University Heights Lodge No. 738
Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio

5516 Mayfield Road
Lyndhurst, Ohio 44124
Aarne Lillo, P.M.
Secretary
LODGE HISTORY Joseph A. Huber
Worshipful Master
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The Early Years:  Across the country, the early 1950’s was the beginning of urban sprawl, the movement of central-city residents to the suburbs.  After their migration to Cleveland’s eastern suburbs, and with most Masonic Lodges remaining downtown, many Masons found it difficult to attend Lodge.  Feeling disenfranchised, several of these Brethren approached Right Worshipful Brother Joseph H. Silbert, who had served as a District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio from 1949 to 1952, to urge the creation of a Lodge closer to their new homes. 

So great was the need for relocation, that two hundred and thirty Masonic Brethren signed a Petition for Dispensation.  This Petition was approved by the Grand Lodge of Ohio, and on April 23, 1952, the Dispensation for a new Lodge was presented to University Heights Lodge, U.D., at Forest Hill Lodge No. 644 F. & A.M., East Cleveland Masonic Temple, 1850 Belmore Road.

The Charter:  University Heights Lodge No. 738 F. & A.M. received its Charter, was formally constituted, and installed its first elected officers on November 11, 1952, in the Commandery Room of the Cleveland Masonic Temple, 3615 Euclid Avenue, under the auspices of Forest City Lodge No. 388 F. & A.M.  Most Worshipful Brother William R. Pringle, 33° presided as the Master of Ceremonies. 

While it is customary for the organizer of a new Masonic Lodge to serve as its first Master, Right Worshipful Brother Joseph H. Silbert declined this tribute, and the Brethren elected him a Past Master by affiliation. 

James C. Scott, who had served as the Worshipful Master while the Lodge was under dispensation, was chosen by the Brethren to continue as the first elected Master of University Heights Lodge No. 738 F. & A.M.   

Meetings for the new Lodge were initially held at the University Heights Community Church, but the rapidly growing membership soon made larger quarters necessary. On November 15, 1952, the Lodge obtained an option to purchase three acres of land on Cedar Road, just west of Belvoir Boulevard.

University Heights Masonic Temple:  The plans for the construction of a new Masonic Temple Building received overwhelming support from the Brethren, and on April 25, 1954, the cornerstone-laying ceremony was held. Grand Lodge officers and representatives of sister Lodges and other Masonic bodies participated on this historic occasion. Six months later, on November 11, 1954, the traditional rite of formal dedication of the new building was performed.  

Under the chairmanship of Right Worshipful Brother Silbert, and thanks to the zealous efforts of the building committee, the Lodge was able to retire and burn the mortgage in 1956, just two years after the dedication of the University Heights Masonic Temple.

RWB Joseph H. Silbert receives 33°:  At the 159th Annual Meeting of the Supreme Council, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Philadelphia, the reputation and high regard for the officers of University Heights Lodge was acknowledged when Right Worshipful Brother Joseph H. Silbert was coroneted with the Distinguished 33° on September 29, 1971. The 33° award is given for outstanding achievement in the fraternity or for significant contributions to the community, or both.

Harold Linden:  Since the inception of University Heights Lodge in 1952, until he passed away in 2008, Brother Harold Linden served our Lodge with unswerving passion.   First as Lodge Secretary and later as Lodge Treasurer, he also served in many other appointed Lodge committee positions, including Lodge Historian.

Honored both as Secretary Emeritus and Treasurer Emeritus, his expertise, dedication, and compassion are missed. This depiction of the history of our Lodge is based, in a large part, upon Brother Linden’s meticulous notes and is dedicated to his memory.

International in Character:  Masonry is an international fraternal organization.  The Brethren of University Heights Lodge No. 738 F. & A.M. have always fostered fraternalism and fealty for Masonic Brethren from throughout the world. Indeed, on several occasions, our Lodge had been host to several Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel. 

 

In recognition of the efforts made on its behalf, honorary membership in the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel was accorded to both Right Worshipful Brother Joseph H. Silbert and Worshipful Brother Max M. Pomerantz.  Additionally, the Grand Lodge of Ohio appointed Right Worshipful Brother Joseph H. Silbert as an Ambassador to the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel.                                            

Over the years, many dignitaries have visited our Lodge.  Included in this long list are several Grand Masters, and other officers, of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, the Grand Lodges of Canada and France, and other Masonic Lodge Officers and Brethren visiting from all parts of the world.                                     

