Sunday, September 25, 2022

Minnesota Masonic Charities 17th Annual Gala

Photo by Tom Hendrickson

On September 24, 2022, the Minnesota Masonic Charities held its 17th Annual Gala in the historic Dan Patch Hall at the Minnesota Masonic Home.

The Dan Patch Hall was lavishly decorated which created a very welcoming atmosphere for the sellout crowd of 180 guests.

This year’s theme was “Boundless Realms”. This come from the Masonic Ritual in which the first three rungs of Jacobs Ladder are Faith, Hope and Charity. The greatest of these is Charity, for Charity extends beyond the grave, through the boundless realms of eternity.

After dinner, which tasted as good as it looks, the CEO of Minnesota Masonic Charities and Past Grand Master Eric Neetenbeck, presented a wonderful and inspiring video highlighting MMC’s recipients, both past and present, and its philanthropic good works.

Following the video Eric introduced the musical entertainment for the evening. An Ad Hoc musical trio the “Music Memories” featuring our very own legendary Don Severson as the drummer.

Photo by Tom Hendrickson

Don is the 1978 Past Grand Master of Minnesota Masons and he is our oldest living past Grandmaster.

At the end of the evening Eric made his closing remarks that I found touching. That Minnesota Masonic Charities has given well over one hundred million dollars over the past ten years. There are other organizations that give more, but our giving makes an immeasurable impact on the citizens and communities of Minnesota in so many ways.

Minnesota Masonic Charities has and continues to see a need to do more and stands ready to fill that need.

All who gathered celebrated charities mission of charity being the greater service to mankind.    


Red Wing October Education Night

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Freemason Who Owned Stonehenge and Gave it Away


Photo by Tom Hendrickson

 On September 21, 1915, Master Mason Cecil Chubb, set out to purchase a set of dining room chairs as instructed by his wife. Instead of chairs, on an impulse, he had the winning bid for Stonehenge and the thirty acres surrounding the site.

His purchase of Stonehenge, and his later actions, were a major turning point in the care and preservation of Stonehenge. His actions would help transform Stonehenge from a 5,000-year-old neglected ruin to a national treasure and probably one of the world’s most famous prehistoric monuments, that almost one million people visit each year and people travel from around the word to visit.

Cecil and Mary Chubb
Photo by The Library of Congress

Needless to say, at the time, his wife was not thrilled with his purchase, as all she wanted were dining room chairs.  But as with most things in life, there is more to the story….

Brother Cecil Herbert Edward Chubb was born on April 14, 1876. He grew up in a working-class family in Shrewton, England a very small English Village just four miles West of Stonehenge.

He attended Christ Church College Oxford and earned a law degree. Brother Ceil became a successful attorney in Salisbury and served on its City Council, and as a Justice of the Peace (Misdemeanor Court Judge). He married in 1902 after meeting his wife Mary at a cricket match.

In 1905 Cecil became the Director of the Fisherton Mental Hospital, a business his wife had inherited. The hospital was having financial difficulties when he first assumed management of the hospital.  During his direction and guidance, from 1905 the institution became solvent and eventually grew to become the largest mental hospital in Europe.

Photo by ART CARE-Salisbury District Hospital

During that time Cecil oversaw construction of new wards, which added more hospital beds.  Also, innovative, and modern treatments were introduced at the hospital.  During World War I the hospital offered services to treat those soldiers who had experienced the ravages of war, at Cecil’s direction.  Cecil even used his own home to house patients when the hospital was at capacity.

Cecil’s purpose was to help his fellow man and veterans, return to their families and transition back to a normal life.

Cecil was a smart businessman and investor.   However, he also enjoyed the life of a country farmer, and he raised short horn cattle and many successful racehorses.

Cecil Chubb was made a Mason in Lodge Elias de Durham #586 in Salisbury. The Lodge is still active, and they meet on the second Thursday of every month. The Lodge is named after the English Master Stonemason who oversaw the construction of the Salisbury Cathedral. I can attest that the Salisbury Cathedral is magnificent, and I am thankful I have been able to visit the cathedral.

His Masonic Degrees: Entered Apprentice October 1905, became a Fellowcraft November 1905, and a Master Mason December 1905.

He never held an office in the Lodge, nor belonged to any appendant bodies. He thoroughly enjoyed being in the company of his Masonic Brothers and remained a member until his death.

He was also an intelligent and prudent investor, and his careful management of his finances provided the means for him have the means to purchase Stonehenge.

