History of Fernley Lodge #34 F.& A.M.
The town of Fernley came in to existence with the laying of the rails of the Central Pacific railroad, and was made a way station of that road about 1863. Growth was gradual with agriculture and livestock bring prosperity to the area.
Quoting from History of Masonry in Nevada, written by C, W. Torrence, we find there were enough Masons that had arrived in the Fernley area who felt that a lodge could be established.
"Acting under this urge, Brothers W. H. Austin, W. Cogswell, J. W. Middleton, Rudolph Miller and W. C. Watson called a meeting for the purpose of promoting plans to effect an organization; and agreed to contact ten other sojourning members, to obtain their support to the undertaking. The response of these brethren was unanimous, with the result that another meeting was arranged, at which it appears fifteen brethren were present, and at which gathering a petition addressed to the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Nevada F. & A.M. was framed and signed by all present, asking permission to establish a Masonic lodge in Fernley, under dispensation."
Fernley lodge #34 received permission to organize, U. D. on March 29, 1921 and on the evening of March 31,1921 Grand Master Harry Atkinson delivered the dispensation to our first Worshipful Master, W. W. Cogswell. The charter was issued to the following brethren: W. H. Austin, W. W. Cogswell, W. H. Elleser, W. A. Hardy, J. L. Lisle, O. W. LeMay, M. J. Mallory, J. W. Middleton, Rudolph Miller, W. J. Neely, J. D. Oliver, W. A. Pray, W. G. Rawles, Geo. Rechel, and W. C. Watson. Other names from the past who were prominent in Masonry in Fernley are George Campbell, David D. Jackson, and Wesley Washburn
At the Grand Lodge annual meeting in June, 1921, Fernley was assigned number thirty-four (34) and was granted representation at that session.
In the early days meetings were held in the I. O. O. F. building. In 1935 the lodge purchased what was known as the Rankin property at a sheriff's sale for $265.75. The building was renovated and remodeled and the first meeting in that building was held November 7, 1935 with a second degree being conferred upon Vernon C. Ennor. On March 29, 1935 a social evening and open house was held to celebrate the new building. On Many 25, 1940 Most Worshipful Grand Master C. A. Carlson performed the ancient ceremony of dedication.
Two additions have been made since that time. The first was in 1977 when an addition was added to the south side of the meeting room, doubling the meeting area to 2,280 square feet. It was not until January 12, 1984 that this addition was occupied. On June 15, 1985 a rededication ceremony was held and a cornerstone placed with Most Worshipful Grand Master Valdo A. Sei's name upon it. This was also the day of his official visitation to Fernley #34. About 160 Masons and guests attended this ceremony. It might be added this was an absolutely hot day and the seats provided were so heated most preferred to stand.
The second addition was approved at our stated meeting on May 11, 2000 and it was voted upon to expand the dining area at a cost not to exceed $50,000.00 and construction was started on August 24, 2000. This addition was 16'x52' and added to the west side of the building bringing the total building up to 4, 216 sq. ft. This addition was to be dedicated to our benefactor, George Washington Crosbie whose generosity made this addition possible.
Fernley can also be proud to have had three members become Grand Masters of Nevada. William C. Watson in 1942-43, Richard C. Cowles in 1952-53 and Rodger Denn, Past Master of Benjamin Franklin and Fernley who was elected in 2002.
Our stated meetings are held the second Thursday of the month except for July and August For the past 22 years we have had a dinner at 6:30 P. M. preceding the meeting which starts at 7:30 P. M. Business is conducted in the Entered Apprentice degree and all Masons are always welcome.
By: W. E. "Mac" McClurg, P. M., Historian