COMMITTEE OF FOUNDERS: HISTORY OF SOLOMON LODGE #36
Solomon Lodge No. 36
In Spring of 1967 a committee from Hiram Lodge No. 25 met several times with members of the proposed new lodge, and in May of 1967 a letter was forwarded to the Grand Lodge requesting a dispensation to form a new lodge. This letter named Milton L. Draper, Sr. as Worshipful Master, Albert J. Miller as Senior Warden, and David H. Calhoun as Junior Warden. None of the named officers were Past Masters but all had been certified to serve by the Grand Instructor. On May 11, 1967 Grand Master R. Franklin Gordy granted a dispensation for the formation of a new lodge in Newark, Delaware, to be known as Solomon Lodge No. 36.
The first meeting was held on May 24, 1967, in the Newark Masonic Temple at which time petitions were read for four candidates, and three weeks later these candidates received the Entered Apprentice degree. Between this meeting and when the lodge received its charter, the Entered Apprentice degree was conferred on fifteen candidates, the Fellowcraft degree on seven candidates, and the Master Mason degree on six candidates. All candidates that were initiated, passed, and raised were presented with a Holy Bible for their own.
On October 28, 1967, Grand Master Elmer W. Randall presented the charter for Solomon Lodge No. 36. Included within the new 96 charter members were affiliations of 35 Master Masons from Delaware, and the remainder from 21 jurisdictions other than Delaware. Following the installation a banquet was held in Newark High School with Past Grand Master William H. Cantwell as the speaker.
The original Solomon Lodge No. 36 officers were:
Worshipful Master: Milton L. Draper, Sr.
Senior Warden: Albert J. Miller
Junior Warden: David H. Calhoun
Secretary: George T. Reed
Treasurer: John F. Link
Senior Deacon: Kenneth A. Chantler
Junior Deacon: Harry C. Gebhart
Senior Steward: Everette Hale
Junior Steward: David M. Isiminger
Chaplain: William A. Barr
Tiler: J. Earl Newman
Since its chartering Solomon Lodge has produced many Masonic leaders such as Most Worshipful James S. Russell, Jr., Grand Master of Delaware in 2001, Most Worshipful H. Richard Hoffman Grand Master of Delaware in 2013, and Right Worshipful Stephen M. Tucker who will be Grand Master of Delaware this coming Masonic year 2022-2023. We also have the distinction of having two Grand Lodge Award of Honor recipients in our lodge: Jake Miller (also Lodge Chaplain), and Larry Speaks (Lodge Tiler, now passed).
Its members have been very active in other Masonic bodies such as the York Rite and Scottish Rite, as well as many functions and charities within our community. One of our main events each year is the Salvation Army Christmas bell-ringing, which is admirably coordinated each year by our lodge Secretary Toland S. Van Stan, Jr., PM. Some of the many other charities we have assisted with over the years included aiding victims of floods, storms, and other natural disasters around the nation as well as supporting local charities such as Emmaus House of Newark, Delaware Food Bank, and Wilmington Sunday Breakfast Mission – just to name a few.