Vol. XVI No. 4 — April 1938

What’s in a Name?

. . . that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.

In an endeavor to help lodges, U.D., to choose a name fitting the ideals and status of the new organization, The Masonic Service Association analyzed the names of the 15,734 lodges in the nation, with some surprising results.

The names were separated into twelve classifications: •Biblical and Masonic Names; •Character Names (including Patriotic Names); •Double Names; •Famous Names; •Geographic Names; •Imaginative Names; •Other Place Names (lodges named after well known locations other than their own); •Place Names (lodges named after their locations); •Proper Names; •State Names; •Unclassified Names; and •Unusual Names.

The most common sources of names are towns, 6,827, (or 43.4%) lodges being so called. The Unclassified division comes next, 2,269 lodges, (14%). “Unclassified” includes titles which may be proper names, may be names of counties, may be geographic, may, indeed, come from so many sources that classification is impossible.

Boaz, Hiram, Jerusalem, Joppa, St.John, etc., are as much Biblical as Masonic. Such names as Gethsemane, Jehoshophat, and Bethany are wholly Biblical, the words not appearing in the ritual, while Gavel, Trowel, and Square are Masonic rather than Biblical. But on the whole, it was far easier to classify these together. The result is 1908 lodges (13.2%) christened either from a Biblical or a Masonic source.

Imagination has had full play in these christenings, the fist ranging from Aaron, Abif, Abraham, Acacia, Acacian, Adonai, Adoniram etc., down to Zaradatha, Zarthan, Zebulon, Zerah, Zerubbabel, and Zion.

One hundred and sixty-one lodges are named after 39 Saints, beginning with St. Alban and ending with St. Vrain. Five of these are women: St. Cecile (2) St. Cecelia, St. Helena, and St. Mary. To those who think of Tammany only in connection with New York City politics, it will be interesting to note St. Tammany Lodge No. 5, one of the very old lodges in Virginia. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and both Johns are represented by 73 lodges, 61 of which are St.John lodges, singular, plural, possessive, with Saint abbreviated or spelled out.

In Biblical geography, Lodges climb mountains: there are lodges named Mt. Ararat, Abraham, Calvary, Carmel, Gilead, Hiram, Hope, Horeb, Lebanon, Moriah, Olive, Olivet, Pisgah, Sinai, Tabor, and Zion, a total of 114. The Kings are Cyrus, David, Hiram, Solomon, Solomon’s, and Solomons (as if there had been more than one King Solomon), and also King Solomons Temple.

Square, Level, and Plumb; Trowel, Gage, and Gauge; Gavel and Compass, are all names of lodges, but there is no Setting Maul, nor Compasses, Faith, Hope, Charity, Benevolence, Brotherly Love, Relief, Truth, Fellowship, Fervency, Fidelity, and Further Light are among the familiar Masonic names — there is also Good Fellowship, Good Faith, Good Hope, and Good Samaritan, and of course, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice lodges.

Architectural names are plentiful: Angle, Architect, Ashlar (and Ashler) Broken Column, Cement, Column, Copestone, Corner Stone, Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian (there is no Composite Lodge) Keystone, Manual, Meridian, Pillar, Operative, Quarry, Right Angle, Science, South Gate, West Gate, East Gate, Stone Arch, Temple Gate, Temple, Three Pillars, Trestleboard, Triangle, Workman.

Names of holy things are to be found: Altar, Bethlehem, Bible, Calvary, Christian, Covenant, Cross, Due Guard, Emanuel, Evangelist, Galilean, Gethsemane, Great Light, Holyrood, Isle of Patmos, Israel, Providence, Resurgam, Sanctuary, Sanctorum, Shekinah, Star in the East, Star of the East, Star of Bethlehem, Tabernacle, Trinity, Triune. Happy the lodges which have such great names up to which to live!

Character names are less numerous than Biblical and Masonic; 490 lodges representing only 2.7% of all the names. They run from Amity, Confidence, Devotion, Endeavor, Freedom, through Goodwill, Honor, Ideal, Joy, Liberty, and Merit, to Peace, Reliance, Service, Tolerance, Unity, Verity, Welcome, and Zealous, to mention but few.

Patriotic names, rather oddly, form a very small part of this classification; America, Americus, Armistice, Army, Army and Navy, Colonial, Colony, Columbia, Columbian, Constitution, Ensign, Federal, International, Legion, Lodge of the United Services, Military, Military Service, National, Naval, Old Glory, Overseas, Patriot, Republic, Revolution, Sea and Field, Sojourner, Union, United States, Veteran, Victory, and Volunteer are the names of 146. “Liberty” might well be in this classification but appears under “Character” as do Loyal and Loyalty which are patriotic as well as character names.

