History of Alexandra Lodge #87 - Part 3

To view a summary of our history in Time Line form please use the interactive Time Line above. 

Lawrence Street Masonic Temple 

In 1956 both Acacia and Alexandra voted to sell the building we were in to W Bro.  W.T. Purdy for $30,000 with the understanding that we could keep a long term lease of $60 per month.

Then during the year 1957 it was unanimously resolved by both Alexandra and Acacia to build a Masonic Temple in Amherst.

According to some records the land on which the Lawrence Street Masonic Temple was built was purchased from the estate of Albert Chapman. The deed was recorded on June 7, 1958.  Also from an account by MW Bro. V. Harris  P.G.M. in his “History of Freemasonry at Amherst 1822-1930”, the land was a gift from MW Bro. N.T. Avard, who was also a Past Master of Alexandra.  

Much of the money for the building was from funds that the masonic bodies had at the time, but a lot had to be raised from personal donations and fund raising events.

At the February 4, 1958 meeting the building committee reported that the proposed Lawrence Street temple could be built for under $30,000. They also estimated that the yearly maintenance costs for the building would be $2,600. This was to be paid for by having the members pay $15.00 each on a yearly bases.


During the April 10, 1958 meeting Alexandra Lodge gave the committee their permission to proceed with the construction of the new building.

The Building Committee approached the lodges in May (Alexandra Lodge on May 8, 1958) to give them permission to be Incorporated to help with the building project. Thus forming the Amherst Masonic Society. 

The architectural firm that was hired was G.F. Cole & Company and Bro. R.A. Dakin. The design that was chosen brought into play many of our masonic symbols such as the equilateral triangle and the Square and Compass, the main symbol of our fraternity.

The first sod was turned by MW Bro. K.L. Crowell, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia while it was in session in Amherst in June 1958.

In January of 1959 the Building Committee reported they hoped the lodge would be ready for the Joint Installation of Alexandra and Acacia on January 29, 1959. A special dispensation was them requested and granted by Grand Lodge, as the lease on the old quarters had expired.

Over 200 Masons were present along with the RW Bro. A.L. MacAlden DGM. The Installation was conducted by the MW Bro. N.T. Avard, PGM.

Our new Temple was dedicated at a special communication of Grand Lodge by MW Bro. Rev. D. M. Sinclair and Grand Lodge Officers held at Amherst for that purpose on May 29, 1959.

One little interesting fact that I came across was that the 90 folding seat chairs we now have in the north, south and the east of the lodge were old theatre chairs purchased from the Capital Theatre. Alexandra’s share of the purchase was $115.00

This Masonic Temple was the second one to be built in Amherst. The first Temple was occupied on August 7, 1873 and was dedicated by Hon. Alexander Keith, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia on August 28, 1873. This Temple was totally destroyed by fire on the night of December 6, 1877. 

A more recent update to the question of where the land came from on which the temple now sits. David Lind emailed us to let us know that his father, Peter Lind, sold the land to the masons for $1000. as he was a member for a few years after. David Lind said that he can remember watching Gerry Langille walk across the steel beams with his white hard hat on. He said he thinks his dad got tired of mowing the big field next to our house at 22 Lawrence Street which he owned since the early fifties.

Below is a close-up of the beautiful stain glass window 

high in the East of our new lodge finished and dedicated in 1959.

January 1, 1959

Calendar Year Changed

1959 was the first year for us to have our installations in January. This was to coinside with our move to our new templeon Lawrence Street and also to agree with the calendar followed by the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia. 

October 1960


In 1960 we celebrated 50 years of Freemasonry in Alexandra Lodge #87.  The Celebration started on October 14 with a Ceremonial Dinner in the Banquet Room of the Masonic Temple at 6:30pm. The special speaker on that occasion was Rev. Harry Rackham.

Lodge was tyled at 8:00pm for the transaction of regular business and balloting on a Candidate.

On Saturday, October 15 there was a Social Evening which included cards, dancing and a buffet supper.

The final event of the Celebration Program was a Church Parade Sunday, October 16 at 10:30am followed by a divine Service at Trinity-St. Stephen’s United Church.

