On November 24, 1866, twenty men met in Riverhead and agreed to contribute $260, “for the purpose of starting and furnishing Ocean Lodge of this place with necessary equipment for carrying on the work of the same”. However only 18 of these men became members of Riverhead Lodge and they contributed a total of $230 for the purpose mentioned above. The names of these are as follows: N. S. Woodhull, B. V. Chase, E. F. Squires, E. H. Ryder, John E. Carter, William Baird, G. I. Benjamin, John H. Phillips, Alonzo F. Vail, Wesley Fanning, Perry Wines, George P. Carter, David A. Vail, and Phinias W. Tuthill, all of whom were charter members of the Lodge. Four other contributed and became members of the lodge as follows: J.T. Fielder, George Stern, Charles Hallett and Charles L. Corwin.
The name Ocean Lodge was soon laid aside, for on March 2, 1867, at the first meeting of the Lodge under Dispensation (UD) it was called Riverhead Lodge. Nelson W. Woodhull was Master, Brewster V. Chase, Sr. Warden, and David A. Vail, Jr. Warden. The Master appointed Wesley Fanning, Secretary; B. V. Chase, Treasurer; E. F. Squires, Sr. Deacon; George Benjamin, Jr. Deacon; John Phillips, Tiler; Perry Vines and John C. Tyler, Masters of Ceremony, and George Carter, Musician. E.F. Squires, William Baird and Phinias Tuthill were appointed Trustees.
The first meeting was held in a small wooden building located in the back of a store of Jacob Meyer on what is now known as the Benjamin Place. Bare and unpainted walls, hard chairs, and uncarpeted floor and a plain altar comprised the setting surrounding the birth of this Lodge. In these humble surroundings was founded a Lodge, a Masonic edifice, which for 144 years has yielded a power for good within and without its jurisdiction. Riverhead Lodge was the sixth lodge to be chartered in what is now Suffolk District.
The meeting place of the Lodge was a matter of concern from the beginning, for as early as 1870 different committees were appointed to secure a new meeting room. On December 19, 1871, the Lodge moved to new quarters in the recently completed Odd Fellows Hall on the comer of Main Street and Griffing Avenue. On May 2, 1893 the Lodge moved its home to newer rooms on the third floor of the new Suffolk County National Bank Building on Main Street. The Lodge continued to meet there for 64 years until September 3, 1957 when the first communication was held in the present Temple on Roanoke Avenue. The Comer Stone was laid and the new Temple dedicated on October 9, 1957. This new home for the Lodge was made possible through the gift of Bro. Henry W. Donald and Mrs. Donald. On September 24, 1931, they gave the Lodge and Riverside Chapter identical gifts in value, which have been combined to build a Masonic Temple.
***Riverhead Lodge #645 is turning 150***
Get in on the excitement and read all about the festivities and ceremony to be held in September by clicking HERE!
Don’t forget to place an ad in the rededication journal, click here to download & print the form.