Back in 1954 it was evident that the needs of Freemasonry could best be served with the establishment of an additional Symbolic Lodge in Las Vegas. At that time many of the Lodges in Las Vegas would not admit to membership men who were employed in the gaming industry or who worked in establishments that served alcohol. Shriners Pete Rasmussen, Bert Todkill, Harry Whitley and Carl Gilmsted nurtured the idea that this need not be so, which culminated with the issuance of a Dispensation to form a new lodge by the Grand Lodge of Nevada on June 4, 1954. While the Grand Lodge of Nevada did not, at that time, allow either dual or plural membership, it is a measure of the dedication and devotion of our founding members that each had first to demit from their Mother Lodges to help form Oasis Lodge, a name chosen by vote after several names were considered.
It began on June 21, 1954 when the Grand Lodge of Nevada installed the first officers Under Dispensation. The first stated communication was on July 19, 1954 in the hall of Vegas Lodge No. 32. They conducted their first Masonic Funeral Service on August 18, 1954. The first petitions were balloted on September 20, 1954. While under dispensation the Lodge was busy, holding 42 meetings, 12 of the Stated Communications to receive and ballot on petitions and 30 meetings to perform degree work. They were busy but they had a lot of help getting started. The very first class of nine candidates was initiated in the Hall of Vegas Lodge No. 32 in a joint communication with Oasis and Vegas Lodge. Oasis initiated five candidates and Vegas Lodge did Courtesy work on the other four that same night. During that first year Oasis Lodge was a vagabond Lodge. Early meetings were held wherever room could be found, such as the Nellis Air Force Base Square and Compass Club, in Boulder City or Henderson, and at Vegas 32. Under dispensation the Lodge had 35 E.A.s, 29 Fellowcrafts, and 22 Master Masons with 43 affiliates.
Chartered by the Grand Lodge of Nevada on June 10, 1955 the Charter was delivered and the officers installed on July 23, 1955. At that meeting there were 143 Masons who signed the register book. From there it was full steam ahead for this young and growing Lodge.
It is noted that it was Worshipful Brother Charles Askew who arranged to have a photocopy of the Charter framed by James Ward. It hangs in our Lodge Room now exactly as framed in 1958 with a unique twist. Inlaid in the frame are splinters of dark wood from the first coffin which enclosed the remains of George Washington. Those splinters were donated to the Lodge by Ruffner Simmons. Next time you are in the Lodge Room at MMT take a look at it, it is a little piece of history. (pictured left)
Permanent meeting facilities were first secured at the YMCA building at second and Bonanza because Oasis Lodge members assisted in the completion of that building and were granted a two year lease. In 1958 the young Lodge negotiated a lease to rent meeting space in the new Eagles Hall on East Washington, where the Lodge met for several years. Early on there was no storage space and the officers and members of the Lodge carried the Lodge equipment in the trunks of their cars to each meeting.
Masonic Memorial Temple
In 1973, as an owning body, the move was made to Masonic Memorial Temple where the Lodge has been meeting ever since. (pictured right)
We have had some distinguished members of our Lodge. Former United States Senator Richard Bryan, also a former Governor and Attorney General of Nevada, is a 50 year member of Oasis Lodge. He was recently inducted in the DeMolay International Hall of Fame in recognition of his success as a Senior DeMolay. Robert Rose, a member of Oasis Lodge had a distinguished career on the bench of the Nevada Supreme Court. Our own Worshipful Brother Bruce W. Nelson has been prosecuting vehicular crimes in Clark County and is often seen on the local TV news handling high profile cases.
Over the years a lot of outstanding men have become Masons and contributed to the success of Oasis Lodge. They have not only contributed to our Lodge but to other Masonic organizations, the Scottish and York Rites as well as the Shrine. Their contributions have not gone unnoticed and the honors they have accumulated are fitting tributes to their dedication to Masonry in general and their home Lodge in particular.
Oasis Lodge has supported our Youth Groups and still is the sponsoring body of Oasis Chapter, Order of DeMolay. At one time we also sponsored a Rainbow Assembly.
MW Dan I. Newman
Oasis Lodge is proud of Most Worshipful Ovid A. Moore, who was the first member raised in Oasis Lodge to become a Grand Master of Mason in Nevada in 1987. We are equally proud of the fact that our Grand Lodge celebrates its 150th year under the leadership of our second Grand Master, Most Worshipful Dan I. Newman who took office in November of 2014. (pictured left)
We have lost to the Great Architect of the Universe many outstanding Past Masters, guys known to all of you like C. K. Davis, Jack Laino, Brent Harden, John Belch, Loy O’Brien, Bob Rash, Raymond Bobo, Eddy Draper, and twowho served in Grand Lodge, Worshipful Brother Gerald Abbott and Worshipful Brother Donald O. Knight. Like most Masonic Lodges Oasis has had its ups and downs. We seem to rejuvenate ourselves every couple of years when new members bring a level of enthusiasm to our Fraternity that ignites and renews the interest of some of the older, less active members.
Like most lodges we always wish we had greater participation, higher attendance, but yet, always grateful for the fellowship we enjoy with those who are there week after week. Our Lodge truly embodies the “family of Masonry” aspect of our Fraternity.
Oasis Lodge No. 41 has a rich history accumulated over nearly 60 years. While we take pride in what has been accomplished under the leadership of a long list of Past Masters, we eagerly look to what the future holds. As the Lodge celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2015, there is much more history to be written, new leaders will step up and carry on the traditions, and create new memories. While we cherish the past, we work on improving the present, and look toward the future with high hopes and eager anticipation. Oasis Lodge remains the home of fraternity, charity, sociability and impressiveness in the ritual. We who now work in the quarries of Oasis Lodge carry forward the vision of those who have gone before.