A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR LODGES AND HOW THEY BECAME ONE
Freemasonry has been in our state for some time. St. Johns Lodge #1 out of Portsmouth was constituted in 1736; it is even older than our Grand Lodge, which had its first communication on July 16, 1789. In Concord, though, on February 13, 1799, at a special communication of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire held at Portsmouth, a petition was presented asking that Blazing Star Lodge be erected and constituted. The cost was $18.00.
The charter members of Blazing Star Lodge were Isaac de La Mather, Daniel Warner, David McCrillis, Michael McClary, Moses Sweatt, Jacob Martin, Benjamin Gale, Robert B. Wilkins, and Moses Lewis.
On May 6, 1799, Blazing Star was constituted, consecrated, and the officers were dully installed. The Lodge was called to labor at 5:30 a.m. The Most Worshipful Grand Master, accompanied by his suite, were present to install the officers. After marching to the meeting house, where they listened to Reverend Brother Richards of Portsmouth, they adjourned to Brother Gales’ where they had dinner.
The first meeting was held at Union Hall at the Inn of Benjamin Gale on May 6, 1799. Daniel Warner and Andrew Bowers were our first two Worshipful Masters who sat in the East in that first year.
In 1808, the Lodge voted to build a Hall over what was then The Concord Bank, on the second floor referred to as Mason’s Hall. We then moved in 1858 to 49 North Main Street where the Princess Shop is.
The early By-Laws had us meeting on the third Monday of each month, opened from 4-7 p.m. later it was changed to 2-7 p.m. The dues were $1.50 paid quarterly.
In 1824, the Lodge voted not to let the hall to any person who may practice legerdemain or sleight of hand, or who wished to make any theatrical exhibition there.
A year later, in 1825, the Lodge voted “That ardent spirits are not considered a necessary article of refreshment, and that the Stewards shall not be required to provide it unless specially ordered by the Lodge.”
During the years 1826 through 1845, we experienced a period referred to as “years of declension in Masonry.” This was primarily brought on by the “Morgan Troubles,” or as we refer to it today, “The Morgan Affair.” Although some of the Lodges closed their work and surrendered their charters, Blazing Star Lodge decided to stay the course. Our faithful Brothers maintained their organization and waited for anger and prejudice to give way to reason. Within the next decade, Masons dared openly to defend the institution and assemble to practice their ceremonies. Blazing Star-Eureka Lodge is the third oldest continual meeting Lodge in this state.
In 1857, as stated earlier, after outgrowing our Masonic quarters, it was decided to build a hall on the corner of Main and Pleasant Streets. In January of 1858, Blazing Star Lodge accepted a proposition from Robert N. Corning (Conductor on the Concord Railroad, and in 1861 was appointed postmaster of Concord by President Lincoln, which position he occupied until his death on June 13, 1866. He was father of Judge Charles R. Corning, and their home was at the corner of Pleasant and Green Streets). His proposition was to erect a building at the corner of Main and Pleasant Streets, with apartments therein for Masonic purposes. The cornerstone of the building was laid on July 5, 1858, In which were deposited in a metal box printed copies of Masonic proceedings, proceedings of various religious bodies, news papers of the city, code of “Blue Law,” and various coins of ancient date, etc. The new apartments were dedicated January 19, 1859 by the Grand Officers of the state, and served as headquarters for Blazing Star Lodge until it moved to 44B South Main Street in 1926.
In 1859, report of the District Deputy Grand Master, Edward H. Rollins, later a United States Senator, and the father of Governor Fran Rollins, who was raised in Eureka Lodge on February 15, 1884 and was our Governor from 1899 through 1901, brought forth a petition to charter a new Lodge in Concord. The petitioners were John Dame, George H. Emery, Charles C. Clement, James B. Gove, Thomas L. Tullock, Allen Tenney, Abel Hutchins, Edward Dow, and Luther W. Nichols, Jr. On June 13, 1860, the first mention of Eureka Lodge was brought forth to Grand Lodge. The charter was granted to John Dame, the Lodge’s first Worshipful Master in 1860, and the other petitioners. The Lodge would be known as Eureka Lodge #70. John Dame was a blacksmith who on February 5, 1863 would demit.
