The following is a history of the formation of Sandia Mountain Lodge No, 72, AF & AM, This a narrative of the beginnings. It contains the minutes of the North East Corner Masonic Club, from which Sandia Mountain Lodge No. 72 was formed. You will also read some comments on things that occurred before the Club was formed. Along with that It contains information on what transpired between Club meetings. It also contains behind the scenes items that transpired connecting with the formation of the Lodge.
Nathan E. Smith
SEEDS — DREAMS — TOIL
It is difficult to put into words the seeds of an idea, an orderly account of a dream, and the many facets of the toil that went into the creation of Sandia Mountain Lodge No. 72, AF & AM, Albuquerque, New Mexico, because they are all interwoven with each other. You must picture in your mind a long and winding roadway, one with many paths joining onto, and many others leading away from the same long and winding roadway. Picture a group of three or four men walking down the roadway — discussing the need of a new lodge. A single man joins the group from a pathway and one of those on the road departs at the next pathway. Then the whole group turns off — and a new group turns onto the road — to be joined by others and left by those already there. Over and over the group changes until there arrives a few who decide to stay on the road and do the necessary toil required to form a new lodge. So it was.
For several years prior to November 1957, the need of a Masonic Lodge to serve the North East Heights of Albuquerque was discussed by various small groups of Masons who resided in the North East Heights. The discussions to start a new Lodge would grow strong, and then would die down, mainly for want of a leader. The cause of these discussions was the five to ten mile drive through traffic to the Masonic Temple at Seventh Street and Central Avenue (the meeting place of Temple 6, Hiram 13, and Albuquerque 60 Lodges), and the difficulty of parking once there. Also, Mesa Lodge No. 68, in the South East Heights was difficult to attend due to the roads in that area of the city. It was estimated that there were over one thousand out of state Masons residing in the North East Heights who did not attend Lodge for these and other reasons.
In 1954 Brother Perry T. Croonquist, a member of Mesa Lodge No. 68 who resided in the North East Heights, was drawn into one of these groups. He became very interested, but about that time his military unit, U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps, transferred him overseas to Germany. There, in Kaiserslautern, he met Brother Nathan E. Smith, who was also from Albuquerque, and during the next three years they attended Galili Lodge No. 810A together. Brother Smith was Secretary and later, Senior Warden, of this Lodge. Many times during the next three years they talked about the need of a Lodge in the North East Heights and agreed that come November 1957, when they would both be back in Albuquerque, that they would try and do something about it. They agreed that the lodge should be located near the intersection of Menaul and Wyoming N.E., and that the name of this new lodge should be the “Northeast Corner Lodge”.
The formation of an Order of the Eastern Star Chapter and an Order of Rainbow for Girls Assembly, the initial members to be from the wives and daughters of the members of the new Lodge, was also planned, especially by Mrs. Marjorie B. Smith, supported by Mrs. Elizebeth Croonquist. Brother Perry T. Croonquist returned to Albuquerque during August, 1957, and was joined in the lodge movement by Brother Floyd S. Breckenridge. They had meetings with groups of three and four other interested Masons in their homes, trying to get together the required number of men who would definitely work towards creating a new lodge. They were joined in this effort by Brother Albert D. Smith, a retired Navy Man, who devoted much time to the cause. In July of 1957, Brother Nathan E. Smith returned to Albuquerque and, although handicapped by being stationed with the Air Force at Cannon Base in Clovis until his retirement in November, he joined in with them. The existing records were turned over to him at that time.
A card index file had been compiled by Brothers Perry T. Croonquist, Floyd S. Brekenridge, and Albert D. Smith. This file listed about 35 names and addresses of Masons who had expressed a desire to join in creating a new lodge and become members of it, or who had expressed that they would aid in forming the new lodge, but for various reasons would not become members. In the first part of December 1957, it was decided that there were enough who had stated that they would join to really get started, and that additional Masons could be secured as things progressed along. The time had come for real action. On December 10, 1957, from this index file, copies of the attached Post Card was sent to all Masons who had expressed a desire to join in forming a New Lodge.
