We're very proud of our Lodge, especially when you consider how far we've come since we began. The following passages were taken from "A History of Beaver Ridge Lodge 1867-1977":
On August 14,1867, at a regular communication of Choto Lodge #253 located at Concord in the County of Knox, State of Tennessee, the following brethren requested of Choto Lodge permission to petition the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Tennessee for a charter to organize BEAVER RIDGE LODGE.
The records are silent and in some cases are not complete because of lost pages from the early minutes. It would seem that the Lodge had rented the upper story of a building at Ball Camp near, at that time, what was called Brick Chapel and later became the Ball Camp Baptist Church... and see upon what terms the building could be purchased. At this time BEAVER RIDGE LODGE was holding its stated monthly communication on the Friday on or before the first full moon in the month. This, no doubt, was to provide them with sufficient light, especially on clear nights to travel to and from the Lodge by foot, horseback, or buggy.
The first meeting of the Lodge was December 7, 1867. The record is silent as to location. The dispensation granting the power to open and hold a regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons was read by the Secretary.
The dispensation for the Lodge to begin operation as a Lodge was issued October 10, 1867, only four months before the property was purchased. The record does not show how the purchase price for the Lodge portion of the building was paid.
For some years recently some people thought the old brick Lodge and Methodist Church building at the corner of Emory and Copper Ridge Road served as a meeting place for all churches in the area. This was true for another building built several years before the brick building used by the Lodge and Methodist Church was built.
This church building was made of popular logs cut in the area, and after being hewed to be places in the building were 35 inches in diameter. So far as is known, this was the first church in this section of Knox County. Conditions changed and the Baptist Church sought a new location and left the Methodist in charge; the Methodist having been organized about 1830.
The construction of the Lodge and Methodist Church building probably was not begun until the property was deeded to both organizations on January 4, 1869. The building was made from clay ground just north of the building and some slaves, who remained on the place after the Civil War, helped make the brick. Also, most likely, men from the Church and Lodge, as well as members of the community, helped with the construction.
The first meeting by Beaver Ridge Lodge in the new brick building on Emory and Copper Ridge Roads (pictured above) was May 17, 1872.
The second home of Beaver Ridge Lodge served the purpose for 91 years; although in the later years, parking became a major problem, as did the building, especially when we had a large number of people for any event. In fact, we were fearful of the floor collapsing under the weight. Wasps became a problem, the attic was filled with them and they were able to get through the ceiling into the Lodge room, not only in warm weather but in the winter months, when we were able to get the building warm.
The one thing that really brought about serious discussions and made all realize that a move was impossible to avoid was the condemning of the building as being very unsafe, both from the standpoints of fire and possible collapse. This word was received from the insurance company. They would no longer insure the building or be liable for injury if it should collapse.
On March 14th, 1959, a lot located on the south side of Oak Ridge Highway was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Millard Ogg for the sum of $3000.00.
This transaction set in motion a fund-raising effort in which all members were to be a part. A notice was issued to each member asking for a pledge to be used for the construction of a new Lodge building. This effort brought numerous pledges ranging from five to five hundred dollars. Building blocks made of paper were sold by members for whatever the donor chose to give. Barbeque chicken dinners were also a source of raising revenue.
At a stated meeting on November 24, 1961, the Lodge voted and set Saturday, March 31, 1962, at 2:00 pm as the date for the ground breaking ceremony.
The first Masonic meeting in the building of Beaver Ridge Lodge was on November 16, 1963, with Floyd M. Nichols, the Master, presiding.
Some cost for materials and Labor may be of interest, especially to future members. The cost of laying 8,294 blocks was $1,250.10, plus $21.00 to Mr. Emmert to pour the concrete footing for the building. There is 8,800 square feet of sheet rock on the Lodge Hall and rooms of the second floor walls and ceiling. (The dining room ceiling was covered later). The cost of labor for installing the sheet rock was $220.00 Labor for taping and spackling 8,800 square feet was $357.00. Labor for concrete finishing on both floors was $440.00. The carpet and installation cost $2,453.40. Also, the heating and air condition system, purchased from Rochat Company, cost $4,365.00 installed. Seats for the Lodge were purchased from Eastern Seating Company at a cost of $429.00 for 174 seats, the freight for moving the seats was $197.93. The Eastern Star Chapter #320 of Beaver Ridge furnished the dining room chairs and tables.
We are proud owners of one of the finest Masonic Lodges in the area; a credit to the members and the community, and we hope that it will remain so through the ages.