Our History


The compilation of information and the preparation of this information was made in conjunction with the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of Marin Lodge No. 191 F. & A.M. in 1968. Much of the following is adapted from One Hundred Years With Marin Lodge No. 191 F. & A. M. published by the lodge's historical committee that year. We wish to acknowledge the efforts of the efforts of the brothers who took the time to compile the information and who brought it forth in a presentable manner in print for the benefit of the members of our Lodge and their families. These members were:

Brother Burnell Dalsam

Brother Jacland Marmur

Mrs. Edmar Hicks

Brother Warren Williams PM, Lodge Secretary

We also wish to acknowledge the members of the preceding Historical Committees for their efforts over the years and the members of the Marin Lodge Centennial Committee.

Brother William Vanderbilt PM

Chairman Brother John Bacigalupi PM

Brother Lester Hicks PM

Brother Wayne Hudson

Brother Ted Murray

Brother Carl Riznik

Brother Burnell Van Dalsam

Brother Warren Williams PM, Lodge Secretary

Founding and Early Years

Marin Lodge No. 191 Free and Accepted Masons was granted its Charter on October 15, 1868 during the Nineteenth Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of California.

It was during that year that President Andrew Johnson was acquitted during impeachment proceedings.  The Civil War had ended and President Lincoln had been assassinated only three years before. It was a year after the purchase of Alaska from Russia. In California, the gold rush fever was subsiding while in San Francisco Brother Joshua Norton, the self proclaimed "Emperor of the United States," continued to "reign" over his admiring subjects. Across the bay in Oakland, another fine institution was founded that year -- The University of California.

Marin County was chiefly agricultural and residential with taxable property estimated at a value of $2,240,000.00 while San Rafael was a village with a census record of 606 residents and an estimated transient population of around 200.

Although Marin Lodge received its Charter during October, much ground work had been done during the preceding nine months to successfully reach this accomplishment, beginning on the evening of February 1, 1868. On that date, at eight o'clock, nineteen gentlemen recognized each other as Master Masons in good standing in Short's Hall, located on the southwest corner of Fourth and C Streets in San Rafael. Brother Henry McCrea was called to the chair while Brother Solomon Bear was selected to act as Secretary. The first order of business was the appointment of a committee to produce a proper room in which to hold meetings of the proposed lodge.

At the second meeting, held in Short's Hall on February 15th, a room was procured in the San Rafael Hotel, located on the south side of Fourth Street between C and D Streets, known as Angellotti Hall at the rental rate of $300 per year with the provison that the hall be put in proper order for a Lodge room and that the rent being sometime in the month of April. At this meeting a committee was appointed to solicit and  receive contributions to defray the necessary expenses of organizing a lodge.

On March 4th, at the third meeting, and following considerable discussion, "Marin" was adopted as the name of the proposed lodge. Officers to be named in the petition for Dispensation were chosen to be: William N. Anderson, Master; Oliver Irwin, Senior Warden; and William L. Barnard, Junior Warden.

Funds in the amount of $590.00 had been subscribed and paid by May 1st, the date of the fourth and last meeting to be held in Short's Hall, as it was reported that the lodge room had been put in order and was suitable for occupancy. A petition was ordered to be prepared and presented to Occidental Lodge No. 22 of San Francisco with a request that a recommendation be made to Grand Lodge for the issuance of a dispensation for the formation of a new lodge.

The fifth meeting to be held in the new lodge rooms in Angellotti Hall. It was then on June 9th, that the committee on the petition reported that Occidental Lodge No. 22 had made the necessary recommendation, and, all papers being in order, the committee was instructed to transmit the petition and the fee for dispensation to the Grand Secretary with the request that he lay the paper before the Grand Master for his consideration.

The first Lodge meeting held Under Dispensation was held in the Hall of Marin Lodge U.D., F. & A. M. in Angellotti Hall, San Rafael, July 1st, 1868.

Brother William N. Anderson reported that the Grand Master had been pleased to grant the prayer of the petitioners and that the meeting had been called for the purpose of opening the new Lodge. The Secretary then read the Dispensation signed by William A. Davies, Grand Master, and Lawrence T. Owen, Assistant Grand Secretary. The brethren who had been elected at a previous meeting then took their respective stations.

