Holly Lodge Elects 2017 Officers

Congratulations to the following brothers who have been elected or appointed to serve Holly Lodge No. 134 as officers for the 2017 Masonic Year.

Worshipful Master: Eric M. Crawford PM
Senior Warden: Stephen R. Striggow PM
Junior Warden: Emile Bair PM
Treasurer: Jeffery M. Irvin
Secretary: Ryan R. Bladzik PM
Senior Deacon: Torin L. McKay
Junior Deacon: David M. Cruickshank Jr.
Senior Steward: Michael Crawford
Junior Steward: John F. Duffie
Chaplain: David L. Montgomery PM
Marshal: Gordon L. Bradshaw Jr.
Tiler: Steven Salva

Holly Masonic Lodge

Holly Lodge Donates Race Proceeds to First Graders

Holly Lodge No. 134, Free & Accepted Masons, visited Christine Widdis’s first-graders at Holly’s Patterson Elementary with a welcome surprise—a donation to their classroom.

Holly Lodge hosted its first annual Masonic Miles 5k Run/Walk and 1 mile Kids Fun Run in May, with proceeds from the event going towards the Lodge’s charitable programs. As an incentive for 1st through 3rd graders in area school districts to participate in the fun run, Holly Lodge offered to donate back to classroom with the most registered children the race registration fees from those kids.

Mrs. Widdis’s first-grade class had the most participants, and received a $50 donation from the Lodge to be used for classroom supplies and needs. The donation was doubled to total $100 from a matching contribution from the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Masonic Miles 5k

Masonic Miles 5k Run/Walk & Kids 1-Mile Fun Run

Holly Masonic Lodge No. 134 will be hosting the first annual Masonic Miles 5k Run/Walk and 1-mile Kids Fun Run on Saturday, May 7, 2016.

The races will begin in Crapo Park in downtown Holly; the fun run will run to College Street and return to downtown on Maple St. The 5k run/walk will go through Holly’s neighborhoods, behind Lakeside Memorial Cemetery along the shores of Bush Lake, and down Saginaw St. Both events finish on historic Battle Alley.

The fun run will begin at 9 a.m., with the 5k beginning after the fun run concludes. Chip timing for the 5k is provided by RF Timing of Ann Arbor.

Holly Lodge Worshipful Master Eric Crawford is excited about the event and expects it to be a great time.

“We have gotten a lot of support from local business sponsors and our registration is great for a first year race,” he said. “We look forward to growing the Masonic Miles 5k in the years to come.”

Proceeds from the race will go to benefit the Lodge’s community and charitable programs. The Lodge is working to launch a student recognition and scholarship program, participates in Oakland County Adopt-a-Road cleanups, offers ChildID programs and supports local organizations like Holly Little League.

Registration for the fun run is $10, and $15 for the 5k ($20 with an official race shirt). After April 23, registration increases to $15 for the fun run, $25 for the 5k, and $30 for the 5k with shirt.

There will be custom medals for the top three male and female in each age group, and trophies for the overall male & female winner and masters male and female winner (age 40+) have been hand-crafted by Beth & Jeremy Domanik of N. Reding and Sons in Downtown Holly.

In addition, for 1st-3rd grade classrooms in Holly Area Schools, Holly Academy, Fenton Area Schools, Lake Fenton Schools and Grand Blanc Schools, a special competition has been set up. The classroom that has the most children signed up for the fun run will receive a donation back to the classroom equal to the registration fees. A special registration form is available online for the Classroom Challenge.

WM Eric M Crawford & Thomas A. Braun, PM, BGP for District 16
Eric Crawford and BGP representative Thomas Braun

Eric Crawford Named District Mason of the Year

Eric Crawford, Worshipful Master of Holly Lodge No. 134, was announced as the 2016 District 16 Mason of the Year at a recognition dinner on Friday, March 11.

Mr. Crawford was selected as Holly Lodge Mason of the Year in November, and was selected from among candidates from Lodges in Linden, Fenton, Grand Blanc, Goodrich, Holly, Ortonville, Clarkston, Oxford and Lake Orion, which comprise District 16.

The award was presented to Mr. Crawford by Thomas A. Braun of Cedar Lodge No. 60 in Clarkston, the representative for District 16 on the Grand Lodge of Michigan’s Board of General Purposes.

“The selection committee shared that it was a tough decision as each of the candidates were outstanding,” said Mr. Braun. “It is an honor to recognize Mr. Crawford for his service to Masonry.”

A native of White Lake and veteran of Operation Desert Storm in the U.S. Army Reserves and National Guard, Mr. Crawford joined the Masonic orders in North Star Lodge No. 168 in Wichita, Kansas while serving as a police officer and explosive K9 handler. He returned to Michigan in 2009, settling in Holly with his three sons, Michael, William and Jacob, and immediately became involved with Holly Lodge. Michael and William have also received their Masonic degrees. He also has a daughter, Felicia, in Kansas.

“I’m truly humbled,” said Mr. Crawford. “Holly Lodge has given me many opportunities for leadership and to be involved in the community, and I’m looking forward to what the future will bring.”

He is currently the asset protection manager at Wal-Mart of Fenton, and an owner/partner of Double Eagle Ammunition in Holly.

Within the community, Eric serves as a reserve officer with the Holly Police department, and served for several years on the Village of Holly planning commission. He is also a Companion of Durand Chapter No. 139 Royal Arch Masons, Durand Council No. 38 Royal & Select Masons, a Sir Knight in the Durand Commandary No. 21 Knights Templar, and a 32° Scottish Rite Mason in the Valley of Bay City.

As a District Mason of the Year, Mr. Crawford is eligible for selection as the State Mason of the Year, which is presented at the Grand Lodge of Michigan’s annual meeting in May.

