WALLINGFORD — The Masonic Fraternity Compass Lodge No. 9 is celebrating 250 years in town.
Worshipful Master Christian Godbout will be coordinating the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Connecticut’s 250 years celebration. He said the local lodge was established in 1769 and predates the grand lodge in Connecticut, making it the ninth Masonic lodge established in the state. Godbout said a rededication of the North Main Street building, which was purchased in 1911, will take place in May.
“(The masons) were involved with the founding fathers and helped form the nation,” Godbout said.
The organization has created charity foundations, sponsored blood drives and organized community dinners, according to Record-Journal archives. It created a fund for the victims of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, although the money was later returned to the state and used to establish the Masonic Relief fund the following year.
In 1889, the foundation officially came to be known as the Masonic Charity Foundation of Connecticut. It grew with the support of members and local donors. In the first six years, the organization sought to help poor, widowed, and orphaned members of the fraternity,
The foundation grew to support scholarships, medical research, and later a hospital. In 1895, the organization opened the Masonic Home and Orphanage, a 32-bed lodge on an 88-acre parcel.
In 1987, the Masonic lodge on Simpson Court opened its doors to the community for a Thanksgiving dinner, prepared by the Masonic Home and delivered to Compass Lodge 9 to serve 100 people.
“It was all done on the spur of the moment,” said Ray Cooley, chaplain at Masonic Home.
In 1989, Masonic Home and Hospital in Wallinford had 568 beds along with 156 beds at a nursing home in Newington. It also opened a child daycare and Ashlar Village, a retirement and continuing care community in Wallingford.
Godbout said membership throughout the years has ebbed and flowed. He said that when the organization started, masonry was more prevalent in the community. Godbout said the lodge helps to support families displaced by fires, local sports leagues and community charities.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Godbout said. “It’s one of the reasons I joined masonry to help people in the community.”