Caesarea Masonic Lodge No. 64 F&AM
60 Osborn St., Keyport, NJ 07735
Phone: 732-739-2212

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The first mention of the possibility of a Masonic Lodge being instituted in Keyport, New Jersey can be traced to the records of Olive Branch Lodge No. 16 of Freehold New Jersey. Among the minutes of that Lodge were found:

“On May 26, 1863 a deputation from Keyport being present composed of seven brothers representing as many different Lodges applied to this lodge for a recommendation to the Grand Lodge to open a lodge in Keyport in this county.”

“Whereupon the Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens proceeded to examine the proposed Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens, of the new lodge in open Lodge. This proving satisfactory, it was unanimously resolved that this lodge do recommend that the Most Worshipful Grand Master grant the petition of the Brethren for a Dispensation to open a lodge in Keyport in the County of Monmouth, they assuring him that they had provided a Suitable room for opening the proposed lodge.”

The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey approved the granting of a dispensation to the Keyport group with Calvin C, Burt as the Master. This issuance of a warrant to this group was approved by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey at its Annual Communication on January 21, 1864 with the name Alpha Lodge No64. The Lodge was instituted on February2, 1864 by the Deputy Grand Master, Holmes W. Murphy. There were some troubles within the lodge mostly involving the finances and accumulated debts. On April 20, 1864 Grand Master William Silas Whitehead, two Grand Wardens and others visited the lodge to look into the difficulties. The meeting developed into something of a shouting match. Suffice to say the Lodge voted to surrender the Warrant, and Master Burt withdrew from further activity with the lodge. Most of the other members were desirous of continuing a lodge in Keyport, so under the leadership of Samuel Lockwood, a minster of the Gospel in Keyport and others from the surrounding area, were successful in obtaining a dispensation fo a new Lodge to be known as Caesarea Lodge No. 64. Caesarea Lodge No. 64 was warranted by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey at its Annual Communication on January 18, 1865, with twenty three members, and Samuel Lockwood, Worshipful Master. Meetings of Caesarea Lodge No. 64 were held in the Holmes Academy (records also named this building as Chingarora Hall), corner of Front and Church Streets until January 1, 1883, when they moved to rooms prepared for them over McKinney’s Drug Store, corner of Broad and Frist Streets. In 1884, the membership was forty-six members. In March 1920 discussions were held to find a new home when the current lease expired. It was noted that the rent would be raised by $50 to $200 per annum. A committee was formed and discussions were held to purchase a new home or secure land and build a lodge. The Masonic Association of Keyport was incorporated under “An act to Incorporate Association not for Pecuniary Profit” for the purpose to maintain a lodge or meeting room for Caesarea Lodge No. 64 in December of 1921. The lodge found a parcel of land with a building suitable for their purpose facing Cross Street (later named Third Street), between Division and Osborn Streets. The home was built for Thomas Arrowsmith who was a farmer, clerk of a steamer line, captain for 20 years of the Keyport Steamboat Line and County Clerk of Monmouth County. The lodge purchased the parcel from Ms. Templeton, filed January 15, 1927 and proceeded to remodel the building to the way it stands today. After vacating the rooms in the McKinney Building, Caesarea Lodge, by dispensation, held its communications in the rooms of Bayside Lodge, I.O.O.F., pending the remodeling. In December of 1928, Caesarea Lodge had a total membership of 285 and on Monday, February 4, 1929, held its first communication in the temple, where it now stands on Third, Osborn and Division Streets. On June 27, 1947, a special occasion was held for the purpose of burning the note mortgage. MW Frank Kovach, Grand Master of Masons for the State of New Jersey and other distinguished members of Grand Lodge were present. On March 27, 1950 the final mortgage payment was made and the Lodge was completely out of debt. On April 2, 1956 Caesarea assumed responsibility of the DeMolay Chapter after the Acacia Club ceased Sponsorship. In April 1973 the lodge was opened with the playing of the organ by Bro. Harold Raymond which he donated to the lodge. A roofing contractor used a propane torch illegally and caused a fire to the building. A front window, wall, and attic received most of the damage. The ceiling in the main lodge room, carpets and walls in the cellar had extensive damage. During this entire episode, no lodge meeting were missed or postponed. In August of 2001, the lodge sold half of the land to a builder allowing the lodge to make many necessary repairs to the building. “The project took almost a year to complete, and the finished job made the members of Caesarea proud of their building again.”

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