|“In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. The Earth was without form, and void. And darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved across the waters, and God said: ‘Let There Be Light’, and there was Light”. (Genesis 1:1-3)
Lodge History prepared by, Bro. David E. Lowen,
Past Master & Historian of Kendall Lodge July, 1980
Before Kendall Lodge was organized, there were several Masons that lived in the vicinity who aided materially in the development of this part of the country. Among them were P.D. Saner, Karl Klemme, Gustav Topperwein, L. Ferdinand Topperwein, G. A. Schattenberg, John F, Stendebech and many others. Some of these pioneers lived in or near Boerne and received their degrees at Bandera or San Antonio, at times traveling on horseback to one or the other place to attend meetings and to learn the work which often took several months before receiving all the degrees. They did on occasion confront Indians in their travels.
All of these men deserve much credit and reverence for the part they took in the development of this country. Almost every one of them at some time held a public office or taught school. Each one was on various Indian scouting expeditions, fighting and protecting their families and neighbors that we might have the pleasure of this country as we are now enjoying.
In the year 1879, the above mentioned Brothers held a meeting in Boerne for the purpose of taking steps to organize a Masonic Lodge in Boerne. The meeting site was in a second story building opposite the Main Plaza on Main Street.
There was a great deal of discussion with most of the men present favoring organization, except a member from Alamo Lodge No. 44 San Antonio, who strongly argued against it for the present stating that such a Lodge, if organized would not be kept alive. Alamo Lodge, then the only Masonic Lodge in San Antonio, was continually in financial stress and hardly able to make ends meet. He felt that Boerne, being then a health resort town, would always have residing sick Masons that needed looking after, as was the case with Alamo Lodge; and a Lodge in Boerne could not possibly become strong financially or in membership. It was decided to postpone the matter for the present and hold another meeting at a later date.
In the year 1900, Masons in and about Boerne, by mutual agreement, held another meeting for the purpose of trying to organize a Masonic Lodge. After a discussion of some length, there was a committee appointed to look into the merits and demerits of organizing and providing a suitable building for Masonic work. The committee report was unfavorable and the work was dropped.
In the year 1904, there was a third attempt made to organize with good results. In May, 1904, an application was made to the Grand Lodge and under a dispensation granted by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, A. W. Campbell, Kendall Lodge was set to work on December 29, 1904, by District Deputy Grand Master, D. C. Darroch of Fredericksburg with Bro. A. J Woods, Worshipful Master, L. W. King, Sr. Warden and U. A. Shirar, Jr. Warden.
On December 7, 1905, the Grand Lodge granted a Charter to Kendall Lodge No. 897, with the above listed officers to set the Lodge to work. At the time the Lodge received its Charter, there were 20, members on the rolls.
Fire destroyed the lodge building and all its contents including the minutes, jewels and paraphernalia on August 18, 1908. A special dispensation was granted by the Grand Master to hold meeting in the County Court house until a more suitable building could be located, and the first meeting held there was on September 6, 1908. The Worshipful Master appointed a committee with full authority to obtain the necessary paraphernalia to reconstruct the Lodge. Brother A. D. Zoeller donated a bible and Anchor Lodge, San Antonio, donated a sword. Other members contributed services and money as they were able.
It can be noted on November 7, 1908, that Bro. Fritz Kraut was the only Mason to be initiated into the fraternity at the Kendall County Court House. Also, on this date, the building committee reported that the second floor of the new Post Office (Calrow Building) could be made available as soon as it was completed for the sum of $8.00 per month.
The committee on leasing the New Hall reported that a contract had been made between the Lodge and Bro. Calrow. The Lodge was to pay the sum of $10.00 for one year and after that date, it would require six months’ notice from Bro. Calrow to raise the rent or from the Lodge to discontinue renting the Hall. On the 13th of March, 1909, the first meeting was held in the new Lodge Hall on Main Street. The Worshipful Master requested that our first Past Master, Bro. A. J. Woods preside at the opening.
The Lodge was privileged and honored to receive a gavel from Bro. J. H. Reeve that was turned from a piece of the Old Congress Oak. The following Letter accompanied the gavel when it was presented to the Lodge.
The members of Kendall Lodge moved forward and the Worshipful Master instructed the Secretary to communicate with various Masons and their Wives to organize an OES Chapter in Boerne. Mrs. Marie Nelson from San Antonio was contacted and the Lodge assumed all indebtedness for her while in Boerne to assist in the organization. On October 11, 1911, Boerne Chapter No. 200 was chartered.
June 27, 1913 Masonic services were conducted for our late Bro L. W. Lavalle, a life member and one of our charter members. A resolution of respect is:
“The honorable character of a Freemason, Bro. Lavalle bore with credit to himself and to the Fraternity.
“During a very long residence in this place, he truly came under the tongue of good report. And from the first days of Kendall Lodge, he was zealous in discriminating the pure principles of our order.
In the name, therefore, and by the authority of this Lodge, we declare our thankfulness to the great Giver of all, for manly Brotherly LIfe, our sympathy with the loved ones who for a while have lost him, and our belief in that endless and perfect immortality to which he has been drawn nearer.”