There will be a get together of those who have expressed a desire to form a club of Masons in the Albuquerque area at 7:30 PM, Monday, 16 December l957. The meeting will be held at 142 Monroe NE (one block north of the Highland Theater). The District Deputy Grand Master will attend if his busy schedule will permit. It is important to get a good crowd out to this first get together. Bring a brother along if you can. (Sig. Perry T. Croonquist) AL 6 9621
Only thirteen appeared at the meeting although about 40 cards were mailed out. Part of those who did not appear had phoned and expressed regrets due to being on night shift at the ACF Industries or otherwise engaged so that they could not attend. Brother Floyd S. Breckenridge could not attend due to illness. At this meeting, those attending were informed that the purpose of the meeting was to organize a Masonic Club with a minimum of at least 18 members who would become active and proficient in the New Mexico Ritual and would form a new Masonic Lodge. Right Worshipful Brother John T. Testman, District Deputy Grand Master, District 12, of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, was present and he gave a talk and answered questions on the problems and the requirements to be met in forming a Lodge of Masons. After discussion, it was agreed that a Square and Compasses Club should be, and would be formed, and at this point in the evening, R.W. Brother John T. Testman took over the rostrum and the first organizational meeting of the Northeast Corner Masonic Club began. It was about 9 P.M. Brother Nathan E. Smith volunteered to act as temporary Secretary during the forming of the basic elements of the Club, and made the necessary notes from which to write the minutes of the meeting. Although Coffee and Rolls had been provided for an attendance of fifty persons, the entire amount was consumed by the thirteen who did attend.
Here are the minutes from that first organizational meeting of the Northeast Corner Masonic Club:
December 16, 1957 7:30 P.M.
Meeting held in Briefing Room, U. S. Army Building, 142 Monroe N.E.
With District Deputy Grand Master JOHN T. TESTMAN presiding, nominations for Temporary Chairman of the new Square and Compasses Club were made. Brother ALBERT D. SMITH was nominated and seconded. Brother PARRY T. CROONQUIST was nominated and seconded. As no further nominations were forthcoming, it was moved and seconded that the nominations be closed. Ballot was by show of hands and Brother PERRY T. CROONQUIST was elected Temporary Chairman by an overwhelming majority.
District Deputy Grand Master JOHN T. TESTMAN turned the rostrum over to Temporary Chairman, Brother PERRY T. CROONQUIST.
After thanking the Brethren for the honor and confidence that they had conferred upon him, Temporary Chairman Brother PERRY T. CROONQUIST stated that the first order of business should be the selection of a name for the new club, and he proposed the name: “Northeast Corner Masonic Club”. Brethren present proposed the names: “The Heights Masonic Club”, “The International Club”, “The Crossroads Club”, and “The Sandia Club”. A vote was held and the temporary name “Northeast Corner Masonic Club” was selected, to be confirmed when the proposed club had. gained the necessary sponsorship required by the By-laws of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico.
Temporary Chairman PERRY T. CROONQUIST asked that a meeting date be selected. After discussion, Tuesday evenings were selected as being the best meeting day as it did not conflict with the meeting dates of the Established Lodges in Albuquerque. The number of meeting per month was taken up, but was tabled until after sponsorship could be attained and the Club properly formed; however, it was decided that the third Tuesday of each month would be a business meeting.
Temporary Chairman PERRY T. CROONQUIST moved that officers of the proposed Northeast Corner Masonic Club be elected at the first business meeting in January, 1958. It was seconded and so carried. It was recommended that these facts be advertised in all existing Lodges before such date. (Recommendation made by R.W. Brother JOHN T. TESTMAN.) It was moved and seconded that one dollar ($l.00) be charged for affiliation fee with the Club, and that one dollar ($l.00) per month thereafter be collected as dues. So carried. It was moved and seconded that Brother NATHAN E. SMITH be Temporary Secretary. It was so carried. It was moved and seconded that Brother ALBERT D. SMITH be Temporary Treasurer, and begin at once to collect affiliation fees. It was so carried, and he did.
The following volunteered and/or were appointed to approach Mesa Lodge No. 68 on January 2, 1958 with regard to sponsorship for the Club. Brother PERRY T. CROONQUIST, Brother NATHAN E. SMITH, and Brother ALBERT D. SMITH. This was amended, upon recommendation of R.W. Brother JOHN T. TESTMAN, to include all Brethren present. Each Brother present was given two cards upon which to fill in facts concerning other interested Masons, and they were requested to bring the cards to the first January meeting of the proposed club. It was agreed that time and place of the next meeting would be announced via Post Cards to be sent out by Temporary Chairman PERRY T. CROONQUIST.
