IMG_0181From the very beginning of Clemson’s history, Masons have shared in the events of its building. It was not until 1902 that any idea of forming a lodge had its inception. In August, 1902, at the call of M.W. Bro. S.M. Martin, a meeting was held in the North East room of the second floor of Tillman Hall – it being the classroom of Dr. George E. Nesom. This meeting was the beginning of Clemson Lodge No. 254 A.F.M. Those attending were Brothers S.M. Martin, G.E. Nesom, August Schilletter, A.M. Redfern, C.M. Conner, O.R. Doyle, H. Benton, J.H. McHugh, Sam W. Cox, G.H. Rawl, and W.W. Klugh.

After a full discussion of the desirability of forming a lodge here, Bro. Martin was asked to confer with the District Deputy for this section — R.W. Bro. R.T. Jaynes of Walhalla. In due time, the D.D.G.M. met with the available Masons at Clemson and he suggested that a petition for a Lodge U.D. requested. A petition to organize a lodge at Clemson was presented to Central No. 229, the request was fully granted, and this petition was made in due form to the Grand Lodge and it was granted. The following were named to serve as officers: W.W. Klugh, W.M.; O.R. Doyle, S.W.; and A.M. Redfern, J.W. Only the station officers could be named in the dispensation. At this time, M.W. Brother S.M. Martin was Worshipful Master of Pendleton Lodge No. 34, thus depriving him from serving as Master of the U.D. Lodge. The first meeting of the Lodge was held in the Doyle Building (now Calhoun Corners) at Calhoun, SC, on October 19, 1903. The Lodge worked under dispensation during 1903 until the Grand Lodge gave it a charter – naming it Clemson Lodge No. 254.

The Lodge was duly constituted on January 18, 1904 by M.W. Brother John R. Bellinger in a very beautiful and impressive ceremony. The following day, he laid the corner stone for the Agricultural Hall (now Sikes Hall) at Clemson. The new Lodge was only one day old when this honor was shared by it with the Grand Master of Masons in S.C. At its institution for the following became charter members: W.W. Klugh, A.M. Redfern, O.R. Doyle, J.H. Hook, A. Schilletter, B.H. Rawl, J.H. McHugh, G.E. Nesom, S.W. Cox, T.A. Gordon, Harmon Benton and S.M. Martin.

In the beginning, the Lodge was very crude; empty packing cases were used for officers’ stations, a barracks washstand was the altar, and decrepit chairs were the seats – all provided by Bro. A. Schilletter. Later, W. Bro. O.R. Doyle donated mahogany lumber of excellent quality which was made into furniture by Bro. John H. Hook. Bro. Hook was aided in this cabinet work by Bro. Joseph Hewer and the furniture is still in use. Bro. Hook paid for all the work done on the furniture; thus the furniture is a most fitting memorial to these brothers who so loyally and faithfully gave of their time, means and talents to Clemson Lodge. They both later served with honor and signal ability as Worshipful Master of the Lodge, and Brother Doyle later served with efficiency and dignity as D.D.G.M.

The Lodge continued to hold its meetings in the Doyle Building in Calhoun until 1915 when, upon completion of the Y.M.C.A. building, a hall was set aside for a Lodge room. This concession was made because of a substantial contribution toward the erection of the building by Clemson Lodge. The meetings were held in the Y.M.C.A. building from 1915 to 1928 when it was decided to build a Masonic Temple. A desirable and convenient location was secured and a contract for the new building was let. The cost of the building and lot at that time was about $18,000.00.

The current lodge building, constructed in 1928, has been renovated from time to time and continues to serve us well. Moreover, the Lodge experienced steady growth for a number of years, although membership has been stabilized between 120 and 200 for the past decade. Several members have served in Grand Lodge appointive offices in recent times as in the early days, and Clemson Lodge remains an effective force for good in the community.