Lodge History

Herndon Lodge 264

Herndon Lodge No. 264 is located at the corners of Grace and Elden Streets in Herndon, Virginia. The Lodge itself served as an Episcopal Church, St. Timothy’s, for 89 years, when, in 1969, the trustees for the church, Stanley B. Hanes, Dudley Page and Richard R. Saunders sold the land to F.M. Robinson, Harry Middleton, Sr., and E. Russell Gillette, trustees for the Herndon Masonic Temple No. 264 (see History of the Herndon Lodge Building for further details).

The Lodge was initially granted a dispensation as Freedom Lodge No. 264, but when the Charter was granted on December 9, 1897, the name was changed to Herndon Lodge No. 264 after the town’s namesake, Commander William L. Herndon.

The history of the lodge operations discussed below is based on historic records. However, the lodge records previous to 1902 were destroyed by a fire in 1918.

The Early Years

On November 20, 1896, Lodge No. 264 was granted a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Virginia which, later when granted, became Herndon Lodge No. 264. Six of the 27 charter members were active physicians: Johnson, Russell, Leigh, Tebbs, Warner and Detweiler.

Rt. Wor. Edgar E. Gillette, after having been made a Master Mason (June 1898), attended the June communication of the 1898 Grand Lodge of Virginia. His sole purpose was to be the lodge’s first representative and to bring back with him the Charter granted by the Grand Lodge in December of the previous year.

Edgar E Gilette

The first Master Henry A. Johnson served as Master in 1896-1898, 1901-1902, and 1905. In his will, he left Herndon Lodge $1,000 (approximately $25,000 by today’s value). Wor. Henry Johnson also started a special relationship between Ashburn Lodge and Herndon Lodge. It came about when Wor. Johnson requested the brethren from the Ashburn area to establish a new lodge. Today, Rt. Wor. Walter O. Harrison and members of Herndon Lodge keep this close fraternal friendship alive.

Herndon Lodge was not always in District 2. It started off in District 1 in 1896, changing to District 54 in 1915. Later it changed to District 59 in 1925 and transferred to District No. 58 in 1932. In 1994 District 58 became District 4 through a realignment of districts. Today, Herndon Lodge is one of five lodges that make up District 2.

Following is a look at Herndon Lodge No. 264 and the events that shaped this Lodge for nearly 100 years. Some names are familiar to Northern Virginia Masons – some are not – “Lest we Forget."

The early 1900s

In 1902, Lambskin aprons cost $.65 each. Masonic Banquets. were $.60 each and Dues were $3.00. On November 4, 1907, the cost to move the Lodge was $.50.

On November 24, 1915, Herndon placed its first cornerstone at the M. E. Church South, presided by Rt. Wor. G. T. Mankin.

On March 22, 1917, the Walker Building caught fire and was ablaze when Wor. E. E. Gillette, then Secretary of the Lodge, with no care for himself, saved the charter and minutes.

In 1918, the Lodge Room was empty due to WWI. The Wor. Master and all of the officers were at war.

In 1919, it was voted to amend the bylaws and raise the dues from $3.00 to $5.00. In 1926, it was raised from $5.00 to $7.00.

The 1920s and 30s

On February 21, 1921, Ralph R. Reed, Master, moved the lodge from the Reed Building to the third floor of the Drugstore.

The 30's brought many changes to the lodge. On February 8, 1930, Louis A. Jones, Master, held a Masonic Banquet in Herndon High School after a lapse of 14 years. E. E. Gillette was DDGM of the 59th District in 1930. A picture of our first Master, Wor. Brother Henry A. Johnson was hung in the Lodge Room. The picture still hangs in our fellowship hall today.

On June 5, 1933, Edgar E. Gillette voted to join with Independent Orange Lodge No. 138 and other lodges in erecting a memorial in honor of Rt. Wor. William J. Phillips, an honorary member of both Lodges. He served as a member of the Grand Lodge Jurisprudence Committee for 14 years.

On September 15, 1935, Herndon Lodge voted the first expulsion in its first 50 years.


On April 19, 1943, Herndon Lodge lost its first member in WW II who was killed in action in Tunisia. Many Bros. lost their lives in service to their country – like Bros. Thos. J. Kitchen and Bros. Harry R. Stutsman. The Lodge Room was quiet in 1945 as news from overseas came in.

On February 18, 1946, Culver V. Gates, Master had the lodge heated with gas for the first time.

On September 19, 1947, Herndon Lodge celebrated its 50th anniversary with a banquet in the Herndon High School. Over 150 Masons were in attendance.


The Lodge, still looking for a permanent home, moved ever forward.

