by Violet (Connie) Conrad Naomi Chapter #9 Skagway, AK written in 1984
Is Santa Claus a Charter Member? There really is a North Pole, Alaska, and 64 Charter Members' names are on the books. Whether one of those members would answer to "Santa" or not, we do not know. The members feel that they should give that title to David Miller, M.W.G.P., who presided on June 9, 1984, when the new chapter became instituted. The goal of Fairbanks U.D. Chapter is that they will be Constituted by July, 1985, and will become Fairbanks Chapter #18.
Assisting in the ceremony were Barbara Kennedy, R.W.G. Marshal Pro Tem; Barbara Cline, R.W.G. Secretary Pro Tem; Glenna Case, R.W.G. Chaplain Pro Tem. More than 100 members witnessed the installation of Mary McGuire, W.M., and Fred McGuire, W.P. All of the jewels and emblems were donated for the new Chapter. If you would enjoy seeing moose in your back yard, or visiting a Chapter in hopes of seeing Santa, plan to go to North Pole, Alaska, in the near future. Regular meetings are held the fourth Friday of every month at the Masonic Temple in Fairbanks.
Even though Alaska has been a state only since 1959, the love and friendship common to OES has been growing much longer. Nome, in the far northwest, became Alaska Chapter #1 on August 1, 1907. Nugget Chapter #2 in Douglas, September 15, 1909, will be celebrating their 75th in 1984. Northern Lights Chapter #12, Petersburg, will host all of Southeast Alaska Chapters in November, 1984 with a Norwegian tea and ceremony to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Their birthday was December 12, 1934.
What do you do for fun and learning? If you like to play Bingo, you would enjoy ARSME. All of the columns are filled with key words from the star point lectures: A from Adah; R, Ruth; S, Esther; M, Martha; and E, Electa. The game is played just like Bingo and small prizes can be given to the winner of each game, if desired. Members become more familiar with the lectures and have fun while hunting the words.
A "Back to School Quiz" study questions in four parts (proficiency, examining, balloting and ESTARL) were handed out the first meeting in September. The "Quiz" was taken the second meeting of the month with the chairman of each of the committees responsible to verify the correct answers given by the members.
April Fool's Day brought a questionnaire to be answered by partners and the use of the ritual for answers, if needed. Near Halloween, teams were formed and discussed together questions regarding the history of the Order of the Eastern Star. Answers were judged by the W.P. Winners were given a "treat" (candy) and losers had to perform a "trick" during social hour.
Once a month for five months the star point officers gave an interesting review of the history of each of their points. After the study of Adah (for example) was completed, all who had held the office of Adah were presented behind Esther's chair and issued a charge by the W.M. reminding them to live up to the lesson presented. The grand finale of the study brought all lessons together in LOVE.
Projects? All Chapters try to come up with something different or a new way to make money. Ketchikan helped the Rainbow Girls attend Grand Assembly by filling medicine bottles with crude oil and selling them for $1 each. One of the state's newest Chapters, Star of the North in Soldotna, will host Grand Assembly for Rainbow in 1985.
Northern Lights Chapter in Douglas gives a donation to Alaska Crippled Children in memory of departed members. This is a special year for Nugget. They are celebrating 75 years. Secretary Bertha Goetz, who joined Chapter in 1922, has been on the job since 1943 and celebrated her 90th birthday September 26, 1984. Can anyone top that for an "active" member?
Imagine yourself standing on a bridge over a small river. Snow-capped mountains surround you on three sides and the spring rush of water flows to the south into the ocean. High overhead the cup of the big dipper becomes the center of a dome. Northern lights radiate from all directions as if coming from an exploded rainbow and come together in the dipper. There are no sounds except the movement of the water. The aroma of the pine trees fills your lungs. This is Alaska. We invite all of you to "lift up your eyes unto the hills" as you come north to the future!
Northern Light Chapter No. 12 was instituted April 28, 1934, and constituted November 3, 1934.The organizational meetings were held at the home of Martin & Augusta Enge.There were 24 charter members. Meetings were then held at the Sons of Norway Hall. The first Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron were Ralph & Mrs. Reeser, who had been actively engaged in Eastern Star work for many years both in Ketchikan and Fairbanks.
By 1937 it had 43 members and prospects of a still larger membership before the close of the year.A big birthday party is held each year.Card parties and other good times are numerous.The Wrangell Chapter was invited to witness the ceremony, and Wrangell Chapter came in full force though it necessitated chartering a boat and sailing for over five hours to reach Petersburg.They stayed over night, returning home the next day.This was an outstanding event for both Chapters.Where Chapters are situated so many miles apart the exchange of visits can only be made with much planning and then only when the weather permits smaller boats to sail the seas.
There were 165 persons in attendance at the Installation ceremonies in 1938.The Sons of Norway Hall was beautifully decorated in a winter motif.A large number of evergreen trees trimmed with tinsel icicles formed a pleasing background for miniature snow covered mountain ranges and lakes at each of the four principal stations.