The Master appointed Solomon Bear, Treasurer; Bradley Hall, Secretary; Thomas H. Hanson, Senior Deacon; Hiram C. Buster, Junior Deacon; and Justin P. Bustin, Tiler. The By-Laws of the Lodge were then read and approved. Brother Reynolds on behalf of California Lodge No. 1, presented Marin Lodge with a Holy Bible.

The first  candidates raised by Marin Lodge U. D.(under dispensation) were H. H. Butterfield and P. K. Austin, who received their Third Degrees on August 19th, 1868.

The first meeting "Under Charter" were held on November 18th and the following officers were  installed by Brother Harrison Jones, Past Master of Occidental Lodge No. 22, acting as proxy for Grand Master William A. Davies. William N. Anderson, Worshipful Master;  William Holden, Senior Warden; William L. Barnard, Junior Warden; Solomon Bear, Treasurer;  Bradley Hall, Secretary; Thomas H. Hanson, Senior Deacon; John Disheimer, Junior Deacon; Henry K. White, Marshal; Peter K. Austin, Senior Steward; Charles Stevens, Junior Steward; and John P. Bustin, Tiler.

The first candidate "Under Charter" was W. D. DeGroat, who received his Third Degree on December 3, 1868.

By 1871 the population of San Rafael had grown to 876, a Hook and Ladder Company had bee organized; gas (lighting) service had begun; a $60,000.00 bond issue for the construction of a new Court House was approved and Marin Lodge moved in its new hall in the Shaver building which was located on the west side of B Street between Third and Fourth Streets. The move was made on August 30th.

On May 16, 1872, the Marin County Board of Supervisors awarded a contract in the amount of $51,000.00 for the construction of a new court house to be located on the square bounded by Fourth Street, Fifth Avenue [Street], A Street and Court Street. This brought about, under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of California, the laying of the cornerstone of the Marin County Court House. 

San Rafael became incorporated as a town on April 6, 1874, and by then the railroad had been completed between San Rafael and Sausalito. By 1884, a telephone wire had been strung between San Rafael and Sausalito, thus improving communications and the members of Marin Lodge were beginning to talk abut purchasing a lot upon which to build a building.

In the early part of the year, 1886, a lot was purchased on the corner of Fourth and Lootens Place, with a footage of eighty feet on on Lootens Place and  a depth of 110 feet. The price was $25.00 per front foot, or a total of $2,000.00. During the next several year, many committees were appointed to investigate ways an means by which a building could be constructed on this lot which would be suitable for lodge purposes. In May, 1892, a plan was adopted and the new building was completed and ready for occupancy during December of that year.

The building was a two story, wooden framed, with an auditorium on the lower floor and the Lodge room above. The entrance to the lodge and the upper floor was at the east end of the building on Fourth Street while the entrance to the auditorium was on Lootens Place. However, there was a passageway from the lodge entrance to the auditorium which was used by members when banquets were held. For many year, Company D of the California National Guard used the auditorium as its armory. This use was discontinued in 1906. The lodge room was heated by gas stoves and in earlier days gas was also used for lighting purposes.

The following year in 1893 San Rafael became a city - "Fifth Class" - and now had a population of 3,300. Marin County was also growing and now had an assessed valuation of property in the amount of  nearly $11,000,000.

Just as the United States was celebrating Admiral Dewey's victory in Manila, thereby ending our war with Spain, so was Marin Lodge celebrating. One of its illustrious members, Past Master Frank Marion Angellotti was named Grand Master of Masons in California. He was the first of three of our members to occupy that chair.

By the turn of the century, railroading became of ever increasing importance to the economy of the state, the north bay, and particularly to Marin County, where rail lines branched in every direction, including north to Willits (now the Northwestern Pacific [Railroad]) and Brother A. W. Foster was President of this line.

