On September 26, 1884, Most Worshipful Grand Master William A. Brodie
granted a dispensation and the first meeting was held on October 2,
1884, in the Gillespie Block in the village of Bloomingdale, N. Y.
Bloomingdale in 1884 was a much larger place than Saranac Lake, had two
or three hotels, and was the trading center for this and other
communities. The name chosen for the proposed new lodge was to be
Whiteface Mountain Lodge, and the choice seems to have been appropriate
for, although Whiteface Mountain is some distance from Bloomingdale, it
seems to stand like a guardian giant for that and all nearby communities
when viewed from the street where the old building stands in which this
lodge was formed.
The charter members came from Albany, Elizabethtown, Keeseville, and
Malone, and were carpenters, guides, businessmen, clerks, and
hotelkeepers. Several had served with the Union Army in the Civil War
and formed the G.A.R. Post that was active here for many years until its
charter was finally surrendered when its membership declined.
During the time the Lodge was under dispensation, nine brothers were
raised but when the dispensation expired in May 1885, all proceedings
were returned to the Grand Lodge. At the meeting of Grand Lodge in May
1885, a charter was granted to Whiteface Mountain Lodge with the number,
On July 1, 1885, Whiteface Mountain Lodge No. 789 was duly
constituted at Gillespie Hall in Bloomingdale, N.Y., by RW J.W.
Whitehead, DDGM acting Grand Master, assisted by Worshipful Brothers
W.R. Woodbridge and Andrew Trombley, members of Morning Sun Lodge No.
142 located at Port Henry, N.Y., and the officers, acting under
dispensation, were duly installed as the first officers under the
chartered lodge. The Lodge continued to meet in the Gillespie Block
until February 21, 1892, when, by permission of Grand Lodge, it moved to
Saranac Lake. The rapid growth in population in Saranac Lake had made
the change necessary. Many of the charter members had taken up their
residence in the expanding village so a new home was found on Academy
Street in the rear of the present Hotel Saranac. A building formerly
owned and used by the school had been purchased and moved to a vacant
lot. The building was purchased for one hundred ninety dollars ($190),
and the lot for two hundred dollars ($200). The Lodge remained in this
building until August 10, 1903, when the building and lot were sold for
sixteen hundred dollars ($1600), and the Lodge was moved to quarters in
the building then known as the Ledger Block on the corner of Broadway
and Woodruff Street, also used by the Odd Fellows and the G.A.R. Post.
Plans were underway for the erection of a brick building at the corner
of Olive Street and Broadway. On July 9, 1904, the Corner Stone was laid
with appropriate ceremonies by acting Grand Master RW Arthur D. Manning.
The building was ready for occupancy in 1905 and on March 25th, the
inaugural meeting was held, and the building dedicated with dedicative
ceremonies on October 20, 1905, by RW John Laubenheimer, acting Grand
Whiteface Mountain Lodge No. 789 F & AM has always been an
instrument for good in this community. Its membership has been most
active in works of charity and brotherhood. For many years during the
stay of our sick brothers, they found the friendly spirit of Masonry in
action and many were comforted by the visits made to them during their
sojourn in our midst. Great praise is due to these pioneers who gave
their time and effort in founding this Lodge and we hope and trust that
the legacy they have left behind will always be appreciated by those who
follow in their footsteps.