Max White, Glen Bower and Michael Williamson collectively represent nearly 100 years of membership in the local Masonic Lodge #149. When the organization recently re-dedicated the building that has been the gathering place since 1949, the trio reflected upon the way the morals taught by the Masons have been a driving force in their development as men. “Our purpose is to make good men better,” said White, a former Worshipful Master of Masonic Lodge #149 and a 55-year member of the fraternal organization.
The local lodge has been in Effingham County for 160 years, which dates to before the City of Effingham was established. It originated in Ewington, the first county seat. Bower, a retired attorney, said that settlers in Effingham County who came from Europe, and from the southern and eastern regions of the early United States, missed their fraternal ties as Masons. “They began to long for the privilege of those fraternal greetings and friendships,” said Bower, who also noted that a belief in God drove the foundation of the organization. Bower outlined a rich history of the Masons, one that has been retold throughout popular culture. He chuckled when asked about the novels of author Dan Brown and other fiction writers, who often make the Masons out to be a shadowy force that has manipulated society for hundreds of years. “It has often been said the Masonic Lodge is not a secret organization, but it is an organization that has its secrets,” said Bower. He added that other organizations, like the Elks Lodge and Knights of Columbus, have untold facets of their organizations.
White pointed out that the Masonic Lodge is located along Fayette Avenue, one of the busiest roadways in the county.