On March 24, 1909, Marin Lodge conferred the Third Degree on its 191st candidate. Because this number coincided with the number of the Lodge, the occasion called for a celebration consisting of a reunion and a banquet. Shortly thereafter it became increasingly evident that the facilities of the Masonic Building were becoming inadequate and that a newer and larger building should be planned. Although the subject was discussed from time to time, no definite action was taken for another ten years or so. However, the then existing building was completely refurbished during 1912.

By this time, San Rafael boasted a population of about 6,000 and within a few years Fourth and B Streets were paved and electroliers were installed. Muir Woods had been established a National Monument and a highway was under construction between Sausalito and the northern county line. For a while it was believed that Marin County would become a movie capital as several companies began operations in this area, but this dream vanished when they moved to Hollywood because of the more favorable sunny conditions there. Many wealthy persons lived in this area at that time including Brother Captain Robert Dollar, the shipping magnate.

As soon as the United States entered World War I, Marin Lodge began to lose many of its members and officers to the services. During 1918, Worshipful Master A. B. Dewing and Junior Warden Horace W. Rice were inducted and Senior Warden A. L. Borkheim carried on as Acting Worshipful Master for the balance of the year with the help of volunteers to fill the vacant chairs. In all thirty-two members of Marin Lodge served their country during that war. Just prior to the signing of the Armistice, Marin Lodge celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.

During 1921, twenty additional feet of Fourth Street frontage immediately east of that which was owned at the time was purchased and plans were made to raze the old building and build a new structure on this site. Marin Lodge moved its activities to the Elks building on October 22, 1924. This building was located on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and B Street where the Bank of Marin building now stands (once stood). This was the home of Marin Lodge until the present building was completed in 1925.

Under the sponsorship of Grand Lodge, the cornerstone of the new San Rafael High School was laid on December 13th, 1924. Deputy Grand Master Albert Boynton was assisted by Past Grand Master and Past Master of Marin Lodge, George Frederick Rodden, and Past Master of Mill Valley Lodge No. 356, Louis James. The building is now the main structure in the complex located at the east end of Fourth Street.

In less than a month the cornerstone of our present building was laid on January 3, 1925 with Most Worshipful Grand Master David J. Reese officiating. Deputy Grand Master Albert Boynton and many other Grand Lodge officers, together with Master Kenneth Spencer assisted, The first meeting held in the new building was on August 29th, 1925, with Grand Master David J. Reese presiding for the dedication ceremonies.

A photo of our buidling in the 1930's.

In 1935, the trowel used for the laying of the cornerstone of our building was returned to the Lodge by the widow of Past Grand Master David Reese was returned to the Lodge. The trowel used to lay the cornerstone of the high school had also been returned to the Lodge and these now are deposited in the archives of the Lodge.

Twenty-eight members of Marin Lodge served in the armed forces of our country during World War II. Numerous courtesy degrees were conferred during this time, due to the proximity of Hamilton Air Force Base. Members of the Lodge oversubscribed to the Masonic War Relief Fund. For the duration of the war, the banquet hall was used as an office for the Office of Price Administration and Ration Board.

The Diamond Jubilee of Marin Lodge was held on Saturday October 16th, 1943. After an evening of entertainment and historical review, the mortgage on our building was burned in celebration of its having been paid in full.

After many years of discussion, the small banquet room on the second floor, which had been used for light refreshment, was converted into a lounge and recreation room in May 1953. This room contains a small library, pool table and a reading room.

An event of exceptional Masonic interest took place in the hall of Marin Lodge on April 6th, 1955, when Hamilton Lodge, U.D. of Novato, California, was instituted by the Most Worshipful Henry C. Clausen, Grand Master of Masons in California. It is estimated that over 550 members of the craft filled our Lodge room to overflowing to witness this ceremony. Several other Grand Lodge officers were in attendance as well as a very fine turn out of Inspectors. Again, on November 2, 1955, there was a huge attendance, when Grand Lodge opened in formal session and opened the Lodge for the purpose of constituting Hamilton Lodge No. 751.

Past Masters Night April 16, 1958, was a gala occasion, for in addition to the Past Masters conferring their usual fine Third Degree, it was on this evening that we used the elevator in our building for the first time. It was fitting on that night, as the Past Masters, over the years, had spend many hours planning for this convenience.

