between 1816-1817 by Frederick White
(reputedly the wealthiest man in Jefferson County, and once President
of the Jefferson County Bank, when it was located in Adams) to take
advantage of the post-War hotel trade, the Union Hotel was by far the
most splendid of the many stone buildings erected at Sackets Harbor
in the early days.
Its well-crafted masonrywork, featuring smooth stone quoins, lintelcourses
above the windows, and an elliptical arch above the entrance, may have
been executed by Scottish stonemasons who migrated to the area from
Canada after the War. The building once also featured stepped gables
and a lunette window in the peakby masking a sloping roof, stepped
gables were felt to create a more urbane, less "domestic"
sppearance. The well-preserved interiors are counted among the finest
of any Federal-era building in New York.
its earliest days, the Union Hotel was associated with the Masonic Orderthe
Athol Lodge formed there in 1818 and met in a room in the attic story.
By 1864 the building's hotel days had passed; when purchased by the
Masons the following year, it was being used as a warehouse. It has
been said that Morgan, who published
an exposé of Masonry, was brought to this lodge room soon after
his mysterious disappearance. In 1897, the Order rebuilt the roof and
installed a new meeting room on the third floor, with a stained glass
window still visible on the facade (top photo,
1972 New York State acquired the building and rehabilitated it for use
as the Visitor Center for the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic
Site. In July 2000, an addition (above, right)
was built and the Union Hotel was converted to serve as the Seaway
Trail Discovery Center.
first organization of a Masonic order in Jefferson County was what was
then known as Ontario Lodge, of which the first recorded meeting was
held at Sackets Harbor on 4 April 1805. At that time the officers were
as follows: Augustus Sacket, W.M.;
J. Seaman, S. W.; "Brother"
Pike, J. W. ; B. Allen,
Treasurer; Isaiah Massey, Secretary;
Massey, J.D.; A. Bassinger,
Tyler. The lodge had in its membership many of the pioneers of the village
and other parts of the county, among them Jacob
Brown (afterwards Major-General), initiated as an "entered
apprenctice," on 2 January 1806; B. DeWitt,
Wm. Warring, E.
G. Merrick, Giles Hamlin,
Gershom Tuttle, Abram
Lippett, Squire Read,
J. Simmons, C.
Mills, Joseph Perry,
Daniel Potter and others. The lodge
was suspended during the War of 1812-1815, owing to the prevalent excitement.
Lodge No. 308, F. & A. M., was instituted in 1818, with Hiram
Steele as Master. The records of this lodge cannot be found
in the village; consequently what is here given will be from the recollection
of old members, of whom there were [in 1894] four residing in Sackets
Harbor, viz.: Capt. Daniel Read,
Leonard Denison, John
Walling and David Millington.
Among other members of this lodge were Alvah
Kinney, Judge Elijah Field
and others; it was continued until 1827.
Harbor Chapter No. 68, R. A. M., was formed 7 February 1820, upon the
application of Commodore Melancthon
T. Woolsey, U.S.N., John Clitz,
captain, U.S.A., and William King.
Its first meeting was held on 3 March 1820, with the following officers,
viz.: High Priest, Commodore Melancthon
T. Woolsey, U.S.N.; King, William
King; Scribe, John Clitz,
captain, U.S.A.; Treasurer, Leonard Denison;
Secretary, Henry Smith; C. of H.,
Asahel Smith; P. S., George
W. Jenks; R. A. C., Alvah Kinney;
M 3rd V., Captain William
Vaughn, U.S.N.; M 2nd V., Zeno
Allen; M 1st V., Hunter Crane.
chapter was allowed to run down, but after an interval of many years,
it was revived in December 1849, with Thomas
S. Hall, H. P.; Jason Phelps,
K.; and Samuel Whittlesey, S.
Harbor Lodge No. 135, F. & A. M., held its first meeting 12 May
1828, with the following officers: Samuel Lyon,
W. M.; John S. Hall, S. W.; Chester
C. Symonds, J. W.; Elijah Field,
treasurer; Isaac Van Vleck, Secretary.
Owing to some difficulty, the charter was surrended in the fall of 1858,
and nothing further was done until March 1860. From the 2d of that month
until the following June, the lodge was worked under a dispensation
from the Grand Master, and during the latter month received a charter
under the name of "Houndsfield Lodge, No. 495," and was known
as such until June 1861, when, through a petition, the old name of "Sackets
Harbor Lodge No. 135," was again granted them, and that name it
has sinced retained. At the orgainzation in 1860, there were 20 charter
members. The membership was about 100 in 1894, at which time the lodge
occupied its old rooms in the Union Hotel.