During this time of celebration a history of the lodge’s activities were given. In its contents the following was recorded:

Over the years our membership has increased steadily from 22 to 137 and the members have been active both in the lodge and the community. One member served in the Armer Services in the Boer War. Thirty-six in the Great War 1914-18 and twenty in the Second Great War 1939-45. Our Senior Past Master, RW Bro. D.A. Morrison served the Grand Lodge as Senior Grand Warden in 1913, MW Bro. N.T. Avard was Grand Master from 1936 to 1938 and others served in lesser offices over the years.

Alexandra lodge in completing fifty years of Masonic Service in the Town of Amherst looks forward with enthusiasm to the future due to the new Masonic era opening through the completing of our new Temple. 


Reading through the old minutes kept by our brothers through the years, I kept coming across the date being written in the five thousands? After doing some research I found that masonry has had its own calendar down through the ages! The old calendar used by masonry dates iteslf as A.L. (Anno Lucis) meaning “In the year of Light”. 

It is found by adding  4000 years to the present Julian Calendar, thus 2011 becomes 6011. Apparently this is because Masonry dates its calendar beginning at 4000 B.C. because, according to the geneologies given in the Bible, this is the year that the world was created. Therefore, Anno Lucis refers to God's creating statement "Let there be Light." It is thought that this dating system was first constructed by the Anglican Bishop Usher in 1611, and was originally a Christian method of dating; it was adopted by Masonic Lodges at a later time. However, other researchers believe that it is based on an Egyptian source as both Egyptians and Masons call 4000 BC the “Year of the Light”. 

Over the years Grand Lodge held its Annual Communication in lodge communities throughout the province rather than in a central location as it does now. The first record of it coming to Amherst was in June of 1913.

The next time it visited our town was on June 9, 1937. That year MW Bro. Norman T. Avard presided over the meetings and festivities. There was a splendid attendance of brethren from all over the province and the Amherst Lodges made excellent arrangements for the comfort of all the visitors. In the Alexandra Lodge Minutes for 1958 there is also a record of a Grand Communication being held in Amherst in June of 1958.

 On July 7th & 8th of 1967 the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia held its Annual Communication in Amherst. The meetings and banquet took place at the Interprovincial School for the Deaf.  One very important happening during the Annual Meeting was the burning ceremony of the mortgage for the Lawrence Street temple.

Below is a photograph from the Amherst Daily News showing the parade in 1967 from the Cumberland Hotel on Victoria Street to the Interprovincial School for the Deaf where the meetings were held.

A picture taken of the Grand Master and guests at the 102nd Annual Communication held in Amherst 1967. 

 A few years later the Annual Communication again came north to Amherst in June of 1989. At that time MW Bro. Harris Pipes of our mother lodge, Acacia #8, was Grand Master of Masons in Nova Scotia. 

That year all the meetings and the Annual Banquet were held at the Trinity-St. Stephen's United Church.


Visitations and A Presentation


At the regular meeting of the lodge on September 11, 1973, two very important things happened. After the lodge was opened on the Third Degree there was an alarm at the Outer Door. 50 members of Tweedie Lodge #41 of Moncton were in waiting. They were there under a special dispensation from both the Grand Lodge of N.S. and N.B. to confer a Third degree on one of their members. They were welcomed and proceeded to put on a very good Master Mason’s Degree. 

 Once this work was completed there was a further alarm at the Outer Door and a Mrs. Marie Ross was escorted into the temple after the Great Lights had been disarrranged.  She came to present the lodge with a complete set of collars and jewels. These regalia had been purchased by the lodge with the $1,000 she had donated in the memory of her late husband RW Bro. Kit (Wilfred) Ross. Her generosity was welcomed with a standing ovation and heart felt expressions of appreciation by the members of Alexandra.

Lodge Joint Installations 

Over the 100 plus years since Alexandra became a lodge we have joined with Acacia and often with other district lodges, as well, to hold our Joint Installations each year. During the early years of our brotherhood we had our installations usually in April but for many years now all our installations have been held in January. Below are just a few of the times we have combined our installations. 

1978, January 12 - Alexandra hosted King Edward and Acacia for a Joint Triple Installation. Attendance showed 16 brothers from Acacia #8, 8 brothers from King Edward #86 and 14 members from Alexandra plus one visitor from Eureka #42.

1979, January 4 - Acacia hosted the Joint Installation with Alexandra and King Edward.

1980, January 10 - Alexandra hosted King Edward and Acacia.

