Dallas Lodge No. 231
Dallas Lodge No. 231, of The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania, was formed on December 7, 2005 as a result of the merger of Dallas Lodge No. 508 and Solomon Lodge No. 231.
Dallas Lodge No. 508
On Friday, July 5, 1872, Dallas Lodge No. 508 F&AM held its first stated meeting and began its career with 13 members and a treasury of $400, most of which was borrowed. The leader of this small group was Charles C. Baer, who became the first Worshipful Master.
As there were no Past Masters among the Lodge founders, PM Thomas F. Smith, of Franklin Lodge No. 221, was authorized by the District Deputy GM to instruct the new Lodge.
In the selection of a designation for the new Lodge, the founders chose Vice President George M. Dallas, a man who had remained loyal to the Fraternity during the period when Freemasonry and Masonic Lodges melted away under the heat of persecution, ridicule and outrage of Anti-Masonic excitement.
Born July 10, 1792, Dallas graduated from Princeton University in 1810 before being elected Mayor of Philadelphia in 1829. From 1833-1835 Dallas served as a US Senator from Pennsylvania and was elected Grand Master of Freemasons in Pennsylvania in 1835. Dallas served as Attorney General of Pennsylvania for two years before being chosen as the US Minister to Russia from 1837 through 1839. In 1845, Dallas was elected to be the 11th Vice President of the United States, serving until 1849 with James Polk administration. In 1856 Dallas was selected to serve as Minister to Great Britain, a position he held through 1861.
George Dallas died at 72 years old on December 1, 1864 and is interred in St. Peter’s Churchyard in Philadelphia.
Dallas Lodge No. 508 was involved in the formation of Loyalty Lodge No. 696, Duquesne Lodge No. 546, John Marshall Lodge No. 734, Trinity Lodge No. 736, William B. Tipton Lodge No. 760 and other Pennsylvania Lodges.
Solomon Lodge No. 231
Solomon Lodge No. 231 was the second oldest German Lodge in Pennsylvania, organized in 1848 by a group of eight members of Lodge No. 45, the oldest Masonic Lodge in west of the Alleghenies. Solomon Lodge No. 231 was also the fifth oldest Lodge in Allegheny County, Pa.
In 1848, Pittsburgh had nearly 8,000 German-born residents. Some German speaking members of the then existing English Lodges conceived the idea of forming a Lodge to work in the German language. On February 23, 1848, a petition of eight members of Lodge No. 45 was read for a charter for Solomon’s Lodge, and on March 5, 1848, the Grand Lodge issued a warrant to Solomon’s Lodge No. 231. The Lodge was duly constituted on April 7, 1848 at the Masonic Hall at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Wood Street. Solomon Lodge No. 231 was constituted by District Deputy Grand Master Samuel McKinley with Brother Victor Scriba, a printer and book merchant, installed as its first Master, an office he held until 1851.. The Lodge was originally constituted as King Solomon’s Lodge, but the name was later shortened to Solomon Lodge No. 231.
Bro. David Strassburger, a dry goods merchant, was installed as Senior Warden; Bro. Nathan Gallinger, also a dry goods merchant, as Junior Warden; Agust Faller was elected treasurer and William Buhl secretary. The other charter members were Bros. John Roemel, Rudolph Hunzeker and A. Wormser.
All work in the Solomon Lodge was conducted in German, with the first discussion of transitioning to English in 1855. English began to be used in the Lodge in 1915 when in April Past Master Hermann F. Ruoff gave the first degree to Bro. L.A. Rosenberg.
In February 1872, ten members of Solomon Lodge No. 231 resigned to form Germania Lodge No. 508 on Pittsburgh’s South Side.
In 1868, several members resigned, including founding PM Victor Scriba, to form Jefferson Lodge No. 288 on Pittsburgh’s North Side as the second German Lodge in the District. Jefferson and Solomon Lodges often held events in conjunction.
In 1918, on the 70th anniversary of the founding of Solomon Lodge No. 231, Concordia Lodge of Cleveland No. 345 presented the Lodge with a Holy Bible. This bible was used in the Lodge for nearly 50 years before being restored in 1998 by Mrs. Ida Stein, wife of Brother James Stein of Solomon Lodge No. 231, and a group of volunteers, the “Book Binders Committee” of Rodef Shalom Temple in Shadyside.
Oakland Lodge No. 535
Oakland Lodge No. 535 was chartered on December 2, 1874 with twenty-one charter members formerly of Lodge No. 45 meeting at the Masonic Hall at Fifth Avenue and Atwood Street. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was petitioned to form the new lodge on February 24, 1873. On March 1, 1915, Oakland Lodge No. 535 was the first to hold its monthly stated meeting at the new Masonic Temple in Oakland. At that time, Oakland Lodge No. 535 was one the twenty-three Lodges meeting there. It was Lodge No. 535 was constituted on April 10, 1875 and held its first stated meeting on May 17, 1875.
On the evening of August 12, 1887, the Masonic Temple on Fifth Avenue was totally destroyed by fire. The warrant of Oakland Lodge No. 535 and all paraphernalia of the Lodge were destroyed. Milnor Lodge No. 287 and Hailman Lodge No. 321 offered the use of their paraphernalia and Oakland Lodge No. 535 held it first meeting after the fire in Masonic Hall at the corner of Ninth Street and Liberty Avenue in the Renshaw Building. The Right Worshipful Grand Master issued a new charter on December 7, 1887.
Oakland Lodge No. 535 prospered and continued until 1980 when it merged with Fraternity Lodge No. 705.
Fraternity Lodge No. 705
On May 2, 1920, at a stated meeting of Oakland Lodge No. 535, eighteen members resigned to petition the Grand Lodge to form a new Lodge to be known as Fraternity Lodge No. 705. It was constituted on June 23, 1920.
Of historical note, the late Bob Prince, sportscaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates for many years, was a member of Fraternity Lodge No. 705.
Fraternity Lodge No. 705 merged with Oakland Lodge No. 535 on September 2, 1980, forming a new Lodge known as Oakland-Fraternity Lodge No. 535.
Oakland-Fraternity Lodge No. 535
Oakland-Fraternity Lodge No. 535 merged with Solomon Lodge No. 231 on December 15, 1984.
Brotherhood Lodge No. 762
Brotherhood Lodge No. 762 was warranted and constituted on October 8, 1949 and existed until March 1, 1989, when it was granted permission to merge with Solomon Lodge No. 231.