Worshipful Grand Master Aaron P. Hughes constituted and consecrated Eureka Lodge #70 on the 16th day of July, 1860 and installed its first officers. Horace Chase, a member of Blazing Star, was the Grand Secretary present.
The meetings were to be held on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. from March through September, and at 7:00 p.m. from October through February. On November 7, 1918, this would change to the second Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The Lodge would be in darkness during the months of July and August. The Annual would be held in February.
Frank Coffin would be the first member to be raised and sign the By-Laws in the Lodge in 1860. He had affiliated from Blazing Star Lodge on November 3, 1860; however, he did not become a member of the Lodge until January 3, 1861, it being necessary that those who had received all three degrees must still be voted upon for membership before signing the By-Laws. During the first year of existence 17 members were made.
The fee for membership was $3.00. The yearly dues were $1.00. In 1996, the dues would be $38.00.
The order of business would be as follows: Reading of the minutes, unfinished business, report of the committees, balloting, reception of petitions, new business, and finally work.
During the Civil War, 14 of our members from Eureka Lodge participated in battle. Here are a few our brethren who participated: Eunoch W. Goffs, who was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant on September 22, 1862, was promoted to Captain on December 30, 1862, and killed in action on October 27, 1864; Thomas Little, who volunteered on May 13, 1861, saw action at the First Bull Run, Siege of York Town, Williamsburg, Second Bull Run, and was discharged on July 30, 1863; Henry McFarland who was a pay master: and Daniel Eldridge who joined as a volunteer on August 2, 1861 who was first a Corporal, then a Sergeant, a Second Lieutenant, then a First Lieutenant, and was engaged in several battles, was severely wounded by a gall passing through his left arm into his breast pocket, penetrating a pocket book and stopping against his Masonic Diploma.
Eureka Lodge had huge growth following the Civil War during its first decade. We saw 182 applications received but 37 rejections. Most of the men who joined were stone cutters, masons, merchants, clerks, railroad workers, and a few ministers and priests.
In 1876, The Concord Masonic Association including Blazing Star and Eureka Lodges, Trinity Royal Arch Chapter, Horace Chase Council, Mt. Horeb Commandry, and the Scottish Rite Association was formed.
On March 27, 1879, the first Public Joint Installation, under a dispensation from The Grand Lodge, in which the Worshipful Grand Master installed the officers elect of Eureka and Blazing Star Lodges in due form in the presence of a large number of Masons, their families and friends (who were present by invitation) took place.
During the 1880’s, it appears Eureka Lodge made good progress. It started the decade with eighty-nine members and ended with one hundred forty, for a net gain of fifty-one.
The period from 1890 through the early years of the twentieth century showed steady progress of Eureka Lodge. Minutes of the Stated Meetings show numerous requests from other Lodges requesting aid and the dispensing of Charity among its own members, their widows and orphans and the general discussions pertaining changes in the By-Laws; also, plans for a new Temple.
The first joint communication of which there is any record occurred on March 13, 1901 between Blazing Star and Eureka Lodge. It was held for the purpose of receiving a visitation of the Grand Officers of the 4th Masonic District, during which the Master Mason Degree was exemplified with Eureka Lodge working the First Section and Blazing Star the Second.
In 1902, Blazing Star voted to present candidates for the Degrees of Freemasonry with a white leathern apron, a custom we still follow today.
In 1906, after the San Francisco earthquake, the Lodge sent a contribution to our brethren in distress in California, but the records show that a few years later a small part of the sum for some unknown reason was returned to the Lodge.
In 1910, Eureka Lodge showed a membership total of 213.
In 1912, Blazing Star Lodge amended its By-Laws changing the date of the Stated Communication from the third Monday to the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m.
The first occasion when an outside Lodge had worked in Blazing Star Lodge as a team was on April 16, 1913 when Lafayette Lodge #41 of Manchester exemplified the Fellow Craft Degree. It is interesting to note, though, during the autumn of the same year, on four successive months, first the Junior Wardens of the 4th Masonic District worked the Entered Apprentice Degree, then the Senior Wardens worked the Fellow Craft Degree, then in turn the Masters and the Past Masters each worked the Master Mason Degree. On each occasion there were present a large and appreciative audience.
