Below is the history of Lakewood Masonic Lodge #728. If you would like to learn more about Masonry, please visit the Masons of California – Discovery Masonry page.
During the early fall of 1950, several Masons met at the Lakewood Mortuary on Woodruff Avenue for the purpose of forming a Masonic Club. The following Brothers were named:
- Harold S. Jackson – President
- Murray Striewig- Vice President
- Willis Knight – Treasurer
- Irving Cross – Secretary.
For the next two years, monthly dinner meetings and other social events were held, and the Club also sponsored the Lakewood Rainbow for Girls and conducted charitable activities.
In October, 1952, the Club had grown to the point that there was interest in forming a Lodge and a committee was appointed with Brother Don Keith as Chairman, to set up a preliminary meeting for those who were interested. This meeting was held on November 24, 1952, in a sheet metal shed on the grounds of the Pan American Park in Lakewood. Seventy-five shivering brethren turned out in the unheated building and expressed their interest in proceeding.
On December 8, 1952, a second meeting was held, the name Lakewood Lodge adopted, and the following officers recommended:
- Kenneth L. Hemphill, Master
- Floyd O. Mason, Senior Warder
- Fred Gray, Junior Warden
- Harold S. Jackson, Treasurer
- and Irving Cross, Secretary
Worshipful Myron Roudebush, Inspector of the 626th Masonic District, was assigned by the Grand Master to assist the group.
Alta Loma Lodge offered a meeting place to the new group free of charge until they received their dispensation. Regular meetings were held and the Charter Group was closed with fifty members on February 12, 1953. A petition was then submitted for a Dispensation which was granted.
The Lodge was Instituted by Grand Master Arthur M. Warren on June 20, 1953 at Alta Loma Temple. At the Annual Communication in October, a Charter was granted, and the Constitution of Lakewood Lodge No. 728 took place on November 24, 1953, with Grand Master Frank Harwell, Jr., presiding.
The Lodge continued to meet at Alta Loma Temple until that Temple was closed, then moved to Bellflower Temple, and later moved to Monte Vista Temple in Long Beach.
At the time it was formed, the members assured the Grand Master and the Charters committee that every effort would be made to find a meeting place in the Lakewood area. This presented difficulties as it was a planned community by major sub-dividers and most portions not zoned for residences were carefully developed into shopping centers for maximum income. The Lakewood Masonic Building Association was incorporated in 1955, and the search for a site continued until 1960, at which time the lot was purchased on Parkcrest. The land was paid off in about two years by pledges and a series of breakfasts.
In 1971, the Building Association felt the time was right to move ahead and invited Los Cerritos Lodge No. 674 to become a shareholder in the project, which they did. Ground was broken on May 6, 1971, by Grand Master Lester S. McElwain, and the bulldozers moved in the same day to start construction.
No master contract was let and all sub-contractors were negotiated by a building committee and then approved by the Board of Directors of the Building Association under the leadership of President Lysle W. Payne and made up of representatives of both Lodges. Brother Don Witte, a licensed contractor, donated his services, and Brother Michael S. Potopea was retained as full time building superintendent. Members of both Lodges contributed time, effort and materials thereby lowering the costs substantially. The project proceeded on a pay-as-you-go basis and was completed free of debt.
On Saturday, November 25, 1972 just twenty years and one day after the shivering brethren met in the park, Grand Master William H. Price dedicated the new home of Lakewood Lodge, and its fraternal partner, Los Cerritos Lodge, on a site just next door to where the original organization meeting was held in the Lakewood Mortuary.
In January 1999 the membership was able to purchase the outstanding stock from our fraternal partners and we became the sole owners of the facility which is now know as Lakewood Masonic Center.