A milestone as reached on the night of January 5, 1961, not only for Marin Lodge but for one of its most esteemed members. It was on this evening Past Master, William P. Murray was installed as Treasurer to serve his fiftieth year. He was installed by his son, Past Master Donald F. Murray, and was presented with a plaque to commemorate the event. At the stated meeting of December 11, 1962 Past Master Murray read his final report as Treasurer.

Marin Lodge conducted Masonic funeral services for its oldest member, Brother Grant Wills, who passed away on March 17, 1966, at the age of 100 years. He had been a Mason for over sixty-seven years and on his previous birthday had received many tributes for his longevity, including from our Grand Lodge. Brother Wills received his Third Degree in San Benito Lodge No. 211 at Hollister, California on March 14th, 1889. He affiliated with Marin Lodge No. 191 on January 13, 1943.

During the year of 1967, the activities of the Lodge were of a routine nature with two exceptions - notably the work of the building association and the Centennial Committee in preparing for the celebration of our One Hundredth Anniversary in 1968.

The first century of Marin Lodge covers the span of time from that prior to the exploration of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado to the present when we are on the threshold of exploration of the craters of the moon. We prayed that by the Grace of the Great Architect of the Universe may our lodge serve brethren for years to come.

As we closed the first one hundred years of Marin Lodge No. 191 in 1968, we referred to coming explorations of the craters of the moon. That exploration was accomplished in fact on July 20th, 1969, when Apollo 11 with its crew of three, Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins set down on the moon and then after a voyage of 750,000 miles landed safely on July 24th, 1969.

With the start of the second hundred years of Marin Lodge, we held our installation of officers on January 6th, 1968 with Brother Roy W. Troutman Jr. being installed as Worshipful Master. 

It was at our stated meeting of March 13, 1968 that Marin Lodge passed a resolution thanking Mrs. Edmar Hicks for her valued assistance in typing the copy of our One Hundredth Year cenntenntial book.

In June of 1968, we mailed copies of our One Hundredth Centennial book to our members. Copies were also mailed to the Lodges for the 114th Masonic District, Grand Lodge, Marin County Library and California State Library, Marin County Historical Society, the Independent Journal and several publications. Letters of appreciation were sent to Brother Chester E. Andrews who printed the book and to Florence Donnelly for her fine article in the Independent Journal covering our One Hundredth Anniversary.

On July 27th, 1968, we had the pleasure of the then Grand Master, Eugene S. Hopp, in an official visit to the Lodges of the 114th Masonic District in the hall of Marin Lodge. Accompanying the Grand Master were several officers of the Grand Lodge and many inspectors. The Grand Master was introduced by PGM Chester McPhee. Our then district inspector, (Bro.) Robert Smallman was in charge of the official visit.

Inflation was setting in and the expenses of the Lodge were mounting and at the stated meeting of November 13th, 1968, it was decided to raise our dues from $15.00 to $20.00 per annum effective January 1st, 1969.  This was the third raise in dues since the Lodge was instituted the previous dues having been $12.00, then $15.00 and now $20.00.

Following the raise of the dues to $20.00 per annum it was voted at the December 11th, 1968 meeting to raise the cost of a Life Membership in our Lodge to the sum of $500.00. The previous cost of Life Membership was $150.00 and then $375.00.

It was on June 21st, 1969 that Marin Lodge No. 191 made another of its historical visits to the Colombia Masonic Temple, a historical monument and conferred the third degree upon one of our candidates.

Our Chaplain of many years, Dr. John Jefferson Canoles passed away on December 10th, 1969. Dr. Canoles had serve our Lodge as Chaplain for many years and he was one of the outstanding members of our Lodge. His passing was deeply felt by all of the brethren.

A Certificate of Merit was presented to Brother Ray R. Rhodes at our stated meeting of April 8, 1970 for his outstanding work as a super ticket salesman in the affairs of the Lodge. This was the fourth Certificate of Merit awarded in our Lodge. The previous recipients being Past Master William P. Murray, Dr. John Jefferson Canoles  and our Tiler, Brother Thomas J. Meek.

