Shriners group recently moved from Fergus Falls to a new home in Underwood

Photo by Tom Hintgen
Local Masons (Freemasonry Corner Stone Lodge #99) held a 150th anniversary Saturday, April 29, at Underwood High School. From left are Jim Arvidson, Parkers Prairie (Worshipful Master); David Dumonceaux, Clitherall (Templar); Bob Davis, Chaska (Grand Lodge of Minnesota) and Dayton Berg, Rush City (Grand Lodge of Minnesota).

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

The Masons (Freemasonry) Corner Stone Lodge, which recently moved from Fergus Falls to Underwood, celebrated its 150th anniversary Saturday afternoon, April 29, at Underwood High School.

Freemasons belong to the oldest fraternal organization in the world, starting in Europe during the Middle Ages as a guild of skilled builders.

Photo by Tom Hintgen
The Masons Corner Stone Lodge presented a fire suppression unit to the Underwood Fire Department. Displaying the unit is longtime Masons member and Past Master Stan Fetters, rural Battle Lake.

“The Best Kept Secret” were the words printed on the 150th anniversary programs distributed April 29 to attendees at the high school gymnasium. Lodges such as Corner Stone Lodge donate generously to charities throughout the United States. 

“Today we’re proud to present to the Underwood Fire Department a new device, Suppression Solutions FST, that helps fire departments, first responders and law enforcement react to a fire and suppress that fire,” said Jim Arvidson of Parkers Prairie, program MC and member of Corner Stone Lodge. He heads the local lodge as Worshipful Master.

“We’re proud to be the first Masonic lodge in the state of Minnesota to make this type of presentation,” Arvidson added.

Said longtime Mason Stan Fetters of rural Battle Lake, “It takes only 8 seconds, after activation, to suppress flames in a burning building.”

Arvidson said the local lodge will also continue to donate to worthy organizations such as area schools, youth activities, food shelves and special projects such as the Parkers Prairie Aquatic Center.

The Masons Freemasonry Corner Stone Lodge, in Fergus Falls, came into being in January 1873, only one year after the city of Fergus Falls was incorporated, in 1872. The new lodge was established only 15 years after Minnesota became a state, in 1858.

Arvidson says it is amazing for the lodge to have been around that long. “Our Corner Stone Lodge works with Minnesota Masonic charities where our local lodge obtains matching funds.”

Over the years scholarships have been presented to students in schools throughout Otter Tail County. On April 29, during the 150th anniversary celebration, a $1,000 scholarship was presented to Zoey Swanson of Underwood High School.

Swanson is an outstanding student. Among her activities was being a varsity member of this year’s Underwood girls basketball team that advanced to the state girls basketball tournament.

Entertainment on April 29 was provided by the Underwood High School band and choir. A program followed, with speakers including Arvidson and fellow Masons David Dumonceaux, Bob Davis and Dayton Berg.

“As you at Corner Stone Lodge do good and carry on, remember that everything you do matters,” said Davis.

Also speaking at the local Masons 150th anniversary celebration was Minnesota Seventh District Congressional Rep. Michelle Fischbach.

“150 years and the best kept secret,” said Fischbach. “What I most admire about Corner Stone Lodge is your help in building strong, rural communities,” she said.