Honoured by past, present and future members.
A Summary of the History of Mattawa Lodge No. 405 A. F. & A. M.
The present Town of Mattawa has a long and historical background being situated at the junction where the Mattawa River flows into the Ottawa River.
Mattawa was a stopover depot for the early Canoeists and Fur Traders paddling their canoes between Montreal, Ottawa and the regions to the north into Lake Temiskaming and the tributary rivers and to Lake Abitibi and the Abitibi River, and by other routes north to the Moose River, and on to Moosonee and Moose Factory and the James Bay.
Those Fur Traders exchanged guns, ammunition, traps, knives, axes, clothes and other supplies in a barter system for the trapper’s furs which were taken also by canoe over the same routes to Montreal for shipment to England, France and the European markets.
The Mattawa River was likewise a means for travel to Lake Nipissing, and the French River and on to the northern shores and rivers of the Great Lakes. Later the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers were a means of floating the pine logs down to Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City dockside for shipment by boat to England and Europe.
The area opened up to new activity following the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway which served the Town of Mattawa. Sawmills were set up on the Ottawa River and the Railway Sidings, including Klocks, being named after the Sawmill Owners, about ten miles east of Mattawa, with accommodation for the workers, their families, and cleared areas for gardens and raising food for the families and pasture for the livestock.
In any growing community a Masonic Lodge usually became an active organization in the lifestyle of some of the men. In 1883 a meeting was held in Mattawa to consider such a Lodge. Several of the workers at Klock Siding were Masons from Pembroke and the area, and the meeting resulted in an application to Grand Lodge to start a Lodge in Mattawa, being sponsored by Pembroke Lodge No. 128. The first meeting was held on June ll, 1884 in a room over an old bakery at the rear of McDougal and Cuzner’s Hardware Store. Mattawa at one time was a bigger Community than North Bay and as such Masonry flourished.
The Lodge continued to increase in membership whereby a larger Lodge room was required, eventually resulting in a Stock Company being formed in 1891 to build a magnificent building on the Main Street in Mattawa, with the first floor level leased to the McDougal and Cuzner Hardware Store, and the second floor containing offices and residential apartments, and the third floor a well laid out Lodge Room, and other rooms leased to other organizations, including the Lodge Room leased to the Pembroke Chapter No. 53 of Royal Arch Masons.
A number of the most active members of Mattawa Lodge had to move away between 1895 and 1901, resulting in loss of revenue and the building being sold to pay off the debt. The Lodge reached a mutual agreement with the owner, to rent the Lodge room. Later, following the owners death, the Lodge was unable to come to a suitable agreement with the new owner. A Temple Corporation was formed and a new building was erected and the Lodge Room consecrated in 1950.
Following the decline in logging, sawmilling, and farming in the area, and the abandonment of the community of Klocks the Lodge saw a reduction in membership, although there was an increase in activity during the Hydro Construction on the Ottawa River in the late 1940’s.
As Mattawa Lodge had been sponsored by Pembroke Lodge from the East so Mattawa Lodge spread its benign influence to the West and North by sponsoring Nipissing Lodge No. 420, in North Bay, and Temiskaming Lodge No. 462 in New Liskeard.
Mattawa Lodge Members assisted in the formation of Lodges in North Bay, Sturgeon Falls, Haileybury, New Liskeard, and Sudbury and in 1920 when the Lodge was formed in Temiskaming in Quebec, the work was done entirely by Members of Mattawa Lodge. Earlier Mattawa Members took their demit as they became Members of Lodges in the new areas opening up in the West and North of Ontario, thus partly resulting in the decline in the Mattawa Lodge Membership.
During the fall of 2002, it became quite apparent that Mattawa Lodge was struggling under the pressure of declining membership and increased maintenance costs of the building which was now more than 50 years old. At a Lodge meeting, a vote was taken and passed to move the Lodge from Mattawa to North Bay. On June 3rd 2003, Mattawa Lodge held their last meeting in the Town of Mattawa. June 21st 2003, ushered in a new era for Mattawa Lodge as they held their first meeting in North Bay at the North Bay Masonic Temple on 1st Ave. West where meetings continue to be held to this day.
During the summer of 2009, Mattawa Lodge celebrated its 125th year in existence. The celebration was attended by dignitaries from Grand Lodge and other lodges from the district.
Although Mattawa Lodge has moved to North Bay, it has not forgotten its deep roots in the Town of Mattawa. Besides contributions to the Masonic Foundation which funds educational programs and helps children who need hearing implants, the Lodge continues to provide bursaries to the students of the two high schools in Mattawa. Also with the assistance of volunteers from the Lodge membership, Mattawa Lodge sponsors two Masonic Child Identification Clinics in the Mattawa area. These clinics provide free child ID kits to parents to assist law enforcement agencies if a child go missing.
Similarly, like the Town of Mattawa, Mattawa Lodge has a long and interesting history over more than 125 years.