Double names represent less than one percent of the total; they range from Alexandria-Washington and American Union to Wytheville Fraternal and Yerba Buena, 130 altogether. Typical samples are Anchor of Strict Observance, Bayou Dota, Caswell Brotherhood, Friends of Harmony, La Parfaite Union, Nova Caesarea Harmony, Pearl of the West, Roosevelt Memorial, Social Friendship, Temple-Noyes, United Brothers, Washington Centennial, and Western Phoenix.

Four percent of lodges are named after some man famous in world or national history. The classification was a little difficult to limit, is a matter of opinion. In general, no names were included in this list which would not be recognized as famous by any well-read person in this country in spite of the fact that many a man has been deservedly famous locally whose name is not known well enough here to put beside such giants as Jackson, Lincoln, Washington, Paul Revere.

The classification is too long to quote in its entirely, but it includes such names as Ampere, Aurelius, Beethoven, Bolivar, Caesar, Cromwell, Diogenes, Galileo, Hiawatha, Ivanhoe, Kossuth, Lafayette, Livingston, Manitou, Mozart, Osceola, Pulaski, Scipio, Tecumseh, Victoria, and Windsor, and such great Americans as Hamilton, Franklin, Clay, Coolidge, Custer, Decatur, Farragut, Grant, Houston, Garfield, Monroe, McKinley, Penn, Polk, Randolph, Robert E. Lee, Rufus Putman, Jefferson, Warren, Wooster, and, of course, Washington.

Geographic names, other than names of towns and cities, are 6% of the total; they begin with Absorakee and end with Yosemite and Young County. Every variety of spring, rock, grove, water, hill, valley, flat, lake, haven, brook, park, fort, river, island, bay, creek, frontier, and mountain is in this classification; Alleghany Valley, Bay Springs, Beaver Ridge, Cedar Branch, Fair Haven, Flint Hill, Forest Park, Charles River, Little Falls, Hunting Creek, are samples.

Imaginative Names account for 7.3% of all lodge names; a few samples will show what was here collected; Abacus, Acme, Acorn, Banner Blue, Ben Hur, Blue Bonnet, Caribou, Celestia, Charter Oak, Dawn, Destiny, Dixie, Eagle, Empire, Excelsior, Favorite, Fides, Full Moon, Gamma, Golden Sheaf, Guiding Star, Halcyon, Heroine, High Noon, Illustrious, Index, Ion, Jacinth, Jewel, Jubilee, Key, Kohinoor, Kosmos, La Belle, Living Stone, Lyra, Magnetic, Morning Flower, Mysteria, Navigator, Northern Light, North Star, Oasis, Orient, Osiris, Paradise, Phoenix, Proviso, Queen, Rainbow, Roan Oak, Rubicon, Sandelphon, Signal, Swastica, Tinta, Trio, Twilight, Unit, Urania, Utopia, Valley Star, Vesta, Vulcan, Wanderer, White Stone, Wolverine, Zenith.

Other Place Names doubtless represent the desire of brethren forming a lodge to perpetuate something historic, a place dear to the members, or a locality famous in their minds. Thus we find among 305 lodges named after 179 well known “other places” such appellations as Berlin, Caledonia, Chateau-Thierry, Etna, Gibraltar, Hesperus, Lima, Macedonia, Morro, Pekin, Home, Scotia, Smyrna, Vienna, Waterloo.

Very curiously, not all states have lodges named after them, the total lodges in this classification being only 37, and these include Columbia (in the District of Columbia; there are 36 Columbia lodges in the nation) Dacotah Lodge in North Dakota, and Dakota Lodge in South Dakota, (Minnesota also has a Dakota Lodge) California and Western California, Washington, and State (in Washington). States which within their own borders have no lodges named after them are Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware (there are Delaware lodges in Indiana, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, and Oklahoma) Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, (there are Carolina lodges in Mississippi and Texas and a Caroline Lodge in New York) Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia.

The compiler of these lists is not sure that a definition can be given of unusual names or a rule laid down which will cover either all those included or many omitted. In general, an “unusual name” shows unusual fancy or imagination, and appears but seldom. Included are such names as Big Rock (in the town of Little Rock, Ark.) Cereal, Citrus, and Country Club; Cowanesque, DeWitt (in Clinton, Ill.) Door to Virtue; Dry Town, contrasting with Bourbon, Redwine Lodge, Rose’s Bar; Fish House, Bee House, Rock House; Humble Cottage, Liberty Hall, Lovelady; Otter Tail, Pagoda, Pea Ridge (in the town of Best Water, Ark.); Pyramid Lodge (New Egypt, N.J.); Greenleaf (Whittier, Cal.), Radio, Volcano, Tobasco, Grizzly, Temblor, Tally Ho, Wild Cat, and Yell lodges speak of activity, while What Cheer, Traveler’s Rest, and Stranger’s Rest promise relaxation.

