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George Primrose Masonic Temple History

History of Oak Plains

Oak Plains Lodge #789, Free and Accepted Masons

A group of 28 Master Masons met at the Carmichael Community Presbyterian Church on March 25, 1954 at the invitation of Brother Robert A. Wade and Brother Richard W. Ehlers, to plan the organization of a Masonic Club in the Northeast Area of Sacramento with the ultimate purpose of becoming a Masonic Lodge. Brother Wade was elected President of the club and was re-elected to the office each year until the club was disbanded in favor of the lodge in 1958. The second and third meetings were held at Creekside Schools, at one of which, the name Oak Plains was adopted. Brother George A. Primrose proposed the name as of area significance, since in the early history of California, Oak Plains applied to the land area on the east bank of the Sacramento River north to Marysville.

Meetings in the summers of 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1957 were arranged in conjunction with pot luck socials in the yard of Brother George Primrose home. Members of the club assisted Brother Primrose in completing a large room over his garage, which was used as a meeting place. The club elected ten lodge office candidates in a meeting place on March 25, 1955 to begin training for lodge ritual proficiency. Coaching was generously provided by Worshipful Brother Harry Baker of Sacramento #40, and by Worshipful Brother Henning Lueders od Washington #20. The lack of an approved meeting place, and a proficiency of the officer candidates delayed the date for submission of a petition to the Grand Lodge for three years. Worshipful Brother Miles McClelland assisted the group with counselling most of that time.

In the spring of 1958, Worshipful Brother Harold Richards, the District Inspector succeeding Worshipful Brother McClelland, finally approved the social hall of St. Matthews Episcopal Church as a suitable place for lodge meetings and approved the proficiency of the officer candidates. Right Worshipful Brother Phil N. Myers, Deputy Grand Master instituted Oak Plains U.D. in ceremonies held at the Sacramento Masonic Temple on Saturday evening, July 19, 1958 with 40 charter members, of which only Brothers Baker, Clark, Ehlers, Knapton, Pratt and Wade were at the very first meeting in 1954. Worshipful Brother Robert A. Wade was Master, and Brother William C. Green as Junior Warden, were the only 2 of 10 officers candidates who began training in 1955, to stick with the job. The first to become a member by affiliation was Brother George Jernigan on October 20, 1958. He later served a number of years as Tiler of the lodge. The first to receive the Master Mason degree was Brother John Scoble on November 10, 1958. Most Worshipful Brother Phil N. Myers returned to the Sacramento Masonic Temple as Grand Master to present the charter and assign number 789 to Oak Plains Lodge on Saturday evening December 20, 1958.

Tragedy struck the struggling lodge on February 15, 1959 when Worshipful Brother Wade suffered a fatal heart attack. The second great loss by death came with the passing of Brother George Primrose on July 11, 1961. His memory was perpetuated by unanimous vote to name the temple for him. Our first Master lives in the memory of Masons by a DeMolay Chapter, and a lodge room being named for him. Worshipful Brother George A. Moore completed the term of office and was elected June 8, 1959 to serve as Master until the end of the calendar year.

Worshipful Brother William C. Green served as Master for the year 1960. Significant activities of the year included activation of a blood bank for the lodge, the origination of the annual lodge picnic, and the first group visit by the lodge to the Masonic Home at Decoto, California. The membership increased to 80 members.

Worshipful Brother Jack R. Butler served as Master for the year 1961. First year activities of the lodge included participation in the Masonic breakfast for the Sacramento Masonic Board of Relief, a visitation to Volcano Lodge #56, Volcano, California, and the sponsorship of the constitution of the Robert A. Wade Chapter of DeMolay. Lodge membership increased to 104 members.

Worshipful Brother James K. Wilson served as Master for the year 1962. Among the first-year activities of the lodge were, a Charter Members night, a Past Masters night, and the presentation of a play entitled “A Gift in Secret”. Visitations were made to Oakland Lodge #188, Oakland, California, to Columbia Lodge at Columbia State Park, and to Ione Lodge #80, Ione, California. Membership increased to 130 members.

Worshipful Brother Walter D. Driver was serving as Master in 1963 when this cornerstone was laid. The lodge membership has increased to 134.

Charter Members

John Davis Abbott George Albert Moore
Crawford Albert Baker Winfred Lawrence Penney
Frank Steward Bell Howard Kenneth Phillips
Leo Fredrick Boivin Robert Alexander Phillips
Warren William Brady William Norvell Phillips
Jack Dickerson Brooks Kenneth Gerald Pratt
Uel Elton Burt George Arthur Primrose
Jack Richard Butler James Robert Ratzloff
Wilford Bennett Clark Chesley Wilber Rinehart
William Norton Corbett George Lovar Robbins
Charles Spinning Cowen Marion Lee Rogers
John Edward Davis Joseph Alfred Scelzi
William Edwin Demsy Harold Kenneth Smith
Walter Darwin Driver James Wallace Smith
Alger Edgar Durell Norman Wilford Soce
Richard Walter Ehlers Ole O. Sove
Eugene Spencer Espey, Jr. Virgil Jackson Sumner
William Clayton Green Stanley Tinch Thompson
Monroe Hubert Gregg Carlos Ralph Vincent
Ezra Norton Hyde Wayne Carleton Vinney
William Knapton Robert Lee Wade
John Hartwell Leineke Baron Acton Wilkinson
Jack Alvin McGlothan Earl Williams