 Rt. Wor. C. A. Sinclair was at Herndon Lodge at least once a month. He installed most of the elected officers in all of the fifties for the incoming elect. As things go, many things broke down over time, such as when the electric sign broke down in 1955 and the whole evening was spent in discussion of what action was to take place to repair or fix it. As it worked out, the sign was repaired, and then replaced by Murphy & Ames at a cost of $19.00. A very hot August of 1955, forced a motion to purchase fans for the Lodge Hall. Heat in the lodge room was in the upper nineties.

As the occasion came up that a brother took ill, the Lodge would not send a card as we now do, yet they would send a basket of fruit.

A lot of land which the Lodge owned was sold to the Telephone Company for $15,000.00 in September, 1955. The Building Fund grew. The O.E.S. would hold a dance to help the Temple Fund many times in the fifties. One night in November of 1955, the dance took in $225.00.

One of the highlights of the 50’s was when Naval Lodge No. 4 asked Herndon to confer the Master Mason Degree upon two candidates. A dispensation had to be obtained and the Grand Master of Masons of the District of Columbia was to be in attendance. Grand Master of Virginia, P. Baker Harris, gave a dispensation for May 27th. Over 10 different Masters were presented at the Altar, two Grand Masters and over 100 Masons. A short history of Naval Lodge No. 4 was read and a Degree team in full dress raised Brother Joe Rizzo and Brother Flournoy to the sublime degree of Master Mason.

Many elected officials visit Herndon Lodge – some staying for a short time, and others staying longer. Bro. Joel T. Broyhill, member of Congress’ 10th. Congressional District did not miss many Lodge meetings back in 1957.

To end the 50’s, the Lodge had a 60th year anniversary on December 9th, 1957. Five Past Grand Masters were in attendance. The President of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon spoke on the history of the Craft. A program of music, song, and fellowship was to follow after Lodge.

The 1960s

Dues in 1960 were $12.00 and hopes of a permanent home were still on everyone's mind. 

On March 3, 1969, a resolution for the purchase of a church was read in Lodge. On April 7, 1969, $15,500.00 was to be paid for St. Timothy's Church. On the same night, Bro. James LeRoy Jackson was presented at the Altar and examined on the catechism of the Master Mason's Degree by Bro. Edwin Stewart. On March 24, 1969, Stanley B. Hanes, Dudley Page, and Richard R. Saunders, trustees for the church, sold the land to the Trustees of Herndon Masonic Temple No. 264.  The Lodge needed $10,000.00 to close the deal on St. Timothy's.

"We purchased this building at a cost of $16,000.00. It was necessary that we pay this amount in full at the time of settlement. One of our Good Brethren who wishes to remain unnamed at present, loaned us $10,000.00 in order to make that settlement".

This is a small part of the Building Committee Report given August 4, 1969, read by Alvin L. Shaffer.

The First Communication in the current Temple was held on August 4, 1969. On November 29, 1971, Most Wor. Charles F. Shuler and his officers conducted the Dedication Ceremony.

Alvin Louis Shaffer, Master of Herndon Lodge in 1958 and Haymarket Lodge No. 313, 1959, DDGM in 1963, served as Secretary since 1959 except in 1969 when he served as Chairman of the Building Committee. He was summoned by the Supreme Architect on December 18, 1969. He was District Educational Officer at the time.

A new age in the Craft. Brother Walter Harrison was made temporary Secretary in 1969 and served as Secretary of Herndon Lodge until 2007 when he stepped down, having served 37 consecutive years as Lodge Secretary.

The 1970s

In 1970, Lodge dues were still $15.00. Loudoun Royal Arch Chapter moves to Herndon.

On October 27, 1973, Most Worshipful William Conway Vaughn made his official visit. Many Grand Masters have visited Herndon. This visit was special in the fact that if you count the names of members and visitors present, it came to well over 100, a sizable number for the small lodge.  On May 20th., 1974, a petition for dispensation to form a new lodge to be named Archer Baily Gay Lodge, having been laid over for a period of time, was discussed and voted on. The ballot being found clear, the Wor. Master ordered the Secretary to notify the DDGM of District 1. Dues changed from $15.00 to $20.00 in 1974.

The Masonic Home of Virginia was donated $2,500.00 on October 20, 1975 to furnish an entire two-bedroom unit.

On October 18th., 1976, Rt. Wor. Walter Harrison was wished a "Happy 25th. Masonic Birthday".

The Lodge held its family picnic at Wor. Bro. LeRoy Jackson's home for the first time in 1972. This annual picnic has been held at his estate, with rain years excepted, for over 25 years and counting.