Let no brother of any lodge included in the Unusual classification think that anything less than admiration for the unique and different is here meant that his lodge is mentioned among the high spots of this paper.

Two hundred and seventy-one lodges are named for 101 trees, flowers or other growing things. Acacia, Bush, Burning Bush, Cedar, Evergreen, Olive, Olive Branch, Pomgranate, Rose of Sharon, have Masonic or Biblical connotions. Other lodges have dipped into botany with lavish hand and as a result are Cypress, 4; Forest, 7; Ivy; Laurel, 9; Live Oak, 6; Magnolia, 12; Myrtle, 8; Pine, 7; Pine Grove, 7; as well as Acorn, Arbutus, Blackberry, Butternuts, Daisy, Fern, Golden Rod, Locust, Mayflower, Palmetto, Primrose, Rosemary, Sequoia, Thistle White Rose, Yew Tree, and a host of others.

One hundred and twenty-five lodges bear 73 women’s names. Doubtless many of these are called after counties, or local places which first claimed the ladies’ names. A few of them, Beulah, Judith, Olive, Rose of Sharon, Ruth, are Biblical. But Ada, Carmelita, Diana Edna, Florence, Grace, Hortense, Juniata, Leonore Mabel, Rosalie, Stella, Victoria, Virginia May, and Winona, are definitely feminine — and these are but haphazard selections from the list. Also these is a Heroine Lodge in Missouri, LaBelle Lodge in Wisconsin, Queen Lodge in Alabama, Venus Lodge in Ohio, Bridal Veil Lodge in Oregon, Lovelady Lodge in Texas, Love’s Park Lodge in Illinois, Loving Lodge in Kentucky, and Orange Blossom Lodge in the town of Kissimee, Florida!

One thousand one hundred and twenty-eight lodges share 40 names. Considering any lodge which appears 20 times in the total list as having one of the most popular names, the following are those appellations which have proved most attractive to craftsman. St. John, (including all varieties; Saint Johns, St. John’s, St. John, St. Johns, St. John’s, St. John the Baptist) 61; Hiram, 52; Washington, 48; Harmony, 45; Union, 43; Acacia, 41; Eureka, 39; Columbia, 36; Corinthian, 36; Doric, 34; Unity, 34: Friendship, 31; Franklin, 29; Ionic, 28; Joppa, 27; Columbia, 26; Fidelity, 25; Tyrian, 25; Evergreen, 24; Oriental Star, 24; Charity, 23; Euclid, 23; Lafayette, 23; Olive Branch, 23; Western Star, 23; Anchor, 22.; Ashlar, 22; Hope, 22; Morning Star, 22; Phoenix, 22; Tuscan, 22; Crescent, 21; Keystone, 21; Lebanon, 21; Amity, 20; Aurora, 20; Liberty, 20; Mt. Moriah, 20; Orient, 20; and Warren, 20.

Of Biblical and Masonic names of lodges, Delaware has most with 50%, and Oklahoma least with 4.4%. Delaware also has most Character Names, with 13.5%, and Texas least, with 0.6%. District of Columbia leads with Double Names, 6.4%, and Michigan has least, with 0.2%. Of famous Names, Delaware again leads with 27.2%, and Oklahoma is again last with 0.7%. Utah has most Geographic Names for lodges, with 19.3%, and Oklahoma least, with 1.6%. Imaginative Names are most used in Virginia, with 33.3% and Arizona has least, with 2.5%. Lodges in Vermont are more named after places other than their own, 15.5% and least so in Nebraska, 0.3%. Oklahoma leads in lodges named after the towns in which they meet, with 76.6% and New Hampshire is least with 1.2%. Lodges named after people are most numerous, in portion to total lodges, in Massachusetts, with 12.8%, and least in Missouri with 2%. South Carolina has more Unclassified Names than any other state with 30.7%, and North Dakota least, with 1.6%. Louisiana has the largest proportion of Unusual Names, with 3.5%, and Alabama least with 0.2%.

All lodges in the nation are numbered, except those in Massachusetts, and all lodges have names, except twelve in Pennsylvania which have numbers only.

The Masonic Service Association of North America