THE HISTORY OF
BOYLESTON LODGE NO. 123
The Boyleston Lodge No. 123 was Under Dispensation on December 4, 1866. It was Chartered on November 17, 1867, at Rocky Well in Lexington District. The original site is located seven and half miles west to northwest of the Lexington County Courthouse on what is now Highway 378, near St. John’s Lutheran Church. To be more exact, the original site is on the edge of the present church parking lot.
During this time, and for the first few years of its existence, the Lodge met at the Lexington County Courthouse.
Mr. George Jefferson Hook gave the Lodge a three-quarter acre lot for the purpose of building a Lodge hall. This transaction was recorded at the Lexington County Courthouse on January 3, 1870. The lot was located in what was then known as the Boyleston Community, hence where the Lodge got its name.
MAP OF BOYLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
The Boyleston Community was located within the present-day boundaries of Lake Murray.
In 1927, construction began on the Dreher Shoals Dam, which constituted the largest earthen dam in the world at the time - the result of which created Lake Murray in 1930, which was the largest manmade reservoir in the world at the time.
In order to undertake this massive construction project, the Lexington Water Power Company - which was later known as the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), and is now known as Dominion Energy South Carolina - purchased the land of many communities along the banks of the Saluda River which would end up being swallowed up by Lake Murray once the waters rose. The Boyleston Community was no exception to this.
As a result, the Boyleston Community is now underneath the waters of Lake Murray.
The lot was bordered on the north by land belonging to Margaret Dreher, on the west by land belonging to St. John’s Lutheran Church, and on the south and east by lands belonging to Mr. Hook. It is not known when the hall was built or what kind of construction was used, but it is known that it was a two-story building, 26 feet wide and 40 feet long. The ground floor was used as a school and the upper floor was used as the Lodge meeting hall. It is interesting to know that Mr. Hook was not a member of Boyleston Lodge, but his daughter Annie, was married to Jacob Rawl, who was at the time Senior Warden of the Lodge.
The information in the following two paragraphs was taken from "A History of St. John’s Church", published in 1956. Other information shows that the first recorded minutes of the Church in 1874 indicate that John B. Kyzer and John Rawl were Elders of the Church. John B. Kyzer was also Past Master of Boyleston Lodge.
Mr. Horry E. Wessinger wrote the following excerpt in the church history referring to the old school and Lodge: “My mother walked four miles to and fro each day to attend school there under Professor Sheppard Lindler, her cousin, and a strict disciplinarian. (Brother Lindler was Senior Warden of Boyleston Lodge in 1902, 1903, and 1904). I remember seeing the old homemade desks on the first floor.
As a child, I was warned not to go near the building, that the Masonic Order had a meeting hall on the second floor and kept a mean old goat there which they rode on meeting nights. I didn’t dare go near, unless accompanied by my parents or older brothers. I did not question the story. I guess I thought the goat was everlasting and never needed water or food.”
The meetings were held on Saturday night preceding each full moon. This was a common practice in those days, as Brethren could see better traveling to and from meetings under the full moon. The Grand Lodge dues at the time were fifty cents per member and fifty cents for each Degree.
Boyleston's Original Lodge (1867)
The original Boyleston Lodge was located in the Boyleston Community - hence where our Lodge got it's name.
The Boyleston Community is now located underneath the waters of Lake Murray.
BALLENTINE, SOUTH CAROLINA
When Boyleston Lodge No. 123 A.F.M. first moved to Ballentine, South Carolina in 1918, the meetings were held at the Woodman of the World building.
On February 15, 1919, a committee of John K. Riddle, John F. Lowman, and Preston D. Meetze was appointed to make arrangements for building a new Masonic Hall at Ballentine. In 1920, the first lodge building in Ballentine was built on a lot across the street from where our current lodge is now.
The original lot used by Boyleston Lodge in Ballentine is the site of the present-day Walgreens Pharmacy, located at 1251 Dutch Fork Road.
