Masonic Temple Gives Public a Peek
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)
Westport, CT – “We are not a secret society – just a society that has its own secrets, like any big company,” said Tony Foote, Master of Temple Lodge 65 of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Connecticut.
Foote spoke from the third floor of the building at 210 Post Road East where the Lodge is housed, which was opened for a few hours Saturday to the general public.
“We wanted to let people know who we are and what we do,” said Foote. “There’s a lot of misperception and slanted media. It’s nice fiction but it’s not accurate. We’re also hoping people will join. We never ask anyone to join – a person has to express interest.”
Foote added that all the lodges in the northeast were holding open houses simultaneously Saturday – a collaboration initiated by the Grand Master of Connecticut, who is a past Master of Temple 65.
“He spoke to the Grandmasters of each New England state and designated today as a public open house,” said Foote.
With regard to the background of the Lodge, Foote explained, “We’ve been in this building space since the 1920s, though the Lodge has existed in Westport since 1824. We’re actually older than the Town of Westport. We have 124 members and all are of a variety of professions and religions.”
The Masons own the building and Harding Funeral Home is a tenant. According to Foote, the building was originally owned by a past Master of the Lodge, Charles Fable. The Masons bought it from him.
One little known, or overlooked, fact about the Masons is their philanthropic nature. “We always donate about $5,000 to charitable causes every year,” Foote said. “We just donated $3,000 to EMS of Westport for two mountain bikes carrying full equipment. And we just gave the Boy Scouts $1,600 to paint a trailer.”
Another big-hearted initiative is the Lodge’s Donate Life program. “It helps obtain needed organs for transplant,” said Tony Giunta, the Lodge’s senior deacon. Giunta was, himself, the recipient of a kidney a few years ago.