 

Sale of University Heights Masonic Temple:  For 25 years the University Heights Masonic Temple provided a home for our Lodge, three sister Lodges and two Eastern Star Chapters. Increases in occupancy expenses, loss of tenancy and the rental income from two sister Lodges, and the flames of inflation, presented the Lodge with a serious budgetary problem.  With determination, solidarity of purpose, and harmony, the difficult decision was made to sell our cherished Masonic Temple, and invest as a partner and tenant in the Shaker Masonic Temple, on Warrensville Center Road at Farnsleigh Road, in Shaker Heights. Our sentiments, emotions and attachment to the University Heights Masonic Temple yielded to the realities of sound financial judgment.

Once again, our Lodge imposed upon our founder, Right Worshipful Brother Joseph H. Silbert, 33°, and he rose to the Herculean tasks of securing a purchaser and completing the complicated negotiations for the sale of our Temple. In 1979, the sale of the Temple was consummated, and our Lodge then established residency in the Shaker Masonic Temple.

 

Edwin A. Strauss, Jr.:  On October 16, 1982, Worshipful Brother Edwin A. Strauss, Jr., brought honor to our Lodge with his appointment as District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio by Most Worshipful Master Vernon E. Musser, 33°. The installation ceremony of Right Worshipful Brother Edwin A. Strauss, Jr., on October 26, 1982, with Right Worshipful Brother Joseph H. Silbert, 33°, as Installing Officer, was witnessed by an overflow attendance of our Brethren, all of whom shared the pride of the appointment.  An evening celebration was held later at the Executive Club on Chagrin Boulevard.

Richard A. Fromson: Ten years later, on October 27, 1992, Most Worshipful Master H. Ray Evans again recognized University Heights Lodge No. 738 F. & A.M. with the appointment of Worshipful Brother Richard A. Fromson as District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.  The Installing Officer was Right Worshipful Brother Thomas Galyen, 33°.  On January 14, 1993, the Brethren and their ladies enjoyed an elegant evening of fine food and camaraderie at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in celebration of Right Worshipful Brother Fromson's appointment.

Sale of Shaker Masonic Temple:  Similar to the fiscal problems faced by our University Heights Masonic Temple twenty years earlier, the realities of economics brought financial difficulties to the Shaker Masonic Temple, and the building had to be sold in 1999.  Again, University Heights Lodge had to find a new home. Our Lodge became a tenant of the Lyndhurst Masonic Center on Mayfield Road, just west of Brainard Road.  And our meeting nights were changed from every Tuesday to the first and third Thursday of each month. 

The Rise of the Internet:  Reacting to the constant changes in the lifestyles of the membership, and with a desire to reach out to the community at large, University Heights Lodge, in the spring of 2000, established a website, www.uhlodge.org.  This award-winning website enables members, and nonmembers, to learn information about our Lodge and upcoming activities.  It even boasts a compilation of The Rays, the University Heights Lodge newsletter, dating back to 1952!  The website also serves as a means for the membership to contact our officers.  Use of the Internet additionally allows for fast and efficient email communication to our membership.

Golden Anniversary:  Marking fifty years of success, University Heights Lodge No. 738 F. & A.M. celebrated its golden anniversary during 2002. Programs throughout the year marked the event. The year culminated with the reconsecration of the Lodge by Most Worshipful Master Thomas Eldon Reynolds, Grand Master of Masons in Ohio. The evening also recognized the Charter Members who were instrumental in the formation of the Lodge, and the work they had performed throughout the prior fifty years.

Edwin A. Strauss, Jr., Distinguished 33°:  Continuing his extensive and honorable Masonic career, Right Worshipful Brother Edwin A. Strauss, Jr. was coroneted with the Distinguished 33° at the 192nd Annual Meeting of the Supreme Council Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, September 21, 2004. 

