The History of Zaradatha Lodge No. 448

Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania

A banquet photo of zaradatha lodge no 448 in 1913

On February 4, 1869, a meeting was held by a group of Master Masons to consider organizing a Masonic Lodge in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania. At a meeting held February 18 following it was unanimously resolved to effect such an organization. 

Almost immediately following this decision, a petition for a Lodge Charter was prepared, and presented to Grand Lodge with the following signatures:

  • Andrew G. Williams, St. John's Lodge No. 219
  • George Brawdy, St. John's Lodge No. 219
  • James C. Lewis, Allegheny Lodge No. 223
  • Thomas C. Waites, Allegheny Lodge No. 223
  • Harlow F. Dunham, Allegheny Lodge No. 223
  • William Boardman, Washington Lodge No. 164
  • John I. Williams, McKinley Lodge No. 318
  • John A. Danks, McKinley Lodge No. 318
  • Elias D. Davis, McKinley Lodge No. 318
  • Joseph G. Henry, Stuckrath Lodge No. 430

During the preparatory period a hall was leased for four years at an annual rental of $200.00 in a new building in Sharpsburg at the corner of Seventh and Main Streets, and the sponsorship of McCandless Lodge No. 390 was secured.

Brother Charles Maggi, who had been Secretary for the formative meetings and had helped prepare the Charter Petition, was unfortunately unable to be a Charter member of the Lodge because he could not obtain the approval of his resignation in time.

An apron from zaradatha lodge no 448

Minutes of the formative meetings record that on April 1, 1869, "On motion it was resolved that the name of the proposed Lodge be 'Zeredatha'." And that on September 24, 1869, a communication was received from the Right Worshipful Grand Master stating that the Charter had been granted.

On October 27, 1869, Zeredatha Lodge No. 448, F. & A.M. was constituted by Right Worshipful Grand Master Richard Vaux, who was accompanied and assisted by R.W. District Grand Master A.M. Pollock, R.W. Senior Grand Warden John Bolt, R.W. Junior Grand Ward P.A.B. Widener, Grand Clerk Rev. J.J. Melllyar, Grand Treasurer Alfred Slack, Grand Secretary Joseph Eichbaum, Senior Grand Deacon W.D. Spiking, Junior Grand Deacon Robert B. Andrews, Grand Marshal Charles H. Kingston, Grand Stewarts Charles W. Batcheler and James Herdman, Grand Sword Bearer Henry Gorwig, Grand Pursuivant E. Mason and Grand Tyler T.C. Waites. The following officers were installed:

  • John I. Williams ... Worshipful Master
  • Joseph A. Danks ... Senior Warden
  • Joseph G. Henry ... Junior Warden
  • George Brawdy ... Treasurer
  • Andrew G. Williams ... Secretary

"After the business of Grand Lodge was concluded the members of Zeredatha invited the officers of the Grand Lodge together with all the visiting Brethren to partake of an elegant collation to which all parties did ample justice."

The leased hall in which the Lodge was constituted remained our meeting place until December 26, 1913, when the present building on North Main Street was dedicated and formally opened in the presence of the District Deputy Grand Master, many other distinguished visitors and a large gathering of Lodge members. This change in location came about through a motion at the Stated Meeting, May 11, 1899, that "A committee be appointed to look after a new hall," and "The W.M. instructed the Trustees to look after same and report to the Lodge."

On November 11, 1869, it was on motion resolved "That the stated meetings of this Lodge be held on the second and fourth Thursday of each month." And on December 22nd, 1870, the bylaws were amended, to take effect April, 1871 to read “the stated meaning of this lodge shall be held the 2nd Thursday of each month.”

On Saturday evening, October 28, 1944, the Lodge celebrated its Seventy-Fifth Anniversary with a dinner at Masonic Temple, Pittsburgh, Pa. Brother Scott S. Leiby, R.W. Grand Master, honored the Lodge with his presence and delivered the main address. On Friday evening, October 29, 1954, a dinner was held at Masonic Temple, Pittsburgh, Pa., to commemorate the Eighty-Fifty Anniversary of the constitution of the Lodge the lodge was honored by the presence of brother Sanford M. Chilcote, R.W. Senior Grand Warden, as the speaker of the evening.

Why the Inconsistency in Spelling of the Name?

Visitors and members alike have frequently asked about the name of the Lodge, "Zaradatha". Without doubt the founding Brethren intended the Lodge to bear the name of the quarries of Zeredatha from whence came the stones to erect the first temple. However, it has been related that older Brethren of the Lodge often told that the Charter Members always pronounced the name of their Lodge as it is today spelled and furthermore, from the time of its founding until the year 1926, all records and papers of Grand Lodge, as well as those of the Lodge, bore the spelling as “Zeredatha”. 

A commemorative party favor apron from the zaradatha lodge no 448 100th anniversary

In 1926, the Worshipful Master, Brother Thomas H. Swartzlander, making an inspection of the Warrant, observed that the name was spelled "Zaradatha". This fact was called to the attention of the Grand Secretary with the result that the records of the Grand Lodge and those of this Lodge were directed to be changed to conform with that on the warrant.

Looking forward to continued growth and participation in the increasingly responsible part Freemasonry must take in these turbulent times of moral, social, political and economic development, Members of Zaradatha Lodge have under the guidance of Grand Lodge organized and incorporated a Masonic Hall Association so as to be in the best possible position to promote, maintain and perpetuate the high ideals and traditions of Freemasonry at all times. The first step in this far-reaching program of development was taken at a special meeting of Zaradatha Lodge on August 12, 1969, when the membership voted to remove the place of meeting of Zaradatha Lodge to Masonic Hall, 316 Grant Avenue, Borough of Millvale, where the Lodge will meet until plans of the Masonic Hall Association mature.

(Taken from the Zaradatha Lodge No. 448 100th Anniversary Program - October, 1969)

On April 4th, 1994 Zaradatha Lodge No. 448 was fraternally accepted by John E. Mair Lodge No. 729 following a merger.