Lodge History

There is a legend which tells of the Rabbi passing through a field when he saw a very old man planting a tree.  The Rabbi asked, “Why are you planting that oak tree? Surely you do not expect to live long enough to see it grown up?”  to which the old man replied, “Ah, if my ancestors had not planted trees, we should now enjoy their shade or fruit. What my ancestors did for me, I will do for future generations.”

An  examination  of the records  and miscellaneous  documents of our Lodge for the past one hundred and seventy five years, proves beyond a doubt how well its founders planted the tree, and how many lives have been enriched and adorned with the fruits of its tenets, and its charity of both heart and hand.

When Star of Bethlehem Lodge was organized in 1843, Chelsea  was a thriving, self-governing community of about 3,500 people.  Its business area was centered on Winnisimett Street in Chelsea Square and  on Broadway between Bellingham Square and Chelsea Square. Wharves and shipyards reached the waterfront and pleasant streets of homes extended on both sides of Broadway and extended into the out-skirts of what is now known as Prattville and North Revere.

It had been about fifteen years since the Anti-Masonic Period, which started in 1826 and extended throughout the country, had slowly exhausted itself.  People began to realize that a cruel injustice had been heaped upon the fraternity, and changed the former bitter hatred to respect and high esteem.  

An era of Masonic prosperity began and men were anxious to join the order.   Believing  that Chelsea  was a fertile  field for future  Masonic endeavor, six  prominent citizens held  a meeting on September 15, 1843, at the house of Bro Horace G. Barrus, took immediate and effective measures for the establishment of a Masonic Lodge in Chelsea. 

On October 20, 1843, a second meeting was held for the purpose of preparing a petition to the Grand Lodge for a charter for a new Lodge, to be  called “Star of Bethlehem Lodge” because of the dark days of the Fraternity; it was one of the earliest to shed a ray of light through the breaking clouds.