                                                                                                        

Bicentennial Program:  In 2008, the Grand Lodge of Ohio celebrated its two hundredth anniversary.   University Heights Lodge No. 738 F. & A.M. was one of only a handful of Lodges across the state to host a presentation of artifacts and historical references to the founding of Ohio Masonry.

 

Henry G. Mankowski: On October 17, 2009, Most Worshipful Master Terry W. Posey appointed Worshipful Brother Henry G. Mankowski as  District Education Officer. With his installation by Deputy Grand Master Bradford A. Goebel on November 12, 2009, the accomplishments, and the outstanding quality, of the officers of University Heights Lodge was once again acknowledged by the Grand Lodge of Ohio.

 

Two years later, on September 6, 2011, Worshipful Brother Mankowski was again called upon by the Grand Lodge of Ohio, when Most Worshipful Master Kevin B. Todd appointed him as District Deputy Grand Master.  The installing Officer was Right Worshipful Brother Eric R. Schau.  The brethren of University Heights Lodge honored Right Worshipful Brother Mankowski with a spectacular brunch at The Bertram Inn on January 29, 2012.

 

Russell van Scyoc, 33°:  On April 30, 2011, Illustrious and Right Worshipful Brother Russell van Scyoc was honored by the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Cleveland, with the naming of the 2011 Spring Reunion in his honor. 

 

Edwin A. Strauss, Jr., 33°:  Once again, on November 3, 2012, Illustrious and Right Worshipful Brother Edwin A. Strauss, Jr. was honored by the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Cleveland, with the naming of the 2012 Fall Reunion in his honor. 

 

Maurice Feren: On March 2, 2013, Stephen Knerly, the Honorary French Consul in Cleveland, representing Francois Hollande, President of the French Republic, designated Brother Maurice Feren a Chevalier (Knight) of the French Legion of Honor for his valorous action and invaluable contribution to the liberation of France during World War II.   

 

This outstanding distinction is the highest honor that France can bestow upon those who have achieved remarkable deeds for France.  Brother Feren, at 97 years of age, was recognized for service to the French Republic in 1944-1945.

 

Extensive Social Program:  In addition to Masonic labor, the Brethren have engaged in an extensive social program. Traditionally, the social agenda has included the Children’s Party, Summer Picnic, Steak Roast, Clam Bake, Mason of the Year, and our annual gala Dinner Dance.  And lingering forever will be fond memories of Euclid Beach, Geauga Lake, Sea World, Chuck E. Cheese and Pioneer Waterland. 

 

Throughout the years these events have been augmented with musicales at the old Front Row and Carousel Theaters, Sport Nights, trips to Cleveland Playhouse Square, Cleveland Arena, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Richfield Coliseum, Quicken Loan Arena, and Progressive Field.   We have also had show trips for our Brethren to New York, Miami Beach, Washington DC, and Toronto. 

The Importance of Family:  Fathers and sons, brothers, uncles, nephews, and cousins have all been active members of the Fellow Craft Team and the various Lodge committees.  We thank them for their dedication to the Craft.  This commitment of our Brethren has allowed University Heights Lodge No. 738 F. & A.M. to be known as “the finest among the best.”

 

University Heights Lodge No. 738 F. & A.M. has been built on strong family relationships.  The list of the officers of our Lodge reads like a family tree, with many of our Past Masters having followed the lead of other family members.  Indeed, during the first fifty years of our Lodge’s existence, twenty-six years saw a Worshipful Master who was related to another Officer of the Lodge.  This continuity has given our Lodge much stability and strength, and has been a significant factor in our success. 

 

A Firm Foundation:  Today, University Heights Lodge No. 738, F. & A.M. has continued to prosper, and notwithstanding the passage of time and normal attrition, our Lodge membership continues to grow.  Beginning from a modest treasury, and bolstered with the proceeds from the sale of the University Heights Masonic Temple on Cedar Road, the Lodge has substantial assets and cash reserves to meet foreseeable future needs. 

 

Sustained by their faith in the Supreme Architect, the Brethren of University Heights Lodge No. 738 F. & A.M. have sought to apply the tools of their Craft to the tenets of brotherly love, relief, and truth. In like manner, it is ever their hope to construct the future on the firm foundation of the past.

 

WB Jeffrey E. Schultz, PM, Lodge Historian