The Valley of Medford officially started in 1923 and its Consistory was chartered in 1935, three Brothers from what would eventually become that Valley were Grand Masters prior to that time; William W. Fowler -1862-1863, Thomas G. Reames -1885-1886 and William H. Flanagan -1905-1906. Four others became Grand Masters after the Valley was formed: Ill. Ezra Morton, Wilson, 33° -1934-1935, Earl T. Newbry, 32° KCCH -1964-1965, Ill. Ross F. Gilkison, 33° -1974-1975 and Ill. Glendon K. Jefferies, 33° -1987-1988, Art Borland, 32* KCCH – 2016-2017. Thus, the Valley of Medford rightfully can boast that it has produced eight Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Oregon.
One of the brothers who were instrumental in the formation of this Valley was most certainly Paul B. Rynning, 32°. In the minutes dated March 29, 1923 which he signed it was noted that there was an agreement in the group of twenty-two attendees to perfect a petition for Letters Temporary from the S.G.I.G. in Oregon. As it is found in other Valleys, early records of who may have acted as the Representative of the S.G.I.G. are incomplete, sometimes non-existent; the records in the Valley of Medford begin with 1975; however it is almost certain that Brother Rynning acted in this capacity very early in the history of the Valley.
From its inception, the Brethren of the Valley of Medford (even prior to its Letters Temporary) met in the Medford Masonic Temple on the corner of Main and Holly Streets. They met here from 1923 until 1970, when on March 9th the Medford Masonic Temple was sold.
After the building sale in 1970 officers of the Bodies of the Scottish Rite made arrangements to meet in the Central Point Masonic Hall. Deputy of the Supreme Council in Oregon, Brother Clarence D. Phillips, 33° authorized the move. All meetings of the Scottish Rite Bodies continued in this Hall until 1974.
Going way back in December of 1953 a proposal had been made to start a fund toward the eventual construction of a suitable temple in which to meet.
December 14, 1970 sufficient funds were accumulated and a move was made to seek a building site. The site was selected, purchased and the new Temple was constructed, completion being early in 1974. The equipment and all paraphernalia were moved into place in June, 1974.
There exists some confusion regarding the date of the building dedication. Written information suggests the new facility was dedicated October 19, 1974 by MWB Ross F. Gilkison, 32° KCCH, Grand Master. The plaque on the building indicates 1973 as the date and by MWB Edwin A. Troyer, Grand Master. We have a photo of the plaque which had been previously installed in an uncompleted building being dedicated, but we’re not sure who the Grand Master was.
This building was sold in 2008 and with a clearer vision of where we, the Medford Scottish Rite wanted to go and what we wanted to do in the community, we commenced a search for a new home.
Our exhaustive searches lead us to our new location and the dedication of this building by our Grand Master MWB Ed Bousquet 33°.
For those of you that didn’t have the opportunity to be at the building dedication you really missed something very special. Not often is a building dedicated and when one is you should make every attempt to be there as it is another great example of Masonic tradition visible to the public.
Besides the Grand Master, MWB Ed Bousquet 33°, there was the Deputy Grand Master, RWB Rich Martin, the Senior Grand Warden, RWB Hunt Compton, the Grand Chaplain, RWB Fred Schwartz and our own District 17 Deputy, RWB Art Borland who took part in the ceremony in place of the Junior Grand Warden, all of whom comprised the principals of the Dedication Team.
We were extremely pleased to have Ill. Gary W. Kuney 33° Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Oregon open the dedication ceremony welcoming and introducing our Grand Master, MWB Ed Bousquet 33° who commenced with the opening ceremony.
We were also pleased to have as a speaker, Jackson County Commissioner and Chairman C.W. Smith and his wife present with the Chairman giving us a few words. C.W. Smith is also a new master mason from Medford 103 AF&AM and is definitely in our sights for the Medford Scottish Rite.
Our S.G.I.G, Ill Brother Gary, spoke with encouraging words for the Medford Valley, mentioning the visibility of the new building as well as the future role the Scottish Rite is expecting to play in the community.
The Grand Master was the last to speak which included recognition of Art Borland 32° K.C.C.H., also Deputy Personal Representative of the Medford Valley, for his leadership in the development of the design of the dedication monument and plaque as well as emblems of the Scottish Rite and Masonic Square and Compasses that are to be applied to the monument at a later date.
Bro. Art had contacted Ill. Jim Westerfield 33°, a past Medford Valley Personal Representative, who manufactured the granite dedication plaque and emblems. The workmanship is perfect and sets in a show place in front of the building for all to see forever.
Immediately following the dedication refreshments were served to a crowd estimated to be 75 and for those interested a tour of building was given which provided a blue print drawing with information of what is planned for the future use of the building.
The reunion started that afternoon at 5 pm and we were pleased to have eight (8) candidates present this year.
The Medford Valley did a superb job of performing the 4th and 14th degrees. Saturday, the following day the other valleys, Eugene, Roseburg and Klamath Falls, participated in the 18th , 30th and 32nd degrees with excellent performances, completing our reunion around 4 pm.
The S.G.I.G. in Oregon, Ill Gary W. Kuney 33° was pleased with the quantity of 18 candidates we’ve had for the last two years and is encouraged that with future reunions that number will continue to grow. Also noted by the S.G.I.G. was the fact that the Medford Valley had five candidates from the last year’s reunion participate in this year’s 4th and 14th degrees.
Although this reunion had its own challenging time, we the members of the Medford Valley cannot express our gratitude enough to all the participating valleys for their hard work that was evidenced by their proficiencies In the degrees they were performing. Only with their participation could we’ve had this kind of success. The Southern Oregon Spring will continue to grow and become more successful. It takes time to evolve and improve and if the rumors are correct, a Fall Reunion may be in our future. But that’s just a rumor!
If we had our pick of a momentous occasion during the reunion, I think we all would pick the presentation of the Albert Pike Award by Ill Brother Gary to Brother Warren Dunning 32° K.C.C.H., where he received a standing applause by the brethren. Although Bro. Warren has been going through a challenging time, he gave us encouraging words regarding his continued dedication to the Scottish Rite and his full expectations of further participation in our degree work. As Brother Warren was at the time Wise Master, Medford Chapter Knights Rose Croix he refused to slow down and was active in our annual Celebration of Remembrance and Renewal. If we can learn anything from Brother Warrens example it would be that he exemplified the true meaning of dedication … we should take a lesson.