In March of 1914 our Lodges had a joint installation. The elected officers of Eureka and Blazing Star Lodges were duly installed by Right Worshipful Harry Leighton of Concord. Also during 1914, an amendment was adopted to purchase and present a Jewel to each Past Master.
On March 25, 1915, Erville H. Smith, A Past Master of Blazing Star Lodge and long time Secretary of Blazing Star and Blazing Star-Eureka Lodge, and who our present lodge at 53 Iron Works Road in Concord was dedicated to was born.
In 1917 an amendment was adopted by Blazing Star requesting advance payment of dues. While the United States was engaged in World War I, the Master was authorized to send Christmas gifts to our brethren in the service over-seas. The Lodge adopted a Food Conservation Program of the request of the Federal Food Administration, and the Master was given power to act in regard to a War Savings Program. A war memorial committee consisting of the Master and Wardens was appointed to serve on the city memorial committee.
As of 1949, on February 5, 1919, a record was established which was since equaled but never exceeded when 9 petitions for the Degrees of Freemasonry were received in Blazing Star Lodge.
For Eureka Lodge, following World War I, times were just as prosperous during the 1920’s. During this ten year period, 86 members were added to the rolls.
In 1921, the Anchor Club of Boston worked the Master Mason Degree and presented Blazing Star with a beautiful gavel. Shortly after, a team from the State Highway Department worked the Master Mason Degree.
In 1922, Blazing Star Lodge was represented at the laying of the corner stone of the George Washington Masonic Memorial at Alexandria, VA.
On February 13, 1924, Blazing Star Lodge’s 125th Anniversary was observed. Brother Walter C. Myers gave a long talk on Masonry and the history of the Lodge. Remarks were made by the Worshipful Master and Grand Secretary, and the Temple Quartet furnished music with Brother Alexander Lamb as organist. 13 members were present who were at the 100th anniversary and bouquets of roses were presented to the two oldest members. Also during this year, Blazing Star voted to give permission for a Chapter of DeMolay to have use of the Masonic apartments to do Degree work; a few months later the Lodge voted to allow The Order of Rainbow for girls to hold meetings in the Masonic Hall.
In 1925, a Special Communication was called on Saturday afternoon on May 9th to lay the corner stone of Bektash Temple. Later that month on May 25th, Eureka and Blazing Star Lodge and other Masonic bodies acted as an escort to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of New Hampshire at the laying of the cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple in Concord.
In 1926 both Lodges moved to 44B South Main Street where the Capital Center for the Arts is located.
On the afternoon of Wednesday May 11, 1927, at a Special Communication involving Blazing Star and Eureka Lodges, the Grand Lodge Officers of New Hampshire were received and the Most Worshipful Grand Master proceeded to dedicate our new Masonic Temple.
In 1934, Blazing Star voted to honor 50 year members by presenting them with an engraved certificate from the Lodge, in addition to the 50 year medals which were bestowed by the Grand Lodge. “Ladies Night” was also adopted during this year when Blazing Star and Eureka Lodges held a joint entertainment to which the wives of the brethren were invited.
In 1937, Legislative Night was held for the first time. Most Worshipful Allen M. Wilson, P.G.M. acting as Worshipful Master and members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives and Senate making up the team exemplified the Master Mason Degree to an audience of nearly 400.
The 1930’s, found Eureka Lodge struggling to maintain its membership through the Great Depression. Although the By-laws were changed lowering the fees for admission, applicants were few, demits were numerous and of necessity there were some suspensions. The membership slipped back to a low of 237. In 1938, however, there was no lack of interest in the Lodge. There were several fraternal visits to other Lodges, many joint meetings with Blazing Star in observing Past Master’s Nights and District Master’s Nights.
On December 12, 1935, Eureka Lodge observed its 75th anniversary at a Stated Communication.
The year 1941 saw the outbreak of World War II and again we find the members of Eureka Lodge answered the call to arms. There were a total of 39 Brethren who served. All returned safely. Following the close of the War there were again many applications and by 1950 Eureka Lodge’s membership had reached 340.
On August 3, 1951, Past Master Richard Edson Melvin was born and was raised on November 3, 1974.
