Welcome to Oakland Durant Rockridge Lodge #188, F∴ & A∴ M∴
The Brethren who constitute Oakland Durant Rockridge Lodge #188 trace their Masonic history through numerous past and present connections. The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of California was founded during the Gold Rush in 1850, and by 1868 had chartered 187 regular Lodges throughout the state.
Thirteen Masonic Brethren, being demitted from several Lodges in California and British Columbia, met on March 7th, 1868, at the hall of Oakland’s Live Oak Lodge #61 to petition Grand Master William A. Davies for a dispensation to form a new Lodge. The dispensation was granted and the first meeting of Oakland Lodge #188 was held on March 18th, 1868. Bro. Nathan W. Spalding of San Francisco’s Mission Lodge #169 was elected to serve as the founding Master of the Lodge, which received its charter the following October 15. During his term as Master, he began to serve the first of two terms as Mayor of Oakland, and his portrait may be seen on the West wall of the Lodge room. Oakland and Mission Lodges have ever since enjoyed a cordial “Sister Lodge” relationship.
In 1882, a group of thirteen Master Masons met in a doctor’s office on University Avenue to sign a petition seeking dispensation to form a new Lodge in the village of Berkeley. This distinguished Lodge first met on November 29th, 1882, using an altar cloth, Bible and candlesticks donated by Oakland Lodge #188, which had also recommended their petition to Grand Master Clay W. Taylor. Bro. George D. Metcalf of Oakland Lodge was elected Master, and the Lodge voted to adopt the name of The Rev. Henry Durant of Oakland Lodge, founder and first president of the University of California, thus becoming Durant Lodge #268. In 1907, Durant Lodge built a splendid building at the corner of Shattuck and Bancroft Streets in downtown Berkeley; still standing, it has not served as Masonic facility for many years, though as is often the case, some of the exterior decorations identifying it as a Masonic structure are still intact.
Splitting the difference between Oakland and Durant lodges, in 1917 Rockridge Lodge was founded, beginning work under dispensation that same August, receiving the lodge’s charter on October 11, 1918. After holding its first few meetings at Brooklyn Lodge #225, on E. 14th St. near downtown Oakland, the lodge moved into a building (since replaced) at the corner of College and Keith, where the Market Hall building now stands. In 1926-27, the lodge constructed and moved into the landmark building which is still home to Oakland Durant Rockridge Lodge. At its mortage-burning ceremony in 1945, there was ‘much joy and hilarity,’ including the burning of a Past Master’s vest, the Master’s shirt tail, and another brother’s favorite necktie.
On December 6th, 1983, Rockridge Lodge #468 consolidated with Oakland Lodge to form Oakland-Rockridge Lodge #188, retaining the number of the oldest of the consolidating lodges. Just over a year later, on January 1st, 1985, Durant Lodge cemented its historically cordial relationship with Oakland Lodge by consolidating as Oakland Durant Rockridge Lodge #188.
Oakland Durant Rockridge Lodge continues the traditions of its three component Lodges of providing good fellowship for its members and service for its community.
Please see our 50th Anniversary and 100th Anniversary of Oakland Lodge books for more information about the first century of one of the primary lodges that eventually became Oakland Durant Rockridge #188.
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