A History of
King Leopold 1st Lodge No. 3
Our Lodge began its existence in the hearts and minds of several men. Our Lodge today consists of men from several nations and so did the founders of our organization. The charter members came from Belgium and The United States of America.
The earliest records of King Leopold 1st Lodge No. 3 are the minutes from a meeting held at The Main Gate Café, Casteau, Belgium on 30 July 1968. A number of important aspects were discussed with a member of the Grand Lodge of Belgium, which were to affect the Lodge in the long term. These included the location for meetings, the proposed name for the lodge, color's for the lodge, and membership.
Most of the early business of the Lodge centered on the tasks of obtaining a charter from the Grand Lodge of Belgium and the other tasks associated with starting any organization: times and locations for meetings, dues, by laws, and obtaining appropriate supplies necessary for running a lodge.
October 1968 was a momentous month for the Lodge. In October 1968 many of the brothers were affiliated with the Grand Lodge in a meeting held at Ghent. On 6 October, the Grand Lodge held a meeting in Brussels during which the petition for charter from King Leopold 1st Lodge 24 was balloted upon and passed. This led to a special dispensation to the effect that King Leopold 1st Lodge 24 could work as a regular lodge until its charter could be physically presented and the lodge consecrated.
THE EARLY YEARS
On 8 October 1968, the first meeting of King Leopold 1st Lodge 24 was held in the SHAPE Chapel. As a result of the oral dispensation from that Most Worshipful Grand Master, the Worshipful Master made it known that a meeting would be held each Tuesday until further notice at SHAPE under Lodge Colors of Green and Gold.
The Lodge members included café owners, soldiers, sailors, and engineers, men from diverse backgrounds but with a common goal and common ideals, those of friendship, morality, and brotherly love. Likewise many people and organizations made contributions to the Lodge including The Grand Lodge of New York, Lodges in Germany, Erasmus Lodge of Brussels, and the Most Worshipful Grand Master presented to the Lodge a Tyler's sword.
In the early days of the Lodge, meetings were held on a weekly basis. This was due mainly for the need of time for instruction of Lodge officers in their duties and to prepare for the upcoming degree work to be completed by the Lodge. There was a considerable amount of interest in the Lodge and Masonry during this period of time at SHAPE and the Lodge had many petitions for admittance. The first-degree work was held on 10 December 1968 at Chievres. Due to the many applicants, degree work was an integral part of the weekly meetings in the early months with many initiations.
The Lodge continued in the late 1960s and early 1970s and went from strength to strength and as today, the Lodge participated in the important events of other lodges on a regular basis. Additionally visitors from the Grand Lodge of Belgium were in attendance regularly at communications at King Leopold 1st Lodge 24.
The Lodge was able to assist brethren in Turkey during the spring of 1970. The needs of the people in Turkey was made known to the Lodge and the Lodge responded in a resounding manner with a contribution of almost 10,000 BF to be given in to the Grand Lodge of Turkey. This was a clear demonstration of the charitable nature of our fraternity.
An event of great significance occurred in the Summer of 1970 when the Grand Lodge of Luxembourg celebrated its 200th anniversary.
Then as today, King Leopold 1st was closely affiliated with Chevalier Ramsay Lodge with the latter being located in Maubeuge, France. At that time King Leopold 1st had many members from Chevalier Ramsay Lodge applying for affiliation with King Leopold 1st and they greeted with open arms. Later, a new a new lodge was formed under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Belgium which was sponsored by King Leopold 1st.
During the year of 1970-1971, King Leopold 1st was fortunate to have several guest lecturers. Of particular note was Worshipful Brother Manasseh, London Grand Rank, who presented a lecture entitled: ‘The Mysticism of Royal Arch’.
By this time, the Lodge had grown considerably and began to take on a truly international flavor with members from Belgium, Canada, Norway, The United Kingdom, and The United States.