On November 6, 1952, a Semi-Public recognition of the 200th anniversary of the date George Washington entered Masonry was attended by members of Blazing Star Lodge #11, Eureka Lodge #70 and Horace Chase Lodge #72. 200 Masons and their families and friends attended services at St. Paul’s Church in Concord, New Hampshire. The original Peale Portrait of George Washington was on display in the church loaned for the occasion by St. Paul’s School.
On December 16, 1954, on the occasion of the visitation of the District Deputy Grand Lodge Officers to Eureka Lodge, Most Worshipful Grand Master Walter E. Dunlap, accompanied by several other Grand Lodge Officers, was also an honored guest. At this time he presented the Jeremy L. Cross Medal to Brother Ernest L. Bunker, in token of his long and faithful service to Eureka Lodge and to Masonry. Most Worshipful Brother Dunlap then asked Brother Bunker to assume the East whereupon he made him an Honorary Past Master of Eureka Lodge. Brother Bunker Served Eureka Lodge as Tyler from 1938 until his death in 1955.
In 1962, the old hall at Main and Pleasant Streets was destroyed by fire; but, from the ashes, the cornerstone and its metal box were recovered and the contents are now stored in the archives of the Lodge.
On June 6, 1963, Past Masters Night, a Lodge of Fellow Crafts was opened for the examination of two candidates. A ham supper was served by Epiphany Chapter of Order of Eastern Star. A Lodge of Master Masons was then opened and Past Masters Aprons were presented to Eureka Lodge Past Masters. The work of the evening was the exemplification of the Master Mason Degree by the Past Masters of Eureka Lodge. 22 living Past Masters from Ralph H. George (1924) to Robert L. Fickett (1961) were present.
April 3, 1969, the presenter of this paper, Brother Troy Patoine, was born in Concord, New Hampshire.
On November 4, 1976, a Table Lodge was held at the Temple Banquet Hall by a Special Dispensation of Most Worshipful Grand Master Paul D. Talbert which honored 70 year member Roy E. Marston (raised May 31, 1906), 62 year member George A. Merrick (raised December 17, 1914), 60 year member Caroll A. Hastings (raised September 4, 1916), and 60 year member Clarke E. Pettingill (raised October 19, 1916). The menu consisted of tomato juice, fruit cocktail with sherbet, fish, clam and corn chowder, Greek sausage with party bread and dip, Greek salad with feta cheese, lamb shish ka bob with rice pilaf, Greek bread, baklava, coffee and cigars. The Barrel of Relief netted $45.00 for the Masonic Home Canteen Fund. The Senior Deacon present was Brother Richard Melvin and his father, the Chaplain, Right Worshipful Brother Winslow E. Melvin
The Concord Masonic Association purchased our present quarters at 53 Iron Works Road in Concord, and on March 5, 1986, the first meeting at our new Temple at 53 Iron Works Road in Concord, New Hampshire was held for Eureka Lodge.
On Sunday, October 25th, 1998, a surprise testimonial for the Secretary took place at the Lake Shore Farm in Northwood for Winston Blake.
During the nineties and into the next century, participation in Eureka Lodge diminished to a point where officers were swapping from chair to chair with hardly any new members filling in. Eventually measures had to be taken.
By a vote of Grand Lodge on May 22, 2004, Blazing Star Lodge # 11 and Eureka Lodge #70 merged. The new Lodge would be known as Blazing Star-Eureka Lodge #11. Worshipful Alan D. Lugg would be Eureka Lodge’s last Worshipful Master. Worshipful Mark S. Hays would become the first Master of the combined Lodges in 2005.
On March 31, 2011, Past Master and long time Secretary Brother Erville Hayes Smith left us made his journey to the Celestial Lodge above.
On March 31, 2012, Blazing Star-Eureka’s Lodge was formally dedicated in the name of our esteemed and loved brother, Erville H. Smith.
Through the years, no matter where we have resided, no matter what wars and conflicts we have had to endure, no matter what changes we have had to adapt to, we have always been and will always be a Lodge dedicated to friendship, morality, and truth; brotherly love and affection; and being good men who will always be there to help each other be better while focusing on God, our country, our neighbor and ourselves.
