LEONARD WOOD LODGE #105
Leonard Wood Lodge No. 105, Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, was organized Under Dispensation from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines on January 15, 1929. Prior to its organization, American military personnel who took part in Masonic activities were forced to make the arduous journey to Manila; which at the time, required several days under ideal conditions. The name “Leonard Wood” was taken in memory of Brother (General) Leonard Wood, the famous army surgeon who had served as Chief of Staff; Governor General of the Philippines; Governor General of Cuba; and who was a very proud and well known Master Mason.
By June 1st of the same year, the preliminary organizational structure had been achieved and officers of the Grand Lodge, under the direction of the Most Worshipful Seldon W. O’Brien, constituted Leonard Wood a regularly chartered Lodge. The Lodge Hall was at the time located on the second floor of the Headquarters Building, 26th Calvary Regiment, a portion of which had been partitioned off and set aside for its use.
The Worshipful Master of Leonard Wood Lodge No. 105 during the Lodge’s first year of existence was 1st Lt. Doyle O. Hickey. WB Hickey again served as Master ten years later (1939-40). He later rose to prominence in World War II and at the time of his retirement held the rank of Lieutenant General.
At the outbreak of World War II, the Acting Worshipful Master of Leonard Wood Lodge was Lt. Colonel Clinton A. Pierce, (SW) and following the evacuation of Clark Field and Fort Stotsenberg he commanded the remnants of the 26th Calvary Regiment in the defense of Northern Luzon. The chaos of the war in the Philippines forced Leonard Wood Lodge into inactivity from early 1942 until 1947.
In the latter part of 1947, a group of Master Masons living at Clark Air Force Base, as the military installation was by then renamed, assembled and decided to petition for the reactivation of Leonard Wood Lodge No. 105. This petition was honored by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines, and a dispensation to meet was issued shortly after the petition was presented.
During the first year, following its reactivation, Leonard Wood Lodge held its meetings in a vacant barracks building in the site of what was formerly Camp Dau. This meeting place, however, was not satisfactory for a number of reasons and the officers of the Lodge determined that if the Lodge was to survive, they would have to create a permanent home for it. Accordingly, under the guiding hand of Bro. Warren J. Ballow, they planned the building of a Temple of their own. They chose the site of a former power plant which had been reduced to rubble during the fighting in this area. Nothing remained of the structure save a few reinforced concrete columns which they decided to build around. Work was not long in beginning. Permission to build was obtained from the local military authorities. They began ordering the structural steel materials needed and began the long time-consuming task of making, seasoning and drying the many concrete blocks which would be needed for walls and other construction purposes. One by one, they produced these blocks, in a single hand operated machine, which required each block to be shaped, molded and tamped by hand. Working in the afternoons after duty, and later installing temporary lighting to enable the work to proceed by night, they labored to erect a fitting home for Masonry at Clark Air Base. The result of this “labor of love” was Leonard Wood Lodge No. 105 which was fondly referred to as “The pillar in the East.”
The temple was finally dedicated on the 11th of December 1948 and, from that time, became the home of Masonry and of all its appendant organizations on Clark Air Base. Each succeeding year saw improvement and further landscaping and beautification. Masons from all over the world, who visited that great Lodge were unanimous in pronouncing the Temple “among the most beautiful they had seen anywhere.” In 1964, Leonard Wood Lodge No. 105 won the covetous Grand Masters Cup for being the Most Outstanding Lodge in the Philippines.
Dark days fell on Leonard Wood Lodge in early 1972. Since the Lodge sat on Military property, other organizations started clamoring to use the Lodge building. The Lodge was even accused of religious discrimination because we refuse admission to atheists. On 1 July, 1972, Leonard Wood Lodge was ordered by the Commander of Clark Air Base to vacate the Lodge on or before 15 August, 1972.
