Lodge History

History of Montgomery-Cornerstone Lodge No. 195

On September 26, 2002, Montgomery Lodge No. 195 and Cornerstone Lodge. No. 224 merged to become Montgomery-Cornerstone Lodge No. 195. Each Lodge had a rich history during its life in Montgomery County and each Lodge is described below to highlight their separate pasts.

Cornerstone Lodge No. 224 requested a waiver of territorial jurisdiction from The DC Grand Lodge in 1947 and, on June 9, 1949, MWGM Harry O. Schroeder consecrated the newly-chartered Lodge in Silver Spring, MD. Bro. Claude K. Bittenbender was elected as the first Worshipful Master, with Bro. Clement I. Nusbaum as Senior Warden and Bro. (Dr.) Bernard Rothman as Junior Warden. The Lodge met for several years at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, then bought a former Catholic Church, where it remained for many years. After the building was sold, Cornerstone Lodge rented space for their meetings and events in

Bethesda Lodge No. 204, Kensington Lodge No. 198, and finally, in Montgomery Lodge No. 195, where they established a strong affinity and, in 2002, merged with that Lodge.

In 1976, Cornerstone Lodge recorded more than 600 members, with meetings often with standing-room only attendance. Several of the original founders have served as Grand Lodge officers, most notably Bro. Bernard Rothman, who served as Grand Master in 1981-82 and Bro. Seymore Lipshitz, who served for many years as Grand Secretary. Other members have served as Grand Inspectors, Deputy Grand Lecturers, and Grand Lodge Board members.

Montgomery Lodge No. 195 was established under a dispensation issued by Grand Master Thomas J. Shryock on August 21, 1893, and was chartered on November 22 of the same year. Bro. James A. Allen was elected as the first Worshipful Master, with Bro. E. Maurice Talbot and Bro. Samuel E. Eastburn as Senior and Junior Wardens, respectively. Bro. Allen is credited with the revival of Masonry in Montgomery County, there having been four other preceding Lodges that were unable to maintain their charters: Crawford Lodge No. 76, Clinton Lodge No. 86, Olney Lodge No. 141, and Mizpah Lodge No. 144.

The first home of the Masonic Hall for Montgomery Lodge was on the upper floor of the Lyddane Building on East Montgomery Street, in Rockville. Two other locations served as the Lodge’s home for more than 65 years: nearby on East Montgomery Street and South Washington Street, the latter of which was sold and served for many years thereafter as the Rockville Post Office. In 1960, the Lodge moved to its current location at 612 Great Falls Road, in Rockville, where, on December 10 of that year, Grand Master Martin H. Kinsinger and the Grand Line presided at the laying of its cornerstone.

The membership boasted of more than 500 members in the mid-seventies. Many of Montgomery Lodge’s Past Masters have served the Grand Lodge in many capacities, including Grand Line officers, Grand Inspectors and Deputy grand Lecturers and members of Grand Lodge Boards.

Compiled by Michael P. Codori, PM
Montgomery-Cornerstone Lodge No. 195
January 18, 2015

Sources include “The Maryland Masonic Family” and conversations with members from both Lodges