Richmond Aquenhonga Lodge History
The story of Masonry is a component part of the history of Richmond County. Without the story of Richmond Lodge and Aquehona Lodge, the annals of Staten Island would be incomplete. During the period of the Revolution, a provisional Lodge convened in New Dorp, Staten Island, NY composed of British officers, soldiers and a few residents of the Island. Meetings were held at intervals until the evacuation of the British in 1785.
Richmond Lodge owes its origin to an incident which occurred in autumn of 1812. British officers who had attended the Provisional Lodge during the Revolutionary War approached James Guyon inquiring if there was a Masonic Lodge on Staten Island. There was no lodge at that time but the visit of the officers led to the question of forming one. The War of 1812 intervened and the project was abandoned. In 1814, a meeting was held at the residence of Governor Daniel D. Tompkins who was the Grand Master of Masons of the State of New York (and later Vice President of the United States). It was decided that the existing conditions were not favorable for forming a Lodge and the project was abandoned. The following year a meeting was held in the residence of General Van buren who encouraged the group that the organization of a Lodge was possible. Anti-Masonic sentiments were starting to become evident but men who were known to be in sympathy with Freemasonry were called upon and a general invitation to all the people of Staten Island to a public picnic was given. While there was some suspicion and distrust, there were enough present to learn of the good fellowship of Freemasonry and to carry this news to their skeptical neighbors. This was the beginning of Richmond Lodge.
The Charter to "Richmond Lodge, No. 384, F & AM" was received on July 6, 1825. In the first meeting, 13 candidates were proposed for membership after which the Lodge was "closed in due and ancient form." IThe Lodge continued to prosper until 1832 when an outbreak of cholera and Yellow fever scourged the Island. The result was that Richmond Lodge closed its doors for several months until the frost came and the epidemics ceased. In 1839 there was a reorganization of the Grand Lodge of New York State and Richmond Lodge was given a new charter as Richmond Lodge No. 66 F & AM.
The Lodge had its highs and lows over the following years but on june 27, 1987, the cornerstone of the Masonic Hall in Port Richmond at the corner of Bennett Street and Richmond Avenue was set in true Masonic Tradition. This building is now the CYO headquarters on Staten Island.
In 1904, a charter was given to Aquehonga Lodge No. 906 F & AM. Many of the original members of this Lodge had been members of Richmond Lodge. On July 11, 1925, a special communication was called to lay the cornerstone of the new Temple on Anderson Avenue. The Grand Master and 32 Grand Lodge officers joined over a thousand Masons, in columns of marchers 400 of whom were Richmond Lodge members. Because of the hardships caused by the grea Depression and World War Two, it was necessary for the Lodge to move out of the Anderson Avenue Temple on February 1, 1943. However, in 1956, the Lodge purchased Svea Hall as a home. After many hears the building needed renovations that the Lodge could not afford so the building was sold in 1980 and the Lodge moved its meeting site to the Tottenville Masonic Temple. Svea Hall is now the Mandalay Catering Hall.
In 1994, Aquehonga Lodge No. 906 merged with Richmond Lodge No. 66 and the Lodge was rechartered as Richmond Aquehonga Lodge No. 66. During the year 2000, the 175th Anniversary celebration was held with many events.
The Lodge meets on the First and Third Mondays of every month except July and August or national holidays at the Tottenville Masonic Temple.
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