Bro. Lavalle was granted a life membership on August 5, 1911, having reached the age of 70 years. There is no record of when Bro. Lavalle was born, but it can be assumed he was born in the year 1840 and was a Mason over 50 years. This is the first record of a Masonic funeral for any of its members of Kendall Lodge.
Kendall Lodge was privileged to have a member appointed to a Grand lodge position. Bro. James A. Massey, Past Master of Kendall Lodge was appointed Grand Chaplain in the year 1913.
At the stated meeting of October 31, 1914, Bro. Gustav Topperwein presented to the lodge the Masonic regalia of his father, the late Bro. Lucian F. Topperwein who was made a Mason in 1831 in Neuruppin Lodge, Brandenburg, Germany. These relics are part of the museum of Kendall Lodge, including his demit that he carried with him to this country.
Bro Gus. Topperwein relates that the Topperwein family left Brandednburg, Prussia in the fall of 1850 and went to Hamburg on board the ship Johan Freiderick the 4th of October, 1850. They arrived at Galveston on Christmas Day, sailing over two months. The Topperweins went from there to Indianola, then by ox team to New Braunfels. After a short stay, they went to Fredericksburg, arriving on February 17, 1851 and later moved to the Boerne area.
During the first World War, the Lodge expressed their thanks to the OES for their kindness in the presentation of the American Flag to the Lodge. The Worshipful Master requested that the membership contribute as they felt inclined as a recompense for their donation. Even though this flag is battered and worn, it is on display in the museum area of the Lodge Hall.
Also, during this period, the Lodge passed a resolution that “all members who shall join and have joined the (military) services be exempt from paying dues to this Lodge during his time of service; providing such member has his dues paid up to the date of his enlistment.”
On August 28, 1929, the worshipful Master appointed a committee to investigate various lots in town that would be suitable for a location for a new Lodge building. After a lengthy discussion, a motion was defeated regarding the purchase of a lot due to the uncertainty of the nation’s financial condition.
The building committee reported on January 14, 1938, that there was $1,166.74 in the building fund. Discussion was made to invest this money in U. S. Savings Bonds. This money was to be used at a later date to proceed with the new Lodge Hall.
After considerable discussion, it was decided to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Kendall Lodge at the next stated meeting, being December 5, our Charter date. There was a program and a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, with the help of the OES.
It was reported that several Brothers attended the dedication of the new air field at Sherman, Texas, that was named Perrin Field in honor of Bro. Elmer D. Perrin. Bro. Perrin was a Past Master and live member of Kendall Lodge. This ceremony was held in February, 1942.
During World War II, as in World War I years it was suggested that the Lodge follow the Grand Master’s suggestion not to suspend Masons for non-payment of dues who were in the armed services. Bro. L.L. Cardy, District Deputy Grand Master, made his official visit to Kendall Lodge and announced the names of our brethren who were in the services of our country. There were 13, and some of them are still members of this Lodge. Also, during the war years, the OES presented Kendall Lodge with another American flag designated as the Service Flag, which was dedicated to our brethren who were in the service and paid the supreme sacrifice to our country.
Kendall Lodge was again privileged to have in their midst another member who was appointed to a Grand Lodge position. We are proud to have as a member of Kendall Lodge Bro. Mina Adams who was appointed Grand Tiler in the year 1956.
Again on July 26, 1946, the Worshipful Master called for a special meeting for the purpose of discussing ways and means of erection a new Lodge Hall. Bro. Harry l Davis offered to donate a lot on Bandera Road if the Lodge would build a Lodge Hall within the next five years. Bro. L. J. Gregory stated that the present Lodge Building could be bought for $12,500 and he hoped the building committee would take the offer into consideration. Many Brothers who attended this meeting made sizeable donations to the building fund.
It was decided that instead of building a new hall, the Lodge would exercise its opportunity to purchase the present building since the Post Office had moved to another location. With the approval of Grand Lodge, the Secretary and Treasurer were instructed to cash the accumulated bonds to be used for the purchase and on February 21, 1947 a celebration was held for this occasion. Kendall Lodge finally had their own building.
The members of Kendall Lodge were continuously discussing the possibility of still erecting a new Lodge Hall. Since the purchase, the Lodge building was slowly deteriorating to the point of no repair. On August 14,1953, a meeting was held to discuss the sale of the building. The Worshipful Master instructed the building committee to proceed with plans and get the necessary data available. Three years later the Grand Lodge gave the approval to go ahead with the building plans, and groundbreaking ceremonies were held on February 18, 1968.
The building committee met with the city council and discussed the possible purchase of property at Blanco and Plants streets. This property was purchased and Bro. Klabunde gave a report on the progress of the new Lodge Hall for the past three years. He reported that if we wanted a building, we would have to build it ourselves. The reply from the brethren was “LET’S GO.” The Lodge building on Main Street was sold to the Boerne State Bank for their expansion. The leveling of the corner stone was scheduled to be laid on March 2, 1968, and to be leveled by the Grand Master. The first meeting in the new Lodge building was held on the first Friday of May, 1969