At the time of the formation of our Lodge, the laws of the Grand Lodge divided the village of Kenmore between Akron and Barberton. Petitioners seeking light in Freemasonry were required to apply in either of these two adjoining cities. This resulted in divergent activities among the Kenmore brethren.
Through the leadership of Brother Walter V. Sterki of National Lodge No. 568, Barberton, a close fraternal feeling grew among a number of Freemasons in these two jurisdictions. Frequently Brother Sterki expressed the idea the Freemasonry in Kenmore could not express its ultimate usefulness and unity of action until all the brethren living within its boundaries could more conveniently meet and communicate.
Starting in December 1918, the Odd Fellows’ clubroom was the place of several meetings from which resulted the Kenmore Masonic Club. Masons from eight different lodges who were present at the first meeting were H.C. Spicer, E.M. Anneshansley, M.W. Williams, E.C. Carr, G.V. Britton, Willis McGlumphy, W.S. Irvin, W.V.Sterki, and P.E. Waxler. Brother Sterki was elected President and Brother Waxler was elected Secretary-Treasurer.
At the meeting of January 23, 1919, the rapidly increasing membership prompted Brother Sterki to make a motion to consider the organization of a Masonic Lodge in Kenmore. The motion passed and a Steering Committee was appointed. This committee, consisting of C.E. Benedict, C.H. Crawford, E.E. Kime, J. Stahl, and W.V. Sterki, called a special feasibility and procedure meeting at which PGM Henry M. Hagelbarger, PM Charles H. Stahl (Adoniram Lodge No. 517) and PM Harold P. Dey (National Lodge No. 568) addressed the group. The speakers inspired the members, and the committee was instructed to apply for Dispensation.
National Lodge No. 568, Barberton requested the honor, and was accepted, as the Mother Lodge, when the committee presented the Dispensation at the meeting held of February 27, 1919. The Charter was opened and the following election named Worshipful Brother Harold Parks Dey, Past Master of National Lodge no. 568, to serve as Worshipful Master; Brother Walter Victor Sterki, of National Lodge No. 568, Senior Warden; Brother Herbert Clyde Spicer, a Past Junior Warden of Palestine Lodge No. 158, Marysville, Ohio, Junior Warden.
The unanimous choice for the name of the lodge was “Victory” because of the significance of the word. To the people of the United States at that time, it meant that the Great War was over, that the sacrifices had resulted in “Victory,” that Joy and Peace were a part of the “Victory.”
On April 5, 1919, forty-seven demits were in the hands of the secretary. A motion was duly made and passed that the Charter remain open for an additional thirty days, making the closing date May 5, 1919. The following brethren were elected: Joseph Stahl, Treasurer; Perl E. Waxler, Secretary; John W. Williams, Senior Deacon; Samuel B. Isaacson, Junior Deacon; and Alfred B. Smith, Tyler. In April a lease was signed for the fourth floor of the Smith Block, the home of Victory Lodge for 47 years. Early in May, furniture was purchased from the Akron Masonic Temple Company.
On May 22, 1919, a meeting was called to order and all papers an consents in the hands of the secretary were ordered to be sent to the Grand Secretary. The Charter listed 69 Master Masons. Consent was given by eleven affected Lodges; Akron No. 83, Adoniram No. 517, Henry Perkins No. 611, Loyalty No. 645, National No. 568, Wadsworth No. 385, Meridian Sun No. 69, Elliott No. 514, Canton No. 60, William McKinley No. 431, and Juilliard No. 460.
Most Worshipful Grand Master Matthew Smith signed the Dispensation on Jun 9, 1919. A lodge of Master Masons was opened on June 23, 1919 in due form. Receipt of the Dispensation was announced, the Uniform Code of by-laws was adopted, and other business was conducted.
This was a busy summer, 35 petitions were received and duly processed. Candidates were elected, initiated and passed. The first Master Masons raised in Victory Lodge were Henry G. Morris and Ivan Earl Britton. The date was August 19, 1919. The Grand Lodge of Ohio, sitting at Toledo, granted a Charter to Victory Lodge No. 649, on October 16, 1919.
Over the years much thought was given to the idea of building our own Masonic Temple. The lodge took a forward step in that direction with the purchase of land in 1952. The Kenmore Masonic Temple Company was granted a Charter in 1959. The incorporators were Lucius C. Benedict, William J. Schlup, and Perl E. Waxler. Following the organization of the Temple Company, the unity of purpose and willing cooperation of the brethren, our related organizations and sojourning residents, became evident when the sale of stock was authorized and various fun-raising projects were undertaken. Brother Edwin F. Bliss, Architect, formulated and presented the plan for our Temple.
The building contract was let and in May 1966 ground was broken. A special meeting was called for May 4, 1967 for the Dedication of the Temple. MW Ben R. Evans, Grand Master, assisted by RW Rosser J. Jones, DDGM, conducted with memorable ceremony.
October 10, 1969, Victory Lodge celebrated its 50th anniversary held at the Kenmore Masonic temple. RWB John T. Stephens presided at the event.
Over the past thirty-nine years Victory Lodge has met without interruption for its stated and special meetings at its current site. Its members have distinguished themselves in many different ways.
The Lodge has been awarded Grand Masters’ Awards on many occasions. Brothers of Victory Lodge have served as District Education Officers, District Deputy Grand Masters, and Officers of the Symbolic Lodge Officers Association of Summit County. Several members have distinguished themselves and the lodge by receiving Knight York Cross of Honor or elected 33rd degree Scottish Rite Masons.