Boyleston's First Lodge in Ballentine (1920)
In 1920, the first Lodge Building in Ballentine was completed, on a lot that is located across the street from where our current Lodge is located now. The original lot that the first Lodge Building was built on, now holds a Walgreens Pharmacy.
CONSTRUCTING A NEW LODGE BUILDING
In 1952, it was decided that a new lodge building was needed. The lot that Boyleston Lodge presently resides on was acquired by a trade - the land that the 1920 lodge building sat on, at 1251 Dutch Fork Road where the Walgreens is located at now, was traded for the land that we reside on today. At that time, Boyleston Lodge moved across the street to our current location at 1310 Dutch Fork Road, where a new brick lodge was built between 1952 and 1953.
On July 11, 1953, the first regular communication was held in the new Lodge. On September 11, 1954 the dedication of the new lodge was held and a bountiful picnic supper was spread on the table in the downstairs dinning hall by the wives and family of the members of the Lodge and about 450 people partook of the delightful food.
Boyleston's New Lodge in Ballentine (1953)
In 1952, land across the street from the original lodge in Ballentine was obtained, for the purposes of building a new Lodge Hall. On July 11, 1953 the first Regular Communication was held in the new Boyleston Lodge Building. The Building was dedicated on September 11, 1954.
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
Recognizing the need for enhanced facilities, the Brethren at Boyleston Lodge once again took on the project of expanding the lodge to meet our present-day needs. Construction of the addition began in December 2009. Many Brethren donated their time, talents, tools, large machinery, and sweat equity to make this project a success.
The following is an excerpt from the Trestle Board Newsletter from August 2010: "About a year ago, an idea was brought up in the Lodge about ways of making it easier for the brothers to attend the meetings and other Masonic functions. Some people took that idea and turned it into the beautiful new lodge room we have today. Brothers Ronnie Faircloth and Trey Meetze took the bull by the horns and spearheaded this project.
Few of us would have ever dreamed that in that short span of time, this could have happened. Without their experience and expertise, and connections in the construction industry, this would not have happened. I don’t think we could calculate how much they have contributed to this project: taking care of the nagging details, getting the right permits, dealing with governmental regulations, fighting with suppliers, negotiating costs, eating costs, and picking up tools themselves - all while trying to get through some of the toughest times ever for small business owners. Then, when the end of the road was near, a group of brothers put it in high gear and put it endless hours of “sweat equity” into finishing it off.
There was a core of about 15 to 20 men and women that sanded, painted, trimmed, constructed platforms, moved platforms, performed finish carpentry work, plumbed, wired, dug holes, landscaped, used their own equipment (to include backhoes), cleaned walls and chairs, and every pot and pan and dish - and never once did I get a bill for anything other than materials. Not even gasoline for that equipment. And why did they do it? For their love for Boyleston Lodge No. 123 AFM."
In August 2010, the expansion of the east side of the Lodge Building was completed. This alleviated our Brethren from having to climb stairs to attend Lodge Meetings. This addition also added a lobby area and two offices. The first Business Meeting was held in the new Lodge Hall on August 5, 2010, to much anticipation and fanfare.
The new Boyleston Lodge No. 123 building was dedicated by MWB Barry A. Rickman, Grand Master of Masons in South Carolina, on October 23, 2010.
Today, Boyleston Lodge No. 123 continues to be a beacon of light to the community, and serves as one of the largest and most active Masonic Lodges in the State of South Carolina. Although we are proud of our history, we are excited for what lies ahead for our Lodge, and Masonry as a whole.
Boyleston's Present-Day Lodge in Ballentine (2010)
In August 2010, a much-needed expansion to Boyleston Lodge was completed. This expansion allowed for the Lodge Meetings to be held on the first floor of the building, alleviating the need for our Brethren to climb stairs in order for the brethren to attend the meetings. This addition also added a new Lobby Area and two offices.
The new lodge building was dedicated by MWB Barry A. Rickman, Grand Master of Masons in South Carolina, on October 23, 2010.