Stonehenge had always been owned privately since October 2, 1538, when King Henry VII confiscated the Amesbury Abby and surrounding lands under his “Dissolution of the Monasteries. The ownership transferred several times until the Antrobus family purchased it in 1824. When the heir of the estate Lt. Edmund Antrobus was killed in combat during the opening months during World War I, it was divided up into lots and put on the auction block.

During the time of private ownership Stonehenge had not always been a showcase of a neolithic monument or a honored sacred place or always treated with reverence and respect as we are all led to believe.

During the 19th century tourists could rent hammers and chisels at local hotels and blacksmith shops to chip away souvenirs, carve their names into the stones as a keep’s sake or trophy. In the modern day, staff found stones were graffitied, had chewing gum stuck to them and had been subjected to urine, vomit, and excrement.

Over the centuries of private ownership many of the stones had been propped up using wooden timbers, others had fallen, many became twisted and were in a bad state of disrepair.

In the time leading up to the 1915 auction, many rich Americans and Foreigners were sweeping across Europe buying up castles, monasteries, and antiquities. Today we would call these items national treasures and they would be protected. AT that time they were dismantled, boxed up and shipped back to the states or whatever location was requested.

The 1915 auction was very well publicized in all the local papers. This auction caused quit a buzz among the locals as they feared the same thing might happen to their Stonehenge.

The auction was held on a Tuesday afternoon, on September 21, 1915 (106 years ago). The auction was held at the New Theatre in Salisbury England. The theater was filled with potential purchasers, interested parties, and a lot of spectators and bargain hunters.  The Estate Agents Messrs., Knight and Rutley (this company is still in existence today) began the auction in the theatre at  

When Auctioneer Sir Howard Frank announced Lot #15, and gave the description, he began with “Would anyone offer 5000 pounds for Stonehenge”. There was no response from the audience. Auctioneer Frank urged “surely someone will offer me 5,000 pounds”.

A gentlemen’s hand went up whose bid was accepted by the auctioneer. Then several others joined in the bidding in the increasing amounts of 100 pounds. On a mere impulse or whim, Brother Cecil raised his hand and bid 6,600 pounds. The Auctioneer raised his hammer and hearing no other offers, the hammer descended with a clear sharp rap. The audience applauded Brother Cecil’s new unintended purchase.

In today’s dollars, Brother Cecil bid about one million dollars.

Immediately following the sale, a newspaper reporter interviewed Brother Cecil, who remarked that when he entered the sale “he had no intention whatsoever of buying Stonehenge”. But he also added “while I was in the room, I thought that a Salisbury man ought to buy it, and that is how it’s done”.

When asked if he had any plans regarding the future of Stonehenge Brother Cecil replied, that the situation was new to him, and he didn’t have any time to think of any plans. He went on to say that all should be assured that every means of protecting Stonehenge will be taken.

The second highest bidder at the auction was Isaac Crook, a local farmer who wanted to purchase the land for the purpose of grazing sheep.  

Cecil’s wife was not thrilled with his purchase. I can imagine she may have reminded him of why she sent him to the auction in the first place. “But Cecil darling where are the dining room chairs”?

Personally, I think as Cecil waiting for the auction of the dining chairs, he was filled with anxiety and doubt about the fate of Stonehenge. He was quoted latter as saying, “he was born close to it, and during my boyhood and youth visited it at all hours of the day and night, under every conceivable condition of weather-in driving tempests of hail, rain and snow, fierce thunderstorms, glorious moonlight and beauitful sunshine”. I think that his love for Stonehenge caused him to become an impulse buyer that day.

Three years after the auction and influenced by the Ancient Monument Act, Cecil wrote a letter to the Office of the Works (a predecessor of English Heritage). In the letter he offered Stonehenge “as a gift to be held for the nation”.

The First Commissioner of the Works, Sir Alfred, accepted Cecil’s offer with great pleasure. He must have been excited for he informed the Prime Minister and the King of the offer.  

On October 26, 1919, Cecil and Mary Chubb passed Stonehenge into the public’s hands for safekeeping, at a special ceremony held at Stonehenge, where the Chubb’s signed a deed of gift to the nation. By giving Stonehenge to the government, it gave the government the responsibility of the conservation of Stonehenge. The conservation task today is performed by English Heritage.  However, the Chubb’s set some special conditions, for their gift, that are still in effect today.  The conditions were that local residents have free access to the site; and entrance fees for all others were not to exceed one shilling. (With inflation increases have occurred and today the entrance fee is 14.50 pounds or $ 27.20 American dollars.)

