History of Sunrise Lodge No. 130, Fargo

submitted by James V. Acker, DDGM


In the year 1947 there had been talk among certain Fargo Masons about forming a Lodge at the North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University). This came to a head with M:.W:. Ralph Miller, Past Grand Master, and W:. Brothers Walter G. Biggs and Mervin A. Tuntland as promoters.

Soon a petition with thirty-six signatures for a new lodge was prepared, a meeting place in the college Y.M.C.A. was secured, and the name "Sunrise" was suggested by W:. Brother George A. McGregor, a former member of Sunset Lodge No. 88 at Beach, on the western border of North Dakota.

On May 23, 1947, the tentative officers of Sunrise Lodge appeared before a joint communication of Shiloh Lodge No. 1 and East Gate Lodge #120 of Fargo, as sponsors. The tentative officers of Sunrise Lodge then opened and closed lodge, exemplified the work in the entered apprentice degree, and received certificates of recommendation for a dispensation to institute Sunrise Lodge U:.D:. (Under Dispensation) at Fargo.

The dispensation was granted May 28, 1947, by M:.W:. John A. Stormon, Grand Master, designating the following principal officers: W:.M:. Mervin A. Tuntland; S:.W:. Howard P Spaulding; J:.W:. Walter G. Biggs; Treasurer Forrest F. Skinner and Secretary Oscar J. Nesset. The Lodge was duly instituted at Fargo on June 11, 1947 by Grand Master Stormon.

Much interest was demonstrated in the new lodge in and around Fargo. East Gate Lodge #120 contributed officers jewels to the new lodge. Shiloh Lodge #1 presented the new lodge with rods, the bible, a US Flag, ballot box, lecture slides and a silk top hat.

The first stated communication was held June 19, 1947, and the degree work began at once. During the first year seventeen candidates were "raised" and three affiliated, bring the total membership on December 31, 1947, to fifty-six.

The charter was granted on June 23, 1948, by the Grand Lodge of North Dakota to Sunrise Lodge No. 130 at Fargo, with thirty-six charter members, and was signed by M:.W:. William J. Hunter, Grand Master. The lodge was constituted, the charter delivered and officers were installed December 4, 1948, by Grand Master Hunter, assisted by several Grand Officers and officers of Shiloh and East Gate Lodges. M:.W. Walter L. Stockwell, Grand Secretary, gave the principle address.

Sunrise Lodge has occupied three different homes since it was constituted. The first was the Y.M.C.A. building on the campus of the North Dakota State Agriculture College. This building was destroyed by a tornado on June 20, 1957. When the tornado destroyed the Y.M.C.A. building, Sunrise Lodge #130 lost much of its property.

Following the Tornado of June 20, 1957, Sunrise Lodge was forced to move to the downtown Masonic Hall. Sunrise shared a basement meeting room, known as the "Fleming Room" with the Rainbow Girls, and DeMolay Boys.

In 1968, the downtown Masonic Hall was razed and the three Fargo masonic Lodges moved to their present location at 1405 3rd St. N. in Fargo.

Sunrise Lodge No. 130 has never lacked for men of high character and ability to carry on its affairs and to impress upon the community the importance of Masonry. In fact, at least three of its members have been the Grand Master of Masons in North Dakota. These include Ralph L. Miller 1923-24; H. Allan Ohrt, 1992-93; and Chris Christianson, 2001-02;