Holly Lodge Featured in Kiwanis Goodfellas Newspaper

In celebration of its 150th anniversary in Holly, a brief history of Holly Lodge No. 134 was featured in the 2012 Kiwanis Goodfellas’ edition of the Holly Herald-Advertiser.

Download the PDF scan of the article.

Freemasons Celebrate 150 Years of Community Service in Holly

Masonry is the art of building, the arrangement and joining of bricks to form a usable, common mass. Freemasonry is building of a different sort; the fraternity of Freemasons, based on the symbolism of the building of King Solomon’s temple, is engaged in the building of morality and service in men, and by extension the building of communities like Holly.

This year, Holly Lodge No. 134, Free and Accepted Masons, celebrated its 150th year of existence in the Holly community. Chartered in 1862, members of Holly’s Masonic Lodge have been integral in building and advancing of our community; many of their names are emblazoned throughout Holly, and many more have likely been lost in the fog of history.

Holly was settled in the mid 1830’s, and became an important center of transportation and commerce with Henry Howland Crapo’s railroad endeavors by the early 1860’s. In 1861, eleven men from area Masonic Lodges came together to form Holly Lodge No. 134. By the end of the year, the Lodge had 24 prominent and able members, and in January 1862, the Lodge was granted its charter by the Grand Lodge of Michigan.

Of the early Freemasons in the area, few were as prominent as Bela Cogshall, a farmer from New York. Cogshall settled on a tract of wild land in Springfield Township in 1836, paid for through savings earned by teaching. Cogshall joined Fentonville Lodge No. 109 in 1850, and after a year he helped found Austin Lodge No. 84 in Davisburg. He also began reading law and was admitted to practice in the area.

Cogshall’s interest in education followed him to Holly, where he located his legal practice in 1867. He served as Director of Holly Schools and President of the School Board, as well as Village President and Justice of the Peace. From 1869-1870, he served in the State Legislature, and had also been Sergeant-at-Arms in the 1850’s.

His leadership in Freemasonry was exceptional—he was a founder of Holly’s Chapter of Royal Arch Masons (R.A.M.) in 1871, Holly’s Council of Royal and Select Masons (R. & S.M.) in 1873, and led the movement on the statewide establishment of a Grand Chapter, Grand Council, and the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar. He was Worshipful Master of both Austin and Holly Lodges, High Priest of the Austin and Holly Chapters, and Thrice Illustrious Master of the Holly and Austin Councils for many years, as well as serving in numerous Grand Offices.

Cogshall’s son, Bela Jr., was also a prominent Holly Freemason and served as Worshipful Master; he was a pioneering physician and oculist, leading many local and national medical organizations, including the Cogshall Sanitarium of Chronic Diseases in Flint, and serving as the health and sanitary editor for the Flint Democrat and the Globe.

The office of the Village of Holly President is no stranger to Freemason leaders. In addition to Cogshall, James Simonson, a local businessman and banker and one of the charter members of Holly Lodge, served as the first Village President upon incorporation in 1865. James H. Cummins, a gallant officer in the Civil War, was a member of Holly Chapter No. 80, R.A.M., and served as Grand High Priest of R.A.M. in Michigan as well as Most Illustrious Grand Master of R. & S.M. in Michigan. Cummins was Village President when the waterworks system was built in response to a rash of fires. Holly was the first village of its size to have its own water system. Nearly a century later, Freemasons Bruce and Keith Dryer would also serve Holly as Village President (with Bruce and father John serving as Worshipful Master of Holly Lodge).

Freemasonry was a legacy in another prominent Holly Township family, the Pattersons. Thomas Patterson, was a prominent attorney who joined in practice with Holly Lodge charter member James K. Patterson (unrelated) in Pontiac. James K. Patterson would later go onto be Oakland County Prosecutor, and Thomas served as Holly Township Supervisor and Judge of Probate for Oakland County. Both Thomas son William Fulton would serve as Worshipful Master of Holly Lodge.

The Patterson ancestral lands, just a mile north and half-mile west of the Village of Holly, still host the name of the several schools founded there: Patterson Elementary School.

Historical records indicate that the first Hall of Holly Lodge was dedicated in 1862, but was lost to a fire in 1863. Until 1870, there is no record of where that building was or where Holly’s Freemasons met until local banker and businessman James M. Baird invested in the Balcony Block building—Baird’s Opera House. One room of the third-story of the opulent building was home to Holly’s Freemason, for 57 years, until it was itself ravaged by fire.

Just a block north on Broad Street, Freemason John Hirst built the Hirst Hotel in 1891, which is now known as Holly’s most famous and renowned historical landmark, the Holly Hotel. The Hirst Hotel and Baird’s Opera House were the center of social life in turn-of-the-century Holly, and it’s rumored that Hirst’s cigar-smoking ghost still roams the halls of the Holly Hotel.

Following the opera house fire, an opportunity arose to purchase the old Christian Church on Washington St., then owned by the Knights of the Maccabees. After meeting in the gymnasium of Holly High School on College Street while the building was prepared, Holly’s Freemasons moved into their new building in September, 1927, where they still meet to this day.

Even after 150 years, Freemasons in Holly continue to build the community through public service. In 2012, Holly Lodge No. 134 sponsored its first Bikes for Books reading contest in Holly Area Schools, where elementary students read dozens of books and six students won new bikes and helmets. Freemasons also provide free Child Identification Kits at Community Play Day, and tend Grange Hall Road through Oakland County’s Adopt-a-Road program. Numerous Freemasons continue to hold public office and volunteer in the community, a testament to the Fraternity’s affinity to leadership and communal service.