A SHORT HISTORY OF IVY LODGE
Ivy Lodge #115 was instituted in Smithville on August 6, 1859 and received its charter August 8, 1860. Of the ten charter members, one came from St. George's and the other nine came from Union Lodge #7 in Grimsby. The lodge remained in Smithville until 1871 at which time it was transferred to Beamsville.
Documents that have survived suggest that by 1870 the lodge was in debt to some extent and that due to a large number of withdrawals and suspensions, conditions may not have been as good in the area. Beamsville on the other hand, due to the increasing importance of stone quarries, was prospering.
Plans for the transfer were approved by the D.D.G.M., R.W. Bro. W. Wilson in 1870, on condition that members of Union Lodge living in Beamsville not abandon Union but have a moral obligation to "remain subscribing members for some time to come". The continuation of unity and amity between the lodges was emphasized.
The first meeting in Beamsville was held on April 11, 1871. A candidate was initiated but he apparently advanced no further and was suspended in 1879. (The first candidate in Ivy [Smithville] was initiated in 1859. He too advanced no further and was suspended in 1866).
Except for a brief period of seven months from April to December of 1881, the lodge has held regular meetings throughout its 141 year history.
Over the years, Ivy Lodge has been most fortunate in having been the recipient of many donations from its friends. The lodge room itself was obtained from the late J.B. Osborne for the sum of five shillings. A burial plot was given to the lodge by M.W. Bro. W. Gibson in 1892. The wands, Bible, plate used in the N.E., the Wardens' columns and most other ornaments were given to the lodge at one time or another.
It is felt that much of the present furniture was transferred from Smithville in 1871. There is no record of new furniture being purchased although a motion in December 1870 dealing with the transfer of the lodge shows a committee was formed to "communicate with some parties (brethren) that want to purchase our jewels and furniture." The purchase of a secretaries desk was authorized in 1886 and is believed to be the one still in use.
The changeover from oil lamps to electricity in 1903 was a long drawn-out affair. Not all were in agreement that the change was a wise move. This resulted in many motions, amendments and reports of committees being submitted and much discussion from February to August when the fixtures were finally installed.
One of the shorter meetings - or longer "called off" meetings occurred between November 6, 1900 and November 13, 1900. The meeting was opened at 8:10 p.m. on the 6th and a motion was carried that the lodge adjourn for one week. It was re-opened at 8:45 on the 13th and a report on an application for affiliation was received, balloted on and the lodge closed at 9:05 p.m. No reason for the adjournment appears in the minutes.
In Beamsville, the lodge occupies the second floor over the old town hall and present library. This building was built in 1851 by the Township of Clinton . In 1856, J.B. Osborne purchased the second floor from the township for the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds. In the agreement of 1856, the township agreed to maintain the roof, while Osborne agreed to prevent any damage to the building from disrepair of door or windows of the second storey. The premises were to be used by the Sons of Temperance, an organization in which Mrs. Osborne was very interested. In 1871, the deed of possession was transferred to Ivy Lodge. We have no explanation why Mr. Osborne, a non-mason, was willing to give the room to the masons other than he was a public-spirited person.
In 1880, following the incorporation of Beamsville as a village, the municipality obtained a 99 year lease on the Town Hall. This appears to have caused some concern to the members of Ivy Lodge as they feared the new tenant might not honour the original agreement. The whole matter was settled amicably.