Atlantic Lodge No. 2, A.F. & A.M.
On October 14, 1854, a number of Masons met and applied for a dispensation to open a Lodge in the City of Norfolk. Right Worshipful George L. Upshur directed the secretary to read the dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Virginia to open a new Lodge under the name of Atlantic Lodge. Afterwards a Master Masons Lodge was opened. This was truly a business meeting. Resolutions were adopted to set the membership fee at five dollars per year; the first Saturday night of each month was to be the regular meeting date; the determination of a regular meeting place was to be decided and the Methodical Digest was to be the governing rule until the bylaws could be established. Right Worshipful George L. Upshur was presiding as Worshipful Master, James Y. Leigh, Senior Warden, and John Bonsal, Junior Warden.
Port Royal Kilwinning Lodge No. 2 surrendered its charter and Atlantic applied for the number. Thus at the Annual Communication held on December 13, 1854 the Grand Lodge of Virginia granted a charter to this Lodge under the name of Atlantic Lodge No. 2 bearing the signature of Most Worshipful Edmond P. Hunter, Grand Master. On January 6, 1855 the District Deputy Grand Master installed the officers as follows:
George L Upshur, Worshipful Master
James Y. Leigh, Senior Warden
William L. Graves, Junior Warden
In October of 1854 yellow fever broke out in Norfolk taking the lives of a great number of people. Worshipful George L. Upshur was a practicing physician and died of the disease before finishing his term as Worshipful Master.
Samuel P. Moore served as Worshipful Master for six years with only one year of interruption as Master. For his magnificent contribution he was elected an honorary member and received a Paste Masters Jewel decorated with diamonds.
In 1867 there were no successful membership petitions in Atlantic Lodge. Between the years 1883 and 1892 very little work was done. In 1886 there was recorded the lowest membership of the Lodge with only sixty-five members. This was mostly due to the members leaving to form other Lodges such as Owens Lodge No. 164, Berkley Lodge No. 167, Elizabeth Lodge No. 34 and Corinthian Lodge No. 266. The first Worshipful Masters of these Lodges came from Atlantic Lodge No. 2.
On April 3, 1864 the Lodge was opened and remained at refreshment until it was closed on April 8, 1864. This was done so that visiting Masonic Federal Soldiers had a place to meet without the war separating them. This was a fine example of the Masonic bond that one Brother has for another. As a further illustration, a man was found dead from a self-inflicted wound on ship from New York to Norfolk. During the preparation for burial, two tattoos were found on his arm, the Masonic emblem and the Knights Templar emblem. Atlantic Lodge No. 2 and Grice Commandery did not feel a paupers grave was appropriate. Both organizations took the burden upon themselves and the unidentified man was buried in the Lodges Cemetery lot in Norfolk. The task was also undertaken to try and identify the body. After great effort the man was identified as Brother Charles L Whitman of Vermont. His Brother-in-law had the body exhumed and buried along side of his wife. He also reimbursed the Lodge of all expenses, and as a show of his appreciation he donated a white marble clock to the Lodge. It now remains in the library of the Masonic Temple on Granby Street.
The Lodge has had many outstanding communications, two of which bear mentioning. The first was a called communication on November 9, 1900 to raise Brother Fellowcraft A. B. Toppins. All officers were present along with three hundred members and visitors from all over the United States, Canada, and two foreign Countries. The degree team was dressed in full regalia and comprised of members from various visiting Lodges. The second and most unique communication was held on June 22, 1932. It also was a called communication for the purpose of raising Brother Fellowcraft John D. Campbell Rockefeller. All were dressed in colonial costumes. The second section was conducted in the regular regalia. The meeting was so large that a special dispensation was issued to conduct the Lodge in the Wells Theater in Norfolk. The official attendance record is as follows: 12 officers; 190 members; and 1,000 guests for a total attendance of 1,202. The most prominent person present was Most Worshipful H. B. Green, Grand Master of Masons in Virginia. He gave the lecture and charge to our newly raised Master Mason. He also offered the Craft his official message.
The Lodge was asked to participate in the laying of the cornerstone of Epworth Church in 1894. Over 1,000 people were in attendance, including the press.
Atlantic Lodge No. 2 has contributed three Masons to the high office of Grand Master of Masons in Virginia. They are; Most Worshipful Powhatan B. Starke, 1855; Most Worshipful Thomas F. Owens, 1869; and Most Worshipful T. Penn Coleman, 1946.
Atlantic Lodge No. 2 holds their monthly stated communications on the 2nd Monday of each month. Dinner is served before each meeting in the Masonic Temples Dining Hall being served at 6:30pm with the meeting at 7:30pm. Please contact the Worshipful Master or Secretary for further information or to RSVP for dinner.
If you are interested in Freemasonry and would like to be a part of Atlantic Lodge No. 2, please email AtlanticLodge2@gmail.com for more information.