Founded in 1849
Jerusalem lodge was chartered in 1849 with the United Grand Lodge of England and numbered 28. Somehow, the warrant was lost, but there is a record of Jerusalem Lodge being transferred to the Grand Lodge of Canada (Ontario) and so Jerusalem Lodge operated as No. 28 under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of England from June 1849, until the first Charter was received in 1858, then duly renumbered 31. This charter is dated on July 14th, 1858.
The first meeting
The first meeting of Jerusalem Lodge was held in an especially built room in the Hindes Hotel (now a parking lot), at 90 King Street West in June 1849. Brother Isaiah Tole was elected Worshipful Master. His picture (among with those of all other past masters of Jerusalem Lodge) can be found on the wall in the banquet hall.
In January 1853, Jerusalem Lodge moved to Brodies Hotel at the Southeast corner of King and Liberty Street – the present location of the Beer Store and Staples. Brodies Hotel was owned by brother T. Brodie, a member of this lodge.
In January 1858 a resolution was passed that the meetings should be held in private rooms removed from all connection with the unenlightened, and the lodge be removed to rooms prepared exclusively for its use in a more central part of town.
The members were refused admission to the Lodge Room at the next meeting on Feb.24th 1858. To make matters worse, brother Brodie refused to allow the furniture to be moved unless he be paid the full years rent of $30.00. Eventually the furniture was removed and the lodge met at a new location in a room over James Printing at 66 King St. W. The building was owned by a fellow brother, the Honourable John Simpson. The first meeting in that location was held on June 24, 1858.
Brother Brodie was later “excluded” (?) from the Lodge when he failed to appear in lodge to answer a charge laid against him. He was reinstated 2 years later, when he repaid a sum of $30.
The second move
Towards the end of 1869, the Lodge moved to a new location at 19 King Street West. New side benches and officers chairs were purchased from a furniture manufacturer in Bowmanville, for the cost of $167.
Towards the end of 1883, a Chapter of Royal Arch Mason was formed and the Lodge granted them the use of the lodge room for a nominal fee.
It’s interesting to note that in 1885 a committee was appointed to “take steps as they see fit to expose to the public generally, the clandestine nature of the lodge working here under the so-called Grand Lodge Of Ontario”. There is no record to be found of any action being taken.
Our current location
The Lodge leased the top 2 floors at this its present location in May 1904, had the rooms altered, the ceiling raised, and moved in on January 7th 1905. The first meeting in our current lodge location was held on January 19th; 1905. The building was dedicated in February 1911.
The stained glass windows were donated by Rt.Worshipfull brother D.B.Simpson and were installed in 1910.
In the latter part of the year all past Masters whose picture was not on the banquet hall wall met at Freeland’s Photo in Toronto to have their picture taken. These pictures made it possible to feature a complete set of photos of all the past Masters in the lodge room. Jerusalem Lodge is unique in this regard.
In 1958, a building fund had been established for the purpose of buying a building. The yearly dues amounted to $8.00.
Upgrades to the premises
In 1957, the wood stove was replaced with an oil space heater.
This current building was purchased in 1960. The purchase price was $ 25,000.
In 1967, the Lodge was rewired with lights at the principle officers’ chairs, over the altar and the 7 stars in the ceiling.
The electric heaters were installed in 1972.
The 3 pillars at the altar were carved and donated by worshipful brother Harry Jermyn – a retired judge and Past Master of composite lodge in 1976. Brother Bill Eby designed and had the mosaic pavement installed in the same year.
The Lodge purchased the electric organ in 1978.
The original Banquet room was too small to accommodate a major event (such as installations and official visit banquets), so an addition was added in 1980 to provide the needed room. The cost was $48,000.
The cabinet for the working tools was believed to be the old altar, which was inadvertently left at the old Lodge room over James Printing in 1869. It was discovered, returned and restored in 1985 by worshipful brother Bill Paterson.
In 1993, the chair glide was installed to assist elderly brethren with the long stairway.