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Freemasonry Watch

Masonic order coming to town

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Masonic order coming to town

July 24, 2007

Bucks County Courier Times

One of the world's oldest, secret fraternities will soon have a Bensalem chapter.

The Masons' Harry A. Houseman Lodge will build a temple lodge on Mill Road, next to the St. Valentine's Cemetery in Andalusia.

The township council voted unanimously to approve construction during Monday night's meeting.

The Houseman chapter previously gathered in Northeast Philadelphia. The new location will allow for larger gatherings, members said. The fraternity also said it hopes someday to build a community/recreation center in nearby Andalusia.

The lodge currently has 300 members, all of them white men. Traditionally, the Masons have encouraged blacks and women to form their own groups.

The legendary order dates back hundreds of years and has a history of famous members. Nearly one-third of all U.S. presidents were Masons, as were many of the Founding Fathers.

In more recent decades, the Masons have struggled to maintain ranks. Traditionally, the order cannot recruit nominees, who must themselves express a personal interest in joining.

Members are initiated into the lodge after an election. Masons drop a white ball into a ballot box to support the candidate. A single black ball will exclude a candidate.

James McGinnis can be reached at 215-949-3248 or jmcginnis@phillyburbs.com.

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