A check for $6,250.00 was received in Lodge from the estate of Rt. Wor. Bro. Wickline.

The Supreme Architect of the Universe had a hand in the Lodge on the 19th. of February, when at the stated communication, a Master Mason Lodge was opened in due and ancient form at 8 p.m. and closed at 8:25 p.m. due to severe weather conditions. Only five members actually came. The only officer was Bro. Ray Updike, SD. This was the shortest meeting in lodge history until 2003.

On June 4, 1979, the Lodge accepted a proposal from Bro. Lawrence to paint the inside and outside of the Lodge for $2,385.00. It was painted white, as it remains today.

The 1980s

Dues were still $20.00. The Lodge asked from its members to help Herndon High School and a motion was made to contribute $300.00 on June 2, 1980.

A fire took Pruner Lodge No. 254, Homaker, VA. The building and paraphernalia were lost. Herndon donated the extra set of pedestals for them.

On August 22, 1980, a Lodge of Sorrow was opened for Wor. Bro. Richard Clayton Peck. He served as worshipful Master in 1966 and Treasurer for many years.

Dues were changed from $20.00 to $30.00 per year on November 17, 1980.

Bro. Douglas Jordan held his first Youth Program. The Lodge invites in the Order of DeMolay, the International Order of Jobs Daughters and the Rainbow Girls for a program. The talk, "The Symbolism of Ancient Craft Masonry", was given by Bro. Jordan on November 17, 1980. Bro. Jordan was Junior Deacon at the time.

Nineteen-eighty one was a great year for the Brothers of Herndon – Wor. Kenneth O. Shelton, Grand Lodge Committee on Work, Wor. J. LeRoy Jackson Dist. Deputy Grand High Priest, Rt. Wor. J. Berkley Green, Grand High Priest, Grand RAC, were all past masters of Herndon and frequently attending meetings.

On the 19th. day of July, Wor. Bro. Updike announced the dedication of the Instruction Room to Wor. Bro. Charles Wesley Bailey. Many of his artifacts are hung on the wall of the room and a plaque was placed on the door. Wor. Bailey was very active in the lodge and served as a mentor and coach from many brethren initiated into the lodge. Wor. Bailey served as Master of Herndon Lodge in 1962. (See photo, below).

On the Grand Master's visit (Most Worshipful Glover Hunter Jones, Jr.), he was presented a small cedar chest made by the Lane Company near M. W. Bro. Jones' home. Rt. Wor. Jackson promised to have this chest filled with an amount equal to $3.00 per member in the 58th. Masonic District by the end of the year. This amount would be contributed to the Grand Lodge Committee on Charity.

On June 6, 1988, Most Worshipful Norman Lee Hoff Sr., Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Colorado, expressed his appreciation for the courtesies extended to him and stated that he hoped to visit with us in the future when he visits his son (Norman Lee Hoff, Jr.), who is a member of Herndon. MW Norman Hoff Sr. raised his son, Norman Hoff Jr. in 1989 and installed him as Master in 1993. Norman Hoff Jr. became DDGM in 1999 and 33rd degree Scottish Rite mason in 2005.

The 1990s

Dues were now $40.00 per year.

On February 5, 1990, Rt. Wor. Charles A. Sinclair, GLE delivered a short talk on “What is Free Masonry”.  At the conclusion, “Charmie” received a standing ovation from the brethren and guests.

Wor. C. Richard Walk, Committee on Masonic Education was introduced and welcomed March 5th, 1990. Bro. Hopkins called attention to the Rough Ashlar and Perfect Ashlar which were presented to the Lodge by Bro. Lawrence Smith. Ashburn Lodge No. 188 gave new chairs to Herndon as a token of their appreciation for the help and support from Herndon.

Prior to the stated communication of Herndon Lodge No. 264 held on May 20, 1991, the members and visitors assembled on the front lawn. Most Worshipful Charles F. Shuler, Grand Master (1971), dedicated the Lodge Identification Monument to Bethel No. 52, IOJD, and the William Herndon Chapter, Order of the DeMolay. Most Worshipful Brother Shuler then presented a plaque to Wor. Robert Shifflett in recognition of his masterful Masonry Labor, in constructing this monument.

In 1997, as Master of Herndon Lodge, Wor. Paul Newhall held the ceremony commemorating the  100 year anniversary of the Lodge.   A special lapel pin was created for this occasion.

In 1999 Douglas L. Jordan -- a very active member of Herndon lodge and Master in 1984 and PDDGM in 1993 and 1994, served as the Grand High Priest of Royal Masons in Virginia.

