After many informal talks with individuals he started having organizational meetings, first in the old Pineville High School Agriculture Building and later at the James K. Polk Memorial Museum. The North Carolina Grand Master, Jack Honeycutt, was invited to join in one of the meetings. This started the ball rolling.
In April of 1982 the lodge was organized under dispensation with WB Wilson as Master. The lodge was organized under the name of James K. Polk Masonic Lodge in Memory of the Eleventh President of the United States, who was born in Pineville. One year under dispensation was required before the lodge could be chartered.
Fifty five Masons, members of other lodges formed the new lodge as charter members and on April 30, 1983 the lodge was chartered by Grand Master Cecil Liverman. WB Wilson was elected again to serve as Master of James K. Polk Masonic Lodge No. 759.
One of the charter members, Brother James T. Deal, was the only surviving member of the original Pineville Masonic Lodge.
James K. Polk Lodge initially met in the old and dilapidated lodge of the original Pineville Masonic Lodge, upstairs over the old Pineville Drug Co. That lodge failed and lost its charter during the Great Depression of 1929. Much hard work was done by lodge members to make the old lodge suitable for holding meetings.. The building was owned by the late Brother John Joseph Miller, who was a Charter Member of the lodge, and was rented to the lodge for sixty dollars a year. Much of the lodge furniture was built by local craftsman, James McCoy.
After Brother Miller’s untimely death, the building was sold to a new owner. The amount of rent he demanded was much greater than the lodge could afford. So the next lodge was in the former Pineville Town Hall building on Dover Street, again requiring extensive work before being usable.
Immediately after being chartered, the lodge started a building fund for the purpose of building a Masonic Lodge. Brother John S. Miller, an Honorary Member of the lodge gave the lodge a lot on South Polk Street ( Highway 521 ) on which to build a lodge. According to Grand Lodge rules no lodge can be built until there are funds to pay for it. No Credit. Before the money could be raised, Brother John advised the lodge not to build on the lot. It was becoming too valuable. The lodge then purchased another piece of land on Hill Street consisting of ten acres. For a number of years the lodge was land poor, as the taxes on the two pieces of land was quite high.
In the year 2000, the property on Polk Street was sold for commercial development. The sale brought enough money to build a lodge on the other property.
On Saturday June 30, 2001 at 12 noon, under the leadership of Worshipful Master Warren Dover, ground was broken on the Hill Street property to commence building the new lodge. The ceremony was open to the public. Present were members of the lodge, Deputy District Grand Master Larry Sizemore, Deputy District Grand Lecturer Oscar Bass, Pineville Mayor Pro-Tem Libby Boatright, families of Lodge Members, and other concerned citizens. The ground-breaking ceremony was followed by a Bar-B-Q at the lodge picnic shelter.
Polk Lodge Chartered
On Saturday, April 30, 1983, 7:30 p.m. The James K Polk Masonic Lodge No. 759 was constituted and chartered by the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina. North Carolina’s Grand Master, Cecil Liverman, presided over the ceremonies. Many dignitaries from Raleigh and other parts of the state were on hand for this auspicious occasion.
James V. Wilson was installed as the first Master of James K. Polk Lodge Number 759. James B. White was installed as Senior Warden. Cecil Crump was installed as Junior Warden, and William T. Crump as the secretary.
The Lodge was chartered with fifty-five members and will hold its meetings each Thursday at 7:30 p.m., unless otherwise specified, in the Lodge Hall above The Pineville Drug Company on Main Street in Pineville.
The principle charities supported by the Masons of North Carolina are the Oxford Orphanage for Children at Oxford, N.C. and the Masonic and Eastern Star Home for the elderly in Greensboro, N.C.
PINEVILLE MASONIC LODGE NO. 455
Pineville’s first Masonic lodge, The Pineville Masonic Lodge No. 455 received its dispensation from the Grand Lodge of North Carolina on December 8, 1892 and was chartered on January 11, 1893.
The Lodge was located on Main Street, upstairs over the Pineville Loan & Savings Bank, which later became the Pineville Drug Company- operated by Mr. Robert Hair. The lodge room was shared with The Redmen.
Pineville Masonic Lodge met on the first Friday of the month and on the Friday on or before Full Moon unless the full moon fell in the first or very close to the first. Then an alternate date was arranged. Dues to The Grand Lodge were 60 cents per member. In the first year there were 13 members. The Masonic year ran from July 1 to June 30 of the following.There were five members who were not officers.
Officers were as follows:
Master – F.O.Sleurtis
Senior Warden – Dr.J.A. Ardrey
Junior Warden – W.H. Crowell
Treasurer – W.E. Ardrey
Secretary – W.M. Morrow
Senior Deacon – J.J. Rone
Junior Deacon – Dominy
Tiler – Monroe Merrett
Other Charter Members were:
During the first year Dr. Joseph Ardrey, who was Pineville’s first doctor, was Senior Warden. He died at the young age of 41on August 21, 1893. Dr. Ardrey was the grandfather of Brother Kenneth R. Downs, member of James K. Polk Lodge, No 759.
On June 30. 1930, membership in good standing numbered 41. Due to the hard economic times of the Great Depression, many members could not pay their dues and the Pineville Lodge went defunct on May 10, 1931.
Following are officers holding seats in the lodge’s final year:
Master – G.S. Dudley
Senior Warden – W.B. Bailes
Junior Warden – J.A. Ardrey, Jr.
Treasurer – L.L. Downs