ABOUT LODGE NO. 83
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
BRIEF HISTORY OF PONCA LODGE
By Charles L. Stuckey PGM
The Cherokee Outlet was opened for settlement in September 1893. Soon there after a group of Freemasons received a Warrant to establish a lodge. The Grand Lodge of A.F.& A.M of Oklahoma granted a Charter to Ponca Lodge No. 18 on February 12, 1894. The Charter lists the names of 99 members with officers: Worshipful Master, John Henry Calloway; Senior Warden, Miles Kyger and Junior Warden, Arthur Dudley.
Following statehood in 1907, the Grand Lodges of Indian Territory and Oklahoma territory united as the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the state of Oklahoma in February 1909, and Ponca Lodge No. 18 became Ponca Lodge No. 83 on February 7, 1909.
The lodge rented space at several locations until 1923 when the five-story building on the SW corner of 3rd and Grand was built at a cost of $200,000. The building was owned by Ponca Lodge, Olivet Chapter, Royal Arch Masons and Ben Hur Commandery Knights Templar. The Ponca City Publishing Company rented the ground floor and the east half of the basement.
The two York Rite bodies deeded their half of the building to the lodge on February 12, 1962. Ponca Lodge sold the building in 1971 and constructed the present building at 1200 West Grand in 1976 for $245,000.
Two members of Ponca Lodge have served as Grand Master of Masons in Oklahoma: Fred D. Sparks, 1906, Oklahoma Territorial Grand Lodge and Charles L. Stuckey, 2002, Grand Lodge of the State of Oklahoma.
Brother Lewis H. “Lew” Wentz served the Masonic Charity Foundation as its first president from 1930 – 1949, the year he died. Brother Charles L. Stuckey has served the Foundation from 1993 to the present. He was President 2013 through 2015.
In addition to Brother Wentz’s Masonic service, his contributions to the Ponca City community are well known as are those of Brother E. W. Marland.
Past Grand Masters
From Ponca Lodge 83
In 1986, Ponca lodge #83 joined in to assist Vizavance, previously known as Oklahoma Prevent Blindness, in performing vision screening on grade school students in the seven Ponca City grade schools as weft as McCord school, 1st Lutheran school, Kildare, Peckham and later the Ponca City Christian Academy.
On the days of the screening there are 3 to 4 lodge members present to assist the professional screener in setting up the screening area, testing the students and cleaning up afterwards.
In the past five years there has been an average of over 2300 students screened per year, with those in need of further testing referred to their persona/vision specialist.
During the 2017-2018 school year there has been 2626 students screened with 204 referred. Ponca Lodge #83 will continue to assist with this program as long as it is in existence.