Kempsville Lodge No. 196

4869 Princess Anne Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

The History of Kempsville Lodge

The History of Kempsville Masonic Lodge No. 196 A.F.&.A.M

Dispensation Granted: June 28, 1954
Chartered: February 9, 1955

The meetings were held on the second Tuesday of every month except February, which were held on the third Tuesday so as not to conflict with Grand Lodge session.

This is a story that must be told before we relive the recorded history of this lodge. I was pleased to be in a group of young Freemasons when a couple of Past Masters related this account for our Masonic Education and I am pleased to pass it on so as time passes, it will not fade. I was told:

A finer group of Freemasons could never be found than those who founded Kempsville Lodge No. 196 - all were dedicated true members of the craft, many with titles and honors they had received from their Brothers. Others, just good old Master Masons who wore their white apron proud. Everyone was a worker in the quarries of our great fraternity.

The word was out that a Masonic Lodge was desired in the Kempsville area; everyone at the meeting was in agreement. The plans were laid, other meetings scheduled, and those in attendance commenced accepting donations in preparation to request necessary papers from Grand Lodge; Peace and Harmony prevailed. The meeting being held in one of the Brother's "Cow Barn" was off to a good footing. Many hours of work by many dedicated Masons provided our lodge for us to enjoy.

Recorded History

One hundred and sixty nine years after Kempsville Lodge No. 12 was founded, Kempsville Lodge No. 196 was granted dispensation in 1954 to begin work. It was placed in the 56th Masonic District.

Our meeting place was the old Davis Corner Fire Station on Davis Street off Virginia Beach Boulevard. The first stated meeting was held on July 13, 1954 with the following officers in their stations and places:

Worshipful Master W. H. Pierce
Senior Warden G. R. Ferrell
Junior Warden L. H. Jackson
Treasurer J. E. Marr, Sr.
Secretary R. J. Snowden
Senior Deacon A. M. Powers, Jr.
Junior Deacon M. A. Williams
Senior Steward R. H. Harris
Junior Steward L. R. Snyder
Chaplain J. L. Torbert
Tiler J. E. Clausen

The lodge continued to grow and prosper and it was time for the members to look for a building site to construct a lodge building of our own. A plot was located in Kempsville just across from Miller's Dairy. It is the site of the present High's Ice Cream store. A short period of time passed and a good brother let us swap this piece of land for our present location.

Our membership was 28 when first formed and the Good Lord has blessed this Lodge from day one and its membership is now over 400. When first formed, the members stated if all went well when the membership reached 400, another lodge would be formed. This was done and Willis V. Fentress Lodge No. 296 was chartered in 1968.

Permission was granted to construct a Masonic Temple in the year 1956 and at the May Stated Meeting the plans were drawn. One year later, May 1957, the foundation was laid.

Worshipful Brother A. M. Powers tells this story, and I have let the names remain as a token of love and appreciation.

This is what took place when the building plans were put into progress. That Saturday morning, the stakes and lines were set. Ground was broken for the foundation, all was ready except the south/back wall. When Brother John Fiske departed about noon he stated that no concrete was going to be poured that day.

Brother Powers, after a short discussion with Al Bonney, asked how soon can that back foundation be dug?

Block was delivered and Brother Peacock gave instructions on how it was to be laid. Al Bonney kept the hot dogs and sandwiches coming. The Brethren and outsiders assisted in the work of digging the hardest ground anyone had ever seen in their lives. The foundation was dug and concrete poured that afternoon and on June 1, 1957 the cornerstone ceremony was performed by Right Worshipful W. V. Fentress. Brother Tyler took pictures of the building's progress. Brother Talbot tore his hand on removing our first set of chairs from the old Norview Theatre. Brother Hall received bad burns while working on the electrical panel. All in all, the Good Lord blessed us in our undertaking of this Masonic Temple.

The pillars, Jachin and Boaz were presented by Brother Morealus. Brother McCauley presented the working tools. Both are still in service to the Craft today.

At our first Stated Meeting in September 1957 in our new building, our members sat on 2x4's and cinder-block. Peace and Harmony continue to this day.

Much was done by our founding Fathers for us to enjoy our present Masonic Temple and since that time the Masters, Wardens, and Brothers of Kempsville Lodge No. 196 ahve continued in the spirit of Friendship and Brotherly Love to continue their Good Works.

A finer group of Freemasons could never be found than those responsible for our existance. To them we say, "Well done, our True and Faithful servants."

It is my hope you have enjoyed this brief history of your Lodge. Many of the names of today's leaders and active members are omitted for fear of overlooking someone of great importance, in the construction of the Temple. Our history is a proud one on the records of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Virginia and at a later date I hope to do another paper, fitting of the proper respect to our founders.

I must thank Right Worshipful L. R. Snyder, Worshipful Pete Powers, and Brother Grady McGuire for assisting me in the most enjoyable task which was assigned me by Worshipful Raymond E. Hall, Jr.

Worshipful Richard A. Davis, Jr. (1975)