In 1938 the MWGM Anna Winston Smalley visited from June 6 to 10.This is the 2nd visit of a MWGM, as MWGM Frances Haun visited in 1935.Since the length of her visit is governed by the boat schedule, the chapter honored her with several social affairs. She then sailed on the S. S. Denali for Skagway.Her tour took her through the interior of Alaska and to Nome, and also Yukon Chapter No. 1 at Dawson, Yukon Territory, Canada.She announced that there would again be an Alaskan dinner at the next triennial in 1940 in San Francisco.
The Alaska –Yukon dinner at the 23rd triennial in San Francisco will be long remembered as an outstanding success.It was arranged by the twelve Chapters in Alaska and the one Chapter in Yukon Territory under the direction of Sibyl Locken PM Northern Light Chapter , Petersburg, Alaska – who served as chairman.The theme of the dinner was a cruise through the fraternal waters of the two territories, with delegates’ short talks at each port of call.A movie made in Alaska was shown, and the Hump-Back’d Salmon song was sung.The Alaska-Yukon dinner has been held at each triennial.
In 1947, the OES Alaska Delegates meet in Seattle for thetrip to Tampa, FL.by rail.In an interview, Mrs. Bernice Folger of Petersburg said it was a small fishing village of 1500 famous for its fishing industries and was against accepting statehood unless Alaska was given complete control of their resources.
By 1954 Northern Lights was celebrating its Twentieth Anniversary.Fifteen visitors from Wrangellwho had been present when the chapter was instituted were in attendance.Two of the first initiates were also present .Worthy Matron Ruth Sandvik followed the established anniversary custom of directing the secretary to read the minutes of the first Eastern Star meeting here.
During the visit of MWGM Florence Plummer in 1956, Worthy Matron Cora Johnson initiated her son and daughter, Jim and Lois Johnson.
It was 1966 when the chapter moved from the Sons of Norway Hall to the Episcopal Church to hold their meetings. Jim & Anne Leekley hosted an annual Fathers Day Salmon Bake at their home at the University of Alaska Experimental Fur Farm on Wrangell Narrows.Anne Leekley was also known for her memorable skits during the meetings.
The Little Norway Festival in Petersburg was first held in 1958.In 1970 the Eastern Star chapter began hosting their traditional Pancake Breakfast during the May 17th festivities and it became the major fund raiser for more than thirty five years.Florence Leroy was the organizer, and Carol Enge made her famous red huckleberry and blueberry syrup .Masons cooked in the kitchen, and children, grandchildren, and Rainbow Girls dressed in Norwegian dress served and cleared the tables.It has been fun, profitable and a joy to share in Petersburg’s yearly event.
In 1972 Petersburg Chapter welcomed nine members from Wrangell who were affiliated. Carol Enge was Worthy Matron.Her favorite memories are from the Christmas parties held every year for the children of the Eastern Star and Masonic families with specialgiftsgiven to each child.Another memorable event were the bridge and pinochle parties that were popular with the members held after the regular meetings.
Cora Johnson was Worthy Matron in 1974 when the chapter celebrated their Fortieth Anniversary.Secretary Anne Thompson gave a resume of the chapter’s 40 year history.Twenty five year pins were presented to Ruth Sandvik and Mildred Counter.
The fifthtieth anniversary was indeed a lovely event, Worthy Matron Marilyn George was in charge.A community tea was held in the afternoon November 3, 1984. Maxine Husvik set up a table of memorablia for guests to reminisce.There were five living charter members who still belonged to the chapter.Relatives of the charter members, and members from Wrangell who were instrumental in starting the Petersburg Chapter were in attendance.Wes Randrup was the master of ceremonies.One note – the Wrangell Rainbow Girls had four grand officers this year.Lois Ballard was the Grand Worthy Advisor.She is the second Wrangell resident to head the state organization.Nancy Dow was grand worthy advisor in 1969.
In 1989 Florence Leroy chaired the Soup and Homemade Bread booth at Octoberfest, as a fund raiser to send our delegate to Triennial.Then a St Patrick’s Day Bridge and Pinochle Party was enjoyed by all.Worthy Matron Ardis Benson hosted the Fathers’Day Salmon Bake at her home on Sandy Beach.
Vivian Westre, Past Matron, was appointed Deputy to the MWGM for SE Alaska in 1991.She was honored to serve in this position until 1998.
In 1993 the chapter voted to change their meetings from twice a month, to just one meeting a month because of poor attendance and difficulty in getting officers.
Over the years the chapter supported local needs with annual donations, including the PTA for a covered elementary school playground, the Masonic building fund, a local scholarship, the Hospital Guild, and the Hospital Long Term Care for a lift chair and electric bed, the Salvation Army for the Noon Soup Kitchen, the High School CloseUp program, and Operation Graduation, our public radio stationKFSK, and Christian radio station KRSA, Valdez chapter when a member’s daughter needed a liver transplant, andour local museum .Donations were also made to the General Grand Chapter Projects including ESTARL, Puson Children’s Charity Hospital, Peace Garden, Cancer Research and the Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children.
In 2001 the small chapter voted to close after sixty seven years of active service.Some members have joined the Juneau Chapter and the Skagway Chapter.