(From an article prepared by Joel Todd about our grand opening.)

Old Evergreen Lodge

Evergreen Lodge #153, currently located in Berlin, Md., was formed on January 31, 1871 by dispensation from Grand Master Latrobe. At that time the Lodge met in Snow Hill, Md. Its first Worshipful Master was Brother L. R. Purnell. It received its first charter the following May at the semi-annual communication of the Grand Lodge. The lodge remained active for a time, but in May 1876 members asked the Grand Lodge for a remission of dues, and shortly thereafter it surrendered its charter.

In May of 1877, upon petition of a number of former members, the charter was restored and permission was granted by the Grand Lodge for Evergreen Lodge #153 to meet in Berlin. At that time, the Worshipful Master for Evergreen Lodge #153 was Brother William M. Vincent, who in 1893 was named the first Worshipful Master of Sinepuxent Lodge #193 in Snow Hill. In May of 1885, the charter was again declaredforfeited.

On November 16, 1892, the charter was restored to Brothers Edwin J. Dirickson, Worshipful Master, L. L. Dirickson, Sr., Senior Warden, and Daniel A. Massey, Junior Warden and has remained in effect ever since.

Evergreen Lodge #153, upon moving to Berlin, met in what was known as “Dirickson Hall” located on the third floor of a storefront building, just two blocks from where it is now located. It wasn’t until April of 1921 that the lodge first began considering purchasing a home of its own. A number of locations were considered over the years, but on June 26, 1925, Evergreen Lodge #153 agreed to purchase the building where it has been located since that time—a building displayed in two Hollywood recent productions, “The Runaway Bride” and “Tuck Everlasting.”

The building was purchased for $4,500 and the lodge borrowed another $4,000 to renovate the building. The downstairs was rented out as a store and the lodge used the upstairs of the building. Over the years, other groups also met in that location, including the Order of Eastern Star, the Rainbow Girls, and the Berlin Chapter Order of DeMolay, which continues to meet there on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. In addition, the Lodge unanimously agreed to donate the use of a portion of the building for a public library, to be known as “The Berlin Library.” It is unclear how many years the library used that location.

The first Masonic meeting held in the new Masonic Temple was on March 15, 1926. A public dedication service was held on June 26, 1926.

Old Evergreen Lodge

Members of Evergreen Lodge #153 donated a total of $6,023 to enable the purchase and renovation of the building. Among those making a donation for the purchase and renovation was C. Vincent Holland who at that time was not yet a mason.

Holland was initiated on December 5, 1927, passed on February 6, 1928, and raised on February 20, 1928. Brother Holland would go on to serve as Worshipful Master of Evergreen Lodge #153 in 1934, 1942 and 1945. He served as secretary of the lodge for over a dozen years.

Many men become masons. Some of them excel in their ritual work. Many apply the great moral lessons taught by our work. Holland did both. Brother Holland lived a humble life. He married in 1934 and was presented with a silver service as a wedding present from Evergreen Lodge #153. He spent his career employed by Calvin B. Taylor Bank in Berlin. He and his wife had no children.

On January 24, 2001, Past Master Brother Holland died and left an estate valued at over $8 million. As proof that Brother Holland understood and applied the lesson of charity, he left $2,529,130.38 to Buckingham Presbyterian Church in Berlin, where he and his wife had been members and attended regularly. He also left $2,529,130.38 to the Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, another $843,043.46 to the Berlin Heritage Foundation and $843,043.46 to Evergreen Lodge #153. In addition, he left $843,043.46 to Faith Chapel Presbyterian Church in a community known as Libertytown, just west of Berlin where Brother Holland had attended when he was a boy, and $843,043.46 to the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. for the Maryland Masonic Home.

Evergreen Lodge #153 has used the bequest from Brother Holland to renovate its building. No longer is the downstairs rented out as a store, but has now been converted into a banquet room, named the “C. Vincent Holland Hall”. A full elevator has been installed, a commercial grade kitchen has been added to the back of the building, and an archive room was built to the east of the lodge room.

Many life long residents of Berlin did not know the town had a Masonic Lodge, even though it is located on Main Street, within the business district. With a variety of stores in the downstairs location, there was nothing, other than a sign located on the second floor, to indicate the Masons met there.

Evergreen Lodge Front Entrance

Now, however, the Masonic Temple is obvious to all who visit the town. The form-stone surface has been replace with red brick. The storefront has been replaced with pillars and a portico. Masonic symbolism is apparent throughout the building. In the C. Vincent Holland Hall, there were, coincidentally, five support beams holding up the second floor. These beams are now the five orders of architecture. The long straight staircase leading to the second floor is now a winding stairway, consisting of three, five and seven steps. Along the stairway, original artwork by local artist Todd Leasure is painted directly on the wall: a beehive, a sheath of corn, and a point within a circle embordered by parallel lines.

In the lodge room, theater chairs, donated to Evergreen Lodge #153 by the now closed Crescent Lodge in Pocomoke City, Md. have been refurbished and installed. A mosaic pavement of tile runs through the lodge from east to west. On the south side of the lodge, to the east of the Junior Warden’s station where a window used to be located, is a picture of Jacob’s ladder. Behind each of the warden’s stations, and behind the Worshipful Master’s station, painted on the walls are pictures of the jewel of each office. And perhaps most stunning of all is a life-sized painting of P.M. Brother George Washington, in all his Masonic regalia, painted on the north wall of the lodge.

Evergreen Lodge #153 held its first meeting in its refurbished Temple on March 6, 2006, at which time a third generation Mason was raised. A public dedication service was held at 2 p.m. on Saturday April 29, 2006. Main Street was closed for the dedication service. The service was followed by an open house for all who wished to visit.

Evergreen Lodge #153 meets on the first and third Monday of each month, October through June. We encourage Masons throughout the State of Maryland to set aside one of those Monday nights to come and have fellowship with us.

Our next meeting:
Monday, January 9th

Secretarys Notes:

Dues Cards for 2015 now available. They can be picked up at any meeting or you can mail your Dues to Evergreen Lodge No. 153; P.O. Box 153, Berlin, MD 21811. Dues are $55.00 per year.