Members of the Blythe-Needles Free & Accepted Masons of California Lodge No. 473 hosted a free centennial ceremony to commemorate its charter’s 100-year anniversary April 6.

With the morning’s Color Guard provided by the Palo Verde High School (PVHS) Yellow Jacket JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps) cadets, the ceremony brought visiting and local Freemasons together to mark the occasion with according rituals, a summary of Blythe’s history; awarding education scholarships to local youth; certificate presentations; a time capsule; and more.

“I never could have imagined this would be happening right now; it still feels a little surreal to me. I’d also like to say that I wasn’t around in 1919 — (but) I’m glad to say there was a group of guys with enough gumption to get together, get a charter, and get this thing off the ground,” stated Blythe-Needles Lodge No. 473’s Worshipful Master Jeff Gatchell.

Secretary and Past Master Stuart Ryan provided attendees with an overview summary of Lodge No. 473, as well as provide a history presentation of Blythe and the greater Palo Verde Valley.

“(On) April 2, 1919 Blythe lodge was accepted and dispensation was granted,” said Ryan.

Historic notable Freemasons of years past include Winston Churchill; former U.S. Presidents Gerald Ford, Harry Truman, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt; renowned U.S. Army Gen. John J. Pershing; Benjamin Franklin and more.

“I am honored and privileged to present this to you,” noted Free & Accepted Masons of California Most Worshipful’s Stuart Wright. “The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of the state of California presents this certificate as a grateful token of the fraternal affection with which this lodge is regarded in the acknowledgement of the honor it has contributed to freemasonry in this jurisdiction.”

The resident Freemasons lodge also presented two youth with education scholarships as part of the day’s commemoration, to locals Kayla Currier and Thomas Leonard.


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