On August 12, 1970, our Past Master Clinton T. Duffy was presented his fifty year button by his brother, Bro. William J. Duffy PM of Grafton Lodge No. 141 of California. Assisting in the ceremony was Brother Raymond P. Duffy who affixed the Fifty Year Button. This to our knowledge was the first time that three blood brothers took part in a Fifty Year (pin) presentation.

On September 26th, 1970 Worshipful Master Herbert A. Gulbransen arranged a visit to Amador Lodge No. 65 at Jackson, California, at which time we conferred a Third Degree upon one of our candidates.

It was on May 25, 1971 that the Old Court House at Fourth and “A” Street was destroyed by fire. Marin Lodge No. 191 having laid the cornerstone in the Court House was vitally interested in recovering the box in the cornerstone, wrote a letter to the Marin County Board of Supervisors asking that when the cornerstone was recovered, that the box in the cornerstone be left intact. (more on the cornerstone later)

An unusual visit by Marin Lodge No. 191 took place on Oct. 9, 1971, when under our Worshipful Master John W. Hill, our Lodge visited Washoe Lodge No. 35 in Reno, Nevada and conferred a Third Degree on one of our candidates. This visit was approved by the Grand Lodges of California and Nevada and was one of the most enjoyable visits that our lodge has made.

As previously mentioned in our history, Marin Lodge No.191 laid the cornerstone of the court house in 1872 and the building was destroyed by fire on May 25th, 1971. Following the destruction of the building, P.M. Warren H. Williams, Secretary of our Lodge was in touch with county officials with a plot plan showing where the cornerstone was located in the old Court House. As a result of this information the cornerstone was located and removed. Following the recovery of the cornerstone, the Lodge requested the Board of Supervisors to leave the box in the cornerstone intact and not to be opened until 2072.

Warren Henry Williams P.M., Secretary of Marin Lodge No. 191 appeared before the Board of Supervisors and presented the views of the Lodge. A lengthy public discussion followed on the matter. The Board of Supervisors then decided to open the box at a later date and to place its contents on public display for a month. A metal or glass display case would be constructed and a second box, containing exhibits of the County’s current concerns would be added and placed in a suitable location. The Board of Supervisors expressed its intention to have a formal opening to which Marin Lodge No. 191 would be invited.

The County Administrators Office was instructed to contact experts in the case of antiquities and report to the Board of Supervisors the necessary preparatory steps in assuring that the contents of the box would not disintegrate.

W. M. John W. Hill appointed a committee of three, consisting of P.M. Warren H. Williams, P.M. William M. Vanderbilt and Brother Burnall Van Dalsam to work with the County Librarian in the matter.

On August 5, 1971 a letter addressed to the Lodge was received from Bruce D. Bajema, County Librarian, asking Marin Lodge No. 191 for suggestions for the opening of the cornerstone box and the display of its contents as well as for suggestions for articles to be included in the second box. Marin Lodge No. 191 requested that in the second box be placed a copy of our One Hundredth Installation Program and a picture of P.M. Charles Stevens of Marin Lodge No. 191 who laid the cornerstone in 1872. In addition the Lodge suggested that there be included in the second box an aerial view of the Civic Center, a copy of the first County Fair program at the Civic Center and a piece of material from the old court house.

On March 10, 1972 the cornerstone was opened in the presence of a small invited group, with W.M. John A. Mattson representing Marin Lodge No. 191, and the box was opened and found to have the contents as stated in our centennial book. The contents were in surprisingly good condition. At the present time (1973) the contents of the box are on display at the Marin County Library in a small well lighted glass case.

The passing of our Brother John F. McInnis was a severe loss to the Lodge on August 28th, 1972. Brother McInnis has faithfully served as Secretary, Treasurer and Building Manager of our Masonic Building for many years and under his guidance the affairs of the building were in excellent condition. Marin Lodge conducted his funeral service on August 30, 1972.

