Bakersfield was founded in 1862 by brother Thomas Baker, a member of Visalia Lodge No. 128. Masons from all over the country settled in the new Kern County seat and on October 18, 1873 Bakersfield Lodge was chartered. As the town grew, a new Lodge, Libertas No. 466, received its charter in 1917. The combined membership of the two Lodges, at that time, was 337 Master Masons. The first records of a Scottish Rite Club date back to 1913 when a number of Scottish Rite members gathered at 20th Street and Chester Avenue in the old Bakersfield Masonic Temple. Kern County was a part of the Los Angeles territorial jurisdiction and so members of the Club traveled to Los Angeles to receive the Degrees of the Rite -- as many as 50 or more a year. In addition to taking the annual classes to Los Angeles for degrees, the Club also sponsored a number of charitable activities and provided social activities for the members. The Bakersfield Club subscribed $2,500 to purchase stock in a Masonic Temple Association along with other Lodges. A new Masonic Temple was completed in 1923 and became the home of the Club. On several occasions over the next 25 years, plans for a Lodge of Perfection were discussed. Finally charters for Bakersfield Lodge of Perfection and Bakersfield Chapter of Rose Croix were received on October 22, 1947 and counted 325 members. Charters for the Council of Kadosh and Consistory were received from the Supreme Council on October 17, 1951. By 1960 the membership totaled 1,600 and peaked at 1,800 in 1970. (1) The Temple, located at 1920 18th Street, is jointly owned by and shared with three Blue Lodges, four Chapters of Eastern Star and York Rite Bodies. The order of DeMolay and Job's Daughters also use this impressive Masonic center. The basement area houses dining space for 450 or more and a spacious kitchen. The first floor contains a Blue Lodge room, an Eastern Star Chapter room, library, ladies lounge, offices and restrooms. The second floor has a DeMolay room, steward's room and wardroom. During the planning stages of the Bakersfield Bodies they asked permission of the Temple Association to rent the auditorium, with seating for more than 200, located on the third floor. They committed $100,000 to refurbishing the stage, dressing rooms, the make-up room, and to include 65 backdrops for the stage. The 3rd floor also has a conference room and restrooms. Some of the many ongoing programs include a Ladies Night (Valentine week), a highway maintenance program and a DeMolay Dinner Night. Scholarship awards in the amount of $117,750.00 have been awarded to local high school seniors on Scholarship Award Night. Four Scottish Rite JROTC Medal presentations are made each year. Because of space limitations and joint ownership, there is no Childhood Language Disorders Clinic in the Masonic Temple, the Bakersfield Bodies provide four-year scholarships to students majoring in speech therapy.
(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 p. 313 ff. Bakersfield Bodies
2. Herbert Wilkens 33°, GC, Lee Olson 33°, Secretary Please take a moment to let us know what you think about our site. Thanks!