Mizpah Lodge No. 17
The Lodge used the space in Mr. Moore’s store for thirty-three years but the relationship was not always smooth. The Bible Society also used the Lodge Room and the Lodge paid $5 annually to the Society through Mr. Moore for the use of the Organ. In 1923 a problem occurred with the payment and Mr. Moore was advised that “if he did not use the money as it was intended he could remove the organ from the Lodge Room.” (Minutes, March 1, 1923) Before the first ten-year lease expired the Lodge explored the options of erecting a new building, renting the Public Hall or renewing the lease. In March 1927 a committee was appointed to meet with the Directors of the Belfast Hall Co. “in regards to getting the upper part of Hall as a Lodge Room..” The cost of a new building was reported to be $3000- $4000 and cost of fixing up the second storey of the Hall was estimated at $1000. The lease was renewed with the Moore Family. Mr. Moore died in 1928 and the lease was arranged with his daughter Jemima (Mima).
The period of the second lease agreement was a difficult one for the Brethren. During the Great Depression Mizpah struggled with financial problems. In June 1935 a committee was appointed to meet with Miss Moore to negotiate a reduction in rent from $75 to $48 per year. The results were not reported but starting in 1937 the rent payments were $52 annually. Arrears were a constant concern. In 1934 registered letters were sent to seven members who were in arrears for four years or more. (Minutes, March 1, 1934) Multiple suspensions were reported in 1932 and 1934. On May 24, 1934 the Worshipful Master and Secretary were given approval to borrow money to pay the Grand Lodge dues.
Maintenance problems were reported in 1932. The Secretary was instructed to write Miss Moore “to keep the lights in good working order as they have been very unsatisfactory for the past year also to repair a leak in the roof.” (Minutes, September 8, 1932) In 1937 the Brethren complained about “excessive smoke in the Lodge Room from the furnace.”
Even the weather and road conditions took a toll on the work of the Lodge. During the decade beginning in 1929 twenty-two Regular Communications were cancelled due to adverse weather and road conditions. The trend of closures continued during the 1940’s and 1950’s. In the thirty-year interval (1928-1958) adverse weather forced the cancellation of eighty-three Regular Communications. In seven of the years five or more Communications were cancelled. Regular Communications were cancelled on nine other dates during that interval largely due to lack of a quorum. Without evidence of significant climatic change in the mid-fifties it seems likely that rural electrification, occupancy in a different Lodge Room and a new highway through the area combined to ease the problem.