The fifth recipient of a Certificate of Merit was presented to our P.M. Roy Wade Troutman Jr. on Dec. 13th, 1972. P.M. Troutman had been an outstanding member of Marin Lodge having served on the Youth Committee of the rand Lodge and as our Officers Coach, the ritual work of Marin Lodge was on a high standard.

On Oct. 30, 1973, a time capsule was placed east of and near the Doughboy Statue at the Marin Civic Center. The Marin County Supervisors were in charge of the ceremonies with P.M. Warren H. Williams representing Marin Lodge No. 191. The inscription on the time capsule and a list of its contents are attached and made part of the Lodge History.

A most unusual event took place on Jan. 5th 1974 when Paul Crinklaw was installed as W.M. of Marin Lodge No. 191. Brother Crinklaw was a fifth generation to serve as Worshipful Master of a Masonic Lodge, His forbearers having served as Worshipful Masters of St. Paul’s Lodge No. 107 of Lambeth, Canada.

An evening of unusual interest took place on March 10, 1976 when we had present at our Lodge, the Most Worshipful John F. Roberts, Jr., Grand Master of Masons in California. Right Worshipful Donald B. McCaw, Senior Grand Warden, the Most Worshipful Chester Mac Phee, PGM and Grand Treasurer, Worshipful Lawrence R. Hollomon, District Inspector of the 114th Masonic District and their wives. Also present were several Grand Lodge officers and Sue Collins of the Masonic Homes of California.

The occasion was the presentation of a Fifty Year Button to our Brother Mario Torrano which was made by the Grand Master.

Past Grand Master Eugene S. Hopp was our featured speaker at our stated meeting of July 14th, 1976.

It was moved at our stated meeting of February 9th, 1977 that a Certificate of Merit and Appreciation be issued to  Brother Halvor D. Klinker who at this time had audited the books of the Lodge for over twenty five years and to Brother Ernest M. Kessler who had headed our Refreshment Program, mainly in the kitchen for about twenty years. The motion was unanimously approved by the Lodge.

It was during 1977 that Brother Burton O. Young PM, a plural member of our Lodge and son of our late Past Master Walter M. Young had been named as Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of California.

On May 10, 1978, we were again favored by a visit by the then Grand Master of Masons in California, Most Worshipful Donald B. McCaw, a resident of San Anselmo, who addressed a group of about 130 persons present on the Brotherhood of Masonry and what it stands for and does not stand for.

With inflation catching up to the expenses it was the recommendation of the Finance Committee in June of 1978 that the dues in Marin Lodge No. 191, as of January 1, 1979, be raised to the amount of $28.00 per annum. The motion was approved by a vote of the Lodge and by the Grand Lodge to be effective January 1, 1979.

October 11, 1978 was designated Past Masters’ Night in Marin Lodge 191 at which time there were 19 Past Masters present. At this time P.M. Roy Troutman, Jr. on behalf of the Grand Lodge of California, and assisted by P.M. Ray A. Springett of Mill Valley Lodge No. 356, a lifelong friend of P.M. Warren Williams, presented to P.M. Williams his Fifty-Year button. It was noted at this time that P.M. Williams was then serving Marin Lodge as his 34th year as Secretary. P.M. Williams stated that Masonry was a way of life for him and that he had learned something from each Master he has served over the years.

The Grand Lodge introduced a program in 1979 known as the Hiram Award Program which was given to brethren of the Lodge that had served with distinguished ability over a number of years. The first Hiram Award given in Marin Lodge No. 191 was to P.M. George T. Rowse, who has served as Master of the Lodge in 1953, then Inspector of our Masonic District for a number of years, served on Grand Lodge committees and headed the Finance Committee of our Lodge at the pleasure of many of the Worshipful Masters of Marin Lodge No.191.

The second Hiram Award was presented to Brother Paris Giannini on October 20, 1979 for his many years of coaching candidates in the several degrees and his devotion to the work. Then on November 28th, 1979 he received his Golden Veteran Award (Fifty Year button) at his home in Larkspur with our present Inspector Emil Peroni making the presentation in the presence of Bro. Giannini’s wife and several officers of our Lodge. (to be continued)