The property on which the present lodge stands was bought by Brother Donaldson and Brother Hansen from a Brother Clark in Portland, Oregon. As it was to be used for a Masonic Building, he gave a very favourable price. Planning of the new building by Brother Donaldson began in 1950 while actual construction was in 1953 and 1954. On May 15, 1954, the Grand Master Most Worshipful Brother William A. Curran, laid the cornerstone in a most colourful ceremony attended by about 200 Brethren. He was assisted by Most Worshipful Brother J.H.N. Morgan, the Grand Secretary and 6 other Grand Lodge officers. A banquet in the new Salmo High School concluded a most successful event. The Brethren moved in on June 4, 1954. W. Brother J. Pargeter was the first Worshipful Master in their new home.
Salmo is billed as "The Home of the Stone Murals" as it hosts several large murals, all beautifully done as mosaics of various colours of stone. In keeping with this theme, the Masonic Insignia on the building is done as a stone mural.
Today the Lodge meets on the 2nd floor on the 3rd Friday of each month, while the main floor is used for commercial rental space.
115 Main Street, Salmo, British Columbia V0G 1Z0, Canada
Ymir Lodge came into being through the influx of people into the Ymir district for gold mining about the same time as the boom in Rossland. In 1896 a number of Masons had come to the district. They were anxious to hold Lodge communication and met in a grocery store to discuss the formation of a Lodge.
On August 4, 1899, the first meeting of Ymir Lodge, under dispensation, was held in the Foresters' lodge room at Ymir with 14 members present.
The Lodge met upstairs in a two storey wooden building, above a general store. The outer sidewalls were finished with shingles cut by the Salmo Shingle Co. which was owned by Brother Clark. The inside walls were papered with Masonic Emblems. The Ymir building had no plumbing facilities and it has often been said that, on the occasion of the official visit of District Deputy Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother John Price asked for a drink of water. Brother Bill Guillaume, who later affiliated with Emulation Lodge No. 125, disappeared and came back with a bucket of water and a dipper.
The first regular meeting of Ymir Lodge No. 31 was held July 27, 1900, with 18 members present. Right Worshipful Brother J. Hamilton of Nelson Lodge No. 23, District Deputy Grand Master of District No. 6 presided. He installed the officers and presented the charter to Worshipful Brother J.F. Burne, the first Worshipful Master. The first degree work put on after the charter was received, was a Master Mason Degree on Brother D. McLeod.
Ymir Lodge continued with some ups and downs until 1935 when finances pointed out a need to move to the more active town of Salmo. Worshipful Brother Chris Hansen presided over the last meeting in Ymir on October 4 and over the first meeting in Salmo on November 1. For the next 19 years the Lodge met in the K.P. Hall. The first Master installed in Salmo was Worshipful Brother D.H. Norcross, a miner who lived in Nelson. In 1946, the property on which the present lodge stands was purchased, construction began in 1953 with the brethren moving in on June 4, 1954.
Ymir Lodge holds multiple social events, enjoyed by all the brethren of the district today. One of the oldest traditions is what they call "Ladies Night." As recorded in their minutes the first Ladies Night was held in the McLeod Hotel in Ymir in 1902, with a dance and refreshments. Other such functions are mentioned in minutes of later dates. However, 40 years ago it was revised and has continued on a regular basis ever since. Years ago they had potluck suppers and canned music, but after a while and with a better economy they opted for catered meals and a dance with a live band, so neither the men nor women had to work or clean up.
Their "Huckleberry Feed" is an annual tradition at their installations. This was started by Brother A.W. Hearn when he was Master in 1965, and has continued ever since. When this tradition first started the lodge used to get local cream that was so thick you nearly had to spoon it on the huckleberries, today they use whipping cream. Along with the huckleberries they also serve meat pies, salads and cake for all to enjoy. There have been a lot of huckleberries used over the last 58 years. It takes about 32 pounds of berries to feed the Masons at their installations, and according to calculations there are about 750 berries per pound. The members of the Lodge and their families spend many hours during the summer picking the berries for the installation.
The Lodge also hosts an annual "Garden party" which has been held each summer for at least the last 44 years. They hold a Lodge meeting which lasts half an hour, after which the brethren join their families for games and light refreshments with our guests and their wives.