As a token of a grateful nation, Prime Minister David Lloyd George awarded Brother Cecil with Knighthood, and the title of Sir Cecil Chubb First Baronet of Stonehenge. His local nick name was Viscount Stonehenge.

Brother Cecil died of heart disease on September 22, 1934. He was the last private owner of Stonehenge. When Cecil Chubb made his generous gift of Stonehenge to the nation, this marked a critical turning point in the care and restoration of this iconic Neolithic monument. Between 1919, 1964, and 2021 there were a series of major restoration projects, accompanied by archeological excavations, and scientific studies.

Brother Cecil Chubb’s gift helped Stonehenge go from a little-known unprotected ruin to a national treasure that is recognized and visited by millions of people all over the world.

Brother Chubb’s Masonic Values……

While Brother Chubb’s actions occurred over a hundred years ago and his gift of Stonehenge was a grand gesture for his community and his country, Brother Cecil Chubb demonstrated, through his actions, the masonic ideals of:


Brotherly Love - devotion to and the caring for each other and our community; and

Relief - caring for and selflessly giving to those in distress; and

Truth – using knowledge, honesty and understanding to build ourselves into men.


These are the same masonic principles that we practice, and that Red Wing Lodge demonstrates today.  While Red Wing Lodge may not have some great monument to donate, it is not the monetary value that makes any action valuable, it is the contribution to the betterment of the community and assisting mankind. When a mason participates and contributes in their own way to their community, that is equally important. Red Wing Lodge has displayed compassion our fellow men, a public minded spirit and has been an active part of the community.


By our participation in Salsalicious, awarding scholarships, serving meals for Loaves and Fishes along with Books for Bikes, these are but a few of the things that Red Wing Lodge has done that demonstrate our masonic ideals.  I think we, as a lodge, have a lot to be proud of.


And here is one last thing to think about:

As individual Freemasons we need to stay on the path in our daily advancement of becoming a better man, so we can make our community and our world a better place.






Tuesday, September 20, 2022


Photo by Tom Hendrickson

On September 19, 2022, Red Wing Lodge #8 held its second evening dedicated for the purpose of Lodge Education.

After a nice light lunch put together by our Worshipful Master Gary Thomas, we retired to the Lodge room where Past Grand Master John Gann introduced Mark Meir and Bill Dehkes of the FACE IT Foundation.

The FACE IT Foundation addresses the one in ten men who experience depression. Most men fear the stigma, shame, and the lack of understanding surrounding depression. This fear prevents many men from dealing with or asking for help. Untreated depression in men’s lives leads to ruined lives, and shattered families.

The FACE IT Foundation is the only organization of its kind in Minnesota where all the services that they provide are free. Just some of their services include support groups, retreats, Saturday breakfasts, monthly education classes, help in navigating available resources and social activities. 

One of the very important aspects of the program is friendship and support. A man who can develop relationships and a sense of community will not be so apt to isolate themselves when dealing with life’s problems. When men isolate themselves its easily can lead to alcohol and drug abuse or suicide.

In 2019 47,511 Americans died by suicide. Men die by suicide four times as often as women.

The FACE IT Foundation is a unique organization that works to create an awareness and a support system for men to be able to ask for help. It’s an organization that saves lives.

The Grand Lodge of Minnesota has made contributions to FACE IT for the past ten years. This year Minnesota Masonic Charities has made a three-year financial commitment to help them continue their valuable work.

If you would like help or more information or would like to make a contribution the information is below.




Saturday, September 10, 2022

Red Wing Lodge #8 Hiram Award 2022


Today Worshipful Master Gary Thomas presented Red Wing Lodge #8 Hiram Award 2022 to Duane R. Baringer.

Duane worked hard to help lead a team to develop a successful business plan and find a tenet for the generation of income for the Lodge building.
Duane's hard work put our lodge in a successful position and we as members today enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Thank you, Duane,

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Minnesota Past Grand Master Gathering 2022

Once a year, for well over a decade, the Past Grand Masters along with the sitting Grand Master and his Officers, gather at the Minnesota Masonic Home for a luncheon. We are fortunate to have a range of years of service represented from 1978 to the present. Of course, not everyone was able to attend due to summer vacations, occupational commitments, but we had a great group attend this year. 

This is one of my favorite events of the year. It's a chance for us to all get caught up on how, and what we are personally doing, and to hear about the State of the Craft. 

I would also like to thank Past Grand Master and the CEO of Minnestoa Masonic Charites Eric Neetenbeek and Deputy Grandmaster Dayton Berg for hosting the event and providing their valuable input for the day.