The fact that this photo was taken in Nanaimo circa 1885 and wound up in a photo collection in Iowa is indicative of how Masonic history, and historical items in general, can appear in unexpected places.
Our thanks to Josh Whartman for letting us know about this photo of Ralph Dixon Craig and for giving us permission to use it online. Unfortunately the photo sold to another collector before Ashlar Lodge No. 3 could acquire it for our historical collection.
Ashlar Lodge No. 3 would like to thank all those who came to our Open House celebrating our 150th Anniversary on 15 July 2017. We hope you found your visit to Ashlar Masonic Temple interesting and informative.
Thanks also to everyone who contributed to making this a successful event.
It was a very enjoyable and successful day. Congratulations to our four new Fellow Craft Masons who were Passed with the Grand Master and Grand Lodge Officers in attendance.
Each month Ashlar Lodge No. 3 features one of our Deceased Brethren as a way of remembering our Deceased Brethren and highlighting the contributions they have made to Nanaimo and the surrounding area.
Our Featured Deceased Brother for July 2017 is Joseph Foy (died 9 February 1915). Bro. Joseph Foy joined Ashlar Lodge No. 3 in 1913. He was a manager at the South Wellington coal mine. He died on 9 February 1915 after going into the mine in an attempt to rescue miners trapped underground following a flood in the mine.
In February 2017, Ashlar Lodge No. 3 was contacted by Nanaimo resident Renato Anacleto, who explained that his father, Joao Batista Anacleto, is a Freemason in Brazil – a member of Loja Maconica 3 Colinas – Franca-SP Brazil, and would be visiting family in Nanaimo in March 2017.
Renato Anacleto wanted to know whether his father could visit Ashlar Lodge No. 3 while he was in Nanaimo. Naturally, we were happy to arrange a visit to Ashlar Lodge No. 3 and Ashlar Masonic Temple for W.B. Joao Batista Anacleto.
After his return to Brazil, Joao Batista Anacleto made a presentation to his lodge, Loja Maconica 3 Colinas, about his visit to Ashlar Lodge No. 3. He has also sent us a photo (shown below) of the interior of his lodge and the members of his lodge.
We sent the fraternal greetings of Ashlar Lodge No. 3 to our Brazilian Brothers of Loja Maconica 3 Colinas.
During a research trip to Bowen Road Cemetery in Nanaimo on 14 January 2017 I made an unfortunate and disturbing discovery: the grave stone of a deceased Freemason has been vandalized and defaced, presumably because of the Masonic Square and Compasses carving prominently displayed on it.
Bro. Joseph Foy’s gravestone depicted a very well executed Square and Compasses in marble, which faced the roadway in Bowen Road Cemetery. The photo below, which I took in 2014, shows how it appeared before being vandalized and defaced.
Here is how it appeared on 14 January 2017.
Someone has smeared a layer of concrete over the carving of the Square and Compasses on Joseph Foy’s grave.
I am speculating that this was done because Brother Joseph Foy’s grave is immediately adjacent to the road which runs through Bowen Road Cemetery and someone has taken exception to the Masonic Square and Compasses being prominently displayed in a very visible location immediately adjacent to the road.
The opposite side of Joseph Foy’s headstone also displays a Square and Compasses carving, identical to the one which has been smeared with concrete, but this carving has not been touched. The photo below shows how it appeared on January 14, 2017:
I am speculating that the vandal(s) did not see the Square and Compasses carving on the opposite side of the Joseph Foy headstone since it faces away from the road. Whatever the reason, this Square and Compasses carving on the opposite side of the Joseph Foy gravestone has not, so far at least, been vandalized, damaged or defaced.
In the meantime, we need to be aware that a person or persons has/have deliberately targeted, vandalized and defaced a Masonic symbol on the grave of a deceased Brother – a coal mine manager who died trying to rescue coal miners trapped in a flooded mine shaft – and we need to be keeping a watchful eye on other grave markers which display Masonic symbols.
In 1899 John W. Coburn moved to Ladysmith and became active in civic affairs. He played a leading role in the campaign to incorporate the town of Ladysmith and was elected the first Mayor of Ladysmith after the town was incorporated in 1904.
This landmark building is on the City of Nanaimo Heritage Building Register, which describes it as:
“The Occidental Hotel’s value resides in its role as a gateway building. Located at a prominent intersection, the building marks the western entrance to one of Nanaimo’s oldest commercial areas. The angled corner entry mirrors the entry on the building directly across the street and creates a visual funnel, reinforcing the impression of entering a new and distinct space. Tall, imposing and located at a prominent intersection, the Occidental Hotel is a highly visible landmark.
Built in 1886, the Occidental Hotel is very good example of Victorian Italianate architecture, one of the most popular 19th century styles in North America for a wide variety of building types, from houses and small apartment buildings, to commercial and institutional structures. The Occidental Hotel features the vertical proportions and tall, rounded windows and doors typical of this style.
The Occidental Hotel is significant because of its association with prominent Victoria architect John Teague, who came to Victoria in 1862 as an engineer for the Royal Navy at Esquimalt. After designing some of the navy buildings, he went into private practice, designing a wide variety of buildings, from hospitals and churches to business blocks and private homes. Remarkably prolific, Teague designed over 350 buildings and greatly influenced the character of early architecture in Victoria. His buildings include Victoria City Hall, the Freemason’s Meeting Hall, the East Block of St. Ann’s Academy, Scholefield House and the Church of Our Lord.
The substantial and handsome Occidental Hotel speaks to the mood of prosperity and possibility prevalent in the 1880s by the completion of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway and the expansion of the huge No. 1 Coal Mine. Located one block from the train station, the Occidental Hotel was the first business to take advantage of the opportunities the nearby train station provided. Over time, other businesses were established and the area eventually became an important secondary retail district within a predominantly residential neighbourhood. The Occidental Hotel has been in continuous use as an eating and drinking establishment for over 100 years.”