PAST MASTERS OF BLAZING STAR LODGE #11 FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS
Daniel Warner May 6, 1799 Andrew Bowers June 17, 1799
David McCrillis June 16, 1800 John Odlin June 15, 1801
Andrew Bowers June 21, 1802 John Harris December 19, 1803
Sherburn Wiggin December 17, 1804 John Harris December 16, 1805
Aquila Davis December 15, 1806 Peter C. Farnum December 21, 1807
Joshua Darling December 19, 1808 John Harris December 18, 1809
Abel Hutchins December 17, 1810 Joshua Hastings December 18, 1811
Zadok Howe December 21, 1812 John Odlin December 7, 1813
John Harris December 20, 1814 Stephen Blanchard December 12, 1815
Timothy Chandler April 29, 1817 Abner Jones May 4, 1819
Daniel Chase April 30, 1822 Jeremiah Prichard April 26, 1825
Hosea Fessenden May 8, 1827 Thomas Waterman April 13, 1829
Ebenezer S. Towle May 3, 1830 Issac Eastman April 22, 1834
Daniel Chase April 22, 1845 Chase Hill April 28, 1846
Horace Chase April 28, 1847 Hosea Fessenden April 12, 1848
Chase Hill April 24, 1850 Thompson Barron April 9, 1851
John Moore April 28, 1852 Amos B. Currier April 25, 1855
Edward H. Rollins April 16, 1856 Abel Hutchins May 6, 1857
Lyman A. Walker April 21, 1857 Gilbert H. Seavey April 20, 1864
Joseph W. Robinson April 28, 1866 John Harris May 20, 1868
Samuel F. Morrill May 23, 1870 Horace A. Brown February 27, 1872
William A. Clough May 16, 1876 John F. Webster May 21, 1878
Reuben A. Gerry March 30, 1880 Frank L. Sanders April 12, 1882
Silvester P. Danforth April 9, 1884 Frank G. Edgerly April 14, 1886
Martin E. Young April 18, 1888 Henry O. Adams April 2, 1890
Charles S. Parker April 22, 1891 William I. Leighton April 12, 1893
Ethan W. Spencer May 27, 1895 Fred E. French April 1, 1897
William H. Durant April 11, 1900 George W. Woodward April 4, 1901
Charles H. Wiggen April 2, 1902 Chancy Adams April 13, 1904
Frederick L. RichardsonApril 11, 1906 George D. McCauley April 8, 1908
Frank J. Moreau April 14, 1910 Harry R. Sturm April 10, 1912
Charles A. McIntire March 26, 1914 Stanley W. James March 23, 1916
Fred O. Libbey March 21, 1918 Walter W. Whitehouse March 21, 1919
Lester W. Woods March 17, 1921 Fred C. Crowell March 29, 1923
Joseph S. Matthews March 25, 1925 Clarence O. Philbrick March 25, 1926
George A. Ledward March 29, 1928 Percy Downes March 27, 1930
Winfield J. Phillips March 24, 1932 Lloyd R. Virgin March 15, 1934
Walter E. Dunlap* March 25, 1936 Roscoe C. Gay March 9, 1938
Edward E. Beane March 27, 1940 Leland P. Robinson March 26, 1942
Lorne F. Lea May 22, 1944 George H. Wendelin March 28, 1946
Matthew D. Hemphill March 17, 1948 Herbert E. Kimball* March 15, 1950
Richard Rush April 16, 1952 Melvin W. Chase March 24, 1954
George E. Pearson March 28, 1956 John S. Satterfield March 4, 1958
Arthur W. Hicks April 23, 1960 James C. Johnson March 28, 1962
F. Roger Strong** May 22, 1963 Fletcher W. Ryley February 26, 1964
Kenneth E. Davis February 23, 1966 Lester W. Holt February 21, 1968
David F. Carter February 21, 1970 Richard C. Hart February 23, 1972
Shirley H. Sheppard February 20, 1974 Alvin R. Davis, Jr. February 25, 1976
Robert L. Brown February 27, 1977 Erville H. Smith February 25, 1979
Robert M. Lee February 18, 1981 Ronald H. MacFarlane February 20, 1983
Larry C. Woods February 17, 1985 Allen L. Isley February 15, 1987
