of the Valley of Cambridge
The Valley of Cambridge Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, enjoys the distinction of being the oldest active Scottish Rite Valley west of the Allegheny Mountains. While it takes second place to the Valley of Cincinnati in date of actual charter, it was at Cambridge that Ill. K. H. Van Renssalaer, 33º, first began, in 1852, extending the work of Scottish Rite to the west. Cambridge Lodge of Perfection and Cambridge Council of Prince of Jerusalem were chartered on May 14, 1857. Cambridge Chapter of Rose Croix on September 22, 1880, and finally Guernsey Consistory, S.P.R.S. was granted a charter on September 28, 1955.
The Valley of Cambridge has called five places home over the years. The first was a second floor room of the J.C. Hunter building on Wheeling Av., next to the current Scottish Rite Office. This was used until 1857, and both the Chapter of the York Rite and the Scottish Rite bodies were formed in this building. Soon after the Masons entered into an agreement with the city and agreed to use the third floor of the Town Hall being erected at this time. After a short occupancy it was found that the property had a restriction in the original Grant of Land which reserved it for public use, so the Masons could not possess public land and moved out. In 1881, the third floor was rented of the Hutchison building and for nearly twenty years this was the home of all Masonry in Cambridge. It was badly cramped and in 1905, a committee was appointed to “make a study for a new quarters.” Ground was soon broken for the present Masonic Temple which would become the home of all Masonic bodies until 1947, when the Valley of Cambridge purchased the Colonial Theater building. When this building burned to the ground in August of 1968, the Valley purchased the State Theater building. This building has since been remodeled for our use as Scottish Rite Masons and is now known as “The Scottish Rite Auditorium.”
There is one man whose name and deeds are outstanding in Cambridge Masonry. He is Ill. K. H. Van Renssalaer, 33º. He came from a New York family and was working on the Central Ohio Railroad during his stay in Cambridge. He was a Deputy Sovereign Grand Inspector General and had the power to form Scottish Rite bodies whenever and wherever he saw the opportunity. Cambridge applied for a dispensation from the Supreme Council which was granted January 2, 1856. At the end of the year they had a membership of ten brothers. With all his Masonic activities he still was interested enough to serve as Master of Cambridge Lodge No. 66, as High Priest of Cambridge Chapter No, 53, R.A.M. He was Thrice Potent Master of Cambridge Lodge of Perfection 1856-1869, and Sovereign Prince of Cambridge Council Princes of Jerusalem 1856-1861 and 1862-1868.
The Guernsey Consistory was formally consecrated at a special meeting on February 16, 1956. Ill Willard Hood, 33º, was our first Commander-in-Chief and he received the Charter.
To the members of this class: You are coming into the fraternal circle of men with a organization steeped with heritage. This has always been a active group of patriotic public spirited men and we offer you the challenge of helping to keep 32º Masonry in Southeastern Ohio on the move.
This is an abreviated version given us by Worshipfull Brother Ivan Tribe KYCH who is now working on a more complete version of our history.