Valley of Savannah
History of Scottish Rite in Savannah
There is evidence to indicate that Scottish Rite Masonry came to Savannah in 1790, and it is known that Barend M. Spitzer was appointed Deputy Inspector General for Georgia in 1781. During the late 1799's, the organizational structure of Masonry was, to say the least, not fully developed. there is evidence that any recognized Masonic authority could issue a warrant, which could be used as authority for th conferral of any degrees not governed by an established body.
The Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the United States of American was opened May 31, 1801 in Charleston, South Carolina. This is considered the date the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was established in America. Alpha Lodge of Perfection was chartered in Savannah on December 4, 1802. This was the first lodge chartered after the establishment of the Supreme Council. The efforts of the Supreme Council to govern the Scottish Rite was for all practical purposes brought to an end by the Civil War. Although little evidence exists, there is enough to indicate that there was quite a bit of Masonic activity in Savannah and Georgia up to and during the Civil War.
In 1882, General Albert Pike, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council, assisted by Dr. Richard Joseph Nunn, Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Georgia, communicated to a select group of Masons in Savannah the Scottish Rite degrees. Under the able, active and conscientious direction of Dr. Nunn, the Rite grew rapidly, not only in Savannah, but throughout the state. For many years, the only Consistory in Georgia was Benzabee, No. 1, in Savannah. And the Masons who received the higher Scottish Rite degrees received them in Savannah. Therefore it may be said that the Light and Truth of Scottish Rite Masonry was kindled in Savannah and the light from it illuminated Georgia. The modern lodges of the Valley of Savannah were chartered as follows:
ALPHA LODGE OF PERFECTION, No. 1, December 4th, 1802
TEMPLE CHAPTER OF ROSE CROIX, No. 1, October 18, 1888
GETHSEMANE COUNCIL KNIGHTS KADOSH, No. 1, October 23, 1890
BENZABEE CONSISTORY, No. 1, April 23, 1888.
The name of the Consistory was changed to Richard Joseph Nunn Consistory, No. 1 after the death of Dr. Nunn in 1910. The names Alpha, Temple, Gethsemane and Richard Joseph Nunn were changed in 1964 to Savannah.
The traditions of Masonry run deep in Savannah, and the Scottish Rite Masons are proud of their heritage left by devoted men who were active in the total Masonic community in Savannah and the State of Georgia. in 2002, the Scottish Rite Masons of Savannah were joined by all Masons in the sate in celebration of 200 years of Scottish Rite Masonry in Savannah and Georgia.
Visibility of the Scottish Rite in the Valley is maintained through the members who are active in their blue lodges. we also are invited to provide a program several times a year by various lodges. Recognition for recruiting new members range from a cap for one, a years dues for three and a gold watch for five first line signings. All correspondence for the general membership is also sent to sojourners in the valley, which has resulted in quite a few affiliations. Members in arrears in their dues are identified and letters are sent from the membership chairman and the General Secretary and a member of the committee makes personal contact, where possible.
The Advisory Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. This meeting is followed by supper at 6:30 p.m. For all members and guests (when appropriate). the Lodge of Perfection meets at 7:30 p.m. except for July and August. Normally in July the Ring Ceremony for the spring class is held and some special occasion is celebrated in August The fall ring ceremony is usually in November. Committee meetings are held as called by their chairman and are either early evening meetings or working lunch meetings with lunch provided by the Valley.
Associations are located in Hinesville, Brunswick, Jesup and Statesboro and meet quarterly at a restaurant always with the ladies and have interesting speakers or programs almost without exception. Once a year in the fall we have a combined meeting, which is hosted by one association on a rotating basis. these are well-attended enjoyable events.
SCOTTISH RITE COMMUNICATIVE DISORDERS CENTER
AT GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY-ARMSTRONG CAMPUS
Our communicative disorders center was established in 1997 and has operated at near peak capacity since. It has provided language disorders services to many children in Southeast Georgia who previously had no affordable care available. The center also provides a clinical setting for the graduate and undergraduate students in the speech pathology department of the university. the center is operated on a fee basis, but no child is ever turned away because they cannot pay. The center is one of 147 in the Southern Jurisdiction and the first in the state of Georgia outside of the Atlanta area. Funding for its operation is shared by the university, the Valley of Savannah and the Supreme Council. The Scottish Rite MBNA credit card program is a major source of funding for the language disorders program in the Southern Jurisdiction.
MASONIC CENTER ENDOWMENT FUND
The Masonic Center Endowment Fund is established under the Scottish Rite Masonic Center Preservation Foundation, Inc. to support the maintenance and upkeep of the Masonic Center in Savannah. Donations may be mailed to the General Secretary of the Valley of Savannah. Additional information to include the different recognition levels is also available. Recognition is provided on a Wall of Honor in the entrance foyer of the center on plaques with appropriately engraved plates. Donations in honor of or in memory of friends or loved ones are welcomed and encouraged.