Before Athelstane Lodge was organized, all the Masonic lodges in Rockland County were located on its outer perimeter in as much as Suffern, Nyack, Haverstraw and Sparkill.
No minutes of the organizing meeting are available. If they were recorded, they were either lost or destroyed.
The first records are those of the initiating of the lodge on June 6th, 1902. The brethren met in the Odd Fellows Hall, where then District Deputy of the 13th Masonic District of the State of N.Y. R ∴ W ∴ John Salisbury presented the Dispensation and installed the first officers, The lodge continued to meet at the Odd Fellows Hall, better known as the Amity Opera House, until 1916. The lodge concluded its probationary period during that 1st year and on June 6th, 1903 was granted its charter.
There are several stories pertaining to the naming of Athelstane Lodge although there is no official record. On several occasions during our history, speakers have dealt with this subject and the following explanations are recorded. In 1917,while speaking on the passing of Br. Edward M. Ehlers, the Master, in his remarks to the lodge, said that it was Brother Ehlers who had chosen the name. In 1928,at the 25th Anniversary of the lodge, Past Masters remarked that the meaning of Athelstane in old Anglo-Saxon, was noble stone and was probably 'the reason for choosing it for the name of the lodge.
At the 50th Anniversary, the speaker referred to Alfred the Great, 1st King of England. His grandson, Athelstan, was crowned in AD 924. Two years later he commissioned his brother Edwin, to organize the 1st Grand Lodge of Masonry at the City of York. This made King Athelstan the 1st Grand Patron of Masonry. The reader may have his choice of any of the above.
In 1915, an option was taken,on the property on the corner of Main Street and Funston Row. Not without opposition however, for the owner at the time was a brewery from Paterson, N.J. and some of the brothers thought it in bad taste to make the purchase. On June 22nd, 1916 the purchase was finalized and Athelstane Lodge came into possession of its 1st meeting hall. It was not a Masonic Temple, but the income derived from the stores located on the street level helped to maintain the new lodge through some lean years.
During those years at the Main Street address, much remodeling was done to insure an appropriate Masonic atmosphere but the lodge always looked forward to having a true Masonic Temple. In 1967 the dream was finally realized.
R:.W:. Ronald J. Steiner, Secretary, Athelstane Lodge No 839 F & AM (Pearl River, NY)
18 Buena Vista Road, Wesley Hills, Suffern, NY 10901-1730
(845) 354-4192 • email@example.com • Athelstane839@aol.com