Magnificant Cathedral One Of Contributions of Fraternal Group (by Charles Adams)
Guthrie's pioneering group of Masons - Guthrie lodge No. 35 A. F. and A. M. - was in a large measure responsible for Oklahoma becoming one of the Masonic strongholds of the world.
From a nucleus of eight men who gathered nearly 50 years ago here to seek a charter for a new Masonic chapter, the order has grown until now its state investments run into the millions of dollars and its membership rolls total almost 60,000.
The Guthrie lodge was the first to be organized in Oklahoma proper. As a natural result, Guthrie was established as state headquarters for Masonry.
The lodge's formation thus resulted in about $3,000,000 being expended on one of the most elaborate Masonic buildings in the world - the picturesque Scottish Rite cathedral on "Capitol hill" in Guthrie.
It resulted in the Masonic grand lodge centering its activities here.
It resulted in about $2,000,000 being invested in other Masonic properties here.
It even resulted in Masonic growth and building spreading into other states.
Henry H. Dodd, present secretary of the Guthrie lodge No. 35, recalls the pioneering activities of one prominent member of the chapter. He is the late Harper S. Cunningham.
"I remember his strong interests in Masonery and of the time when he broke ground for the old Masonic temple (now headquarters for the lodge and located at Broad-st and Harrison-av) with a shovel," recalled Dodd.
Mr. Cunningham was the "moving spirit" in the erection of the structure, he said.
Later Cunningham, with his wife, moved to Santa Fe, N. M., where a Masonic temple was constructed - entirely through the efforts of Cunningham, Dodd asserted.
Today the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham rest under the steps of the Santa Fe Structure.
Other members of the Guthrie lodge inaugurated a movement years ago which resulted finally in the building of the industrial building at the Masonic children's home here. Plans have been drawn for a second industrial building to be constructed by the York Rite, another branch of Masonry.
Besides the children's home, there also is the Masonic Home for Aged in Guthrie. The local Chapter No. 35 annually contributes nore than $1,000 for the support and upkeep of these institutions.
The lodge also sponsored and equipped the initial DeMolay chapter - the Guthrie Trinity chapter - nearly 20 years ago. From this has grown the largest present day DeMolay organization in Oklahoma.
In a host of other ways, too, the lodge has given assistance, especially in the way of liberal contributions to the poor and to children.
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