The Temporary Chairman instructed the Temporary Secretary to be sure when typing up the minutes to insert all names included in the minutes in capital letters, and to be sure first names and initials were used each time a name was mentioned. This so that in case anyone became famous, it would be easy to pick out his name. There being no further business to be brought before the proposed club, the meeting was adjourned and the Brethren enjoyed coffee and rolls provided for the occasion.
The following were present at the first organizational meeting. All underlined names indicates that the Brother became a Charter Member of Sandia Mountain Lodge No. 72.
1. Br. PERRY T. CROONQUIST, Mesa Lodge No. 68, Albuquerque, N.M.
2. Br. ALBERT D. SMITH, Mesa Lodge No. 68, Albuquerque, N.M.
3. Br. DONALD R. DOHERTY, Herman Lodge No. 41, Zumbrota, Minnesota.
4. Br. HAROLD C. BOGER, Mesa Lodge No. 68, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
5. Br. OWEN D. FORNIER, Grand Lodge of the Philippines.
6. Br. NATHAN E. SMITH, Galilei Lodge 810A, Kaiaerslautern, Germany
7. Br. BOFFIE E. HOUCHIN, Mesa Lodge No. 68, Albuquerque, N.M.
8. Br. CHARLES W. KNOX JR., Mesa Lodge No. 68, Albuquerque, N.M.
9. Br. RALPH V. HOLST, Mesa Lodge No. 68, Albuquerque, N.M.
10. Br. TEMPLE J. DOUGHERTY, Mesa Lodge No. 68, Albuquerque, N.M.
11. Br. GLENN A. HUGHEY, Chalcedony Lodge No. 6, Holbrook, Arizona
12. Br. BENJAMIN H. HINKLE, Mesa Lodge No. 68, Albuquerque, New Mexico
13. Br. MICHAEL K. ABRAHAM, Far East Lodge No. 1, Yokahoma, Japan
14. R.W. Br. JOHN T. TESTMAN, District Deputy Grand Master, 12th Masonic District, Grand Lodge of New Mexico.
The majority of the group who had attended the First Organizational meeting of the proposed Northeast Corner Masonic Club were present at the meeting of Mesa Lodge No. 68 on January 2, 1958. At this meeting of Mesa Lodge No. 68, Brother PERRY T. CROONQUIST, acted as spokesman for the group. He introduced each of the proposed club members to the Lodge and stated the purpose of the visit, which was to gain the sponsorship of Mesa Lodge No 68 for the Club, which eventually was to become a new Masonic Lodge.
The Worshipful Master, ROBERT K. PARRY, appointed Past Master FORD R. DAVID, Past Master RUSSELL E. HERBERT, and Past Master LEROY B. FOSTER as a committee to investigate the proposed club and to make their recommendations at the next stated meeting of the Lodge.
After the meeting, the group from the proposed club got together with the three appointed representatives of Mesa Lodge No. 88 and answered as many questions as possible, and informed them that as soon as the next organizational meeting was to be held, they would be given notice as to where it would be so they could attend. During the next two weeks, Brother PERRY T. CROONQUIST secured a suitable meeting place for the club, at a cost of $10.00 for the evening, which left $3.00 in the treasury to cover Post Cards, Postage, and Refreshments. (We managed to buy some day old coffee rolls and doughnuts very reasonably priced.) The place for the meeting was the Barling Dance Studio, 2409 Wyoming N.E., approximately one-half block north of the intersection of Menaul and Wyoming N.E. As there were not enough chairs provided by the Studio, it was necessary for Brother PERRY T. CROONQUIST to arrange to borrow some folding chairs from the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps, haul them to the Barling Studio in his car and return them the same evening to 142 Monroe N.E. where the first organizational meeting had been held.
An advertisement was inserted in the Albuquerque Journal and the Albuquerque Tribune by Brother PERRY T. CROONQUIST, and Post Cards were mailed to all who wore listed in the index file. January 21st, 1958 was a cold day, and many telephone calls were made to try to get as many as possible to attend the meeting.
There will be more of the subsequent meetings for easier navigation. Please feel free to read them to learn more about us as each page also has a nice narrative to coincide with the history detailed.