St. Clair Lodge No. 425 - Sombra, Ontario - Established 1889

Meeting Info
Third Tuesday at 7:30pm
Closed July and August
3464 St. Clair Parkway, Sombra, Ontario
St. Clair Secretary
St. Clair Lodge No. 425 History

On August 12th, 1889 the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Canada in the Province of Ontario (Ontario Masons) signed the Charter of St. Clair Lodge, designated No. 425 on the Grand Registry of Canada. An Installation Meeting held in Port Lambton on October 8th, 1889, marked the beginning of St. Clair Lodge No. 425, A.F. and A.M. and two years later Boundaries having been agreed upon with Pynx Lodge, Wallaceburg, a Dedication Ceremony was performed. Six Officers from Grand Lodge were in attendance with 54 local members and visitors.  Following this historic event “a sumptuous dinner” was served in the International Hotel.

As the Lodge continued to meet regularly with the majority present coming from Sombra and Marine City it seemed inevitable that whenever suitable accommodation might be found the Lodge would move from Port Lambton. This occurred when the Lodge met for the first time in Sombra over Mr. Tomblin’s store, on the occasion of the District Deputy Grand Master's Official Visit on January 28th, 1896.

A lease had been signed for ten years, but before long “an animated discussion” took place about it being “a proper time to invest in property of their own” with the result that a Committee was appointed to “further examine the matter”.

In due course, on December 12th, 1899, this Committee was empowered to buy a lot of 30 X 75 feet from Mr. A. Smith, a local merchant, for sixty dollars. Such action brought two other committees into being, one to look after Building and the other to arrange Financing. It was not long until the first Committee engaged an Architect from Sarnia by the name of Robson to prepare plans for a new store with a Lodge Room above to be built upon the site “parallel with each street”, being the St. Clair Parkway and Ferry Dock Road.

At a series of Meetings in the summer of 1903 the plans were reviewed, modifications were made to provide for “a corner window” and that “the basement be lowered by one foot” and then advertisements were placed in Sarnia and Wallaceburg papers asking for tenders. An acceptable bid was received from Mr. James Green and since the Finance Committee had arranged for a mortgage, work was immediately undertaken. Progress was such that the Annual Installation on December 28th, 1903 was held in the new room to “the great satisfaction of all present.”

Dedication was delayed until 1910 when it was possible to have Most Worshipful Grand Master J.H. Argue conduct the Ceremony. It was an auspicious occasion and was followed by another outstanding event, twelve years later for the burning of the Mortgage. The meeting for that purpose began at three o’clock on December 29th, 1922, with 5 Grand Lodge Officers in attendance together with 60 local members and visitors. The Mortgage was burned on a silver tray with appropriate addresses and many replies and when the Lodge was closed at five-thirty, all present adjourned to the Grand Union Hotel for a Banquet, and in the evening they were joined by their ladies to enjoy a Scottish Concert presented for the pleasure of all in the Pavilion.

Reading between the lines above and from the knowledge of activities in the years since, the reader has some idea of a local Institution from which has stemmed relief to many in time of need and which has provided social activities for members and their families – beyond which there have been Benefits of Brotherhood and Fraternal appreciation beyond measure.

The present members remain vitally interested in maintaining such traditions.

After 100 years of Masonic service, the building was sold. The current Lodge Hall was purchased and renovated to meet the current needs of the members. This new building was dedicated by the Grand Master M.W. Bro. Donald Mumby on April 24, 2004.

A one floor Lodge and hospitality room. Oh, what a relief.

Two gavels from Jerusalem Two gavels from Jerusalem

St. Clair Lodge No. 425 (Sombra, in Sarnia District) received a hinged wooden box made of olive wood.  The top is engraved with the familiar Square and Compasses symbol. Lined with satin, the box displays two gavels and tablets. The handles of the gavels are olive wood, and marked with the word ‘Jerusalem’.

The stone heads on the gavel, wedge-gavel or maul, V.o.S.L., and keystone, are all made of stone quarried from King Solomon's Quarry, Jerusalem. The stone is a limestone called "Melekah", which means Royal.

Each stone piece is inscribed "King Solomon's Quarry" and also has the Square & Compasses engraved. The V.o.S.L. also has the star engraved into the stone.

These Masonic symbols were donated to St. Clair Lodge No. 425 by Worshipful Brother James Gurr in 2002 after he became an Honorary Life Member of the Lodge. He donated these symbols so they could be seen and enjoyed by all Masons.

Worshipful Brother Gurr received the box with gavels and tablets from the estate of his father, Right Worshipful Brother Stewart Gurr. They were presented to him in 1973, when he was District Deputy Grand Master for St. Lawrence District No. 2, Grand Lodge of Quebec. The box with gavels and tablets was given to him by Worshipful Brother Bill Gillies of Temple Lodge No. 129 GLQ. W. Bro. Gillies acquired the gavels and tablets while on a business trip to Israel.

Bill Gillies retired from Vickers Ship Building firm in Montreal and moved to St. Mary’s Ontario where he joined St. James Lodge No. 73 (South Huron District). He rose to the rank of Worshipful Master in 1980 and was Installed by R. W. Bro. Stewart Gurr and an Installing team from Temple Lodge No. 129 GLQ, his mother Lodge. In 1983 W. Bro. Gillies was made a Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario. V.W. Bro. Bill Gillies passed to the Grand Lodge Above on December 29, 2003.

Bill and his wife Nan were close friends of the Gurr family. W. Bro. Jim Gurr became a Mason in June of 1979. St. James Lodge No. 73 was one of the first lodges that W.Bro. Gurr visited with his father; to see their close friend Bro. Bill Gillies.

For further research: