Anchor Lodge #729
In searching the records of Anchor, we find that the first meeting was held U.D. on November 26th, 1872. Its review brings to mind such names prominent in the formation of the Lodge as well as in the political, social and civil activities of the old town as: Aaron Morley, John Sanderson, William Booth, Philip Rottmann, George Gilette, Ernest and Richard Lutters. While records do not state the place that these first meetings were held, the word has been passed from mouth to ear that they were held in the Poppenhusen Institute. The Poppenhusen Institute was built in 1868 as a free adult evening school for the residents of Flushing Town by Conrad Poppenhusen. Here was founded the first free Kindergarten in the U.S.A. It also housed the village government from 1870 to 1898. Anchor Lodge of the Masons and Marvin Lodge of Odd Fellows met here until their growth necessitated their seeking larger quarters of their own. The name of Conrad Poppenhusen, conceded to be the founder of College Point, is most prominent in the formation of Anchor Lodge. As a member, at the time of a foreign jurisdiction, Brother Conrad Poppenhusen gave much of his time and aid to the organization of Anchor Lodge both morally and financially.
The Grand Lodge of the State of New York at its session in May of 1873 granted a charter to Anchor Lodge: and, accordingly, the lodge was instituted on June 11, 1873, by R∴W∴ Ellwood E. Thoren who was then District Deputy Grand Master.
The membership at this institution of the lodge was twenty-three.
The naming of Anchor was probably accomplished by the churchmen who organized the lodge. The anchor, whose symbolism of hope and steadfastness reaches far back into antiquity, is mentioned in Hebrews 6:19 by St. Paul. The early Christians looked upon life as a stormy voyage and were glad when it was over and they had reached port safely. They carved an anchor over the tomb to symbolize that he who slept beneath the anchor had reached the haven of eternal rest.
The Ark in Masonry substitutes for the ship in which the voyage of life is made. What better symbol for that which holds us steadfast and safe in a peaceful harbor at labor's end than the anchor?
We read from the booklet published at the time of our Golden Jubilee:
"Years bring to individuals and organizations, alike, rise and fall of tide, so in our beloved Lodge, the early years saw sad hearts, at times, our dear brethren feared total collapse, but: the old saying, -- 'A friend in need is a friend indeed', was proven at these times, when our neighboring lodge, Cornucopia came to their aid. Many Tuesday nights found our faithful Brothers Rasquin, Kirkman, Lewry, etc., in our Lodge to buoy up the disheartened brothers and with pleasure we record their help. For the assistance rendered the brethren were able to go on with work and the foundation was firmly laid."
In 1973 Anchor Lodge celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a Dinner Dance held June 8th at Terrace on the Park to a sell-out crowd. On June 10th, a Rededication service was held at the First Reformed Church of College Point. On June 12th the 1998th Stated Communication commemorating 100 years of Masonry was held at our original meeting place of Poppenhusen Institute.
Astoria Lodge #963
Upon reviewing the records of Astoria Lodge #963, we find that early in the Spring of 1918, thirteen Master Masons got together and indicated their willingness to leave their Mother Lodge and form a new Lodge. These men were Albert Barge, Rudolph Boenke, Frank Elwanger, Edward A. Hertberg, Charles Nauber, William N. Platz, Sr., James Prowse, Sr., Augustus Rusa, Sr., Joseph M. Scherer, Henry Sendele, Harry G. Sims, Jacob Stockinger, Jr. and W∴ Chapman E. Strong.
They applied to Grand Lodge, received a Dispensation and held their first regular meeting June 27, 1919 at the Masonic Temple located at 114 Grand Avenue, Long Island City, New York. It was at this time the R∴W∴ Edward J. Smith, District Deputy Grand Master of the Queens Masonic District presented the Lodge with its Dispensation permitting it to confer the three degrees of Masonry and to install all the officers in their respective stations.
On Wednesday, June 2, 1920, the M∴W∴ Robert H. Robinson, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York performed the duty of constituting the Lodge. R∴W∴ Edward J. Smith, District Deputy installed the officers in their respective stations and places and presented the charter to the Master. Approximately 400 Masons from the surrounding areas attended the ceremony.
The Queens Masonic District was divided into two Districts on April 19, 1926. Both Astoria and Anchor Lodge became part of the First Queens Masonic District.
The years 1930 - 1937 brought difficult times to all Masonic Lodges. The poor economic conditions not only brought a sizable reduction in Masons everywhere, but also put a strain on the Lodges to meet financial needs and Astoria Lodge moved its meeting place to Castle Hall at 31st Avenue.
From 1939 - 1945, the effects of World War II were felt in Astoria Lodge with 65 members in the Armed Forces. During these years the remaining members gave their time to Civilian Defense, supporting War Bonds and the Masonic War Chest. After the war was over, Astoria and other Lodges experienced a rejuvenation with many new members joining the craft.
On May 23, 1959 Astoria Lodge celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a Dinner and Dance held at the new Riccardo's Restaurant with a tremendous turnout.
In 1964 Astoria and Anchor Lodges and their members were proud of participating in the fundraising for the erection of the Masonic Brotherhood Center at the 1964 - 1965 World's Fair in Flushing, New York. The Brotherhood Center proved to be one of the most outstanding attractions at the Fair.
The 50th Anniversary Rededication Service for Astoria Lodge was held May 24, 1970 at the Astoria Presbyterian Church followed by a Dinner and Dance celebration at Riccardo's Restaurant on October 24, 1970.
The format merging of Astoria Lodge #963 and Anchor Lodge #729 occurred on December 1, 1985 and became the Lodge known as Anchor-Astoria #729.