Freemasonry has been presented to us with many definitions of purpose but perhaps the best of these is “Masonry is the activity of closely united men who, employing symbolical forms borrowed principally from the Mason’s trade and from architecture, work for the welfare of mankind, striving morally in ennoble themselves and others, and thereby to bring about a league of mankind.” It has often been expressed as “The world’s most purposeful fraternity.”
Much has been written of the antiquity of the order and many of the principle legends do relate to early religious incidents. However, modern day Masonry dates from the year 1717 and was at that time organized to enlighten mankind and teach them to be better men. The symbols used were taken from the mason;s trade and from architecture, and to each was assigned a meaning to instruct the members in an elevated moral code
What does it practice?
The principal tenants of Freemasonry are the practice of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. It supports activities that are religious, charitable, scientific and fraternal.
Who are it's members?
Its ranks are composed of free men from all wakes of life and of many religious backgrounds who have of their own free will and accord petitioned for membership. Masonry asks no man to join – free will is a requisite – and a belief in a Supreme Being is a necessity as no atheist can be made a Mason.
Masonry and Religion
Masonry is not a religion but it is highly religious. Meetings are opened and closed with prayer and the Book of the Law for the region concerned is open upon its Altar. It urges its members to support church activities but establishes no preference for any sectarian group. It does not endeavor to influence the right of individual freedom in the expression of religious thought. We repeat – it is not a religion neither is it an atheistic society.
How do I join?
A non-member who is interetsed in joining with the fraternity should seek out a Mason who can vouch for his character and ask his assistance in preparing a petition for the degrees of the Symbolic Lodge, or contact the Secretary of a local Blue Lodge.
Is it a secret society?
Those who are antagonistic to the order frequently report it to be a secret society. This is not. It does have secret modes of identification by which members are made known, however, no organization publicly displaying a meeting place and time can be classified secret.
Masonry in Florida
There are some 280 Lodges in Florida, with approximately 39,000 Master Masons holding membership therein.
There are more than 5 million Master Masons throughout the world, with some 2.6 million holding memberships in Lodges in the United States.
Freemasonry is, therefore, not only the oldest but also the largest fraternity in the world.
About New Smyrna Lodge No. 149
The idea to form a lodge in New Smyrna started in 1894. On January 18, 1895, the Grand Master James William Boyd granted dispensation for a “U.D. Lodge” (under dispensation) to work in New Smyrna. On January 23, 1896 the Grand Communication voted and New Smyrna Lodge No. 149 was granted its charter that included 15 Master Mason members and 1 Entered Apprentice member.
And so the Lodge No. 149 was set to work in a Lodge room located on the second floor of the C.L. Dohn Feed Store at the corner of Faulkner and Canal Streets, in New Smyrna, Volusia County Florida.
Our first officers were:
George H. Count, Worshipful Master
Alex A. Berry, Senior Warden
Fred A. Barrett, Junior Warden
Christopher L. Dohn, Treasurer
William Andrew Cook, Secretary
The building of the Temple
In 1905, the C. L. Dohn Feed store burned down, leaving the Lodge without a meeting place. In 1906, a motion was made to purchase land and build a permanent home for the Lodge.
The effort to build a permanent home for the Lodge spanned 22 years. Finally, in 1925 the Lodge purchased the property on which it still stands, at the corner of Washington and Hillsboro (now Riverside).
The Temple 1927
A run down home called Abercrombie House stood on the site, and it was sold for salvage and cleared in 1927 in order to build the Temple.
In December, 1927 at a Special Communication, Grand Master, Benjamin E. Dyson, dedicated the new Temple.
Lodge No. 149 Present Day
With the merger of the Daytona Masonic Lodge No. 270 in September, 2017 and the merger of Halifax Masonic Lodge No. 81 in Augus, 2020, New Smyrna Lodge No. 149 currently has 357 Brothers. Our weekly meetings include on average of 30 to 50 Brothers.
While we continue to preserve the intricate architecture, and historical significance of this building, this Lodge continues to face the challenge of meeting modern building standards and codes.
To that end, we have made improvements to the Temple including upgrading the electrical throughout the building, installing new hurricane protection windows, window shades and a new fire escape, and painting the exterior of lodge.
Efforts to retain the essence of the past while meeting the demands of the present exemplify the invaluable role masons play in honoring our shared history. With careful craftsmanship and a deep respect for history, it is possible to revitalize the past without compromising the integrity of the present.