In 1999 Wor. Barry Bartley was granted dispensation for the Grand Lodge of Virginia and DC to have the Kilwinning Lodge of Washington, D.C. visit Herndon Lodge and conduct the Master Mason Degree in the Scottish Ritual.

The 2000s

[2000] Rt Wor Doug Jordan is elected an Honorary Member

[2001] Most Worshipful Alan Wayne Adkins, PGM, Grand Secretary, presided over the 50-year Masonic Veteran ceremony for Right Worshipful Walter O Harrison, MW Adkins presented RW Harrison with a 10K gold 50-year pin and a letter dated 17 December 1984.  The letter reads as follows:

In the year 1980, the Grand Lodge found that gold was too expensive to be used in 50-year veterans pins and began using gold plated pins. Worshipful Al Warr, with the agreement of his line officers, “misplaced” the last 10K gold pin with the instruction that it be passed through the hands of successive masters until 2001 when it should be presented to Right Worshipful Walter O Harrison. This pin is therefore placed in your custody to be passed to your successor. Those who have knowledge of this are listed below. Should the death of our brother make this plan an impossibility, the elected line officers should determine and agree upon the appropriate recipient.

The letter was signed by all Worshipful Masters 1980 through 2001

[2003] On February 16th, 2003, a severe snow storm swept across Northern Virginia. The stated meeting was to be held on the 17th while the storm was still dropping in excess of 24 inches of snow. Rather than requesting a dispensation to cancel the meeting, three hardy masons, Jay Patterson (Junior Warden), Barry Bartley (Master – 1999) and Don Gauger (Junior Steward) persisted in their efforts and opened a Master Masons lodge at 7:30 PM. The lodge was closed at 7:45 PM. The shortest stated meeting in lodge history.

[2003] Hon Thomas Davis Rust, member of the VA House of Delegates and former Mayor of the Town of Herndon addressed the Lodge on matters of concern to us all.  After his presentation, the Master presented Hon Rust with the Grand Master’s Community Builder Award in recognition of outstanding service to the community.

[2004] The members of Skidmore Daylight Lodge donated the set of officer jewels which had been loaned to Herndon Lodge when Herndon’s went missing a year ago.

[2005] The Lodge welcomed Most Worshipful John Randal Quinley to the Lodge where Worshipful Jay Patterson presented him with an autographed copy of Brother Robert Dole’s book which the Master received from Brother Dole in trade for one of the Grand Master’s lapel Pins.  Most Worshipful Quinley offered Worshipful Patterson a number of lapel pins for future use.

[2006] The Lodge welcomed Right Worshipful Benjamin Franklin, a.k.a. Worshipful Donald Leo McAndrews, DEO who presented an entertaining program for the Brethren

[2007] An era came to a close as Right Worshipful Walter Ogden Harrison stepped down as temporary Secretary after 37 years.  Worshipful Jim Morgan suggested that the Lodge honor WO Harrison for his service by naming the Lodge after him.  Right Worshipful Harrison declined the offer and suggested that such recognition was not necessary as he should not be honored in any special way for doing what he darn well wanted to do for the last 37 years.

[2007] At the suggestion of Worshipful Michael Pobat, the Lodge voted to sponsor a Little League “Challenge Team,” a practice which would continue many years.

[2007] Brother William Baumbach of Acacia Lodge presented a picture to the Lodge of the 31 December 2008 gathering at the Capital to honor Brother and President Gerald Ford.

[2007] Most Worshipful George Bernard Dungan Jr. paid an Official Visit to Herndon Lodge and, on a humorous note, commented on the diligence of the Tiler who requested to see his dues card before announcing his presence.  The Grand Master in turn asked Brother Phil Brooks, acting Tiler, for his dues card.  Fortunately, both men had them.

[2008] Most Worshipful Edmund Cohen visited and was presented an Honorary Membership in Herndon Lodge.

[2008] Bro Tom Morrison presented the Lodge with a framed reproduction of the first part of the Book of Genesis from the Gutenberg Bible.

[2008] The Lodge recognized Worshipful C Richard Walk with a special program honoring his life and masonic contributions.  Most Worshipful Edmund Cohen, Grand Master of Masons in VA, was in attendance, as were many masons from across Virginia in general and District 4 in particular. Worshipful Paul Newhall presented Worshipful Walk with a framed portrait which hangs in the Fellowship Hall of the Lodge.

[2009] Worshipful Paul Newhall was elected Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of VA

[2009] Worshipful C Richard Walk is elected an Honorary Member

[2009] A Table Lodge was held with Most Worshipful Jeffrey Eugene Hodges, Grand Master of Masons in Virginia as the Guest of Honor, who gave an inspiring presentation on the importance of the Table Lodge.