1986, January 11 - King Edward Lodge invited Alexandra to a Joint Installation in River Hebert.

1987, January 3 -  Acacia Lodge #8 invited Alexandra and King Edward Lodge to take part in a joint installation.

1988, January 14 - Acacia hosted King Edward and Alexandra at the yearly installation.

1989, January 14 - Records show that a Joint Installation was held in River Hebert with King Edward, Alexandra and Acacia taking part. 

1991, January 5 -  Alexandra hosted Acacia and King Edward for a Joint Installation.

1994, January 8 -  Alexandra hosted a Joint Installation for Acacia, King Edward, Laurie and Wimburn.

2005 -  Alexandra and Wallace Lodges held their installation together.

Since 2009 Acacia and Alexandra have taken turns hosting Joint Installations of their two lodges.

2012, January 3 - Alexandra hosted King Edward and Acacia. 

Installation of Masters 2010

W Bro. Roy Tower, Acacia #8, W Bro. Darrell Jones, Alexandra #87 and Installation Officer RW Bro. Jack Boyd  


Annual Spring Ball 

For a number of years the lodges in Amherst held an Annual Spring Ball at the Armouries. It was usually held in April and for many enjoyable Spring nights it was well attended. I have found mention of the Spring Ball on April 24, 1976, April 16, 1977 and again in April of 1982. 


Third Degree Drama 

    Click on the image to view it larger. 

On the night of June 9, 1982 the brothers from Fellowship Lodge #112 in Truro traveled to Amherst and put on the Third Degree Drama. The brother who was raised that night was Bro. Keith Lyons.

In more recent times a Cumberland District Drama Team was put together under the direction of RW Bro. Fred Newman. On April 6, 2010 they visited Alexandra and put on the 3rd Degree Drama for two of our brothers, Andrew MacDonald and Peter Michels who were taking their 3rd Degree that night. Here the team is seen in all its finery.          


Ivan Allen Night

On October 9, 1986 Alexandra Lodge #87 held an Ivan Allen Night in recognition of  R.W. Bro. Ivan Allen’s many years of loyal service to the Alexandra Lodge. R.W. Bro. Ivan Bedford Allen was raised in Alexandra Lodge #87 on June 13, 1946. He also served in the Second World War before becoming a Mason. He served as JS, SS, JD, SD, JW, SW and as WM in 1954.

Interesting Bits of Information Regarding 

Our Lodge Finances 

 In February of 1989 we moved our accounts from the Royal Bank of Canada, where they had been for many years, to the Central Trust Company. Later in April 1994 we agreed to move them to the Amherst Credit Union where we were given a better rate.

In April 1994, at the regular monthly meeting we agreed to pay $70.00 towards the purchase of the regalia for our District Grand Director of Ceremonies.

 Gifts and Donations

1998        $10,000 Donation to Lodge

In January of 1998, Alexandra Lodge received a gift of $10,000 from the estate of Bro. Russell O. Hunter who died on Nov. 24. 1997. The money was put into a special investment account only to be used for special events but the interest could be used as required as no other conditions were put on the money by the estate of Bro. Hunter.

2003        NSCC Bursary

In 2003 Alexandra Lodge joined the other eight lodges in the Cumberland District in a joint project to enhance the image  and awareness of Freemasonry within Cumberland County by presenting a bursary to a deserving adult student at the NSCC in Springhill. This has grown so that we are now able to present two $1,000 bursaries each spring!

2004        Tyler’s Sword

A Tyler’s Sword was presented to the lodge in 2004 by Bro. Patrick Patterson. 

New Elevator 


For years we have had complaints that people were having a hard time accessing our hall because of the stairs. Thus it became a priority of the Masonic Society to get an elevator put in our building. Thus in 2010 after months of fund raising, the project became a reality and a new elevator was finally here for all to use. In fact in the years 2008 to 2012 a great many renovations came to fruitions as our Temple had reached the 50 year mark since its construction back in 1959. The washrooms were updated, the kitchen refurbished, new entrance flooring put down, a new furnace installed and as this is being written the society is working on the funds for a new outside accessibility ramp and a new roof!