Masons have always been law abiding citizens. And, since the Commander of the Base was in fact the law there, the beloved temple was vacated on 15 August, 1972, A house was rented at 26 Texas Street, Villa Sol, Angeles City and all of the Lodge equipment and regalia were stored there. Informal meetings were held there. At the Stated Meeting of 5 September, 1972, (at 26 Texas Street), a proposal was made to purchase land not far from Villa Sol, and just outside the third gate (Friendship Gate) of Clark Air Base.
The negotiations for the land went on for several months. During that time, meetings were held at the house of Texas Street and for a while, at the Oasis Hotel in Angeles City.
The deal for the property was finally settled, and temporary buildings were moved in to in late March, 1973. The first meeting held in the new home of Leonard Wood Lodge was the stated business meeting, held on Tuesday, 3 April, 1973.
In late 1976, members of the Filipino community started taking a closer look at the fraternity and at Leonard Wood Lodge, which for so many years had been considered an “American Lodge”. They then started to ask questions about what Masons were and what they believed and stood for. Then they started to ask for petitions. The initial trickle of applicants slowly became a flood.
In 1977, a major construction (reconstruction) program was undertaken by the brethren under the able leadership of Worshipful Brother Roy Gulledge. The Lodge room now is one of the most beautiful in the Philippines, complete with air conditioning and a sound system.
Leonard Wood Lodge No. 105 was no longer an “American” Lodge, but is truly representative of the City of Angeles. Racial discrimination was truly set aside as Masonry should be, and the Oriental Chair was occupied. Alternately by Americans and Filipinos.
As more residents of Angeles City became more active in the Lodge, the involvement in the Community became greater. In 1984, under the leadership of Worshipful Brother Rene F. Henson, an apartment building was constructed on the Lodge’s vacant lot, financing it with the Lodge’s Life Membership Fund to protect the funds from the effects of inflation and devaluation and which proved to be a wise investment. The exchange rate then was P7.50 to a dollar. The said apartment were rented out to U.S. servicemen working at Clark Air Base. The rent income from those apartment went a long way in carrying out its various program. Charitable, Social, Civic , and Sports activities have become a matter of course, and again, the Lodge won the Grand Master’s Cup for being the Most Outstanding Lodge in the Philippines jurisdiction in the year 1984.
Another renovation on the Lodge’s interior was done during the term of Worshipful Brother Nicolas G. Tablante which made the Lodge more beautiful including the installation of three (3) , three (3) tonner split type air conditioners.
Disaster fell on Central Luzon, the Lodge included when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in June of 1991. The heavy ash fall proved too much for the Lodge’s roof that brought it down and almost burying everything underneath. Two weeks after the eruption, the Lodge’s Charter was retrieved from the rubbish and a two months later, the Lodge was able to hold meeting at a vacant house owned by a brother. Later on, the dinning area of the former Lodge was rebuilt into a smaller lodge and was reconstituted in 1993 by Most Worshipful Agustin N. Mateo, and it is where the Lodge held its regular meeting.
In 1999, under the leadership of the late Worshipful Brother Armin D. Tinio, the brethren decided to rebuild the old Lodge. Pledges were made at a lodge outing in Baguio City. Some brethren donated cash, some donated the cement, sand and gravel, some brethren donated the electrical requirement, and almost 80% of the materials needed have been pledged air conditioners, furniture and fixtures and the sound system included.. The design and supervision was done by Bro. Architect Oscar F. Vitug, Jr. as his contribution.
The “Labor of Love” started all over again. Speculative Masons again became operative. Every brother did his part. The American brethren in the States sent in their donations, (Note: A few days before the eruption , Clark and Subic servicemen and their family were evacuated by the U.S. government). In January of the year 2000, the Lodge was blessed and inaugurated.
Today, Leonard Wood Masonic Lodge No. 105 is according to brethren who have attended the blessing and have visited the Lodge, is among the biggest and most beautiful Lodge in the Philippines. The Temple has again become a source of pride of the brethren of Leonard Wood Masonic Lodge and can hold up their heads and say to the world, “FREEMASONRY HAS SURVIVED, AND IS WELL AND ALIVE” in Angeles City, Republic of the Philippines.
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