Robert A. Bragg February 12, 1989 Alan R. Grill February 10, 1991
Morgan L. Saltmarsh, Sr. 1993-94 Alvin R. Davis, Jr. 1995-96
Alan R. Grill 1997 Robert A. Bragg 1998
Thomas E. Ives 1999-2000 Joel F. Randall 2001-02
Thomas Hageman 2003-04 Mark S. Hayes 2005
* PAST GRAND MASTER
** HONORARY PAST MASTER
PAST MASTERS OF EUREKA LODGE #70 FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS
John Dame 1860 Abel Hutchins 1861
Luther W. Nichols 1862-64 George P. Cleaves 1865-67
Hall B. Rand 1868 Frank D. Woodbury 1869
James T. Gordon 1870-71 Charles N. Towle 1872-73
Edward Dow 1874-75 Samuel C. Crockett 1876
Darius Merrill 1877-78 Frank. D. Woodbury* 1879-80
George O. Dickerman 1881-82 Frank P. Mace 1883-84
Frank W. Smith 1885 Waldo A. Russell 1886-87
Frank S. Streeter 1888 Arthur C. Stewart 1889-90
James C. Badger 1891-92 Frank P. Quimby 1893
George W. Bunker 1894-95 Omer L. Shepard 1896-97
Harley B. Roby 1898-99 Charles F. Batchelder 1900-01
George D. Waldron 1902 Harry Leighton 1903-04
John Vannevar 1905 Eben M. Willis 1906
George L. Gordon 1907-08 George H. Rolfe 1909
Roy E. George 1910 Arthur E. Sturtevant 1911-12
Samuel E. Powers 1913 John Brooks 1914-15
John S. Otis 1916-17 Frank W. Brown 1918-19
Arthur H. Chase 1920 Alfred A. Syms 1921
Edward H. Hardy 1922 Arthur J. Boutwell 1923
Earl F. Newton 1924 Ralph H. George 1925
Paul H. Pearson 1926 Harold W. Greatorex 1927
W. Ritchie Nichol 1928 Charles J. Sawyer 1929
Earl F. Boutwell 1930 Oscar C. Benson 1931
John H. Engel 1932-33 Harold W. Howe 1934-35
Fritz H. Gustafson 1936 John H. Noble 1937-38
Chester C. Larson 1939-40 Merton C. Buckminster 1941-42
Edgar H. Larson 1943-44 Martin F. Carlen 1945-46
Winslow E. Melvin** 1947-48 Earl L. Kimball 1949-50
Kenneth B. Buckminster1951-52 Oliver L. Racine 1953-54
Kenneth H. Bassett 1955-56 Harvey B. Boutwell 1957-58
A. Wesley Clement 1959-60 Robert L. Fickett 1961-62
Mayland H. Morse, Jr.*1963-64 Lawrence P. Keyes 1965-66
Carl G. C. Strand 1967-69 Thomas E. Edney 1970-71
Robert W. Flanders 1972 Winston L. Blake 1973-74
Joseph B. Gelb 1975-76 William H. Moulton 1977-78
Richard E. Melvin 1979-80 Leo F. Demag, Jr. 1981-82
Brent W. Washburn 1983-84 Alan D. Lugg 1985-86
Roger E. Tasker 1987-88 Charles W. Welch 1989-91
Everett Tasker 1992 Gary D. Nylen 1993-94
Mark L. Kilminster 1995-96 Richard E. Prospere 1997-98
John H. Temchack 1999-2000 Charles W. Welch 2001
Alan D. Lugg 2002 Raymond N. DeCourse 2003
Alan D. Lugg 2004-05
* PAST GRAND MASTER
** HONORARY PAST MASTER
PAST MASTERS OF BLAZING STAR-EUREKA LODGE #11 FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS
Mark S. Hayes 2005-06 James N. Gillette 2007-08
Mark S. Hayes 2009 Michael J. Hayes 2010-11
Mark S. Hayes 2012
Blazing Star Eureka Lodge #11
53 Iron Works Road
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
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"Freemasonry offers men an opportunity to develop insights into philosophical ideals, which espouse the core calues of prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice. Prudence is to help us make the right decisions; temperance keeps us on the straight and narrow; fortitude promotes self-confidence and strong self-esteem; and justice provides us with guidance in life."
All Stated Communications occur the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30 PM.
We are dark in July and August.