Alexandra Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary 

On June 12, 2010 the members of Alexandra Lodge were very pleased to celebrate their first 100 years as a lodge at the Masonic Temple. Lodge was tiled on the 3rd Degree at 4:05 pm with W. Bro. Darrell Jones in the East. Guests included His Worship Mayor Small of Amherst, Rt W Bro Reo Matthews  SGW, Rt W Bro. Roy Lively, W. Bro. Joe Rogers and many brothers from the district as well as our families and many friends from the area. A number of presentations were made with the hi-light being the gift of regalia by W. Bro. Joe Rogers on behalf of Athole Lodge and the presentation of the Altar Cloth by Rt. W. Bro. Roy Lively.

After the presentations, W Bro Jones thanked everyone for coming and for the presentations. He then invited them to the banquet in the lodge hall downstairs.

Director of Ceremonies for the event was V.W. Bro. Neil Delaney.

Approximately 50 people took part in our 100th Anniversary on Saturday. We were very pleased to have so many of our ladies, fellow masons and guests come out to help us celebrate the first one hundred years of Freemasonry in  Alexandra Lodge #87. 

Please click on the 100th Anniversary Celebration pictures below.

At the 2011 Annual Communication in Truro on June 4 and 5 our second Grand Master from Alexandra Lodge #87 was elected. MW Bro. Barry S. Imber was made Grand Master of Masons in Nova Scotia. He follows in the footsteps of our first brother who was made Grand Master just over three quarters of a century ago! MW Bro. Norman T. Avard was elected to the office in 1936 and again for three terms in total (1936, 1937 and 1938). 

 Since 1992 MW Bro. Barry S. Imber has been very active at the Grand Lodge level of Masonry in Nova Scotia. His involvement included:

Grand Steward 1994-5; District Deputy Grand Master Cumberland District 2004-5; Grand Lecturer 2006-7, 2007-8; Junior Grand Warden 2008-9; Senior Grand Warden 2009-10; Deputy Grand Master 2010-11; Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Quebec near the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia; Board of General Purposes 2004-5, 2005-6 (alternate), 2009-11; Long Range Planning Committee 2004-5; Committee on the Grand Master’s Address 2005-6; Masonic Education Committee 2005-11, Chair 2006-8; Ad Hoc Committee on the Condition of the Order 2006-7, 2007-8; Ritual Committee 2006-10, Chair 2006-8; Ad Hoc Membership Committee 2007-9; Chair of District Alignment Committee 2009-10; Co-Editor and publisher of the Nova Scotia Freemason 1992-99.

As well he is a member of Cumberland Chapter No.13, Royal Arch; Victoria Lodge of Perfection, Keith Sovereign Chapter Rose Croix (Past Most Wise Sovereign), Nova Scotia Consistory, Halifax Valley, A.A.S.R.; Royal Order of Scotland.

The 146th Annual Communication in June of 2011 was very special for our lodge. On Saturday afternoon five of our Brothers become Grand Lodge Officers. Alexandra was very proud to have had so many of her brethren serving at the Grand Lodge level at one time.

MW Bro. Barry S. Imber GM

RW Bro. Neil E. Delaney GDC

RW Bro. S. Jack Boyd         DDGM

VW Bro. Michael F. Gaul         DGDC

VW Bro. Thomas C. Osbourne DGC


To view pictures of the 146 Annual Communication CLICK HERE

1909 - 2012

Masters of Alexandra

Below is a listing of all of our Worshipful Masters from our humble beginnings back in 1909 up to 2012.  I have listed them in a Time Line format which can be adjusted in size. If you click on the wrench in the top right corner you can also view the TimeLine FULL SCREEN.

I have added a few world events to help put things into context, ie. what was happening in the world when these men were our Worshipful Masters.


Our brothers have taken their turns with the other lodges in our district to fill the office of the Grand Master’s District Representative since we received our charter. Listed here are the brothers who filled that roll as can be determined from the existing records:

                       1931/1932 and

                       1932/1933 RW Bro. George M.Morrison

                       1948/1949 RW Bro. Alfred L. Stockhall

                       1957/1958 RW Bro. Wilfred A. G. Ross

                       1966/1967 RW Bro. Russell O. Hunter

                       1973/1974? RW Bro. Ivan B. Allen

                       1984/1985 RW Bro. Raymond J. Haynes

                       1991/1992 RW Bro. Howard Spence

                       1998/1999 RW Bro. Dale Ross

                       2004/2005 RW Bro. Barry Imber

                       2011/2012 RW Bro. Jack Boyd

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