About Us - Burlingame Valley - 1922
The Burlingame Bodies of the Scottish Rite may be unique in its origins. It traces its beginnings back to the Peninsula Chapter, Order of DeMolay. Four Scottish Rite members of the DeMolay Advisory Council felt a need to establish Scottish Rite Masonry on the Peninsula to help support their work with youth. The first meeting of the Peninsula Lodge of Perfection was held under dispensation on May 8, 1922 and it was chartered in October, 1923. The next year, Letters Temporary established a Chapter of Rose Croix followed by the Council of Kadosh in 1926 and the Consistory In 1927. The first class of 34 candidates received the Fourth Degree in Burlingame Lodge No. 400 under the most primitive conditions. Temporary wires were strung from which to suspend the scenery for each degree. The room then had to be restored for Blue Lodge use. The California and San Francisco Bodies were generous in their assistance to the Orient of California's new addition. They supplied curtains, scenery, robes and properties. In 1927 the Peninsula Bodies moved with Burlingame Lodge into a new home on Park Road. The new building included a stage that made it possible to present all the degrees, although it was several years before all four Bodies made use of the new facility to stage degrees. By 1923, the year of its Charter, the Lodge of Perfection boasted 167 members. Growth was slow during the "Great Depression" of the thirties and at the end of World War II the membership stood at about 350. During the next decade membership almost tripled with over 1,018 members. By 1959 it peaked with 1140. Like every Valley in the Orient, Peninsula felt the pinch of small classes and growing attrition. (1) The Supreme Council decreed that the Valley and each Body should be named after the city in which they met. Consequently, on July 1, 1961 the names of all four Bodies were changed from "Peninsula" to "Burlingame." The By-laws were again changed in 1968 to hold the Stated Meetings of all four Bodies concurrently. The Fourteenth Degree Ring Ceremony was initiated in 1969. It holds special appeal as the wives presented the ring to their husbands. It is an important event at which family and friends can be present. The work with youth groups has been an important feature of Burlingame Bodies since their inception. Scottish Rite members have served on Youth Advisory Boards in Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos and other peninsula communities. In addition to sponsoring the Order of DeMolay, they have served also as adult leaders for Rainbow Assemblies and Bethels of Job's Daughter. A highlight in any organization's life must be its Golden Anniversary. The Burlingame Bodies celebrated that Gala Event on October 29, 1973. By the year 1973 there were hopes of building a new Temple. A building fund had grown over a period of 15 years, and property was owned free of debt. However, circumstances were such that it was not feasible at that time. The Diamond Jubilee Celebration was another major milestone for the Burlingame Bodies. On October 24, 1998 a festive evening of dinner and dancing was held at the Hotel Sofitel. The past quarter century has shown a steady decline in membership as is true in every valley and Freemasonry in general. The increasing age of members and the steady rise in the cost of living has resulted in many losses through deaths, suspensions and demits. The Burlingame Bodies over the past years have continued to be a small, but vital part of the community. They can look with pride to their support of the Public Schools. The Teacher and Student of the Year Awards, recognizing outstanding individuals by giving financial aid to further their education, have been very successful. The Rite continues to encourage local Masonic Lodges with visitations and participation in joint activities. Although few in number they still have a feeling of good fellowship and warmth within the ranks of Masonry. Their major goal is to continue to meet the needs of the Brethren and schedules for the year are not only to confer degrees but to Include friends and families with social nights, dinners and entertainment. The Burlingame Valley jointly sponsors the San Francisco Scottish Rite Center for Childhood Language Disorders Clinic with the San Francisco Bodies. (2) Bibliography Sources My thanks to all those, names and nameless, who helped me amass the materials used in compiling this history of the Orient of California. Ill:. Robert D. Haas 33° 1. California First Century of Scottish Rite Masonry FC p. 265 ff. Burlingame Bodies 2. Fiftieth and 75th Anniversary Booklets
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