We could never begin to cover all the events which may be of close personal nature to many of us but only give a brief overview of the Lodge which holds so many special moments to its members. The Lodge is steeped in tradition of fraternal hospitality and has been rich in its friendly charms for over eighty years, yet it has shared in misfortunes in times of adversity and mourned in the passing of many loved and distinguished Masons in its short existence as an organization for the elevation of mankind.
As masons we are taught that there is a beginning to all things, and so it was in 1929, when the idea of this Lodge came from the thoughts of Brother Richard M. Sassnett, on a dark and dreary night when he and Brother Joseph Wellings were returning home from a visit to Middleburg Lodge No. 107. The road was very bad and we can imagine how sincerely Brother Wellings must have agreed with him. All the highways were rough and rugged in this section, and to visit lodge at Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, or Jacksonville was almost an impossible task after dark. That made it very inconvenient for the Brethren, so the idea of a lodge grew rapidly. A number of masons became interested, while a few held it to be idle talk and said a Masonic Lodge could never exist in a community as small as Orange Park. But persistence prevailed and sixteen Charter Members shouldered the responsibility of forming the Lodge and making it what it is today.
The Lodge first met upstairs in the small building beside the railroad tracks on Kingsley Avenue. We also met in Middleburg Lodge for a short time before building our first building on the corner of our present property in 1948. In 1966 we built our present building, but without the dining room which was added in 1972.
Our Lodge has been honored by having nine of our Brothers to serve as District Deputy Grand Master, eight to serve as District Instructor, four to serve as Appointed Grand Lodge Officers and one as Grand Master. Our Lodge has also been honored by one Worthy Grand Matron, two Grand Worthy Advisors and two State Master Councilors. We have always been known as a ritualistic Lodge and our Ritual Team has won the State Ritual Competition. We are looking for many more great moments in our history as Orange Park Lodge continues to grow and prosper in Masonry.