Updated: Feb 22
Winooski Lodge # 49 F & AM was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Vermont on January 12, 1860 following the anti-masonic period that began in 1829. Horace M. Bruce of Waterbury was the first Worshipful Master of Winooski Lodge. Mr. Bruce born in Montpelier in 1826, was a businessman owning lumber mills in Stowe, later owned the stage route between Waterbury and Morrisville and owned the Waterbury Inn for a while. In 1870 he built a house at 100 South Main Street. He moved to Minnesota in 1906 to live with his daughter. He passed away there in 1912 and his body was brought back to Waterbury for burial in Hope Cemetery.
On March 24, 2011 Winooski Lodge was presented with a treasured memento of its early history. Robert J. Bruce, the great grandson of Horace M. Bruce came from Minnesota and presented the Winooski Lodge officers with the apron and jewel of Horace M. Bruce. These items are now on display in the Lodge Hall. Winooski Lodge is thankful to the family of Horace Bruce for presenting these items to the Lodge as a part of our history.
On December 12, 2009 a fire in the basement of the Lodge Building at 23 Stowe Street damaged portions of the basement, the electrical system and smoke damage throughout the building. While the repairs were made the Lodge met at the Wesley United Methodist Church.
Winooski Lodge began the 20th century on January 1, 1900 with a membership of 110 brothers and closed with 141 members to begin the 21st century. The Lodge had a peak of members in 1933 of 259 and in 1950 had a membership of 248. On January 1, 2020 the membership was 75.
In the 160 years of Winooski Lodge a total of 1,017 men have become members. Paul Nadeau became the 1000th member to join Winooski Lodge on August 14, 2002.
The worshipful master of the lodge beginning the 21st century was Eugene C. Corliss. Other brothers who have been elected Worshipful Master during the 21st century are Lynn Lewis Jr., Bill D. Richardson, Willis J. Morse, Ronald Green, Austin Isham Jr, William F. Wyman, George C. Seymour, Michael Lambert, Bruce C. Humphrey, Todd R. Pudvar and Donald Duquette.
Winooski Lodge has impressive longevity: L. Taylor Millington of Barre is a 73 year member; John D Farr of Waterbury and Richard E. Ashley of Washington are 66 year members; Clifford L. Pelton Jr of New Mexico is a 63 year member; Arthur L. Bailey of Montreal, Harold P. Grout of New York, John H. Woodruff and McAuliffe O’Brien, both of Waterbury, are all 60 year members.
Eugene C. Corliss and Thomas D. Nesbitt have served as the District Deputy of the sixth Masonic District in the 21st century. Two current members have given long-term faithful service to their lodge. Thomas D. Nesbitt and P. Howard “Skip” Flanders were each elected as Treasurer and Secretary respectively in February 1985 and have served faithfully since that time, a total of 35 years each. Another Brother Gleason W. Ayers, who served 19 years of faithful service as Secretary from 1954-1972 following his father, Max Ayers. Brother Gleason passed away on Nov 24, 2011, a 74 year member of Winooski Lodge. No history of Winooski Lodge in the 21st century would be complete without noting the long time faithful service of Willis J. “Bill” Morse. He has served both the Winooski Lodge and the Vermont Grand Lodge in many capacities and has been a mentor to many brothers. Bill will be a fifty year member of Winooski Lodge in May 2021.
Beginning in 1988 Winooski Lodge began awarding scholarships to Harwood Union graduates who are going on to higher education. Winooski Lodge has awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships to more than 85 graduates.
Another tradition that began in 1999 and continued in the 21st century is a “Ladies at the Table” event with Mad River Lodge #77 F&AM of Waitsfield. The Lodges honors ladies for their contributions to their fellow citizens and their community. This event is held every other year and has recognized more than thirty respected members of our community. Those recognized for their service include Cindy Senning, Sue Ocker, Jane Willard, Cora Howes, Mary Hunter, Elsie and Edward Tadejewski, Annie Coffey, Marion Ayers, Dorothy Merchant, Winona Hoffman, Helen Davis, Lucille Lewis, Ruth Lewis, Rosalie Chase, Lois Sabin, Ruth Kennedy Hartshorne, Ruth Hudon, Mary Callahan Regan, Betty Jones, Marianna Towne, Mona Patterson, Catherine Flanders, Mary Dunster, Louise Welch, Rosina Wallace, Shirley Marshall, Helen Amidon, Lisa Scagliotti, Jan Gendreau, Karol Smith, Gale Badeau, and Barb Lavanway. The 2020 Ladies at the Table was canceled due to concern for safety from the Covid-19 virus pandemic. The event will be resumed when it is safe.
The brothers of Winooski look forward to continuing service to our fellow man and community into the 21st century.