A Brief History Of Olive Branch Lodge No. 8
In the early 1860’s, a group of Masons, of various lodges, living in what was then known as the northern part of the city, started meeting together to study Masonry. Enjoying each other’s fellowship, they wrote a letter to the MWGM, Dr. Jonathan Davis, petitioning him to set them up as a lodge.
Their request was granted by the GM, Bro. Davis and together with several members of his cabinet, he journeyed up to Brown Street Hall, located at Lawrence and Brown Streets, to set them up as a Lodge and issued them a Charter. So on April 16th 1864, this group became known as Oliver Branch Lodge No. 51, A.F. & A.M. Oliver Branch Lodge No. 51 met in this hall for the next fifteen years. In 1879, because their landlord would not fix the roof and every time it rained or snowed it would leak, they were forced to find new a meeting place.
They decided to buy stock in and move into the Masonic Hall 1227 Locust Street Hall and later into the Temple at 17th & Diamond Street. Since April 6th, 1864 Olive Branch No. 8 has met on the first Wed of each month and continues to do so presently.
Prior to 1882, there were two Grand Lodges of Negro Masons in Pennsylvania and at the time Olive Branch Lodge moved into Locust Street Hall the process of merging these two Grand Lodges. In 1882 the two Grand Lodges merged. Many of the subordinate lodges suffered as a consequence of the many opinions of the members. Some of the smaller lodges were split and forced to merge with larger stronger lodges or simply cease to exist.In 1887 Galbraith Lodge No. 37 merged with Fidelity Lodge No. 8. The combined group took the name Galbraith Lodge and retained the lower number 8. In 1889 this process was repeated when Galbraith Lodge No. 8 merged with Olive Branch Lodge No. 51. Thus the name Olive Branch was retained and the lower number 8 adopted. Thus Olive Branch Lodge became the owners of the number 8.
Many members in Olive Branch have worked with honor in our Grand Lodge. One Bro David Weaver, a carpenter by trade, rose to be the Senior Grand Warden in the Grand Lodge. He also took over the custodianship of Locust Street Hall and built many of the secret rooms known only to the Brothers and Companions of that location.
During the year 1970, this lodge adopted Matthew Chapter No. 65 O.E.S. as its Sister Chapter. This was another first in Masonry and we are both proud and honored to have obtained this distinction.
For 110 years, the members of Olive Branch have practiced the true principles of Masonry. It is my hope that we can restore some of that enthusiasm in our current and new members.